This year Larry Bell will be celebrating 30 years of Bell’s Brewery, but that hasn’t stopped him from dreaming up other big beer projects.
Although Larry is a native of Park Forest, Ill., he has been a big part of the Michigan scene now for many years and he has always had a deep connection with state’s Upper Peninsula. Because of that connection, a little less than a year ago, he opened Upper Hand Brewery in Escanaba, Mich.
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The brewery operates a 20 barrel system, and you won’t find its beer in the Lower Peninsula. According to Larry and the brewery’s website, “We brew beer where it is meant to be enjoyed.”
Upper Hand Brewery just announced the upcoming release of 906™ Ale (9.06 percent ABV). An imperial red ale brewed in celebration of the 906 area code, the beer’s name is a tribute to the Upper Peninsula the brewery calls home.
This huge, hoppy ale features an explosive hop profile with massive aromatics and a moderate body. Deep, ruby red from specialty malts, this beer has big, lingering, juicy hop flavors and bitterness.
906 Ale’s unique hop profile comes from a combination of Equinox and an experimental varietal known only as 291. Fruit punch, lemon-lime, tropical fruit, lychee, and sweet peppers are all fair game for this aromatic pair. Specialty malts provide color and encourage round, juicy hop expression.
I have yet to enjoy any beers from Upper Hand, but I may get my first chance at Bell’s 30th Anniversary Funvitational. This is the only exception to the beers never being available below the Machinac Bridge.
“We brewed 906 Ale to pay homage to the people and communities that make the U.P. the unique and beautiful place that it is,” commented Larry Bell, president and founder of Bell’s Brewery, Inc. (Upper Hand Brewery is a division of Bell’s).
“While the U.P. covers a wide area, the 906 area code is one of many things that connect the people of the peninsula. Upper Hand brews are already widely enjoyed throughout the region and we hope to see this beer embraced as part of this shared culture,” Bell added.
906 Ale will be available in limited quantities on shelves throughout the U.P. beginning in late August, just in time for Labor Day, the U.P. Fall Beer Festival (the same day as Bell’s Funvitational), and of course, 9/06.
In addition, the brewery is proud to present a brand new logo that will soon debut on all packaging and branding that is a more accurate representation of Upper Hand’s immense pride and commitment to its home, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
“We got a lot of feedback since we first opened and we realized that in order to truly honor the place we call home, we wanted to be sure to represent the entire U.P. in our logo,” said Larry.
This new logo, which features the entire U.P., will soon make its way onto store shelves, tap handles and more over the coming weeks as older packaging stock is depleted. Merchandise featuring the new logo will also soon be available for online purchase.