Brewers often move around within the industry, this is especially true in Michigan’s vibrant brewing community.
Sam is a Michigan brewing veteran with former experience at Bravo Zulu Brewing in Williamsburg, Mich.; Perrin Brewing in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Arcadia Ales in Battle Creek, Mich.; Walldorff Brewpub in Hastings, Mich.; and Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids.
After a successful 2015, in which Right Brain Brewery saw 20 percent growth and the production of 4,777 brewers barrels, there’s no better time to bring on industry veteran Sam Sherwood as the new head brewer. Sherwood brings more than 15 years of production brewing experience with him in order to institute a more efficient brewing processes, putting Right Brain on track to brew close to 6,000 barrels of beer in 2016.
“I am excited to take on this new challenge. It is going to be a very busy summer for us at Right Brain. We have some new equipment that is going to help with production beers as well as our well known specialty ales. I am looking forward to having some freedom to brew some beers that I have been wanting to do but could not at other places I have worked for. Also very glad to be so well-received by the crew here. Fortunately, Russ has some very talented people working here, which will make my transition an easy one,” says Sherwood.
One specialty beer that I know many are hoping will come out of this new position will be Malted Milk Balls, which I remember from Sam’s days at Walldorff Brewpub and Bistro. Since this announcement there has been a lot of discussion about this beloved beer on forums such as BeerAdvocate.com.
Sherwood, a native of Kalkaska, Mich., began his brewing career in 2000 at Michigan Brewing Company (which closed it’s doors in 2012). In 2001 he took an assistant brewer job at Traverse Brewing Co. (which has also since closed), where he met Right Brain owner Russell Springsteen.
“Sam and I always kept in touch over the years and supported each other’s successes in the brewing community. It’s a great pleasure to work with Sam again, and I have confidence that with his brewing industry experience, he’ll be a key player in helping Right Brain get to the next level,” says Springsteen.
Right Brain Brewery is nestled in the SoFo District of downtown Traverse City, Mich. They brew flagship beers such as CEO Stout (5.5 percent ABV, 25 IBUs), and Dead Kettle IPA (5.8 percent ABV, 70 IBUs), and unique culinary-inspired brews made in an artisanal fashion, such as Cherry Pie Whole (5.2 percent ABV), brewed with whole cherry pies and Spear Beer (5.3 percent ABV) brewed with asparagus.
Dead Kettle IPA, previously only available on draft and in 22-ounce bottles, has huge citrus and grapefruit notes as a result of a heavy dose of Citra hop dry-hoping. The name Dead Kettle derives from the first time Right Brain ever tried to brew the beer. “The heater on our boil kettle, no matter what we tried, would just not turn on! So we whirlpooled it, dry-hopped it, said a prayer and eventually the kettle finally turned on. The result became a huge fan-favorite in our pub,” says Russ Springsteen. The soft release of Dead Kettle cans in Right Brain’s tap room was a huge success, with 468 four-packs sold in only four days.
Unlike other can releases from Right Brain, Dead Kettle will debut on retail shelves in early April 2016 in a four-pack box, to help it stand out against strong competitors that have similar packaging. Right Brain brews can be found throughout the state of Michigan in bottles, kegs and on draft. Right Brain beers are not currently available in Indiana, but for many of us, it’s only a short drive across the border.
Editor’s note: Due to a staff error, a previous version of this article was published with the incorrect location of Bravo Zulu Brewing. The above version was amended Thursday, March 24. Flavor 574 regrets the error.