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Texas Corner Brewing Co. in Kalamazoo celebrates one year with anniversary ale

World War II pilot Victor Schultz started farming near Kalamazoo, Mich., in 1951. He began with 80 acres, and now three generations later Schultz Fruitridge Farms in Mattawan, Mich., has grown to 420 acres, including 250 acres of fruit.

In 2015, Victor’s son William and his three grandsons, Bill, Dan and Andrew, opened Texas Corner’s Brewing Co., with a direct connection to the farm. Andrew is the general manager of the brewery, while Bill helps to manage both the farm and brewery, and Dan provides mechanical and maintenance support for both.

Farm to table, or in this case farm to glass, has become a popular trend in recent years, but for the Schultz family it’s just a natural part of their business. Texas Corner’s Brewing Co. uses Michigan barley malt and hops. Many small batch beers, such as their strawberry rhubarb ale and peach saison, are brewed with their own fruit. This fall they will brew a harvest pale ale using hops grown on their farm, and their own apples are used to craft hard cider.

I had a chance to visit the brewery and meet Andrew on a recent snowy Friday evening. Of the eight beers and four ciders on tap, I chose a flight of six beers. Pickers Pale Ale (5.6 percent ABV, 35 IBUs) was my favorite of the evening. Brewed with Hop Head Farms Centennial and Cascade hops, it had a huge floral aroma with great hop flavors. My next favorite was P-51 Porter (6 percent ABV, 30 IBUs) with notes of roasted malt and coffee.

The flight also included Hazelnut Porter, Double Brown Ale (8.5 percent ABV), 5th Division Black IPA (7 percent ABV, 85 IBUs), and 3 Brothers IPA (6.5 percent ABV) brewed with Hop Head Farms Chinook hops and named after the three brothers in the family.

In 2013, the family purchased a church building located in Texas Corners, and after much remodeling have made a nice cozy atmosphere for their customers. Even in the blizzard conditions of the Friday evening, a full house was a testament to the local love for this brewpub.

This week marks the brewery’s first anniversary with several special events, including the release of their Anniversary Double IPA, which will be their first bottled beer. Head brewer Jeremy Arnold and crew brewed this celebratory ale with Citra, Amarillo and Mosaic hops, and it will be on tap at the brewpub beginning March 23, with 22 oz. bottles for sale.

Here is the full schedule of anniversary events:

Tuesday, March 22

  • Release of Tres Hermanos, double IPA brewed with ghost peppers.
  • Release of special limited edition anniversary growlers.

Wednesday, March 23 (official one year mark)

  • Release of  Anniversary Ale, a double IPA brewed with Amarillo, Citra and Mosaic hops for a hop forward brew with tropical tones.

Thursday, March 24

  • Release of a small batch of Imperial Bourbon Porter.

Friday, March 25

  • Nitro Night: Release of four TCBC brews on nitrogen taps for a distinct creaminess.

Saturday, March 26

  • Nitro Night: Release of four TCBC brews on nitrogen taps for a distinct creaminess.
  • TagaBrew Lady: Debi Steward of TagaBrew will be in attendance from 3 to 6 p.m., releasing an anniversary edition of TCBC TagaBrew.
  • Sabin Williams Band (SWB): Playing classic rock and blues music from 6 to 9 p.m. (weather and tent permitting).

The brewery website states that, “craft beer deserves craft food,” and they back this up with their menu of locally sourced farm-fresh food and ingredients. My bartender told me that as the seasons change, the menu also changes. On the evening of my visit, the chef used crawfish leftover from the Mardi Gras crawfish boil to make a wonderful bisque that paired quite nicely with the Pickers Pale. The menu also includes a wide variety of appetizers, soups and salads, gourmet pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and entrees.

Andrew told me, “We are thrilled with the local support over the first year, and we love to see the smiles on the faces of loyal customers that come back over and over.” My visit was enough to make me want to go back soon.

Texas Corner’s Brewing Co. is open from 3 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; from 3 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and is closed Sunday and Monday. Kitchen service ends an hour before closing, and they do not take reservations. For more information, you can follow them on their Facebook page.

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