Founders teams up with local artists for Crafted in Michigan beers

Founders Brewing Co. has been teaming up with Michigan artists to showcase their work.

The brewery partnered with an artist in Grand Rapids and two artists in Detroit, the two locations of its taprooms, for the Crafted in Michigan Collaboration Series beers that will be released next month.

Related: Founders Brewing partners with Bees in the D to add hives to roof of Detroit Taproom

Both beers are special releases, and there will be a one-bottle limit when they are released.

Ginger Smiles, a rum barrel-aged strong golden ale brewed with ginger and guava, was made in collaboration with Grand Rapids artist Esan Sommersell. 

"Collaborating with them has encouraged me to do much more with my art and I’m excited to continue to build my relationship with Founders and work with a variety of companies to bring my art to the world," he said.

Founders said the flavors "pay tribute to the Guyanese flavors and traditions Sommersell grew up admiring."

"When we first met with Esan, he had three inspirations in mind for us to consider," said Founders Brewmaster, Jeremy Kosmicki.  "His family often brewed their own ginger beer – so something with a ginger bite was one idea. The second inspiration was guava – a sweet, tropical fruit used in many Caribbean dishes.  And the third concept was something to pay tribute to a favorite drink of the West Indies – rum.  We decided we’d try to incorporate all three ideas into one amazingly unique and tasty concoction."

Ginger Smiles will be released at both the Grand Rapids and Detroit taprooms on June 25 at 11 a.m. The Grand Rapids release will include an outdoor artist market.

Skyshift is a collaboration brew with Detroit-based husband and wife duo Dennis and Christina Jacobs, also known as Arsenal Handicraft. 

"They've given us so much creative freedom over the label artwork and the beer style, and the whole project has been really fun to work on during such a tough time for artists. They encouraged us to draw on our love for nature, which is the inspiration for most of our work," the Jacobs said. "The thought behind Skyshift was to capture one of those fleeting, beautiful moments we all experience outdoors, which are especially appreciated as we've spent more time outside over the past year and a half."

The beer with butterfly pea flower is a tart and juicy blueberry chamomile gose-style ale that places homage to a twilight sky.

"When Arsenal Handicraft was selected out of the pool of local artists to partner with for our next Crafted in Michigan collab, I was very excited! Their work particularly stood out to me as I connected with their color schemes and themes of natural wonder and the cosmos," said Founders Detroit Head Brewer, Natalie Iseli-Smith.  "When we met to discuss what sort of ingredients or flavor styles they were interested in, and they suggested using butterfly pea flowers to create these deep and fantastic shades of blue and violet. The result will be a refreshing, light-bodied, salty, sweet and sour gose-style wheat ale with a lot of herbal character from chamomile flowers, juicy sweetness from Michigan blueberries, and of course a unique shifting violet hue."

Skyshift will be released June 11 at 4 p.m. at both taprooms. In Detroit, there will be an area where guests can enjoy specialty food offerings and purchase pieces from Arsenal Handicraft.


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