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Drive Thru Brew: A Spin on a Grand River Brewery Story

Lately the beer world has turned its attention to a classic, old-school style. Really old school. As in, medieval. The German style schwarzbier has gained footing in many variations across the United States, and Grand River Brewery had to put its mark out there with the Drive Thru Brew, our very own dark lager. Available in the Jackson and Marshall taprooms now, and soon to be available in cans in your favorite local stores, the Drive Thru Brew is as rich in backstory as it is in flavor.

The Drive Thru Brew was the GRB Assistant Brewer Caleb’s first beer on the large system. Inspired by a trip to a brewery that had a schwarzbier on tap, Caleb designed this dark lager recipe after doing extensive research on the development of the style. His aptitude for history came in handy, as Caleb was able to produce a beer that perfectly balances flavor and mouthfeel, bringing out roasted flavors without any syrupy thickness. Caleb’s hard work in the brewery paid off, and the only thing missing at that point was a name.

And then a car crashed into the brewery, destroying the barrel room.

Nobody was injured, thank goodness. Forever optimistic and in need of a name for a brew anyway, the GRB team decided to take this incident and spin it into something more positive. So the Drive Thru Brew was given its name and the design was decided upon: a neon tracing of the car sticking out the side of the barrel room, making light of a situation that could very well have otherwise remained just a sour note in GRB’s history. This is something I really admire about those I work with- everything is an opportunity for growth, nothing goes to waste. Now this deliciously dark lager that Caleb worked so hard on has a story worthy of sharing.

Caleb’s work on this brew is paying off in more ways than one, and the neon design got to see the light of day this past Wednesday when the brewery team did a canning run of the Drive Thru Brew. I asked Wyatt, the Head Brewer, what he thought was important about canning and distributing as a brewery. He said that of course the ultimate goal is to bring people the best beer we can and give them a great experience in and out of the brewery. Adding on to that, Wyatt smartly noted that a beer on the shelf, one like the Drive Thru Brew that stands out in design, style, and taste, is also like a business card. It’s an invitation to come to the taproom to see everything we have to offer.

That’s why we work so hard to stand out on the shelves, because we really stand out in person and we want the opportunity to show that. And finally, we distribute our beer because sometimes you deserve a night in and a craft brew.

What makes the Drive Thru Brew especially fit for distribution is the execution of the style- the dark lager is easy to drink and pairs with just about any meal. This style is incredibly versatile and can equally be enjoyed in our taproom with, say, the fish sammy, or out at a bonfire in the cold Fall air. It’s light in body while rich in flavor, seriously the best of both worlds. As odd as it may sound, this dark beer is deliciously thirst quenching. If you’re wondering how that can be so, check your local store in the coming weeks for the Drive Thru Brew, or come to Grand River Brewery and give it a try from the tap. Cheers!



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