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Tastemakers: North Peak Brewing Irish Stout Stew/ Arbor Brewing Company Michael Faricy‘s Stout

Rick Coates - March 14th, 2011
North Peak Brewing Irish Stout Stew
North Peak Brewing Company is celebrating their 15th Annual Irish Fest in
grand style. Fresh off hosting the 32nd Annual St. Patrick’s Parade and
the Lucky Leprechaun Ball this past weekend and with a full day of
celebrating planned on Thursday in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, North Peak
plans to keep honoring Irish traditions through the weekend with a special
menu and beer offerings. 
The special menu includes many traditional favorites such as corned beef
and cabbage, but a must try is the Irish Stout & Tenderloin Stew. This
hearty stew is made with tenderloin tips, celery, onion, carrots, and
potato and simmered in their Shirley’s Irish Stout (named after Michael
Shirley, a famous local Irishman) and served in a large wheat bread bowl.
Irish stews have always been thick and hearty, made with assorted root
vegetables.The secret to a successful stew is the slow simmering process
(often overnight) when making the stock. Traditional Irish stew was made
with lamb or mutton (less tender sheep) but when Irish immigrants made
their way to America to escape the potato famine, lamb was not as
available and other meats were often substituted.
Eventually many recipes began calling for Guinness Stout and chefs also
began serving the stew in bread bowls in recent years -- sort of a stew
and sandwich all in one. The culinary team at North Peak is to be
commended for their creative version on the Irish classic. The tenderloin
is a nice break from corned beef (nothing wrong with corned beef) that
seems to be in every menu item this time of year.
The obvious pairing for this stew is the Shirley’s Irish Stout and North
Peak is donating one dollar from every pint of Shirley’s sold in March to
the Father Fred Foundation. In addition they are offering their
house-brewed beers, in a special limited edition Irish Fest pint glass for
just $5 and you get to keep the glass and get refills for just $3 through
March 20. To see the North Peak Irish Fest menu go to
--- Rick Coates

Arbor Brewing Company
Michael Faricy’s Stout

Matt and Rene Greff are the quintessential craftbrew operators. The couple
started homebrewing in 1991 in their kitchen and before long their
passion took over the their whole house. In 1995 they turned their hobby
into a career (actually, operating a craftbrewery is a lifestyle) and
opened Arbor Brewing Company Pub and Eatery in Ann Arbor. 
Soon, their loyal followers started asking for beers in the bottle and the
couple expanded operations in 2006, building the Corner Brewery and Beer
Garden near their home in Ypsilanti. With the new location they were able
to increase production and add a bottling operation.
Now the couple is expanding again, this time in India where they will open
a third brewing operation later this year. They were approached by a
customer who was a graduate student at U of M about partnering on a
brewery project with him in his native India.
Recently Arbor Brewing Company took home the Gold at the World Beer
Championships for their Michael Faricy’s Stout. The judges describe the
beer as “Dark coffee-like appearance with a creamy head. Medium-bodied.
Mild bitterness. Peaty, smoky, roasted grain aromas. Rich and creamy on
the palate with chalky, burnt flavors that never turn too dry through the
smoky finish. A full flavored, smoky style with plenty of chocolate and
espresso notes.” 
The couple brewed and named this beer in honor of their friend Michael
Faricy who passed away. This medium-bodied stout pairs well with hearty
beefy stews and soups or a good homemade clam chowder. Consider it a meal
in itself and savor it all by itself in a pint/stout glass or large red
wine glass. Stouts are often more flavorful at cellar temperature so
consider pulling from the fridge an hour before serving. Michael Faircy’s
also is a great dessert beer and pairs nicely with anything chocolate. 
As for breakfast, yes it pairs perfectly with pancakes; substitute half
the water/milk in your recipe with Faricy’s and for an added bonus infuse
your maple syrup with this stout as well. 
Look for Michael Faricy’s Irish Stout throughout Northern Michigan. I
found it at The Beverage Company in Traverse City where the staff there
highly recommended it. For details go to -- Happy St.
Patrick’s Day! ---Rick Coates 

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