When Old Nation first opened in 2015, it took a while for them to get their business off the ground. Now, though, they’re on pace to make more than 20,00 barrels of beer this year.
What makes this win even more impressive is the competition Old Nation was up was against — Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.
Easily considered a rock star of the Michigan craft beer scene, it won “Best Beer in America” by the American Homebrewers Association the past two years in a row.
But in a brewery blowout, Old Nation’s loyal followers helped crown M-43 the champ.
See the official 2018 WDET Michigan Beer Bracket below.
WDET’s Ryan Patrick Hooper speaks with Travis Fritts, the founder and co-owner of Old Nation Brewing, about the growth of M-43 and what makes the New England-style IPA unique.
“Early on into the development of M-43…we really made an effort to engage with folks who were big beer fans,” Fritts says. “I think having a product that was new and, kind of, being first to the bigger market with that product was helpful too. Quality has always been a concern of ours. We’re trying to meet all those things together.”
According to Fritts, M-43 is a New England-style IPA made from hops grown in the Pacific Northwest.
“(New England IPA’s) rest, largely, on the flavor of the hops that they use. They’re generally newer strains of hops that come from the Pacific Northwest or Australia or New Zealand,” he explains. “Those hops…have this really intense tropical flavor. Mango is big in there. Passionfruit. That makes it a lot more accessible to the novice beer drinker.”
Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. As a longtime arts and culture reporter and photographer, Hooper has covered stories for NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.