Hops with #HeyLuke: Dusting the crops with Grand Armory Brewing

Hops with Luke Laster

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — There are few things that have been consistent over the past 12 months. One thing that has been is the community surrounding nothing more than some liquid in a can, a glass or a growler.

West Michigan is home to many excellent and beloved craft breweries.

“It’s a two-way street. I just think that’s so cool about the craft beer culture,” Ryan Andrews, co- owner of Grand Armory Brewing Company in Grand Haven, said of the support businesses like his get from craft beer drinkers.

That community inspired the idea of “Hops with #HeyLuke,” a series airing exclusively on WOODTV.com and WOOD TV8’s digital platforms.

Along with culture and community, you need a third “c” to succeed: creativity. Memories inspire flavor and flavor inspires creative names. In this first episode of “Hops,” we sat down with Grand Armory Brewing to highlight three uniquely named brews with stories to describe their origins.

We started with their first brew, the Crop Duster IPA.

“So Crop Duster was actually invented in my garage,” co-owner Ben Tabor said.

Tabor and Andrews say they were aggressive home brewers. It was the first IPA they could “dust with a fresh set of hops,” hence the name.

A courtesy photo of the first triple batch brewed by the founders of Grand Armory in their garage.

Next on tap was the #HeyLuke Certified Story, or the highlight brew, of this episode: the Dewey Hill Amber Ale, which memorializes a landmark of the Grand Haven community.

“For me growing up in the tri-cities, I always remember my parents bringing me to the musical fountains or to the Fourth of July fireworks,” Andrews said. “And that’s where Dewey Hill is.”

A courtesy photo of Grand Armory Brewing Co.’s Dewey Hill Amber.

Grand Armory also makes Dewey Hill on Fire, a beer similar to the Dewey Hill Amber Ale but flavored with ghost and serrano peppers.

It was created to remember the 2005 fireworks show that ended with a large fire on the hill, etching that day in Grand Haven history forever.

A courtesy photo of a 2005 fire on Dewey Hill in Grand Haven.

Last, we covered the Goddess Blood IPA, which was brewed by women for International Women’s Collaborative Brew Day.

“Brewing beers tends to be a male-dominated industry and we pride ourselves that we have extremely knowledgeable, well-rounded female staff… They know the ins and outs of how it was created,” Tabor said.

A courtesy photo of Grand Armory Brewing Co.’s Goddess Blood brew.

February brought Michigan a very small taste of normalcy with 25% capacity limits on indoor dining. That will increase to 50% starting Friday.

It’s not the same as it was a year ago, but just having the opportunity to get to a brewery and sit down was the start we needed to share brewers’ unique stories on “Hops with #HeyLuke.” It brings back a small taste of consistency for the community that has had no other option but to enjoy their favorite beers at home instead of the taproom.

Tabor and Andrews say they know what they’re looking forward to as the virus is beaten back by vaccines in the next six months to a year.

“Live music,” Tabor said.

I think we can all agree a live band and a pint might just be the cure to the stress of the pandemic and give us back what we’ve desperately needed for nearly a year: consistency.

Next week, “Hops with #HeyLuke” takes you to Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids. You’ll be able to find that and future episodes on WOODTV.com’s Live Desk page and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We’ll also be sharing exclusive clips on our Instagram page (@woodtv).

If you would like your brewery featured on an episode of “Hops with #HeyLuke,” you can reach out to Luke via email at luke.laster@woodtv.com or find him on Facebook or Twitter.

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