Hops with #HeyLuke: Flocking with the Snowbirds at Thornapple Brewing Co.

Hops with Luke Laster

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Paying your dues: We’ve all had to do it. Pouring growlers, cleaning kegs and scrubbing tanks were just a few of the things Keith Faught did at a small brewery in San Diego as he tried to get his foot in the door of the craft beer world.

“Doing anything they’d let me do, really,” Faught explained as he reminisced on the times he was looking for a way to incorporate his home brewing skills into an actual brewery.

After his time in San Diego, Faught came upon an opportunity in Chicago. Just recently, he landed a job as the head brewer of Thornapple Brewing Co. east of Grand Rapids.

Thornapple Brewing Co. head brewer Keith Faught. (Courtesy Thornapple Brewing Co./Facebook)

Faught and I sat down for this episode of Hops with #HeyLuke and discussed three unique beers to the taproom: Brown Eyed Girl English brown ale, the Snowbird orange wheat ale and Ginger Peach cider.

Up first, Brown Eyed Girl.

“This beer is 4.7%, so it’s light in ABV (alcohol by volume) but full in flavor. It’s a beer that’s almost 20 years in the making,” said Faught.

Thornapple Brewing co-owner Eric Fouch, won a home brew competition with the recipe in 2003. In 2018, it earned him a silver medal at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival, making it the brewery’s highest award-winning beer.

It also gets the #HeyLuke Certified Story — the highlight beer of the episode — thanks to its unique origins.

Brown Eyed Girl from Thornapple Brewing Co. (Photos courtesy Eric Fouch)

Second, we tried the Snowbird, named as homage to those Michiganders who flock to the south for the winter months.

“We use Florida-grown oranges in this and we use Michigan grown hops,” Faught explained.

He also mentioned they use a touch of coriander while brewing to emphasize the citrusy flavors more intensely.

The Snowbird from Thornapple Brewing Co. (Courtesy Eric Fouch)

Last, we sampled the first cider to be featured on Hops with #HeyLuke, the Ginger Peach — a sweet and almost spicy way to wrap up the episode.

“I think it’s just a great balance of fruitiness with the peaches, the apples and then a little bit of that spicy bite from the ginger. I think it just makes it very drinkable. Just one of these things after you take your first sip, you know you just want to keep going back and diving deeper into the flavors that are all in there,” Faught said.

Faught added the apples used to brew this hard cider are from the Fruit Ridge, the area northwest of Grand Rapids famous for apple orchards.

The Ginger Peach cider from Thornapple Brewing Co. (Photos courtesy Eric Fouch)

Check out our Instagram page (@woodtv) on Thursday for an exclusive clip from this interview in which Faught explains what he loves about the craft brewing industry.

For more Hops with #HeyLuke, head over to WOODTV.com’s Live Desk page. Stay tuned next week for another installment. 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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