Kent County brewery turns paczki into pilsners

Kent County

BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s time to loosen up those belt buckles as West Michigan gears up for Fat Tuesday.

Byron Center’s Alebird Taphouse and Brewery, is straying from the norm, incorporating Packzki into a pilsner.

The idea isn’t new, breweries have flavored beers to resemble the popular pastries, but Alebird’s variation focuses a little more on the fruity notes within the jelly center.

“I would say my favorite flavor of packzki is raspberry,” Marion Barwig said. “That or strawberry, we thought why not blend the best of both.”

Barwig enlisted his brewmaster, Tshecomah Fisher and his assistant Jonah to get to work.

“Marion came to us and said, how about making something, a beer with a packzki in it? And I was like, you know I could probably do that,” Fisher said. “We hashed out a recipe and then we talked to the chef and she made us 50 pounds of packzki. They were raspberry and strawberry flavored. We just broke them up as we were mashing in and that was that.”

The beer, which clocks in at 7.1 percent alcohol is a stout-style lager. It’s dark but carries notes of the berry jelly.

“By adding the packzki, we were able to get those raspberry notes and that festive flavor that everybody’s kind of looking for on Fat Tuesday especially,” Fisher said. “All around, I mean you get every single flavor that you’re looking for in a stout and a paczki.”

The brewery made about five kegs of their creation which they’ve aptly named “Attack of the Paczki’s.” You can only get the exclusive brew at their brewhouse along 84th Street in Byron Center starting Tuesday until it runs out.

“We set aside a bunch of the kegs just so we didn’t run out because we’re hoping, you know, we’ll get some people out here, and get through those kegs,” Fisher said. “People here in West Michigan love their traditions and that includes Fat Tuesday and Packzki.”

Ale Bird will also be serving Mardi Gras themed fare with specialty mixed drinks, shots and menu items to reflect the festivities.

“I’m excited for people to come in and experience a nice family atmosphere here, you know, comfortable surroundings, and some really good beer that we brew here and some good food,” Barwig said. “You can only get the packzki beer here. So that’s kind of a novel item. Just good flavor, enjoyable, easy drinking beer. We hope you enjoy it.”

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