Members of Back Forty Beer Company (Gadsden, Alabama) are in Miami, Florida this week to promote Michael’s Genuine Home Brew (MGHB), a collaboration beer they created with James Beard Award winning chef Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and Harry’s Pizzeria.
Chef Michael Schwartz first encountered Back Forty at an Auburn University fundraiser for tornado relief in the spring of 2011. While at the event, he was able to sample all of Back Forty’s products and he was impressed with what he was drinking. Schwartz kept in touch with the folks at the brewery for the next year, and eventually a partnership was created to begin development of a beer to be sold in his restaurants. In March of this year, Schwartz came to the Gadsden brewery for three days to work side by side with Back Forty brewmaster Jamie Ray, originally a native of Miami. After their brewing session and several test batches were shipped to Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Home Brew became a reality.
“It’s no surprise that we love beer. We love drinking it, our food loves it, and I guess you could say we had the label all along,” Schwartz explains. “We found the right partner in Back Forty. Owner Jason Wilson and I share a common approach to how we run our businesses, and I wasn’t surprised when they nailed exactly what we were looking for in a beer.”
The final product that is MGHB is an American Ale made with Sem-Chi rice and sugar cane, making this the first time Florida-grown ingredients have been used for the grain bill of a commercially marketed beer. The use of these two ingredients keeps with Schwartz’s philosophy to use local products whenever possible. The press release from Back Forty and The Genuine Hospitality Group describes the beer as the following:
“[MGHB] is a classic American Ale, light bodied with a dry finish and a substantial mid palate featuring a citrusy sweetness, hint of floral hops, and a dry finish, coming in about 5% ABV. Home Brew has a light and bright golden color, with a white head that leaves a nice lacing. It’s a solid beer and is similar to lighter styles such as a pilsner or lager, but with more flavor and better nose. We think it pairs nicely with a variety of foods, and is fun to share in large format bottles… And most importantly, very refreshing for the hot Miami sun!”
MGHB will be sold beginning August 15 on draft and in 22 oz. bottles exclusively at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and Harry’s Pizzeria in Miami. The beer should then be opened up to on and off-premise accounts in October. Since most of the Back Forty team is in Miami promoting MGHB and the rest of their portfolio, I was unable to confirm whether or not this beer will be sold in Alabama on a regular basis as well. It is confirmed that MGHB will be poured at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam Club 500 in Talladega this October, so Alabamians should be able to sample this beer at special events in the state at the very least.
It is great to see that Back Forty continues to work closely with the culinary scene to promote the fact that craft beer is the perfect pairing for great food. There is no doubt that this partnership will be a great outlet to further spread the message of all the great things happening at Back Forty and in the Alabama craft beer scene as a whole. With that said, congratulations are also in order for the brewery since they are now the first Alabama brewing company to be distributed in South Florida. Keep an eye out for Michael’s Genuine Home Brew at local events and the rest of Back Forty’s portfolio is available throughout the state of Alabama. Prost!