Sam Reese is the production manager at Upper Hand Brewery. He drove the fork lift that placed 48 half barrels and 16 quarter barrels of beer on the semi-truck. Pike Distributors in Escanaba delivered the kegs of beer to area bars and restaurants for the first time Thursday.
“To get the first order out is a rewarding experience,” Reese said. “We put a lot of man hours and a lot of effort and a lot of love into getting that beer into those kegs. We’re excited about having it out on the town tonight and tomorrow and have an Escanaba grand release.”
Upper Hand Brewery delivered two of its three beers, the Upper Peninsula Ale and Escanaba Black Beer.
“The UPA, Upper Peninsula Ale, is an American pale ale that I’m supper excited about and then the Escanaba Black Beer named after our hometown. It’s a nice, easy drinking, 4.5 percent, slightly roasty, very sessionable black ale.”
Upper Hand Brewery is a division of Bell’s Brewery. The company plans to produce up to 10,000 barrels of beer by next year.
Escanaba is celebrating the new release of the Upper Hand beer with a Release Party Pub Crawl Thursday night. Chad Brockman, sales manager at Pike Distributors, said it starts at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Stonehouse Restaurant.
“You don’t have to hit every establishment but, of course, we encourage it,” said Brockman. “We’re calling it a crawl because we would like to see people walking from establishment to establishment and hopefully have a great time.”
The crawl continues to Crispigna’s, the Elks, Hereford and Hops, Mugshots, Ludington Grill and Ernie’s Irish Pub. The beer will also be available at Breezy Point in Ford River and Wally’s Bar in Gladstone.
Upper Hand Brewery will have four other events to celebrate the release of the new beer.
Nov. 10: Island Resort and Casino, Harris, 8-10 p.m.
Nov. 11: Sol Blu, Iron Mountain, 5-7 p.m.
Nov. 13: 906 Sports Bar and Grill, Marquette, 5-9 p.m.
Dec. 6: Upper Hand Beer and Food Pairing: The Brownstone Inn, Au Train, 4-6 p.m.
Brockman said having the Upper Hand Brewery in Escanaba is going to be a big deal for the community and a craft beer industry that is growing in the U.P.
“I think this really solidifies Escanaba on the map as far as craft beers. Upper Hand has a wonderful backing with Bell’s. The science, the knowledge, the history of Bell’s producing amazing craft beers. I think the sky’s the limit for Upper Hand,” Brockman said.
Pike Distributors will be distributing Upper Hand beer in Delta, Alger, Schoolcraft and Luce Counties.
Upper Hand beer will be distributed in U.P. by five different distributors. Reese said they expect to begin selling bottled beer in December.