Almost five years ago, Unruly Brewing Company was the first craft brewery to open in Muskegon–and its debut marked a radically different chapter for the city’s downtown that has gone from having literal tumbleweeds making their way down Western Avenue to becoming a thriving commercial hub. The brewery has made an indelible mark on the city of Muskegon, becoming a cultural centerpiece that not only draws beer aficionados but regularly brings in much-feted musical acts from throughout the city, state and country.
To celebrate its fifth anniversary, Unruly is hosting a weekend-long party this Friday, Sept. 28 and Saturday, Sept. 29. There will be food whipped up by local chefs, live music, games in outdoors entertainment tents, and, of course, beer–lots and lots of beer. We’ll get into more details at the end of this article, or you can also click here for more information.
As part of this five-year soiree, Eric Hoffman, Unruly Brewing’s brewmaster and co-owner, was kind enough to answer five questions from us about this past half decade, and where we can expect to see the brewery go from here.
First things first: the beer. What are your five favorite beers that you guys have brewed over the past half decade?
Revel Rouser IPA (a West Coast-style IPA created with all local Michigan hops for the fellow hopheads at nearby Revel), 21 Guns (a hoppy wheat that’s a taproom favorite), ‘Murican Brown Rye (an award-winning classic American brown ale), Watch Us Gose (a German style wheat beer that’s a nod to Muskegon’s “Watch Us Go” campaign), and Tropic Thunder (an imperial IPA that has big, tropical fruit and citrus notes with a solid malt backbone).
You guys have a big celebration going on this weekend! Tell us a bit about why you wanted to feature these musical acts, and anything else we should know about the festivities.
We are showcasing a very diverse selection of music which fits us as a brewery and is a good representation of what we do in our taproom with live music. There is a little bit of everything for everyone.
Besides the music and six special barrel aged beer releases on tap, we are also doing three limited releases in cans this weekend. There will be Watch Us Gose, a tequila barrel aged gose; Rue Du Mons, a red wine barrel aged saison; and Menace, a gin barrel aged Belgian IPA.
If you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice when this all began five years ago, what would you say?
It is important to have great people in the key positions to make your company successful. We are very lucky to now have those employees. I would also say it’s important to be true to yourself and do what you want to do and not necessarily always allow the public to tell you what to do. At the end of the day, it is your brewery and your business that end up representing you.
What has been the most rewarding thing about the past five years?
The growth of downtown has been amazing since we started five years ago. The continued growth of the area is fun to watch. It never gets old to see large groups of people enjoying a product that you made.
Where do you see yourselves in five years from now?
We are currently wrapping up a production facility which will allow us to expand our unique taproom offerings, as well as start more steady statewide distribution of our core brands. Our new step is going to give us lots of room to grow, so it is a very exciting time at Unruly Brewing Company.
Now, onto the details of the weekend festivities.
Where the party’s at: Unruly Brewing Company, 360 W. Western Ave. in downtown Muskegon.
Cost: Tickets are $5 per day, or $7 for a weekend pass. People of all ages are welcome to attend up until 9pm. After that, you’ll have to be 21 or over. To purchase tickets, click here.
The music schedule:
Friday’s live music will begin at 7pm and the night will feature the following bands:
Saturday’s music starts at 3:30 pm and will include performances from the following folks:
- Cønrad Shøck + the Nøise
- Biffy the Beat Slayer
- Ricky Hill Music
- Brett Dame Music
Happy fifth birthday, Unruly!