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Brewing Beer with the Austin Brothers

ALPENA, Mich. — On April 7, 1933, then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt took the first step to end Prohibition by signing a law allowing Americans to brew and sell beer. Today, we celebrate it as National Beer Day.

For this year’s National Beer Day, WBKB went to Austin Brothers Beer Company in Alpena to see their brewing process. Each beer starts off as grain or malted barley, and is boiled until the enzymes are activated. After boiling, hops and yeast are added until the beer is fermented. From there, more hops and fruit are added to the drink, and it is either canned or bottled and shipped.

“Most beers have one standard grain in it,” said Chris Heikkuri of Austin Brothers. “Then they add two, three, four different other grains that give it different colors, extra sweetness. We just released a rye beer that gives it some spice.”

This is how Austin Brothers brewed about 40,000 cases of beer last year, ranging from hoppy to fruity– and even spicy. Different beers pair better with different situations– that’s why they try to have over 20 selections on tap.

“We always try to have 20, 24 beers on tap in a variety of styles,” Heikkuri said. “Depending on the weather, depending on your mood, depending on if you’re driving– we try to have a beer for every situation.”