April 30, 2014 - By Meg Peters
Review Staff Writer
For the next two years, 51 North Brewery will be known as having the best English-style brown ale in the world.
In April, owner Don Ginhardt sent beer czar and 51 North's brewer Adam Beratta to Denver for the 2014 Beer World Cup held every two years.
Lake Orion's newest microbrewery, 51 North has only been open for 15 months. After entering four craft beers—the tangerine wheat, a scotch ale, a rye pale ale and the English brown ale, Gindhardt and Beratta won best in category for their brown ale Wind Walker Brown.
Of the 49 entries in the best English-style brown ale category, Canal Park Brewing Company Co. of Duluth, MN took the silver, and Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co. of Glenwood Springs, CO took the bronze.
Gindhart has won golds and silvers in other beer competitions, such as the World Expo of Beer in Frankenmuth, but winning gold in the World Cup is like winning the Olympics, he said.
"There is a correlation now with Lake Orion and the English brown ale that gives us instant credibility," Gindhart said. "There's not a distributor in the world that doesn't know what that (The World Cup) is."
Gindhart is even working on a new motto for the Wind Walker Brown. "It's not sexy. It's just perfect," to describe Beratta's delicious ale.
The competition was especially good for Beratta because his beer-making mentors from the Redwood Steakhouse and Brewery, near Flint, who he apprenticed under, saw him take the gold.
The feeling still hasn't sunk in, Beratta said.
"One of the biggest components in beer is balance," Beratta said.
Too hoppy and it's too bitter, not hoppy enough and it's too sweet.
He studied the BJCP, the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, for the World Cup which helped him stylize his beer according to the typical range of taste, aroma and appearance for English-style brown ales.
"That's the cool thing about being the brewer is I get to pick out what I like and I enjoy," he said.
Beratta said people have inquired about distributing the brown ale but he isn't ready yet for that step.
The first thing he will be focusing on is brewing a lot more brown ale.
It will be the next flagship beer they will put out on the market to be distributed, Beratta said.
Currently the tangerine wheat is the only other flagship beer, or standard beer, 51 North is distributing.
The Lake Orion Downtown Developmental Authority (DDA) wants to do a beer tent for the Flower Fair coming up in May, and approached Gindhart with the idea.
For the occasion, Gindhart is opening up a patio for the entire weekend for beer patrons, and will also have a Mother's Day brunch.
"As a bar owner I couldn't be happier," Gindhart said. "As the person who made the decision on the brewing equipment, and the decision about the brewer, this is a lot of validation for the brewery," he said. "Adam did an incredible job with his world class beer."