GRAND RAPIDS, MI — If you’re part of a Scottish craft brewer duo with a popular cable television show that travels the U.S. in search of creative beer culture, what kind of beer would you make in Michigan in January?
The answer? An Eisbock.
Pronounced “ice bock,” an eisbock is a potent, flavorful brew created by freezing off and removing a portion of the brew’s water, resulting in a higher concentration of the beer's body, flavor and alcohol content.
Jeremy Kosmicki, head brewer at Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, has been in Roscommon County for the last couple days brewing an eisbock with James Watt and Martin Dickie, hosts of “Brew Dogs” on the Esquire Network.
The show is filming this week in Grand Rapids, making stops at Founders, HopCat, Brewery Vivant and the Meanwhile Bar on Wealthy Street, according to producers.
Other Michigan filming locations include Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor.
“We want to make sure we don’t only feature the brewery we’re working with on the show,” said Matthew Paley, Brew Dogs supervising producer.
“We try to spread the love around.”
The show follows brewers Watt and Dickie around the U.S. on a tour of American beer towns. The show is named for the duo’s Scottish brewery in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, called BrewDog. It is currently filming its third season.
In each episode, the hosts team with a brewery to make a unique or locally inspired craft brew. Aside from the main storyline, the episodes also feature a Top 5 list of best breweries and best beer bars in the filming area.
“It’s kind of a casual thing, but we think it’s pretty awesome they want to stop by our place while they’re in town,” said Brewery Vivant owner Jason Spaulding.
Paley was not able to share the recipe for the eisbock collaboration with Founders, but said ingredients from the beer were contributed by chef Steve Stallard of BLiS Gourmet in Grand Rapids, and David Klingenberger of The Brinery in Ann Arbor.
The team has spent the past few days on Higgins Lake, brewing the beer under the ice using a special rig with the help of Tyler Schultz of Michigan Adventure Diving.
Paley said Grand Rapids’ reputation as “Beer City USA” helped interest the producers in featuring the city and Michigan in an episode. People asking for the show to visit Michigan on social media also helped, he said.
“We were extremely excited to work with Founders, of course, but creating an episode involves finding both the right brewery and right adventure,” he said. “It has to be a place with a wealth of beer culture."
Paley said the liveliness of the Founders downtown taproom at 235 Grandville Ave. SW was a nice surprise. The show only goes to places “we’re excited about.”
“We’ve been having fun in the cold and have been really blown away by the space that Founders seems to occupy in the city,” he said.
The show will be filming b-roll at the Meanwhile on Tuesday, Jan. 27 starting around 4:30 p.m., HopCat around 7 p.m., and at Brewery Vivant on Wednesday, Jan. 28 from 3 to 5 p.m.
A tasting party for the eisbock with hosts Watt and Dickie will be held at Founders from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28.
The Michigan/Grand Rapids episode is No. 7 in the 10-episode Season Three schedule and is expected to air sometime in mid-to late April.
Brew Dogs can be found on the Esquire Network, iTunes, Amazon and Hulu.