Northern Michigan Brewer File: Ben Slocum

Owner/Brewer, Beards Brewing, Petoskey

Petoskey native Ben Slocum and his pal Peter Manthei began home brewing experiments in 2010. The desire for better brewing equipment and the seemingly unquenchable thirst of their friends led to the birth of Beards Brewing, Michigan’s smallest microbrewery. 

Where does Beards fit into the burgeoning microbrew scene?

We want to be Petoskey’s brewery and build a community around our beer. We really emphasize the social aspect of beer and want our taproom to be a place where people come together and talk. For us beer is not just a food, it’s a feeling. In our more experimental brews like oatmeal raisin cookie and mint chocolate porter, the idea is to re-create the comfort of cookies, not just the flavor but the happy mindset.

Is there a staple ingredient that drives your dark beer program?

Oatmeal—I love oatmeal. When used in stouts and porters it gives the beer an incredible creamy texture and thick frothy head. The Brimley stout is loaded with oatmeal and dedicated to Wilford, the classic Quaker oats spokesperson. Our chalkboard tasting note read "it’s the right thing to do and the tasty way to do it."