I have to start off with this article is spectacular. The very talented Amy Sherman, writer at MLive, has done it once again! I have read it many times. Not because I’m in it…well maybe. But because it was fabulous. I’m gonna stop writing and let you read it for yourself.
You can read it below OR click on any of the photos to take you to the article at MLive.com
Updated Apr 23, 2021; Posted Apr 23, 2021 Brewer Kuma Ofori-Mensa and Five Shores assistant brewer Ellie Maddelein, collaborated on a new beer, Saldanha. They worked together with the Siren of Stout on this next release for the Black Owned Business series. Photo provided by Five Shores Brewing, used with permission. By Amy Sherman | firstname.lastname@example.org
A three way partnership is resulting in a very special beer release this weekend. Brewed as part of the Support Black Businesses beer initiative, the beer, called Saldanha, reflects the African heritage of the brewer, while also raising money for charity.
“In December of 2020, I kept thinking, how can we support black owned businesses?” Barb Baker, known as the Siren of Stout, said. Baker is a beer connoisseur, and Vice President of the women’s brewing collective Fermenta. “I patronize a lot of black owned businesses, and I kept hearing that they weren’t getting the PPP or the PPE, and they were just struggling.” Baker was hearing first hand about how these businesses just weren’t getting the help that they needed. “So I came up with the Support Black Businesses beer initiative, and the first person I thought of was Matt at Five Shores Brewing.”
Demorest, who co-owns Five Shores Brewing with Oliver Roberts, and Baker had hit it off over beers when they first met, finding they had everything from politics to a desire to ‘lift others up’ in common. “I explained the idea to him, and he immediately said I’m in, lets do it,” Baker said. “It was awesome.”
“One thing that is really important for our business is to put a bit of our money where our mouth is,” Demorest said. “It’s one thing to say we support a cause, and it’s another thing to say we support something tangible, and something that is lasting.”
As a business owner himself, Demorest believes that investment in small businesses can be one of the greatest catalysts to create change. “For us, we have the brewing equipment, and we want to partner with businesses that are like minded and that we care about.” The whole idea for the collaborative brews came about because Five Shores really believes in “sharing the spotlight we have with others.”
For this brew, the second offering of the series, the duo turned to Kuma Ofori-Mensa to both create the beer recipe, and be the black owned business that they support.
“We’ve been a long time fan of Kuma’s, since back when he worked Cultivate,” Demorest said. “He knows beer really well, and he has a goal of launching his own beer related business.”
Ofori-Mensa has been a part of the brewing scene in Michigan for a while now, having spent time at Glasshouse Brewing, Cultivate Taphouse, and Batch Brewing. He recently left the brewing world to become a full-time mortgage lender, actually working for Demorest. “I’ve got a long history of doing random stuff,” Ofori-Mensa said.
Ofori-Mensa been busy putting together his plan for his own business, Kuma Brews, over the last few months. Baker, in fact, was the one to push Ofori-Mensa to work on creating a business. She told him that he WAS the business. “I just wasn’t quite there yet,” Ofori-Mensa said. “I’m not a business, I just have a business idea. It was an idea that was coming together.” He first thought of it back in 2019, and “This would be fun to do this full time for myself, but why would brewers do a beer with me? I thought that what I could offer is release events.”
Beer releases have become very popular events, even more so over the last year during the pandemic shutdowns.
“People just flood a place when there is a release,” Ofori-Mensa said. “There is a real energy around beer events. What if what I can offer is that I can go collaborate, with the experience to do that. We’re going to make a great product, and an event around the release of the product. And what that event has to offer is a culturally, I don’t want to say diverse, but immersive experience. Have it be a place that feels very welcoming, inviting, but have it also be something that can be informative, and have it be the type of place that makes all people feel welcome,” Ofori-Mensa said of his plan for special beer releases.
The label from the collaborative beer Saldanha, made by Five Shores Brewing, along with Kuma Brews and the Siren of Stout. The beer will be released on April 24.Photo provided by Siren of Stout, used with permission
Saldanha, the beer that Ofori-Mensa created the recipe for, and helped brew the beer at Five Shores along with assistant brewer Ellie Maddelein, and head brewer Roberts. “It was kind of an excuse to get back into the brewery,” Ofori-Mensa said. “We all have a creative outlet that we really love, whether we do it for a job or not. And I just need to create.”
“I wanted to make something that was representative of me,” Ofori-Mensa said. His family is from Ghana, and “growing up, that was very much my cultural experience at home. It was a Ghanian home. I went to American public schools, but at home it was very much a Ghanian family, and a Ghanian experience.”
“I wanted to share that, its something that is unique to me,” Ofori-Mensa said, so he decided to create a beer that has distinct African ties. He researched ingredients, and how he could incorporate them into the beer. One of the unique ingredients he settled on was sorghum. “Its a grain that grows readily in African soils, across most of the continent,” he explained. “It grows better than the usual grains, like barley or wheat, that are usually used in beer. There is a long tradition of brewing beer with sorghum in different African countries.”
Ofori-Mensa calls Saldanha a West Coast IPA, reflecting not the usual California, but instead where Ghana is located on the West Coast of Africa. Typically, sorghum beers are light, refreshing, and considered every day beers. Saldanha came out a bit stronger than planned, as it clocks in at a robust 8.5% ABV. Ofori-Mensa had been wanting to try some of the new South African hops for a while, so he included African Queen and Southern Star in the beer.
“The beer is excellent, a little bit of a bitter West Coast IPA with a little bit of juiciness that is popular now,” Demorest said. “I would call it a hopheads beer.”
Ofori-Mensa gave credit to Maddelein for helping get the beer from concept to glass. “She’s one of the most brilliant young brewers that I’ve encountered in a while,” he said. “She’s been professionally brewing for just over a year, but I could converse with her like a seasoned, experienced brewer. She really understands the process.”
Saldanha is a special collaboration between Five Shores Brewing, Kuma Brews and the Siren of Stout.Photo provided by the Siren of Stout, used with permission
Saldanha will be released on Saturday April 24. You have to preorder the beer online, and you can then pick up at the brewery in Beulah, or at locations in Ypsilanti, Ferndale and Rockford. There is a special party planned at Cultivate in Ypsilanti to celebrate the beer, with a menu of African food to enjoy as well. You can order food ahead of time as well.
This is the second beer in the series. The first project between Baker and Five Shores was her own beer, Siren of Pastry Stout. “I came up with the base recipe, and Oliver, of course, came up with the real recipe, with the malts, the hops, the formula that goes into that,” Baker said.
She chose to support her favorite bakery, 24th Cheesecakerie, which is owned by Chef Sean Brezzell and has locations in Ypsilanti, and Ann Arbor, by purchasing an ingredient for her beer from him. They added 24 of his sweet potato pies into the kettle, and then aged the beer on pecans, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. What resulted was a big, flavorful brew that clocked in at a hearty 9% ABV. It sold out in 48 hours.
“Here’s what I love about that particular beer release,” Baker explained. “I just spoke to Sean not too long ago, and he told me that he’s gotten ten new accounts, because of this beer release, people who had never heard of him before.” Chef Sean told Baker that he has been literally overwhelmed with business since the beer release. “That is exactly what we wanted to see happen,” said Baker.
Baker said that this partnership between the brewery and Black owned businesses is a way to shine a light on places that might not be on people’s radar, and sharing their story and products with a whole new group of people. The beer does have a charity aspect to it, with 10% of the sales going towards a local Black organization from Five Shores. Baker chose Take One Community Program in Pontiac, and for Sandhala, the Detroit chapter of the NAACP will be the recipient.
Right now, the plan is to release a collaborative beer about once a quarter. “I don’t want to do it too much,” Baker said. “You want things to stay fresh for people. And we want you to buy it.”
The Siren of Stout Barb Baker adds a pie to her beer “Siren of Pastry Stout”.Photo provided by Siren of Stout, used with permission
If you’d like to try Saldhana, you can pre-order it from Five Shores at the link here. Beers that are ordered can be picked up at the brewery in Beulah, at Cultivate in Ypsilanti, the Corner Bar in Rockford, and at a TBD location in Ferndale. You can select your location when you check out your cart for your order.
Interested in Celebrating the release of Saldanha with African food, music, & poetry? Swing by Cultivate in Ypsilanti on Saturday, April 24th. You must order food ahead of time, click here to do so.
Five Shores Brewing
163 S Benzie Blvd, Beulah, MI 49617
More info: https://www.fiveshoresbrewing.com/ or Facebook
More info: https://www.instagram.com/kumabrews/
The Siren of Stout
More info: https://sirenofstout.com/ or Facebook