There is a new and unique brewery in Comstock Park – Speciation Artisan Ales at 3720 Laramie St. Owner and brewer Mitch Ermatinger specializes in farmhouse, sour, and wild beers. The brewery is strictly a production brewery. There is no tap room or tasting room. Instead, Ermatinger does a monthly bottle release on the second Saturday of every month. The first bottle release was January 14.
“There’s just me and my wife, and we wanted something we could run by ourselves…not have to hire a bunch of people,” said Ermatinger adding the first bottle release “went very smoothly, beyond our expectations.”
Ermatinger advertises through social media such as Instagram and Facebook, where customers learn about the bottle release dates and can buy tickets through the online site Evenbrite. Using this process allows Ermatinger to know ahead how many bottles to have ready. He also has a blog. Ermatinger said he might open a tasting room at the brewery in the future, but for right now he wants to get the business running smoothly.
Ermatinger has been brewing beer for almost 9 years. He has worked for two breweries, one in Grand Rapids and one in Colorado where he discovered farmhouse, sour, and wild beers. The name Speciation (pronounced spēSHēˈāSHən or spēsēˈāSHən) means “the formation of a new and distinct species through the course of evolution,” and Ermatinger said each batch of beer he brews is distinct with “endless variations.”
Ermatinger leases a 3000 square foot space. There’s an office, a storage area, and the large production and bottling area. He brews the beer off site at other breweries and transports it to his facility where he ferments it in open tanks using five or six different yeasts and then bottles it in 25.4-ounce bottles. He also uses bourbon barrels to age some of his beers. He said he located the brewery in Comstock Park because, “We were looking for a nice, small community just outside GR (with) less taxes.”
“We needed an affordable and large space,” he said. “Because we don’t have any investors, we had to use the limited amount of money we had wisely.”
Ermatinger and his wife Whitney, a social worker, live in Grand Rapids with their dog Rally and are expecting their first child.