BELLAIRE — For the love of beer, that’s why the crew at Short’s Brewing decided to team up with a new East Lansing bar to break the world record for the most beers on tap from a single brewery at once in a single bar.
It’s not the brown bag, on a park bench kind of love of beer, either.
It’s more the kind of love only a connoisseur has. And the effort, nine months in the making, was all but a Herculean feat, said Scott Newman-Bale, economist and magician for the brewing company.
The brewery held back kegs of 100 varieties of its beer which it will send to the bar for a grand-opening party. The effort will obliterate a world record of 73 beers on tap from a single brewery set in Nov. 2012 by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Monterey, Calif. at the Cannery Row Brewing Co.
“It’s going to be so much fun, I’m very excited about it,” said Mark Sellers, founder of HopCat, a bar he opened in Grand Rapids in 2008. The new East Lansing location of the bar that opens Aug. 22 is where the kegs will be tapped.
The record is as official as they get without being entered into the Guinness Book of World Records. The record book doesn’t recognize the category, Sellers said.
Nonetheless, the record will be broken.
The new bar features 100 taps, dozens more than the next biggest bar in the state, Sellers said.
Sellers and Newman-Bale have been working on the logistics of breaking the record since the idea first surfaced in December during a birthday party for Short’s founder Joe Short.
“One of us came up with the idea,” Sellers said, but he can’t remember who mentioned it first. “I don’t know, there was beer involved.”
During the weeks after the party, Newman-Bale says the staff at the brewery began to crunch numbers and figured out the feat was not impossible. The brewery produced more than 160 varieties of beer last year, so why couldn’t it hold back a keg here and a keg there to stockpile enough to fill 100 taps?
The feat turned out to be a little more complicated than just squirreling away a few extra kegs of beer. The brewery’s staff has confronted several logistical issues from culling enough kegs from its regular supply for the project to fitting four extra pallets of beer in storage coolers.
“The reason we do what we do it is for fun,” Newman-Bale said. “It might not make the most economic sense, but it is back to the roots of creativity.”
The beers on tap will be everything from Wowee Zowee, a golden ale featuring mint and mango, to Controversius Maximus, a double India-pale ale. They all will be poured from standard Short’s Brewing taps. Many beers available only to patrons who frequent the brewery’s Bellaire pub will be on tap for the event.
The 100 identical taps have created a few logistical problems for the bartenders at the new pub, Sellers said.
Identifying which beers go with which taps and switching out 100 kegs of beer are pretty small issues when compared to the logistics of coming up with 100 different brews from one brewery, he said.
The brewery tested most of the beers it will serve at HopCat last week to ensure quality. There were a couple of kegs that will be switched out because they didn’t meet the brewery’s quality standards after waiting months in a cooler for the event, but most of them were good, Newman-Bale said.
The record is particularly special because the two businesses are Michigan owned and operated.
“The great thing about Short’s is that they promised to be a Michigan-only brewery forever,” Sellers said.
If you want a chance to taste 100 Short’s brews in one place, you’ll have to go Aug. 22 to HopCat, 300 Grove St. in East Lansing.