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American Craft Beer Week gearing up

Chances are your favorite craft beer palace will be offering some specials next month. That's when the national celebration of American Craft Beer Week takes place, May 17-23.

The event will involve beer lovers, craft brewers, homebrewers, distributors and retailers in a celebration of all things beer conceived by the Brewers Association.

Participating breweries are encouraging beer enthusiasts to sign the Declaration of Beer Independence (as seen above), an official declaration to support America's small and independent craft brewers.

It is available on the American Craft Beer Week website and Facebook page. And, both breweries and homebrewers alike will brew a special recipe called American Craft Beer Wheat to celebrate.

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Michigan brewer now a busy distiller

From MLive.com

HOLLAND, MI -- Something new is brewing at the New Holland Brewing Co. The 14-year-old Michigan craft beer producer has started distilling malt whiskey, rum, vodka, gin and a new tequila-like drink called hopquila at its brewpub in downtown Holland.

"Right now, I'm a one-man distillery using a handmade, 60-gallon still the owner built," said chief distiller Dennis Downing (above right), who started in the business seven months ago after a 23-year career as a chemist. "We're small but our little still is turning out some very interesting craft spirits."

New Holland Brewery is one of 14 Michigan companies taking up the challenge of producing 80- to 110-proof distilled spirits since a change in the state law became effective in 2008.

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