Dexter beer-lovers can help The Beer Grotto save the Great Lakes one pint at a time this week


Operators of Dexter’s one-and-only Beer Grotto, in partnership with the folks at Dark Horse Brewing Company, are putting your money where their mouth is starting Friday with regard to protecting and preserving the bodies of water that have earned Michigan the title of “The Great Lakes State.”

From July 3 throughout the remainder of this month each pint of Dark Horse beer that is sold at The Beer Grotto will generate a much needed tip to the Alliance of the Great Lakes, which is dedicated to keeping our state’s largest sources of freshwater clean for future generations.

Watch the below video to hear The Beer Grotto of Dexter’s General Manager Philip Blass and The Beer Grotto Corporate’s Director of Marketing Jake VanAtta talk about the importance of Great Lakes preservation in Michigan from the perspective of being a destination for the craft beer industry.

“Finding the right charity was a little tougher than we thought,” said The Beer Grotto Director of Marketing Jake VanAtta. “You want to make sure you find one that is credible and is actually supporting what they’re preaching.”

On the other hand, focusing on the topic of Great Lakes conservation wasn’t very difficult, since freshwater resources aren’t just important from an environmental and tourism standpoint. Availability of freshwater resources can make or break a state when companies that operate in the craft beer industry are looking for a place to locate or relocate to, depending on their circumstances.

“Water is one of the four main ingredients in beer,” Van Atta said. “We want to make sure the water stays good so the beer stays good.”

For their part Dark Horse is bringing several limited beers to The Beer Grotto including Crooked Tree, Double Crooked Tree, Falconers Flight Crooked Tree, Apollo Crooked Tree and Cascade Crooked Tree. ROD, an amber ale that rarely is poured outside of Dark Horse’s Marshall, Michigan brewery, is also on the docket. The brewery will also be bringing in rotating specials throughout July.


The partnership with the brewery was natural, according to Van Atta. The brewery was one of the first to support the company when it opened its flagship location in Dexter.

“Dark Horse has been very good to us,” Van Atta said. “We both had the same vision so it seemed to make sense.”

The Beer Grotto of Dexter’s General Manager Philip Blass joined VanAtta in expressing the fact that it is their honor to be able to feature such a complete suite of Dark Horse brews, especially those that are rarely available outside of Dark Horse’s own tap rooms.

“There’s a big political game, when it comes to what kind of beers you get,” VanAtta explained. “You have to ear it, and Phil has done a great job working with Dark Horse, both on a store level and with us at corporate to build that relationship out event further.”

Blass said that his staff are highly enthusiastic and thoroughly trained to not just be enthusiastic about their products, but to also be articulate in explaining their qualities so patrons can determine whether or not a particular product is right for them.

“Not only do we get that rare keg, we’re getting all five from that line at once,” Blass said. “It’s like we’re able to present the complete work. We’re able to present it right, and that means a lot to us. It’s like we’ve been given an award or an honor that we get to share with the Dexter public, who have really carried us and helped get us started.

“Dexter is always going to be the first Beer Grotto to us — the place where it all started.”

This week Thursday is also the first anniversary of The Beer Grotto in Dexter. VanAtta and Blass say they hope to continue their integration into the community and grow their cooperative relationship with other area businesses, including the ones that folks might assume are looked upon as competition for downtown Dexter’s craft beer venue.

“We want to help everybody out, whether it’s Hotel Hickman’s, The Red Brick, or Aubrey’s,” said Blass. “We want patrons to be happy, even if we don’t have everything that you want. That’s why we offer discounts to people who may come in with a pizza from Aubrey’s or barbecue from Hotel Hickman’s. We want to be a place where people can have everything that they like and enjoy themselves. And we also think there’s a karmic benefit to accommodating other Dexter businesses like this.”

The kick-off party is set for 4 to 6 p.m. on July 3 at The Beer Grotto Dexter, 8059 Main St. Dark Horse crew members will be on hand to answer questions about the beers on tap and local musician Conversing with Owls will be playing.

The fundraiser is occurring at all three Beer Grotto locations – Dexter, Ann Arbor and Lansing. The Ann Arbor location will also be hosting the Dark Horse crew and Conversing with Owls for a second kick-off party 7 to 9 p.m. on July 3.

This content was created by Content Creator Krista Gjestland and Content and Community Manager Sean Dalton.

If you have news that you would like us to cover, send an email to Content and Community Manager Sean Dalton at


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