Old Nation Brewing Co., based in Williamston, Mich., began in 2015 as a partnership between Nate Rykse and Travis Fritts and a rather sizable initial investment from business partner Rick Ghersi.
The plan was to go all-in out of the gate with one of the bigger facilities in all of Michigan. Fritts spent years brewing in Europe and Rykse graduated from UC-Davis before heading to Alaska to cut his brewing teeth. The brewery produced mostly traditional ales with traditional methods at the start and subsequently rode the struggle bus for a while. That was until the brewery heard the cries of beer consumers and began producing newer “en vogue” beer styles.
Enter stage left, M-43. A hazy New England-style IPA named after the route that runs through the center of Williamston. M-43 comes in at 6.8 percent ABV with 65 IBUs utilizing pils barley, wheat, and oats for the grist while the variety of hops includes Amarillo, Calypso, Citra, and Simcoe.
The pour reveals a muddy neon orange glow with a large rocky head of a cream-like color. It appears alive with rising bubbles and lava-lamp-like chunks churning about eventually settling and sticking to the bottom of the glass. The aroma is mostly driven by bitter citrus, think ruby grapefruit, spruce tips, and yeast phenols. Playing a supporting role is a light alcohol note and a sweet oat note that reminds me of a Honey Nut Cheerios.
The taste follows with grapefruit, watermelon rind, and bergamot with a wheaty bread character arching throughout the hop dance. The beer carries a very nice balance all the way through. It’s fizzy, it’s sticky, has a touch of astringency and a very mild alcohol hit. I can see why people go out of their way to pick up some M-43.