Last year we told you about a surprisingly obscure style of beer brewed by a little known west Michigan brewery. The beer is Schmohz 120 brewed by, you guessed it, Schmohz. And it’s kind of a big deal. Retailers couldn’t keep it on store shelves and the brewery could hardly keep up with production. And just as fast as it appeared it disappeared.
It turns out the 120’s absence was temporary as it has reappeared around the Mitten state.
Oh, and did we mention it’s a non-alcoholic beer?
You read that right, a non-alcoholic craft beer. Scoff at the idea, if you will, but there are plenty of people who are drawn to an NA beer that actually has flavor and body. The booze isn’t the only thing lacking in most mainstream NA offerings. A friend who was looking to stockpile the drinkable NA beer for his then pregnant wife asked me to grab a case-worth during a jaunt to Michigan last year, but by then Schmohz had halted production of the 120.
Schmohz’s story is a funny one, really. They churn out some quality beers — some sessionable, some high gravity — but it was their beer that barely had a trace of alcohol in it that put them on the map. Retailers in Michigan couldn’t keep up with demand and nor could the brewery. One store in Lansing was going through six cases a month compared to two cases of Schmohz’s other offerings. Ironic, considering double-digit ABV, barrel-aged beers are all the rage.
“It totally took us off guard,” said Chas Thompson, Beer Engineer at Schmohz, told us last year.
When I wrote about this anomaly, a non-alcoholic craft beer, Schmohz had just ceased production because it was getting too expensive and time-consuming to make. In fact, it was taking time away from brewing other beers — with alcohol in them.
Thompson, however, vowed the 120 would return. He was testing “new technology” to brew the beer. Technology that would be cheaper than the 200-thousand dollar price tag to buy a machine to do it for them. Thompson won’t tell me what that technology is — but whatever it is it’s working. Schmohz sent out cases of 120 to distributors two weeks ago.
The brewer is doing a small rollout to start and is easing into full-bore production. And despite the fact it takes longer to make than their other beers, the price is staying the same.