At Old Nation, we take pride in old school brewing philosophies that may not look sexy on paper but make great beer. With the lessons those old philosophies bring comes perspective. Good brewing perspective is how we know to keep the things that work and change the things that don’t, here. That’s why, even though tastes and trends might change, we aren’t afraid to change with them.
What you can count on is that, whatever Old Nation beer you drink, it will be the best example of whatever style it is. That’s not because your buddy gave it 4.5 bottle caps on a rating app (although they may have, thanks Brian!), but because of those years learning fundamentals from the best, and years of experience in our profession exchanging what didn’t work for what did.
Who do you sit around with at work and talk about how to do things better? For Travis Fritts, that was Nate Rykse. Travis and Nate have been in breweries their entire adult lives, spending years learning from brewers better than them across the globe, as tradesman have done for ages. After being freed from the icy death grip of German education at the Technical University of Berlin in 2002, Travis found himself brewing all around his home state of Michigan in multiple disciplines. Around that same time, Nate left the sunny confines of University of California Davis (the Harvard of Food Science programs) to brew through the long nights in Alaska. So, see? Pretty much the same resume.
Their strengths lined up perfectly. Take a decade of working together, a rebellious “Fuck you,I want it the right way” attitude, sprinkle in a “little” money from Travis’ long time business partner Rick Ghersi, and Old Nation was born. To be honest, it was hard as hell to come up with the kind of scratch needed to build (yet another) brewery in 2015 that would have start up capacity rivaling the top ten breweries in Michigan at the time. This was an all or nothing plan, and Rick had the faith to pony up for it.
We decided to put our brewery in the sleepy little hamlet of Williamston because we love small towns where we can make an impact. We knew about our new hometown already, because Travis’ mom taught high school in Williamston, and he was from around here.
Now, we couldn’t imagine being anywhere other than Williamston, MI. We love our regulars and we love how accessible we are to folks who don’t live here from I96, I69 or US127.
We’ve had beer lovers from across globe (for real, like Norway and Japan) come to visit, and we love talking to them about our “town in the middle of a cornfield” that folks like that might never make time to see otherwise!
Since we were here anyway, we decided that a brewery in a town in the middle of a cornfield needs a pub for the community. That pub would be best if it were operated by a very experienced, community minded professional, who had worked in the restaurant industry for most of their life. We were lucky enough to know Camilla Fritts (Who happens to be married to Travis), who took the pub over and made it what it is now.
We’re pretty proud of the pub we built. The menu is decidedly “Midwestern Comfort Food”, to fit the locale. Cheese curds, pasties, burgers, poutine and – every now and again – you might find a meatloaf. Stuff like that. Most of the food we serve is made from scratch which – from a cost perspective – might not be the smartest business decision, but we’re happy to do it. It’s just better.
On the tap list at the pub you’ll find around 13 well-crafted beers at any given time, covering all styles. The traditional styles are brewed traditionally. The modern styles are… also brewed traditionally because we are learned brewers from the old country. Did you miss that? Scroll up!
From traditional discipline through whatever comes next, we’ll have you covered.