Michael Donk, also known as Brew Bokeh, is a deeply committed craft beer geek in Grand Rapids, and he's been quietly documenting his craft beer journeys around the world through his photography hobby. From the cellars of Founders, to Hill Farmstead, to Cantillion, Michael has gone inside some of craft beer's holiest of holies, and emerged with amazing images. But on this trip, it was his own cellar that proved magical.
In an old farmhouse in the far east of Grand Rapids, Michael has amassed years of craft beer rarities, from international legends to national treasures. But it's his local collection that truly inspires. Kuhnhenn, Greenbush, Darkhorse and Lawson's peppered the shelves of the old canning cellar. And anyone who's followed his Instagram feed (@brewbokeh) knows how generous he can be with these offerings. Almost weekly he posts stunning images of the remnants from tasting gatherings he hosts with local friends. He even took a bottle of Kuhnhenn to Africa on a recent trip and shared it with his safari guide at the end of a long day.
Michael's home is a great blend of a rustic midwestern style, modern updates and contemporary graphic art. He gave us the grand tour, including his modest workspace lined with inspiring craft beer paraphernalia. On his desk were some of his favorite bottle designs, as well as copies of each Mash Tun issue I'd recently sent his way. In his civilian life, Michael works for the Wolverine footwear and apparel line as a digital experience lead, and you can clearly see that brand's influence on both his art and surroundings, and perhaps vice versa.
We truly appreciated Michael's hospitality on this snowy afternoon. He could have kept us there all afternoon if the weather didn't threaten to strand us before we could even start our journey back to Chicago. Before we left, Michael shared a taste of his other passion, Scotch, pouring us a dram of peaty Ardbeg and recounting his recent journey to Hill Farmstead. It was great to get the story behind his beautiful images, which you can take a slow stroll through here >>