Subscribe to our craft beer newsletter:

Year in Beer: 2012


The Year in Beer: Top 12 Beer Moments of 2012 

A lot happened in 2012, not just personally, politically or simply generally , but specifically in regards to beer. To commemorate such a fine beer run, here is a listing of my personal top twelve beer times of the year. Now lets all go celebrate the New Year and get ready for what 2013 has brewing up for us!


1. Grand Rapids is Beer City U.S.A. 

In May, Grand Rapids showed not just the country, but the world our beer gumption by capturing the title Beer City U.S.A. We tied Asheville, N.C. in the annual internet pull.


2. Perrin Brewing Co. opened in Grand Rapids.

What a way to start the fall season off with a bang! Perrin Brewing Co. opened its doors in September and quickly showed the beer community how serious they were about their motto “go big or go home.” Since then, they’ve continuously impressed us with artful beers, from the unimposing Golden Ale to the impressive and dark Bourbon Brown.


3. New Belgium began up distribution in Michigan.

August may have been the end of summer but it hallmarked a bright new future for all of us Michiganders with the commencement of New Belgium distribution in Michigan.

4. Stone Brewing released the final installment of its Vertical Epic Series. 

12/12/12 will be a day forever remembered as the day Stone Brewing finalized their 12-year-running Vertical Epic series. Each year, they produced a batch that could be enjoyed immediately or, alternatively, cellared to be tasted with the rest of the series. Many beer enthusiasts did just that and had a happy drunken time comparing the twelve beers. Sadly, none of these people invited me but I saw pictures.


5. Michigan Winter Beer Festival rocks our socks off 

The festival offered up over 450 brews at the seventh annual festival. Despite the chill festival goers, including myself, had a grand ol’ time at one of Michigan’s best ways to celebrate the winter.


6. Right Brain’s comes out strong with a new location.

Right Brain reopened in the fall after moving to a new location and have since then reminded us of what we’ve been missing while they were busy constructing an awesome brewhouse and bar.


7. Brooklyn Brewery doubled production in 2012.

Thanks to an expansion overhaul in 2011, Brooklyn Brewery doubled its production for 2012. Which meant a whole lot more good beer for the year.


8. The return of the beer can. 

The number of breweries choosing cans over bottles for their beer intensified this year. From New Belgium’s Shift and Six Point’s lineup to Perrin’s plans for flat-top cans showed the functionality of the can form. With a lower cost and carbon footprint, it seems like this trend is here to stay.


9. Dark Horse Brewery makes national news for refusing Nickelback. 

Two years after the fact, the brewery made headlines from its refusal to have their beer featured in a Nickelback music video. “I absolutely hate that band,” said Head Brewer, Aaron Morse.


10. Michigan Brewers Guild Celebrated its 15th Anniversary.

And everyone everywhere celebrated the anniversary with a beer.


11. Sam Adams released its 10th Anniversary Utopias.

The story of Utopias began in 2002 with an ABV of 24% and with the celebration of a decade of ridiculous brewing, the tenth anniversary edition was released at 29% ABV. It was an extreme and delicious way to celebrate an anniversary and one I highly approve of.


12. Sierra Nevada’s video reminds us why we love beer.

Sierra Nevada’s “Our Story” video on Vimeo not only reminds us about the people, passion and hard work that goes into beer but the beauty and connection it produces.



Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Our Story from Sierra Nevada on Vimeo.

Frankenmuth 150th beer


Happy 150th Birthday, Frankenmuth Brewery!


150 years ago President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the first ironclad war ship was launched and Frankenmuth Brewery opened its doors for the first time. Throughout the years, the ups and downs (including the brewery being demolished by a tornado), the Frankenmuth tradition of great beer brewing has remained constant.


West Side Beer is incredibly proud to work with the second oldest brewery in the nation and we are very excited to celebrate such a milestone with Frankenmuth. One of the best parts of celebrating such a milestone? It is a wonderful reason to brew up something special and tasty to highlight such an accomplishment.


The 150th Anniversary Frankenmuth Dark Lager, available in one-liter bottles, brings together the best of both new and old to celebrate such a big birthday. Brewmaster Jeff Coon ensured each bottle received extra special attention for authenticity, including his personal signature and hand labeling and numbering on each of the 1862 bottles released (1862…get it?).


But back to what the beer is like. They unlocked and released the original Frankenmuth Dark from the 1940s to be blended with this batch.  That means in each sip of the Anniversary brew is a bit of a 50-year-old cellared beer.

Can you taste the nostalgia? I think so.  

Boosting wi-fi with beer


Beer: the gift that keeps on giving

Boosting your wi-fi signal with the help of a beer can 

Holiday season tends to mean a long drive north to see the family, snow, beer, cold and lots of wilderness. Although there are many perks to liviing in the Great North (including being able to boast that I can see Canada from my house, living across the street from a nature preserve and walking out to the back yard to go ice fishing) a great wi-fi signal is not among them. 

For those of us living or still visiting family in far off locations that lack a strong connection to the internet world due to weak wi-fi, beer has the solution. Minute Hacks shows us how to use an empty beer can to increase a wi-fi connection up to two bars. What a great excuse to crack open a can and enjoy a brew! 


Beer Christmas Carol


Let It Snow! Drink Some More! Let Beer Flow!

A carol to enjoy your brew this on this lovely Christmas Eve.  


Oh the weather outside is frightful 

But this stella is so delightful

And since we’ve no place to go

Let it snow! Drink some more! Let beer flow!


Well we don’t show signs of stopping

So I’ve brought a six-pack for poppin'

The malts are smooth and hops are low

Let it snow! Drink some more! Let beer flow!


When we finally drink it all

How I’ll hate sacrificing my cellared brew

But if you’ll enjoy bourbon barrel ale

I’ll share my best bottle with you


The fire is slowly dying

And, my dear, we’re still imbibing

But as long as we love beer so

Let it snow! Drink some more! Let beer flow!

Merry Christmas, Everyone! 


Holiday Survival Kit


Holiday Party Survival Kit

Congratulations! We all survived the apocalypse and hopefully managed to enjoy some end of the world brews along the way (I’m looking at you, Stone Enjoy By IPA). To ensure everyone survives all of the holiday parties that go along with it, here is a survival kit for the holiday weekend.


1. Theme Song: "The Season’s Upon US" by the Dropkick Murphys.

The perfect song to manage any holiday party or family drop in. It reminds us to accept family and friends and all that they bring with them, rather welcome or not, and enjoy it as much as we can. Also, it is a great holiday drinking song. 

On a side note; who is fondly reminded of their own family while watching this video?


2. Beer: The perfect holiday gift, even if it is just to yourself.

For a beer that tastes phenomenal and that may fit your mood or, that of those around you, I suggest Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale, Flying Dog Raging Bitch IPA, or Samuel Adams Merry Mischief.


3. Beer and Whiskey Cocktails: When beer just isn’t enough.

No, these aren’t your typical boilmakers. In fact, beer cocktails are growing in popularity and sophistication with craft beer’s growth.


The Steamroller (from Chow)

1 oz. St. Germain (a delicious elderflower liqueur)

1 oz. lemon juice

1 oz. rye whiskey (or bourbon, because I like bourbon best)

½ oz. cherry liqueur

1 bottle Anchor Steam (the full-bodied brew provides a bubbly and crisp dynamic)

Combine all other ingredients, other than the Anchor Steam, shake with ice and then strain into pint glass. Top with beer and a lemon twist.


The Chocolate Firestouter (from Beermixology)

1 oz. Kahlua

1 oz. Scotch. The recipe calls for orange flavored but that’s optional

4 oz. Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout

2 slices of a medium hot chili (poblano peppers are best for their smokiness, which adds to the scotch)

Dash of chocolate bitters

Shake ingredients, other than the beer, together. Then, mix in beer. Strain into a martini glass for added classiness. 


4. Escape Supplies: mittens, scarf, hat.  

Keep them on you at all times for those impromptu snowball fights or to make a hasty goodbye out the backdoor.


5.  Your Christmas Grumpy Cat: because Grumpy Cat makes everything better. 

Sam Adams Beer Dinner Recap


Recap of a night (or three) with Sam Adams 

This past week, the Grand Rapids area lucked out by hosting three Sam Adams beer dinners.  These beer dinners were a great
 opportunity, as explained in an earlier blog post, to taste some of Sam Adams' Limitied Release beers and discover some new and mouth-watering beer and food pairings. 

The beer dinners highlighted the pairings that complemented and contrasted Griffins BowCinder BockDark Depths, Tasman Red and Merry Mischief in very different ways 

Beer Dinner One

I loved the Cinder Bock, which went along with the first course of a hash that was cooked with the beer. But, the second course, with goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon and paired with Tasman Red complemented eachother perfectly. I also got a chance to try steak tartare (paired with Merry Mischief)for the first time while the duck Onigiri (paired with Dark Depths) was also delicious and highlighted the beers' profiles. The Griffin's Bow barley wine paired with a chocolate cheesecake ended the night on a sweet and toasty note. In addition, everyone at the dinner had a lot of fun and both my coworker, Brock, and the Samuel Adams representative, Kate, did a great job of explaining the brews to ensure everyone was able to get the most out of their beer and food tastings. 

Beer Dinners Two and Three 

Due to the high turn out, the second venue decided to conduct two consecutive Sam Adams beer dinners in order to ensure everyone who wanted to was able to enjoy the event. The menu started out strong with Tasman Red paired with Tasmanian Deviled Eggs, which were garnished with Salmon Roe. Next, the crowd enjoyed a perfectly paired Griffins Bow and Barley Risotto that was full of seasonal vegetables from local farms. The menu heated up with a Caribbean Jerk Pasty that highlighted Cinder Bock's smokiness while the wild and dark flavors of Dark Depths came out with the heavy spiciness in the BBQ Chili. I later learned that the steak used in the chili literally was blowtorched to to add to the BBQ flavor. Finally, the night ended with a rich and fatty vanilla bean cheesecake that contrasted the dark Merry Mischief, while the gingerbread crust complemented the beer's holiday flavor. 

It's time we talk about barleywine


A Beer in History: Its time we talk about Barleywine


Recently, I've noticed more breweries have been pushing out some high-powered barleywines. This is fantastic news for those who love a heady beverage that is a bit off the beaten trail. To fully appreciate while imbibing, lets talk a bit of history and style surrounding this lovely liquid.



A long time ago in a far away place (England), barleywine was created. It isn’t known precisely when it began to be brewed, although it tended to be the strongest ale offered by brewhouses. The American barleywine became popular with the American craft beer boom of the 1990s and like many Americanized brews, tends to display a strong use of hops, especially in comparison to English barleywines.



Barleywines exhibit both an intense and rich malty flavor as well as strong fruity esters. The hop character ranges from moderate to extreme and it tends to posses a high alcohol content, with an ABV often in the double digits. It can be almost portlike in its leathery tones. It also tends to a pale through dark amber color. These brews tend to be seasonal with winter is the perfect time to test out barleywine’s strong flavor and warming qualities. One of our brands, Arcadia Ales, puts out a great barleywine to test out and warm up with. 


Arcadia Ales Cereal Killer Barleywine 10% ABV

The Gold Medal winner of the 2009 GABF Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Beers category, this cellar-aged barleywine highlights the style perfectly. Flavor bursts forward with a slight sherry hint dark fruit and prune notes and finishes with citrus hops. It pours a dark mahogany with sweet aroma reminiscent of sherry. 


Samuel Adams’ Griffin’s Bow 10% ABV

As an oaked blonde barleywine, this brew brings a lot to the table. Warming sensations from the alcohol are apparent in this barleywine, full of toffee and burnt sugar flavor combined with darker oak notes.


Stone Brewing’s Old Guardian 12% ABV

Celebrating the first time Stone has uses Cascade hops in one of their beers, this barley wine is poised to be one of your favorite beers of 2013 (release date is February 13, 2013). Typically a barleywine that cellar ages nicely while, if consumed immediately, showcases caramel sweetness and warming sensation from the alcohol and a bit from the hops. 

Beer Burger


Arcadia Ale Sky High Rye Beer Burgers

One of the most well known beer and food pairings out there is the iconic beer and burger. Using Arcadia Ales' Sky High Rye I kicked it up a notch, with my fellow beer loving friend, to create spicy pepper burgers that were infused with the dark resinous hops flavor while the malty toffee notes helps balance out the spice from the peppers. 


First, we chopped up some habenero and poblano peppers. These we then cooked up, using Sky High Rye and a bit of butter. Next, we took the peppers, along with some bbq sauce and garlic, and pressed those into our burger patties. We started cooking them on the stove until they were just done on one side then flipped them and added in more Sky High Rye in order to sear in the beer flavor. The burgers were topped off with onions, spinach, dijon mustard and served with a side of fries, and of course, more Sky High Rye. 

A couple of notes...

Do not attempt to eat the habenero pepper after cooking it to see what it tastes like, this will end badly. Also, after touching the habenero peppers do not rub your nose. And finally, there is going to be a lot of smoke from the pepper cooking in the beer. This smoke is rather reminiscient of of tear gas so it is best to have a window or door open to prevent any tear or coughing fits. These I all discovered the hard way but all were worth it, considering the finished product. 


NB and BV collaboration 2


New Belgium and Brewery Vivant’s Second Love Child: Biere de Garde


New BFFs, New Belgium and Brewery Vivant, have had quite a year together. First, came Escoffier then came professions of love between the two breweris via letters and song selections. Now the two breweries have come together, once again, to create Biere de Garde.


Brewed at New Belgium’s facilities in Fort Collins, Colorado as part of their Lips of Faith series, the magic begins with Brewery Vivant’s yeast strain. It is a farmhouse ale that highlights the best of both breweries. Here are the stats on the new collaboration.


Biere de Garde 

Limited availability in 22 oz. bottles and on draft.

ABV: 9% IBU: 18

Hops: Target, Sorachi Ace

Malts: Pale, Mucnih, C-120


Tasting Result: Awesome.

Sipping through a 22 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass was a wonderful way to spend my Sunday afternoon. The aroma brings to mind bright lemons and oranges while darker hints of clove and earth are also present. The flavor profile continues to highlight bright citrus lemon combined with coriander and clove notes, along with straw and grass to give it a nice complexity. The finish is noticeably and pleasantly dry and crisp. My only warning is to be careful – there is a surprisingly low warming sensation from the alcohol so that 9% ABV can catch you by surprise. Otherwise, go out, grab a bottle or two and enjoy the results of another successful collaboration between two breweries. 

Holiday Season: Brooklyn Stout Cookies


Baking with Beer: Holiday Chocolate Stout Cookies 

Along with beer I also am known to enjoy baking and chocolate. Oftentimes, I partake in all three things at once. So why not combine all three into the ultimate holiday cookie? Make the beer lovers in your life happy with this holiday treat. Or just treat yourself, whichever you prefer. 

I used Brooklyn Brewery's Black Chocolate Stout for the cookies. It is an award-winning imperial stout that clocks in at 10% ABV. Three individual mashes stock this beer with rich, dark chocolate flavor accompanied with roasted malts. I thought such a deep chocolate flavor would be perfect for cookie making and it turns out I was right. Here's the play-by-play of the beer cookie baking process for your replication. 




Happy 12/12/12


Today, in celebration of 12, 12, 12 day I present to you 12 beer facts, 12 beer quotes and 12 songs - enjoy and happy 12/12/12 day!

12 Beer Facts 


Beer is an agricultural product made out of water, yeast, hops and malt (I know, that’s an easy one).

2. Pre-prohibition, there were roughly 1,300 breweries operating in the U.S.

3. There were roughly 1,989 breweries operating in the U.S., according to reports from 2011.

4. There are more than 90 breweries in Michigan.

5. The first canned beer was released in 1935.

6.  The BU (bitterness units) to GU (gravity units) ratio is a way to measure the balance of a beer.

7. Ancient Sumerians loved beer so much they had a goddess of beer named Ninkasi.

8. The oldest written recipe in the world is for beer.

9. Anheuser-Busch was the first American brewer to use pasteurization in beer which prevent it from spoiling as quickly so the liquid could travel longer distances.

10. Michigan used to be home to a robust hops growing industry up until the Civil War era, when it suffered from a louse infestation.

11. The oldest brewery in the world has been brewing beer since 1040.

12. Beer is awesome. 

12 Beer Quotes 


1. “The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with beer” – Egyptian inscription, 2200 B.C.E. 

2. “Good old ale makes beauty fresh: It causes love. It fools dissension. It cheers the heart. It feed the flesh: It lengthens life.” - Ale jug inscription from 1900s

3. “When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we to go heaven. So lets all get drunk and go to heaven!” – Irish toast

4. “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” – Benjamin Franklin

5. “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.” - Frank Zappa 

6. “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they are going to feel all day.” - Frank Sinatra 

7. “A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.” – W.C. Fields

8. “I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer.” – Homer Simpson 

9. “A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.” - Czech Proverb

10. “Remember, ‘I’ before “E” except in Budweiser.” – Anonymous

11. “An’ damn the eyes, whoever tries, to rob a poor man of his beer” – British Music Hall Song, 1830

12. “This beer is good for you. This is draft beer. Stick with the beer.” – Ernest Hemingway 

12/12/12 Beer Drinking Playlist 


1. Roadhouse Blues - The Doors 

2. One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer - John Lee Hooker 

3. Working Man - Rush 

4. Beercan - Beck 

5. Pretty Wasted - Tito and Tarantula 

6. Beer Song - Mustard Plug

7. Drunken Lullabies - Flogging Molly 

8.  Warm Beer, Cold Women - Tom Waits 

9. All of my Friends were there - The Kinks 

10. Salt of the Earth - Rolling Stones 

11. Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer - Billie Holiday 

12. Beer for my Horse - Toby Keith and Willie Nelson 

Homebrewers Conference announced 2014


National Homebrewers Conference set for Grand Rapids for 2014


Grand Rapids continues to shine as “Beer City USA” with the recent announcement that the 2014 National Homebrewers Conference will be held in the city. The convention is expected to bring in roughly 3,5000 visitors to Grand Rapids during the course of 5 days.


Obviously, this is awesome news. As of right now, there should be roughly 13 microbrews up and running in Grand Rapids by the time of the conference, which goes from June 10-14, 2014. That provides a lot of options and places for homebrewers to try some fantastic brews during their conference breaks.


Although it may seem like a long way away, it is amazing what can be accomplished by beer lovers in short periods of time. I remember first hearing about Perrin Brewing a year ago and now here it is, up and running and spitting out great beer after even greater brew. I can’t wait to see what the future holds in store for our great beer city, but from the looks of things I’m positive it will include a lot of great beer and fun times.


The National Homebrewers Association will take place June 10-14, 2014 at the DeVos Place. For more updates check out the Homebrewers Association website or the National Homebrewers Conference website here

Right Brain's Big Move to a New Home


Right Brain's Big Move: A New Home 

Up North, there is a place where pig heads and porter coincide to make fantastic beer. That place is Right Brain Brewery, which recently opened up at a new, much larger, location in Traverse City. Right Brain, in line with its usual show of off-the-wall creativity, compiled a mini documentary series online to highlight the process of their move to a larger location. The final episode, titled “The Big Move” shows off all the hard work everyone put into ensuring Right Brain’s continued growth.

Now, Right Brain has the capacity to brew up to 10,000 barrels of beer annually with 40 draft handles on location. Not only that, but they now can lay claim to a place specifically designed to be their home. It is a unique home at that, showcasing Right Brain’s philosophy of “beer no evil” that focuses on artfully designed brews from, oftentimes, quirky combinations. The brewery’s new home offers up fun activities for all visitors, including weekly euchre games, pint nights, and upcoming themed parties like the Fight like a Jedi fundraiser and the End of the World Party/bottle release of 22 oz. bottles of Naughty Girl Scout Stout.

Right Brain’s new location celebrated its grand opening on October 20, 2012. If you haven’t had the chance yet, take a gander over to the brewery to see what delightful brews are on tap to bedazzle your senses. 

Winter Seasonal Beer: Part 2


The 12 Beers of Christmas: winter seasonals part 2


I’ve already highlighted some fantastic seasonal beer options found locally but there are so many great seasonal brews to be had I just couldn’t stop with Michigan. May I present part two of the winter and holiday beer review.

So put on your ugly sweater and enjoy the holiday season with the 12 beers of Christmas.


1. Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale 5.5% ABV 

Anchor brewing continues its tradition that began in 1975 with this year’s Christmas Ale. Like they do every year, the annually changing recipe is top-secret but the brew’s goodness is apparent to all who try it.. This year's batch features a dark pour with stone fruit flavor and a high alcohol content. 

2. Bluepoint Winter Ale 7.0% ABV 

This American amber ale combines four types of malts to warm away the chill during the winter. The focus is on the sweet, chocolate taste from the malts and hints of brown sugar and vanilla.  A hoppy aroma finishes out this well-balanced brew. 


3. Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout 10% ABV 

This multiple award-winner stands out with a full-bodied black pour and thin tan head. Rich chocolate flavor prevails throughout while offering multiple layers, including vanilla, dark fruit and nutty hints with a bittersweet cocoa finish


4. Buffalo Bill’s Blueberry Oatmeal Stout 7.5% ABV 

This unique stout pours black with a thick head. Immediately, blueberry is apparent in the aroma, along with oats and granola. The blueberry taste is softened with creamy sweet malts and a bit of hops that comes out at the end to produce a nicely put together medium-bodied beer, perfect for the long winter months. 

5. Flying Dog k-9 Cruiser Winter Ale 7.4% ABV

They say it tastes like Christmas and this English Ale, with its copper pour, lives up to that description. Malts lay down a toasted nutty aroma and a medium-bodied mouthfeel. Light hops provide a nice bitter-tinged finish for the rich and creamy caramel and brown sugar flavors.

6. Magic Hat Winter Howl Black Lager 4.6% ABV 

Four types of malts and two types of hops come together to form this winter lager that warms the innards with tasty dark malts and smooth hop bitterness. The dark hue and earthy, toasty aroma round out this beer to its last sip. 

7. New Belgium Snow Day 6.2% ABV 

This American black ale uses the new brewing malt Midnight Wheat to bring a roasty chocolate and caramel flavor to the forefront. The malts are balanced with the bitterness provided by a combination of Cascade, Centennial and Styrian Goldings hops.

8. Redhook Winter Hook 6% ABV 

This winter seasonal is brewed to keep you warm. It combines strong malts that blend nicely with herbal hops that give off a pine flavor. Together, this creates a smooth ale to drink and be appreciated for its roasted malt, hazelnut and hop character that create a full-bodied beer.

9. Sam Adams White Christmas Ale 5.8% ABV 

An unfiltered white ale blended with some of the season’s best spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peel. It is true to its style with a pale cloudy appearance while the wheat, spice and lights citrus notes provide for a smooth sipping experience.


10. Shiner Holiday Cheer 5.4% ABV 

This is an old world Dunkelweizen that is brewed with peaches and roasted pecans, a nod to the brewery’s Texan roots. This unfiltered wheat ale showcases a peach and bready aroma with a medium-light mouthfeel and a sweet wheat taste that goes well with the caramel malts. The aroma and flavor both boast of sweet peach and smooth pecan flavors.



11. Sixpoint Brewery Diesel Stout 6.3% ABV 

A switch up from the usual, this brew is a part American stout and part black IPA. The combination creates a dark chocolate taste with powerful piney hops. It pours a dark black with a pine hops aroma.

12. Stella Artois 4% ABV 

Celebrate the holiday with a brew originally crafted to celebrate the chilly months and jubilant celebrations of the wintry months. The lager pours golden with a white head that disperses into minimal lacing. The smooth flavor is perfectly balanced and ends in a light crisp finish. Although available throughout the year, it remains a traditional way to recognize and celebrate the season.

Sam Adams December Beer Dinner


Sam Adams in December 

I’m seeing a lot of Sam Adams in my future with all the fun events they will be doing in the next couple of weeks. As one of the breweries that really started the craft movement, Sam Adams continues to increase and put out great tasting beer in a variety of tasty styles.

For a nice start to the week, celebrate National Lager Day with Sam Adams. Sam Adams representatives will be visiting local restaurants and discussing the first social networking tool, Boston Lager.

This Tuesday, December 11 you may want to head out to try out some of those brews paired with an exceptional menu.

The following week on both week on Tuesday, December 18 and Wednesday, December 19 there will be Sam Adams beer dinner each night. Griffins Bow, Cinder Bock, Dark Depths, and Merry Mischief (all limited releases) will each be served with one of the five courses available.


For a more relaxed imbibing experience you can head to the all day event called Burger and a Brewery, featuring Sam Adams, on Thursday, December 20. 

Whatever your style, it looks like Sam Adams will have you covered for a fun time while trying out some unique beers. 

A Beer in History: The First Hopped Beer


A Beer in History: First Hopped Beer 


Originially, beer didn’t contain any hops. Instead, it was brewed with a mixture called gruit, made up of seasonings, herbs and ground grain with a piney and resiny flavor. The first hopped beers started to appear around 1000 in northern Germany.  It eventually ended up in England in the 1500s by the 1600s almost all English beer had some sort of hops in them.

Hops were prized for their preservative properties, increasing the life of beer and saving it from spoilage. This excellent marriage of beer and hops flourished, with hops not only preserving beer longer but balancing out the malty sweetness of hops with an herbal bitterness.

Today, crack open whatever hoppy brew suits your style and lets make a toast to those ingenious women and men back in the day who helped make beer what it is today; which is delicious. 

Michigan Winter Beer Festival Tickets Sell Out


Michigan Winter Beer Festival Sets Record


Wow, way to break a new record, Michigan! Tickets for the 2013 Michigan Winter Beer Festival sold out in record time this year. They went on sale at midnight on December 1 and after only a mere 13 hours all tickets online sold out. At an average 17 tickets sold per minute that's quite a feat! 

The festival will take place on Saturday, February 23, 2012, which is also during Grand Rapids' Beer Week. Last year, there were over 450 different beers to sample from breweries from around the state. This will the be festival's 8th year and with so much excitement already brewing it is sure to be a blast. 

Last year, around 7,500 beer lovers celebrated together at the festival, which is becoming reknown for its capacity to draw in crowds of beer lovers in the midst of Michigan's winter chill. 

We are so proud be a part of a beer community, which makes Michigan the great beer state it is and we are looking forward to celebrating it with all you in February! Stay tuned to hear about the fun things we have planned for Grand Rapids' Beer Week and details on the Winter Beer Festival. 

'Tis the Season for Michigan Winter Beer

'Tis the Season for Michigan Winter Beer

‘Tis the Season to Celebrate Michigan Beer!

Each day it seems to get a bit colder and darker here in Michigan. As winter settles in, remember to embrace the perks of a Michigan winter, mainly the exceptional beer Michigan breweries create for the season.  

Winter or holiday beers tend to focus on rich malt flavor with a low hops profile, often including holiday spices to create the perfect balanced beer. There are a lot great selections out there and many can be found in our home state. Here is a review of some of the best winter beers crafted in the Michigan.

Arcadia Imperial Stout 9.0 % ABV

This bourbon barrel-aged stout pours a rich black color while proffering up an intoxicating aroma of heady roasted malt and molasses. On first sip, the complex brew presents the tongue with an intricate mix of coffee, cocoa, hints of prune and black licorice while a heady dose of hops balances out the stout.

Arcadia Nut Brown Ale 5.6% ABV

Six varieties of malts work together to produce this English-style brown ale that features a sweet caramel nutty flavor with a touch of herbal hop bitterness. The medium-bodied brew is an easy drinker with a creamy light mouthfeel.

Frankenmuth Winter Bock 7.4% ABV

When pouring this German-style lager make sure to appreciate its rich mahogany color and aroma, full of toasted malts and light hops.  The full-bodied lager warms from the belly out with chocolate and caramel notes that end in a dry finish.

Perrin Brewing Nut Brown Ale 5.4% ABV

This ale’s strong hazelnut and almond components are heartily represented on the tongue while a low hops profile helps to create a smooth drink. The seven types of malts used bring a malty and toasty sweetness to the medium-bodied ale that has a soft and warm finish. 

Right Brain CEO Stout 5.5% ABV

This rich stout lives up to its name with bold chocolate, espresso and oatmeal flavors that combine to create a vibrant yet balanced beer. As a full-bodied beer, it pours black and exhibits a hint of jolt caffeinated coffee with a hops finish. 

Why Cider


This Beverage is just a small part of the pie, when it comes to overall alcohol sales. However, it has become one of the hottest and fastest growing segments in the alcohol industry today. I am speaking of the Hard Cider category.
Hard apple cider was by far the most popular alcoholic beverage in America, during Colonial times in the U.S.
The English colonists brought great quantities of apple seeds with them to plant in the New World. What was the result was an abundance of apple trees. By the early 1600's there were already many apple orchards in Virginia and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The reason for all this growing of apple trees was not to eat apples but to drink them in the form of hard pressed cider.
For centuries, Hard Ciders have had a strong presence in countries like England and Ireland. Up until recent times, cider was considered something closer to wine or a flavored alcohol beverage.
But times are changing and brewers are embracing the fact the Hard Ciders can help capture that middle ground wine and beer consumer, by offering a refreshing and gluten free option.
As the leaves turn, the air becomes crisp, and fall begins to settle into Michigan, there is no better time to try a Hard Cider. Be on the lookout for these phenomenal brands:



We are extremely excited and proud to announce that beginning this week, we will begin to receive our first shipments of our “newest” craft brewery partner, Sixpoint Craft Ales , from Brooklyn, NY.

This brewery is beloved by US Craft consumers, not only for the fantastic liquid they produce, but also for their edgy, hip, and path blazing vision…. much like the city they reside in.

Brewery Mission Statement: To make unique, inspired, delicious beers and positively influence our customers and community.

They have done exactly that. Since its birth in 2004, Sixpoint has busted out onto the beer drinking landscape, first as a draft only offering and now along side shelf popping 16oz. silver cans.

We will be launching 5 styles of cans and 5 styles of draft into the Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Romulus markets next week.

16oz can styles include Sweet Action Cream Ale, Righteous Rye, Bengali Tiger IPA, The Crisp Pils, and Resin Imperial IPA in a skinny 12oz can. Draft selections will include the same, with the difference being that instead of Resin we will have limited offerings of their “Spice of Life” Columbus… which features the Columbus hop throughout the body of the beer.

The fountainhead of our creativity cannot be confined to the shackles of "style guidelines“ because style simply has no guidelines. Style is boundless, amorphous, restless. – Sixpoint Brewery



Two weeks ago, while attending the Craft Brewer’s Conference in San Diego, I had the distinct opportunity to visit The Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, CA.This place was truly amazing and I was blown away with the grounds that  this brewery sits upon. It may be one of the coolest places on earth to drink a beer…… either with dinner, hanging outside in the beer garden or by the stone fire pit.Their brewery resonates the same qualities as their “World Class” brews…. So Cal attitude with an attention to detail.  Stone takes great pride in their brews and consumer image.  They have truly built a shrine for Big, Bold, Beers with attitude. On June 8th through June 17, The Stone Brewing Co. will be looking for The Most "Bitter" Bar. There will be two accounts in Grand Rapids and two in Lansing competing for State and National Bragging Rights. Last year's State winner resided in East Lansing. Look for details at your favorite Craft Beer Bars.

Rebelling can be a good thing


With St Pat's just around the corner, we are ecstatic to be partnered up with a "true" Irish Stout in Murphy's. This brand is the fastest growing Stout in the World and with your first sip, you'll know why.
Murphy's light and creamy texture, along with a roasted malt flavor, make this brand a beautifully satisfying experience. It's 4.1% ABV also allows Irish Stout fans to embrace the experience a little more than with other beers with a much higher alcohol content, within reason, of course.
Murphy's is gathering the "next" generation of Stout fans by storm.
You will be able to enjoy Murphy's in over 20 pubs and taverns this St Patrick's Day holiday, in the greater Grand Rapids Market. Our crew will be making the rounds and sharing Irish Cheer. If they see you, you might even get some cool gear out of the deal.
We are proud to have this "gem' in our portfolio and proud to drink and support the "Rebel Stout"!

Why is Murphy's called the "Rebel Stout"?

Murphy’s is brewed in County Cork. This county is referred to as "The Rebel County". This name has 15th Century origins, however from the 20th century the name has been more commonly attributed to the prominent role Cork played in the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921) when it was the scene of considerable fighting; in addition, it was an anti-treaty stronghold during the Irish Civil War (1922–23).

You must be 21 or older to enter. Are you old enough?
Sorry, you must be 21 or older to enter.

Featured Beer

Blake's Rainbow Seeker

Blake's Rainbow Seeker


Subscribe to our craft beer newsletter: