Newsletter

Subscribe to our craft beer newsletter:

Petoskey Brewing coming to West Side Beer Distributing

11-06-2015

THE HISTORY OF THE “OLD BREWERY”

 

The building known as the “Old Brewery” was first completed in 1898 and was used to brew Petoskey Sparkle beer until 1915. According to a 1973 article in the Petoskey News, the Petoskey Brewing Company was originally owned by Frank and Garrett Fochtman, A. Bremmeyr and John Zaiger, who also acted as the Brewmaster.  Since closing in 1915, the brewery building has served as retail shops, as warehousing and perhaps even as a goat barn. It wasn’t until 2012, under the new ownership of and complete renovation by Patrick Dowd and Lou Gostinger, that beer once again flowed within the walls of the “Old Brewery”.

Petoskey Brewing will land in Grand Rapids, November 9th, 2015.  Coming next to Kalamazoo Nov. 16th, 2015, Lansing November 23rd, and finally Romulus, December 7th.  The styles first being brought into our market are, Horny Monk a Belgium Dubble, reddish, malty with a complex Belgian Style ale.  Sparkle Lager, the original Petoskey Sparkle Lager, made in 1898 until 1915, brought back to life in 2012, a clean, easy drinking lager.  Finally Mind's Eye PA, a burnt copper color with a giant hop aroma. Rich caramel malt and red wheat balance the dry bitter finish.

 

 

Pumpkin Pairings

09-04-2015

When the leaves begin to fade to orange and red hues, there is enough of a chill in the air to produce a shiver and the last of the harvest is being brought in then it is pumpkin beer season.  With pumpkin beer season right around the corner, we’ve done the research to create the perfect pairing choices to enjoy the season through an explosion of flavor. 

 

Mix and match the selected food offerings with the pumpkin beers to create a perfect pairing. All pumpkin beer and cider selections are currently in stock for the season. 

 

 

Oktoberfest Season

08-21-2015

 

What is an Oktoberfest style beer? Well, the Marzenbier is a deep amber color with highlights of copper, a near brilliant clarity and full-bodied malt profile accented by a brisk hopping and crisp finish. Beyond the style description, the beer has a rich history. The legendary story behind the brew includes a German duke who initiated the Oktoberfest celebrations by serving the beer during his wedding. The actual name does not denote that the beer should to be drunk in October; rather the beer is traditionally enjoyed during the month of September, with an extended seasonal period due to its current popularity.  Traditionally, these beers are brewed in late winter and early spring with the remaining hops from the previous season. By September, or even a bit earlier, the beer is ready to be consumed and is done so with gusto while it lasts. Typically, peak condition for drinking Oktoberfest biers lasts until the end of October, when it would begin to mellow. To truly appreciate the Oktoberfest style, below are some options currently available in the Grand Rapids market.

 

Goose Island Oktoberfest

Toffee and burnt sugar ruminate throughout the aroma while mild and earthy bitterness mingles with toasted malt and dried apricot flavor. 6.4% ABV

 

Rochester Mills Oktoberfest

With moderate hop bitterness captured within a medium body, this copper-toned lager finishes on a crisp and satisfying note. 6.2% ABV

 

Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Pouring a a rich amber color, Octoberfest is supremely smooth and features a hearty malt flavor with a refreshing breathe of hop bitterness. 5.3% ABV

 

Spaten Oktoberfest

A classic German-style Oktoberfest that pours a deep copper with a thick, white head. Sweet malt flavor is accented by a bite of hop bitterness. 5.9% ABV

 

Shiner Oktoberfest

Raise a stein to this Oktoberfest! Brewed with German malts, this Marzen-style beer showcases full-on malt flavor that is perfectly balanced with a moderate backing of hops. 5.7% ABV

 

Summit Oktoberfest

The first sip lambasts the palate with toffee malt flavors, quickly followed by a clean, brisk hopping and a crisp and dry finish. 7.1% ABV

New Beer in the City

08-07-2015

 

Our Grand Rapids warehouse is excited to begin distributing some new brands throughout the area. Last week we acquired the amazing, highly-regarded regional brewery, Goose Island Brewing Co. as well as some established imports with the acquisition of the Spaten, St. Pauli Girl and Franziskaner brands.

 

 

Goose Island Brewing Co.

Goose Island was established in 1988 by John Hall and soon extinguished itself as one of the leaders of the craft beer revolution from its brewery based in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago brewery utilizes 32 fermenters while brewing 24/7 on a 50 barrel system within their 143,000 square foot facility.

 

Then there is the beer. Throughout the years, 312 Wheat has become a liquid symbol of the Windy City, even resulting in the creation of its cousin beer, 312 Pale Ale. The brewery’s sought-after Bourbon County Series continues to showcase the Skillman-ship, creativity and expertise that form the foundation for their preeminent barrel-aging system. Then there are the classics such as IPA and Honkers Ale that are perfect to have on hand in conjunction with innovative releases from their Fulton and Wood series. West Side Beer is proud to include this world-class brewery in the Grand Rapids portfolio.

 

Spaten

Imported from Munich, Spaten Premium Lager and Doppelbock bring traditional Germanic brewing tradition to Beer City, USA. First founded in 1397, the brewery first began exporting beer to America in 1909. The two styles are also complemented by the release of their Oktoberfest  seasonal offering.

 

Franziskaner

Also based out of Munich and a part of the Spaten-Franziskaner company since the early 1920s, Franziskaner is a classic and refreshing Weissbier. This traditional hefeweizen style is flavorful and malty with a creamy white head and banana/clove spice aroma.

 

 

St. Pauli Girl

 Based out of Bremen, Germany then imported and now distributed through West Side Beer, St. Pauli Girl is brewed according to traditional Germanic purity brewing laws.  Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions are available of the classic lager style. 

U.S. Beer Industry Brews $253 Billion in Economic Activity

07-28-2015

A newly released report highlights the important role the beer industry plays in our country’s economic activity. According to the National Beer Wholesalers Association, who released the report, the beer industry plays a vital role in the economic wellbeing of the country through generating economic activity, tax revenue and the provision of direct employment.

 

 

“It can be said that beer truly serves America. Beer is more than our nation’s favorite adult drink – it is a powerhouse in job creation, commercial activity and tax revenue,” said Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute, which released the study jointly with NBWA.

 

According to the report, over 130,000 direct jobs are provided across more than 3,300 facilities through the U.S.  by licensed beer distributors. The report also showed that the beer industry, overall, contributed 252.6 billion to the economy, representing 1.5% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Additionally, $48.5 billion in tax revenue was generated by the production and sale of beer and malt beverages.

 

In Michigan, beer wholesalers provided 4,250 direct jobs and a total economic impact of $610,612,400. The beer industry, as a whole, provided employment to over 35,000 individuals and had a total impact over $2.6 million within the state. Roughly $800,000,000 was generated in taxes, both business and personal, from the industry. Accounting for direct and induced economic impacts, the beer industry provided over 58,000 jobs and over $6.6 million in output in Michigan.

 

 The industry continues to grow at quite a clip, with the number of distributor jobs growing by over 20% in the past 10 years. In addition to the direct employment offered by these distributorships in the community, independent beer distributors play a key role in the community. Through partnerships, sponsorships and business-to-business commerce, additional revenue is generated within the community. 

 

As a beer wholesaler, West Side Beer Distributing is excited to actively provide a direct, positive impact to local, statewide and national economies.

 

For more details regarding the study, read the press release in full, here. Or, go to www.beerservesamerica.org for additional and state-by-state statistics. 

Juicy, Fruity, Bold: Grapefruit Beer

07-17-2015

The popularity of the grapefruit has ebbed and flowed over the years. Previously popular as a dieting device, the grapefruit is currently enjoying its new position as the trendy new beer flavor.

 

 

What does grapefruit bring to a beer? Juicy, bitter, citrus, sweet, sour and tart are all descriptors for the fruit. These can add a light, new layer of complexity to a beer without weighing down the liquid with too much body. Grapefruit flavors are typically paired with the IPA style to amplify the citrus characteristics of hops used. Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic and Amarillo are all complementary hops found in beers that are also brewed with grapefruit. Fresh, juicy, sweet and tart beers brewed with grapefruit can be a new way to get some Vitamin C while serving as a refreshing choice to escape the summer heat.   

 

 

Perrin Grapefruit IPA

Brewed with real grapefruit, Perrin Grapefruit IPA boasts a bright fruit aroma, with citrus notes throughout and a lightly bitter finish. 5% ABV 30 IBUs

 

Magic Hat Electric Peel IPA

With grapefruit peel added to the brew, Electric Peel IPA accentuates the characteristic hoppy bitterness of a typical IPA with a citrus bitter kick. A juicy nose and fruity accent notes create the full-on grapefruit effect.  6% ABV 65 IBUs

 

Illusive Traveler Shandy

The bittersweet grapefruit characteristics are highlighted in this craft shandy. A bright fruit aroma is swiftly followed by sweet grapefruit flavored carried in on a creamy mouthfeel with a slightly tart finish. 4.4% ABV 7 IBUs

 

Shiner Ruby Red Bird

Pure, Texan ruby red grapefruit is combined with ginger during the brewing process, resulting in a tart, juicy sweet and slightly spiced brew. 4% ABV 13 IBUs 

 

The Science behind Bud and Burgers

07-10-2015

Legendary chef David Chang has always been a fan of the bud and burger combo.

 

“Both burgers and beer are experiencing a renaissance of sorts.” said David Chang, who is well-known for elevating classic dishes, and for his love of lagers. “I love that there’s nothing pretentious about the combination – it just works. A full-flavored lager brings out the taste of a savory burger.” – Anheuser-Busch

 

 

Chang is 100 percent correct that a full-flavored lager can bring out the taste of a savory burger. Alcohol, and beer specifically, work in magical, chemical ways to heighten the foodie experience. Through evaporation, molecular bonding  and penetration the beer is able to maximize the flavor potential of dishes, especially meat options like the classic American burger.

 

Aroma plays a key part in taste. Alcohol is a volatile chemical and it is this volatility effect that makes the aroma of beer so pungent. When used in food, the alcoholic molecules bond with water and fat molecules before they evaporate and, in doing so, helps to convey the smell of an especially juicy burger to our nose, making our mouths water and resulting in an enhanced flavor experience.

 

The same molecular bonding is key for bridging flavor gaps. Fat and water molecules that bond to alcohol molecules are able to not only enhance the aroma of the food but assist in creating more flavor by bridging those gaps.

 

Bonding with fat soluble molecules also creates the perfect situation for these flavor components to be carried into the meat for optimum seasoning. Additionally, alcohol is able to penetrate meat much better than other liquid marinade options, further increasing the opportunity for maximum flavor.

 

For a stellar bud braised burger, check out this recipe that incorporates onions into the mix for a savory bud and burger experience.

 

 

Sources

Cooking with Alcohol The Kitchn.

Alcohol's Role in Cooking. Fine Cooking. 

 

Now Distributing Ridge Cider Co.

07-01-2015

 

July is chockfull of the fruit of the land, now including pints of locally harvested and fermented cider from Ridge Cider Co. Distributed throughout the Grand Rapids area via West Side Beer Distributing, the company is the result of joint efforts of Bruce Rasch and Matt DeLong to produce a hyperlocal and supremely quaffable liquid.

 

Based out of Grant, Michigan Ridge Cider Co. uses an orchard-to-pint approach to bring traditional hard cider to Grand Rapids. They focus on core styles that showcase the taste of West Michigan apples with a kick of hard cider in each sip. The following styles are available on draft.

 

Roots 5% ABV

Bright apple aroma is complemented by a pungent kick of fresh, spicy ginger

 

RHAC 5.5% ABV

RHAC stands for Ridge Hopped Apple Cider and features a heady aroma of resiny and citrus hops, thanks to a heavy dry hopping with locally grown hops.

 

Cones 5.4% ABV

Made with juniper berries, which are also known as baby pine cones, Cones is a crisp and refreshing cider with a subtle hint of resinous pine and breathe of citrus.

 

Porch Sittin 5.6% ABV

Vanilla and cinnamon collaborate to create a nostalgic and refreshing complementary taste for this dry hard cider.

 

Raschberry 6% ABV

A hard cider brewed with raspberries, lending it a tart and fresh burst of berry flavor that is prevalent throughout the nose and the taste.

 

Peach Ridge 5.9% ABV

A fruity cider boasting crisp apple and layers of juicy, sweet peach flavor.

 

 

 

Anheuser-Busch Invests in Beer

06-24-2015

The beer business in the U.S. is growing and strengthening and will continue to do so with further support from Anheuser-Busch InBev. Anheuser-Busch announced an investment of $1.7 billion into the U.S. brewing industry, including agriculture, packaging and distributing operations. The amount will be distributed over the next several years until 2018. 

 

The investment is further proof of the high importance placed on quality beer produced by talented people, new innovation and advanced operations by Anheuser-Busch. Below is the press release in full, detailing the past and future investments into the beer community by Anheuser-Busch.  Such support will assist in the dynamic growth, innovation and advancement of beer.

 

 

 

Anheuser-Busch to Invest more than $1.5 Billion in U.S. Operations by 2018

Follows previous investment of $1 billion from 2011 to 2014 and will drive innovation, environmental advances

ST. LOUIS (June 23, 2015) – Anheuser-Busch today announced it will invest more than $1.5 billion in its U.S. brewing, agriculture, packaging and distributing operations by 2018. These investments will support growth of its brands and reinforce the beer company’s commitment to the U.S. communities where it operates through local spending and jobs. The leading beer company plans to spend an estimated $850 million on brewery and packaging expansion projects, $220 million on product innovation initiatives and $720 million in sustaining and increasing efficiency of its existing footprint.

“Our beers lead their categories because we hold quality at the center of every beer we produce and invest in our brands through talented people, new innovation and advanced operations,” said Joao Castro Neves, president of Anheuser-Busch InBev North America. “We have demonstrated commercial success from recent investments which increases opportunity for future projects. When we make investments in our local communities it is good for all stakeholders, including employees, local legislators and community leaders – they are critical to our success.”

From 2011 through 2014, Anheuser-Busch invested more than $1 billion across U.S. operations. These capital expenditures included resources to maintain state-of-the-art brewing processes, advance environmental projects, and install equipment for new products and innovations. During this time, Anheuser-Busch introduced several new products, expanding its presence in the flavored malt beverage (FMB) and cider categories and driving consumer interest in new packaging of its core brands, including:

  • Introduced the recloseable 16-ounce aluminum bottle in 2014 and 25-ounce can in 2013;
  • Expanded Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita family to become a 2 million barrel brand produced at three breweries; and
  • Rolled out new cider products including Stella Artois Cidre and Johnny Appleseed, gaining more cider market share.

Investments to modernize and add equipment at brewery and can plant facilities ensured the beer company could deliver these innovations. In addition, the U.S. facilities focused on continuous improvement and increasing efficiency.

“Upholding our high-quality brewing standards requires significant financial commitment for equipment, technology and skilled people,” said Pete Kraemer, vice president of Supply for Anheuser-Busch. “In addition to investing in operations, we contribute to our local communities through environmental sustainability initiatives that drive our water conservation, energy savings, and recycling efforts.”

In 2015, several projects are underway, including:

  • $150 million expansion project at the St. Louis-area Metal Container Corporation facility to increase production of the popular Bud Light aluminum bottles.
  • $45 million to build new can line and additional warehouse at Fort Collins brewery to produce the slim, 12-ounce can style.
  • $20 million in capital investments at the Los Angeles brewery to add new water efficiency and treatment capabilities.
  • $18 million in investments at the Columbus brewery, including a sustainability project that will reduce energy needs by recovering heat for use in fueling the operation.
  • $12 million invested in the company’s historic St. Louis brewery for various improvements, including projects to conserve resources and support new innovations.
  • $11 million to develop and integrate new products, including Bud Light MIXXTAILs and Oculto across multiple breweries.

Future spending plans are based on no new or increased taxes or unforeseen events that would negatively impact Anheuser-Busch’s business. The expenditures are consistent with Anheuser-Busch InBev’s 2015 net capital expenditures guidance.

 

About Anheuser-Busch

For more than 160 years, Anheuser-Busch and its world-class brewmasters have carried on a legacy of brewing America’s most-popular beers. Starting with the finest ingredients sourced from Anheuser-Busch’s family of growers, every batch is crafted using the same exacting standards and time-honored traditions passed down through generations of proud Anheuser-Busch brewmasters and employees. Best known for its fine American-style lagers, Budweiser and Bud Light, the company’s beers lead numerous beer segments and combined hold 46.4 percent share of the U.S. beer market. Budweiser and Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita were named Brands of the Year for the Beer and the Spirits, Malt Beverages and Wine categories, respectively, by Ace Metrix® in 2014. Anheuser-Busch is the U.S. arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev and operates 16 local breweries, 17 distributorships and 23 agricultural and packaging facilities across the United States, representing a capital investment of more than $15.9 billion. Its flagship brewery remains in St. Louis, Mo., and is among the global company’s largest and most technologically capable breweries. Visitor and special beermaster tours are available at its St. Louis and five other Anheuser-Busch breweries. For more information, visit www.anheuser-busch.com.

 

# # #

BrewBround Session Notes

06-12-2015

 

 

In  #TBT fashion, we are spending this Thursday reviewing insights gained, trends examined and craft beer celebrated at last week’s Brewbound Session in Chicago. The guest list was impressive and the beer tasted delicious while the presentations and discussions delved into the development of craft beer, the current state of affairs and upcoming trends within the industry.

 

The much debated and feared issue of the craft beer bubble popped up throughout the day in various ways. The possibility of oversaturation is a common worry and breweries discussed ways to continue growth, maintain a steady level of success or break into such a fast-paced market as a new brewery. Growing the market share, overall, for beer was a popular strategy that many agreed with, including Andy Goeler from Anheuser-Busch, who referenced the increased popularity of table wines and whiskey potentially cutting into beer market share and the need to focus on increasing beer’s share overall. Baking a larger pie rather than scrapping over the slices showed the renowned communal attitude of the beer community at large.

 

The sheer momentum of the IPA category also came into play. With over 900 different IPAs on the market the question is what makes an IPA stand out at this point? Many breweries are sorting through that question individually, whether through recreating classics, experimenting with hop variants or abandoning the IPA train entirely in search of the next niche to be filled in beer. Whoever is able to find and fill the niche first can be sure to grab hold of a unique spot in beer, leading to increased sales.

 

In more than one panel discussion presenters grappled with the power of local, and now the rise of hyperlocal, breweries. Both a blessing and a challenge, the move towards local patronage has sprung new discussions for both breweries working towards regional distribution and breweries that are bunkering down in their supportive communities. The numerous breweries establishing themselves in neighborhoods, both in Beer City USA and throughout the country, was seen as a blessing by some, notably Alan Newman. The founder of Magic Hat and now of Traveler Beer praised local brew spots for their ability to introduce many to the beer scene by their accessibility as a local watering hole. This local beer experience can create excitement that induces the consumer to continue their beer journey and explore other beers.

 

 

Another strategy to cut through any market saturation is the power of the story. For a brand to be viable it requires a face, place and story in order to connect with their drinkers. In a world brimming with diverse and delicious beer options the “why” behind the brew can become just as important as the “what” of the brew. Breweries are now storytellers and are using marketing, specifically digital media platforms, to share that story directly with their fans while also honing in on their unique “it” factor that makes a truly successful brewery sticky, leading to loyal beer enthusiasts.

 

Mike Kaiser, founder of Good Beer Hunting, awed the audience with his presentation on building beer brands through storytelling. The need for a brewery to shape their story for themselves, rather than being steered by the perceived wants of the consumer, highlighted the need for a brewery to go beyond listing off their likes (bikes, water, bluegrass) and delve into their culture as a company. Dale Katechis, founder of Oskar Blues Brewery, underscored the importance of culture and its requirement to become from an organic source, primarily individual already committed to the company.

 

The value and high esteem held for brewery employees was clear throughout the presentations. Submissions for new brewery recipes, radical marketing ploys and the intangible “it” factor of each brewery came from the individuals who spent their days committed to creating the beer From marketing managers and brewers to founders of world-class breweries, all acknowledged the need to focus within on their company culture and the potential held by individuals working with them for continued success.

 

The single strain of thought prevalent throughout the day of conversation and presentations boiled down to the beer commumity’s determination to remain a place of artful creation, collaboration and cultivation. Brewbound Chicago Session showed that beer has no plans to divert from this method for growth. For Brewbound's own recap of the Chicago conference they've created a video highlighting the day. 

 

 

 

June Beer Releases

06-03-2015

June heralds in the start of summer  throughout the West Side Beer locations with returning and brand new beer releases. Sip on and celebrate summer! 

 

Perrin Brewing Co. VPA 

A returning limited specialty from Perrin Brewing Co. is now available for summer. Brewed in support of the Finish the Mission Veterans Relief Fund, Veteran's Pale Ale is a refreshing pale ale with a heady hop aroma, clean malt body and crisp finish. 5% ABV 40 IBUs. 

 

 

Arcadia Ales Cheap Date 

The newest year-round release from Arcadia Ales is set to last all day (or date). This session ale showcases a citrus hop aroma with a golden malt body and a crisp finish. 4.5% ABV 30 IBUs. Available in Grand Rapids and Lansing. 

 
 

Stone Brewing Co. Specialties 

 
Returning specialties from Stone Brewing Co. are slated to be released intermittently throughout June. First, is the returning seasonal specialty, Saison (6% ABV 45 IBUs) a farmhouse ale with a citric and herbal character. Ruin10 IPA (10.8% ABV 110 IBUs) will be back in all its hoppy glory, as well.Finally, Enjoy By 7/4 will drop in Grand Rapids and Lansing for a month's worth of enjoyment
 
 

Right Brain Brewery Strawberry Fields

 
A cream ale brewed with fresh strawberries, is back on tap.This limited seasonal specialty showcase a bready malt character with a smooth mouthfeel that combines with bright fruit flavor to create an overall flavor profile akin to strawberry shortcake. 5.5% ABV 
 
To find out about upcoming releases on a monthly basis be sure to sign up for our craft beer newsletter! 
 
 

West Side Beer Donates to Folds of Honor Foundation

05-19-2015

We are happy to announce our 2015 contribution to the Folds of Honor Scholarship Program as a part of our company’s ongoing support of the military and their families. This year we were able to support the children of fallen and disabled soldiers in the Michigan area by donating $10,000 to provide scholarships for secondary education. Below is the press release with more information regarding our work with Folds of Honor Foundation. 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

West Side Beer Distributing Contributes $10,000 to Folds of Honor Scholarship Program

Grand Rapids, Mich. (May 15, 2015) — For the third consecutive year West Side Beer Distributing donated to the Folds of Honor Foundation. West Side B­eer partnered with the charitable organization to provide college level educational assistance to the children of fallen or disabled soldiers.  

 

“We are pleased to support the sons and daughters of the many heroes in our military branches who endure personal sacrifice to protect our freedoms,” said A.J. Mathews, president of West Side Beer Distributing. “It’s a special opportunity for our company and employees to give back to the community and we are proud to service each of the $5,000 scholarships presented to local children of fallen soldiers.”

 

West Side Beer Distributing contributed directly to the Folds of Honor Immediate Use Scholarship, which is intended for spouses and children who are currently attending or have been accepted into a two or four-year degree program at an accredited secondary institution. The scholarship is awarded on an annual basis and applicants must apply each year to continue to receive funding. West Side Beer Distributing provided two $5,000 scholarships awarded to the children of soldiers in Michigan.

 

About Folds of Honor Foundation

Folds of Honor is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that focuses on providing scholarship and assistance to the spouses and children of those killed or disabled in service to America. Founded in 2007, the foundation is proud to have awarded over 7,500 scholarships over the years. For more information visit the foundation’s website, www.foldsofhonor.org

 

About West Side Beer Distributing

West Side Beer Distributing distributes a portfolio of domestic, imported and craft beers across 14 different counties to over 4,000 retailers in Michigan. The family-owned company started in the Metro Detroit area in 1965 and now has over 400 team members working out of locations in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Romulus. To learn more visit www.westsidebeer.com or connect via Facebook (West Side Beer), Twitter (@WestSideBeer) or Instagram (@WestSideBeer).

 

For more information contact Onawa Gardiner, Marketing Manager at West Side Beer Distributing at ogardiner@westsidebeer.com  or (616) 698-1900.

###

Brewing to be Beer Smart

05-14-2015

 

Unsurprisingly, the team here at West Side Beer Distributing is a little into celebrating beer during American Craft Beer Week. Along with the raising of pints in salute of a delicious brew we also place an emphasis on learning even more about the product we sell.

 

Selling highlights the power of the combined forces of knowledge and passion, both of which we promote here at West Side Beer. One way in which we focus on the knowledge and passion that drives us all is through our beer school program. We integrate active learning processes, reading materials, internationally recognized testing, competitions and unique professional learning opportunities into our multilevel beer school in order to constantly encourage growth among our employees.

 

Part of becoming “beer smart” includes hands-on learning experiences. We, luckily, are able to work closely with our brewery partners to hold one-day brewing internships for our sales team at actual breweries. There, our team joins up with expert brewer to learn first-hand the meticulous and strenuous process of brewing.

 

There is no better way to learn about dry hopping than actually sorting fresh hops, taking a ride up to the top of a fermenter and dumping the buds into the brew yourself. Similarly, one of the best ways to explore the process of aging beer is by tapping into stored kegs and trying different years to taste the nuances that appear at times goes on. Of course, brewing isn’t all about sitting around drinking beer. Nothing is more important to a brewery than cleanliness and our sales team learns that through assisting in the constant cleaning.

 

The experience of a brewery internship instills a new appreciation for the work that goes into each bottle, can or keg that our sales team is responsible for selling. These internships morph what was once an intangible concept into the physical memory of brewing that beer, which can then be accessed whenever our team is out on the streets promoting the product.

 

Our company beer school program goes beyond brewing internships. Beer school is a component of how we integrate our core values, such as continuous improvement into our everyday structure. This structure and continuous learning is how we like to succeed with beer. 

 

7 Summer Sippers

05-07-2015

The sun is out and sizzling and it is time to start sipping on some summer brews. From ales brewed with seasonal fruit straight from the Michigan’s farms to lagers light and fresh there's a summer beer out there for all of us. 

 

 

Samuel Adams Summer Ale

Lemon peel, Noble hops and American wheat combine in Summer ale to create a flavor profile with a lively, tangy taste.

Magic Hat #9

A pale ale with a bit of bright hops that accent apricot fruitiness all packaged up in a slightly dry, crisp and refreshing brew.

New Belgium Skinny Dip

A summertime lager that is full-bodied with a sweet flavor and a juicy mouthfeel that finishes crisp.

Deschutes Twilight

A golden-hued ale with a bright aroma full of citrus and pine hoppiness balanced out by a distinctive malt body.

Rochester Mills Tongue Tied Cherry Saison

A Belgian ale brewed with tart and sweet Michigan cherries. Tongue Tied pours a rose hue with a bright white head with a creamy wheat mouthfeel that is highlighted by a hint of herbal spiciness and lemon and orange peel.

Shock Top Banana Wheat

A bright white head with plenty of lacing is followed by a creamy mouthfeel that highlights the citrus, honey, spice and banana combination. 

 

Perrin Grapefruit IPA 

A thirst-quenching IPA build for refreshment in warmer weather. A hazy, golden-hued ale with a citrus-laden aroma bursting with bitter grapefruit flavor.

 

5 beers to pair with your Cinco de Mayo Feast

05-01-2015

Remember, remember the fifth de Mayo where we celebrate Chicano culture and traditions across the country. Usually this entails copious amounts of delicious dishes and what better way to have a fiesta than with some chilled beer paired up with your favorite Mexican dish? The answer is there is no better way so follow along closely for your perfect pairing.

 

 

Oculto with Guacamole Dip

Creamy and rich avocado heaped onto a crispy and salty tortilla can be almost too much greatness in a bite. Luckily, you can refresh between bites with a sip of the super crisp, light-bodied Oculto that adds a perfect amount of contrast without overpowering the delicate avocado flavor. Blended with beer aged in tequila barrels, Oculto adds a unique agave spin to the classic refreshing light beer. Try it with a lime for the ultimate refreshing sip.

 

Magic Hat Electric Peel IPA with Chile Con Queso

IPAs are strong enough to withstand the strong flavors that come in a cheesy, spicy dish like Chile Con Queso. Additionally, the bitterness cuts through the gooeyness and cleans your palate out after each bit. Chile Con Queso isn’t a particularly spicy dish so it will be safe to overload on the hops with this one. Additionally, the sweet grapefruit flavors in Electric Peel serve as a citrus accent for the dish.

 

from Betty Crocker Beer Pairings

 

Smuttynose Hayseed Farmhouse Ale with Chicken Tacos

Light-bodied with a hay and grassy aroma, Hayseed matches the strength of the chicken tacos perfectly. The esters and slight funk highlight the astringent aspects of the salsa and lime while the light grainy malt body compliments the corn tortillas. Add a dash of green salsa for an extra kick.

 

Right Brain Northern Hawk Owl Amber Ale with Steak Fajitas

The caramel and toasted malts in Northern Hawk Owl complement the grilled and charred portions of the steak and add a sweetness to the meatiness. A quick and bitter finish helps to relieve any lingering sweetness so the next bite will be just as tasty.

 

 

Samuel Adams Rebel Rouser Double IPA with Wet Burritos

Wet burritos are quite an explosion of flavor between the meat, veggies and/or bean filing, red sauce, cheesy goodness and dollop of sour cream (a true wet burrito MUST come with that dollop). A hopped up brew like a double IPA helps to cut through the fattiness, cleansing the palate and providing a bitter refresher from the cheesy, meaty, saucy dish. Typically not a wildly spicy dish, a wet burrito pairs perfectly with the caramel malt backbone while the tropical fruit hop aroma serves as a spritz of citrus between bites.

 

 

This Bud's for Burgers

04-24-2015

America’s number one full-flavored lager has finally found their tastiest partner in the burger. The savory, complex and rich burger is matched by the full-flavored Budweiser that serves as a refreshment and palate cleanser between bites.

 

 

In collaboration with Chef David Chang, Budweiser is challenging all grillers out there to participate in a nation-wide best burger competition to find the Champion of Bud and Burgers, who will then go on to compete on the United State of Burgers competition. With $100,00 on the line, amateur burger chefs are lining up to take part in the “United States of Burgers” cooking competition that will air on the Esquire Network. The six-episode series will air over the summer and will culminate with the crowning of the perfect burger to pair with Budweiser.

 

With competitions firing up across the country, we too can participate in Michigan with this featured Bud and Burger recipe. To start, try out this Budweiser Backyard Burger recipe from Chef Hubert Keller and featured on Good Morning America. Follow along online through the Budweiser Facebook and Twitter and use the hashtag #BudandBurgers to show off your own beer and burger pairing skills.

 

 

Ingredients

  • For the shallot jam:
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 cups Shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 ?? teaspoon Fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ?? cup Budweiser
  • ?? cup Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Aged balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For the burger:
  • 2 pounds Coarsely ground chuck, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 bunch Fresh spinach, stemmed
  • 4 Onion buns or ciabatta buns
  • 4 ounces Crumbled blue cheese at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons Caramelized Budweiser shallot jam (see recipe below)
  • 4 Leaves of butter lettuce
  • 1 Large ripe tomato, cut into 4 thick slices
  • 8 slices Crisp apple smoked bacon (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Cooking Directions

 

For the shallot jam:

In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and heat until hot. Add the shallots, stir, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are light gold and have thoroughly melted. Deglaze with the beer and add the thyme. Stir often towards the end of cooking to make sure the shallots do not stick and all the beer is reduced to almost dry. Set aside.

 

While the shallots are cooking, in a small saucepan, melt the sugar with about 1 tablespoon water over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Cook at a boil, uncovered and without stirring, until the sugar caramelizes to a medium amber color, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar. The mixture will foam and spit, so stand back to avoid being spattered. Return the pan to low heat, and stir until the caramel has melted.

 

Scrape the shallots into the caramel and stir well. Remove to a bowl, cover, and set aside to cool. Taste for seasoning, and adjust with salt and pepper.

 

Refrigerate the jam in a covered container for several days or longer. It may also be frozen. Bring to room temperature before using.

 

For the burger:

For the burgers, shape the meat into 4 evenly-sized patties about 1 inch thick. Handle lightly to keep the texture light and juicy. The burgers can be shaped and refrigerated, covered, for several hours.

When ready to cook, heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat until very hot or build a medium-hot fire in a barbecue. Generously season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper.

 

Cook the burgers in the skillet, turning once or twice, 7 to 10 minutes for medium-rare. Do not press down on the patties. With a large spoon, baste the burgers several times with the fat in the pan. (You can also preheat the oven to 450?? F and cook the burgers on top of the stove until they are brown on both sides, and then finish them in the oven.) To grill the burgers, oil the grate, arrange the patties on it, and cover. Cook as above.

 

While the burgers are searing, heat up one tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over high heat, and cook the spinach stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Saut?? until the leaves are wilted but bright green about 3 minutes. Keep warm.

 

Toast the buns in a toaster oven or on the outer perimeter of the grill rack until golden brown

For the last minute of cooking, display the blue cheese over each burger to melt lightly. Then top the cheese with the warmed up shallot jam. Top the shallots with the spinach. Then remove to a warm platter, keep warm, and let rest several minutes before serving

 

To assemble the burgers, divide the butter lettuce leaves between the buns and top with the tomatoes. Add the burgers and the bacon on top of each. Cover with the bun tops. Serve immediately with remaining shallot jam.

Alcohol Safety Tips

04-14-2015
This April is the 29th annual Alcohol Awareness Month designed to highlight the best practices for safely and legally enjoying alcoholic beverages. West Side Beer Distributing is committed to practicing, educating and encouraging the use of safe habits when it comes to alcohol consumption. Use this information to responsibly enjoy your next alcoholic beverage. 
 
 

7 Beer Experts to Grab a Beer With

04-07-2015

There is no doubt that we’ll be celebrating #NationalBeerDay in good beery fashion. What else are you supposed to do in order to pay homage to the official repeal of Prohibition than to return to the original social networking group and grab a beer with your friends? Although Ranker already reported on the top celebrities to grab a beer with, we think there is no better person to drink with than a beer expert. This list is in no way comprehensive but does serve to highlight some of the absurdly smart, hysterical and trailblazing folks who have helped shape the beer community into what it is today.

 

Jim Koch. Founder, Boston Beer Company

One of the OGs of the craft beer community, Jim Koch knows a thing or two (or a thousand) about the beer industry and can probably entertain you with stories all night. All while teaching you the secrets to not getting drunk.

 

 

Dale Kotechis. Founder, Oskar Blues Brewery

From brewing beer in bathtubs to becoming the 2012 Craft Brewer of the Year, Dale has successfully gone against many accepted methods to further push the boundaries of craft beer. While downing those 19.2 ounce cans of Dale’s you’ll gain new perspectives on craft beer trends and maybe learn how to trick out your bike.

 

\

 

Brett Porter. Brewmaster, Goose Island Brewery

Brett is the man to talk to if you want to learn anything about barrel aged beer, considering Goose Island’s continual success with their program. Based off of his Reddit AMA he’s full of puns and up front information about beer.

 

Mitch Steele. Brewmaster, Stone Brewing Co.

I have a personal bias that Mitch Steele is one of the coolest people to drink with, which is why he is on this list.  Beyond personal bias, the guy knows his way around an IPA and his numerous years of experience have provided him with tales to entertain throughout a night of drinking.

 

 

 

Russ Springsteen. Founder, Right Brain Brewery.

Russ founded a brewery focused on intuitive, well-crafted “right brain” beers, which is how he is. Be prepared converse and analyze beer in a whole new light while laughing at his sly wit as you learn how and why he came up with ideas for beers brewed with pig heads and whole pies.

 

 

Kim Jordon. Co-Founder, New Belgium Brewing Co.

Want to learn how to start and run an internationally successful brewery? Sit down with Kim, who co-founded a brewery on the main prospect of being a force of good and made it into a successful business model for New Belgium Brewing Co.  

 

 

Mike Plesz. Founder, Rochester Mills Beer Co.

Thanks to Mike’s focus on impeccable quality, Rochester Mills Beer Co. has been a craft beer staple in Michigan. His enthusiasm for brewing is infectious to the point where a night of drinking with him will pass by in a flash of good beer and great conversation. If you’re lucky, like I was, he might even give you great tips for new ways to cook with beer.

 

 

 

 

New Craft Beer Releases for April

03-31-2015

April showers bring new beers to devour. From returning favorites, brand spankin' new brews to super limited series and widely available seasonals, your beer needs will be covered this month.

 

 

The first of the month will bring Tongue Tied Cherry Saison from Rochester Mills Beer Co. An unfiltered Belgian style ale, Tongue Tied Cherry Saison showcases the perfect blend of sweet and tart, thanks to Michigan-grown cherries. This summer seasonal will be available in draft only.

 

The oddly tasty, super limited annual release from Right Brain Brewery will be available for a heartbeat during April. Brewed with Mangalista pig skulls and bones, this robust porter combines the salty, umami taste of roasted ham and bacon with rich notes of chocolate malts.. 6.6% ABV 28 IBUs

 

 

Introducing itself to the Mitten State for the first time is the spring/summer seasonal from Deschutes Brewery, Twilight Summer Ale. Twilight is is a refreshing, golden-hued blonde ale with hints of lightly browned toast, floral and citrus hops with a crisp and clean finish. 5% ABV 35 IBUs

 

There are only 20 days left to get your hands on Enjoy By IPA 4.20.15 from Stone Brewing Co. Brewed with 12 hop varieties, this double IPA is dank with a hint of peachyness coming through on the tail end of a soothing malt bill. This limited release is available in Grand Rapids and Lansing. 9.4% ABV 88 IBUs

 

Available in Barry County only will be a limited release from Goose Island Brewing Co. Ten Hills Pale Ale from Goose Island Brewing Co. utilizes hops locally sourced from the first ten hills of Elk Mountain Farm in Idaho, with whom Goose Island collaborates with to source hops. Herbal and citrus hops are featured in this classically crafted pale ale. 6.2% ABV 52 IBUs

Stella Artois Buy a Lady A Drink

03-20-2015

Sometimes the simplest act can create the greatest change. That is the hope with the newest campaign with Stella Artois, which is aptly named Buy a Lady a Drink. The newly launched campaign is focused on helping solve the global water crisis, one chalice at a time.

 

A shortage of water directly affects women, who walk a combined 200 million hours a day to provide water for their families, worldwide. In fact, more than twice the population of the United States lives without access to clean water. By partnering with Water .Org Stella Artois is working to change this.

 

The premise is that with the purpose of each Stella Artois Chalice you are helping to provide clean water for one person living in a developing country for five years. Join the movement and buy a lady a drink. 

 

St. Patrick's Day Beer and Food Pairings

03-11-2015

The countdown is on for St. Patrick’s Day. Now is the time to prep for a singularly excellent day celebrating your Irish pride (regardless whether you’re Irish for a day or life). Keep in the theme for the day by enjoying delicacies from the Green Isle paired with these excellent beers for a day filled with cheer.

 

 

Murphy’s Dry Irish Stout Paired with Shepherd’s Pie

The original rebel stout’s roasted malt flavor holds up well against the hearty shepherd’s pie. The stout’s relatively light body serves as a contrasting note to the heavy meal.

 

Rochester Mills Beer Co. Rochester Red Paired with Corned Beef and Cabbage

The caramel and roasted malt notes in the red ale perfectly match this meaty dish that is a favorite for the holiday. Additionally, the underlying bitterness and crisp finish help as a refresher between bites of this salty dish.

 

Boddington’s Pub Ale Paired with Irish Soda Bread

This English-style pub ale’s creamy head and mouthfeel create the perfect contrasting accompaniment to the dense and dry profile of Irish Soda Bread. It’s clean and simple flavor, with a touch of sweetness, helps bring out the bread’s character while cleansing the palate between bites.

 

 

Magner’s Irish Cider Paired with Shortbread

Crisp, tart and, overall, refreshing Magner’s Irish Cider cleanly cuts through the buttery body of shortbread while adding to the light sweetness of the biscuit.

 

Laughfest Season

03-05-2015

Hip! Hip! Hooray! Laughfest season is here!

 

 

 

Get ready to get your giggles on with this year’s fantastic lineup, once again sponsored by Bud Light. This is the fifth years of smiles for Laughfest and the third year that Bud Light, West Side Beer and Gilda’s Club have joined forces with our smiley campaign.

 

Paper smileys are available for purchase at many establishments throughout the Grand Rapids area that sell Bud Light. Provided freely to retailers, the smiley faces are sold at a dollar a piece with all proceeds going towards the efforts of Gilda’s Club to support those with or affected by cancer.

 

 

 

As part of our third year partnering with Gilda’s Club, we plan to continue our continued and growing support for Laughfest. The combined efforts over the past two years reached a total of almost $4,000 in support of Gilda’s Club from the sale of Bud Light Laughfest smileys, alone.

 

Look out for these smileys hanging anywhere Bud Light is sold and grab a view (one dollar each), give them  your John Hancock and post them up to show your support. 

 

 

Additionally, celebrate Laughfest with the Blue and Late Night Comedy Series, presented by Bud Light. The free show will showcase Big Jay Oakerson (FX’s Louie, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) with special guest Ben Roy (Funny As Hell, Just For Laughs), who will be sure to bring the down the house with giggles and gaffaws galore. 

 

March Releases

02-27-2015

Get ready for spring with these releases for March, all bright sippers to celebrate the (hopeful) coming of spring. 

 

Perrin Grapefruit IPA 

On March 16 Perrin Brewing Co. will unleash their citrusy, thirst-quenching Grapefruit IPA. Pick up a pint of this ale to take a breather from your otherwise St. Patrick’s Day themed shenanigans and bask in the tasty, fruity brew. Brewed with real grapefruit, Grapefruit IPA is a seasonal offering from Perrin Brewing Co. that pours a hazy golden hue with an intoxicating grapefruit aroma and sweet fruit flavor with a bitter and crisp finish

 

 

New Belgium Skinny Dip

New Belgium Brewing Co. doesn’t want you to get naked, although they do want you to check out their own Skinny Dip, the upcoming summer seasonal. Skinny Dip is a full-bodied lager a frothy head, sunny citrus flavor and crisp finale.  Bright Cascade hops, peach notes and bready malts blend together to create a tantalizing sipper.
4.2% ABV 20 IBU

 

 

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA 

After patiently waiting since October Deschutes release, we will be able to finally indulge in Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed IPA, both on draft or straight from the bottle. A huge citrus aroma affronts the senses immediately with this super juicy IPA, with light bready and honey malt undertones quietly complementing the grapefruit hop profile. 6.4% ABV 60 IBU

 

 

Arcadia Ales Whitsun Ale 

A true sign of the return of spring – Arcadia Ales Whitsun Ale will be back in the Grand Rapids beginning in March. The wheat ale bursts with a light citrus aroma, a creamy white head and a hazy orange appearance. The flavor profile is a combination of orange peel, coriander, light bready notes and a caramel sweetness from Michigan honey. The wheat provides a creamy mouthfeel while a light hopping adds balance to the ale.
6.2% ABV 17 IBU

 

 

Bud Light Lemon-Ade-Rita

A brand new seasonal, limited edition release from the Bud Light Rita family is here!       Lemon-Ade-Rita combines the juicy, fresh-squeezed qualities of homemade lemonade with the crisp and refreshing body of a Bud Light. This newest edition is currently in house, ready to harken the coming of spring.

8% ABV

Stella Artois Valentine's Day Pairings

02-13-2015

Flowers, plushy toys, chocolates are popping up everywhere for the red and pink hued holiday. Accent your celebration with Stella Artois.

 

 

Sophisticated and hailing from a brewing tradition with roots that trace back to 1366, Stella Artois is an exemplary European pilsener that can pair with a wide variety of dishes. Mild malt and light hops allow the beer to accentuate the richness of certain dishes. From robust meat platters to deep and chocolate flavor, Stella Artois accents the dish without overwhelming the pairing.  Pairing Stella Artois with assorted Valentine’s Day treats will create unique and delectable options for your lovey dovey festivities.

 

Specifically, Stella Artois is the perfect companion to salted dark chocolate. The light and crisp nature of Stella Artois serves as a contrast to the rich and salty dessert. The rich and bitter chocolate is highlighted by the salt sprinkles while sips of Stella Artois serve as a palate cleanser in between nibbles.

 

Another, more hearty option is to pair Stella Artois with tiramisu. The creamy and rich flavors are counterbalanced by the mildly malty pilsener flavor followed by a clean and refreshing finish. 

 

Beers To Hibernate With

02-06-2015

In a refusal to be overly dramatic, the weather outside isn't the result of an apocalypse of snow (we’ll save that for the zombies) but it sure is cold and snowy. To keep things cozy throughout the next six weeks of winter (thanks groundhog) here is an array of beers to warm your innards with.

 

 

Blake’s El Chavo

Everyone likes to escape to the tropics when winter comes along. For those who can’t afford the plane ticket, pick up some El Chavo so at least your tongue can be swept along with sweet apple and mango flavors, followed by a slow heat from fresh habanero peppers.

 

Right Brain Firestarter Porter

Layers of rich chocolate and roasted malt are accented by a slowly building heat in your throat as you sip on Firestarter. The slow heat combined with the robust flavor make it seem like you have a fireplace your mouth and throat. A really pleasant, tasty one.

 

Stone Old Guardian

A big beer is sometimes needed for to keep at bay the winter chills. Stone Brewing Co. Old Guardian does just that. This barley wine combines a huge malty backbone with a hefty addition of hops, resulting in a rich, slightly sweet and caramel-hued ale, all finishing on a note of dryness.

 

Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale

Roasty and toasty, this American-style brown ale is robust and bound to bring out the nostalgia that winter nights can conjure.  Just like man’s trusty best friend, this classic craft beer is always at hand and sure to please.

 

 

Stella Artois

A classic option for showering your dear ones with love, Stella Artois is a classic option for a night of celebration. Crisp and clean and showcasing a frothy white head, Stella Artois is a bright light in the dim of winter blues.

 

Perrin Big Konas

The fourth installment in the Killing Craft Series from Perrin Brewing Co., Big Konas is as decadent a treat. And there’s no better time to treat yo self than when the winds are blowing up a snow storm. Big Konas is brewed with cacao nibs from Ecuador and Ghana, along with Pacari Piura Nube chocolate bars and Indonesian civet coffee. The combination of these high quality ingredients result in a big ale full of complex dark chocolate and coffee aroma and flavor.

 

Super Bowl Ad Preview

01-30-2015

The Super Bowl ads for 2015 are back! Both Budweiser and Bud Light have released their new ads are out. 

 

Budweiser's Lost Puppy Ad

 

Proving that the Clydesdales were not canned, as rumor had it, the horses' best pal is lost and it is up to them to save him. Time Magazine said it was like rewatching Homeward Bound. I have to agree since, as expected, I teared up during the ad. 

 

 

 

Bud Light's Pac Man Ad

Pac Man took us on a trip down retro memory lane with a new #UpForWhatever adventure. This time, the trip takes place in a life-sized Pac Man maze played by Up For Whatever participants competing in the retro game. With roller skaters gliding around dressed up like ghosts and chasing the lucky players the game is just as fun to watch as I'm sure it is to play.  

 

Super Bowl Pairing: Chips and Beer

01-28-2015

Play matchmaker with your favorite potato chip and brew with this handy guide to potato chips and beer pairings, just in time for the Super Bowl. 

 

Let the Super Bowl snacking begin! 

 

Bud Light Pac Man...For Real

01-23-2015

Bud Light is continuing to impress with its epic #UpForWhatever campaign. This year it's a throwback to the 80's featuring a live, custom-built Pac Man maze. Now Bud Light fans who are Up For Whatever can transform themselves into their very own Pac Man. Check out the teaser and get ready for the full finales coming your way for Super Bowl

 

Beer and Cheese Pairing [Infographic]

01-20-2015

Forget peanut butter and jelly, beer and cheese are the ultimate food pairing. 

To celebrate #NationalCheeseLoversDay make a toast with a swig of your preferred beer choice and a bite out of that beloved chunk of cheese. Optimum pairings can be discovered using this handy infographic that acts like a trail to ultimate tasty paradise.

 

 

 

Our Company Homebrew Competition

01-12-2015

 

Here at West Side Beer Distributing, we like to get schooled. Beer education plays a huge role as part of our company’s and individual growth, which is why we encourage our sales team to work their way through our beer school, which is designed to provide them with expert knowledge on the making, selling and enjoyment of beer.

 

One aspect of beer school is learning firsthand how much effort, time, expertise and cleaning goes into making a tasty beer. To highlight this, all employees are encouraged to participate in our annual company-wide homebrew competition. This past week our in-house Certified Cicerones, executive team and guest beer experts came together to judge this year’s batch of homebrews from West Side Beer employees. Submissions ranged from Wheat IPAs to Imperial Stouts and from barely drinkable liquids to exceptional and clean brews.

 

 

Key highlights from the judging included the obvious growth of some regular homebrewers, whom have submitted their brews on an annual basis. Tasting the difference and noticing their increased knowledge and skill for beer making proved the educational impact our annual homebrew competition. In addition, everyone clearly enjoyed the homebrew experience, which was evident in the inventive names and unique labels on display. Several brews were presented with wax tips, special six pack cases and memorable names. The biggest takeaway? We are lucky to have some pretty fantastic home brewers working with us and at the end of the day learning (especially about beer) sure is fun.

 

New Year = New Beers To Try

01-02-2015

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA 

Fresh Squeezed IPA from Deschutes makes it’s grand entrance into the market this month, on draft, only. Beginning in the springtime, 6 pack bottles will also be available. This juicy, citrusy IPA will be sure to please those with its “new school” IPA style.

 

 

New Belgium Slow Ride IPA 

Take it easy with the newest release from New Belgium Brewing, Slow Ride IPA. The session ale boasts super hopped up goodness in an itty bitty ABV package. With a release date in January, the hoppy goodness will soon be available all year.

 

Samuel Adams Rebel Rider and Rebel Rouser IPAs 

On their way to taps and stores soon are Rebel IPA’s sidekicks, Rebel Rider and Rebel Rouser. Samuel Adams brewed the two IPAs to complement their top selling Rebel IPA, released last year. Rebel Rider is a session IPA while Rebel Rouser is a double IPA. Between the OG Rebel IPA, Rebel Rider and Rebel Rouser, you can tap into your rebellious side all year long, no matter your mood.

 

 

Blakes Cider

Ok, so cider isn’t beer but it’s delicious, especially the farm-to-tap, hand crafted type of cider produced by Blake’s Cider out of Armada, Michigan. With 70s slang inspired names like Flannel Mouth and Catawampus, Blake’s cider will soon be delighting the Grand Rapids market with it’s impeccable liquid and sense of fun.

 

Perrin Lil' Griz 

Ever heard of a session bourbon barrel aged brown ale? We hadn't either, until Perrin Brewing Co. came up with this stunning example. Huge flavor accompanies this relatively low ABV beer, making it the perfect beer to warm up with throughout the long months of winter ahead.  

 

 

Bud Light Lemon-Ade-Rita

Another limited release from the Bud Light Rita family is on its way. Perfect timing for summer, Lemon-Ade-Rita melds the light and crisp flavor of Bud Light with fresh citrus lemonade sweetness.

 

Stone Enjoy After 

For the past year, the Mitten state’s been enjoying the educational and delicious Enjoy By IPA series from Stone Brewing. Beginning in 2014, we will also begin getting a very limited amount of the brand new Enjoy After series, as well. These ales turn the enjoy by concept on its head and are brewed to be drank at least a year after production. The exact styles and availability are yet to be determined but that doesn’t mean we can’t eagerly await its arrival.

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

Newsletter

Subscribe to our craft beer newsletter: