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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. 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

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

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.

 

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.

 

Pairing: Horrifying Vintage Holiday Meals with Beer

12-23-2014

Nothing says Christmas time like copious amounts of unwanted traditional treats to choke down. Buzzfeed took it further with their top list of horrifying vintage holiday dishes. In case you are intrigued by the combination of jell-o with tuna, jello-with turkey or jell-o with green olives, here is a select list of dishes perfectly paired with beer.

 

 

Tuna Christmas Tree Paired with Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale

There’s nothing like discovering your elf on the shelf whipped up some tuna salad adorned with parsley, jell-o “ornaments” served with a side of stale crackers in the middle of the night. To really celebrate this molded atrocity, pair it with Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Light bitterness from the hops combat the sweet jell-o while cutting through the creamy concoction while the body is light enough to not overpower the tree, which may or may not turn out to be edible.

 

Frozen Fruitcake Salad paired with Hoegaarden

Picture all the reasons fruitcake is bad. Now, add in some spinach and what appears to be a creamy cheese, although in this case mayo isn’t too off of a guess, either. That is the quivering mound of fruitcake salad. Pair it with Hoegaarden, a Weisbier. The beer’s creamy mouthfeel and bright nose are sure to complement, if not somewhat hide, the sweetness from the cake-salad.

 

Molded Pate Cheese Balls paired with Arcadia Ales Nut Brown

The name says enough in regards to this dish’s flavor profile. Just imagine hands lovingly mushing and molding liver and cheese together into globe-like shapes then dumping them into a mold and adding jell-o. Jell-o used to be its own category on the food pyramid, apparently. Arcadia Ales Nut Brown ale has a steady malt bone that adds a roastiness to the cheesed mold and pairs well with the meatiness of the liver.

 

 

Noel Glazed Ham Paired with New Belgium Trippel 

What this ham is glazed with remains a mystery of epic proportions. Best bets are on a spreadable cheese or mayo. However, jell-o is definitely included in this dish. How else would it look so festive? Drink New Belgium Brewing Co. Trippel to highlight the sweet tones of the baked ham while simultaneously scrubbing off any thick residue left behind by the mystery glaze.

 

Holiday Vegetable Loaf Paired with Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils 

Nothing says the holidays like a loaf. A healthy alternative dish to bring to a feast, this has everything; cranberry-shaped whales, apples, broccoli, mashed potatoes, tomatoes and mystery loaf. Pair a can of Mama’s Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blues Brewery with this free-form salad experiment. The light body won’t take away from the salad-ish ingredients while the grassy hops and bready malt character might actually enhance this dish. Maybe. Anything is possible

 

Cask Ale 101

12-11-2014

You’re enjoy an evening out and are happy to celebrate it with a night out. Your beer arrives. Its near room temperature and flat…and perfect. It’s a cask ale and it’s becoming increasingly popular in craft bars around the country.

 

 

The cask ale hails back to days of yore in England when placing beer in a cask for secondary fermentation was the norm. Cask ale, also called real ale, is beer that is placed into a cask after primary fermentation to undergo secondary fermentation before being directly pulled from the cask or firkin. It usually is usually stored for just a few days to rest and allow solid particles to drop. Because the beer undergoes secondary fermentation in the container it can take on the characteristics of the wooden cask or of any additional flavorings added to the cask (cacao nibs and hops are examples) for secondary fermentation. This means that the final product is sort of like those mystery suckers you used to get at the bank…you know it’s going to be typical sucker sweet but the actual flavor profile isn’t revealed until you unwrap it, or in this case, tap the firkin. These ales generally are stored and served at a warmer temperature in order to ensure the yeast does not go dormant.

 

 

Additionally, firkins are not hooked up to a bar system in the same way as your typical keg. Instead, you have to use a hammer to punch in the bunghole, which is the horizontal spout located on the side of the firkin to draw out the beer. There is no separate tank to provide extra carbonation. To draw the beer out of the firkin, either a special hand pump system is used, with the firkin being stored in the cellar, or it is laid out at the bar and directly served using a simple gravity tap. With such a system, the cask is susceptible to oxygenation, which means the cask ale’s shelf life is shortened, although the oxygen can provide a nice softening effect on the beer.

 

Cask ales are a fantastic way to continuously explore the world of beer and all of its varying components. Make sure to try out a taste next time you see a firkin up at the bar. 

 

 

2014 Beer Mashup

12-09-2014

As the year comes to an end, it’s time to celebrate all the fantastic beers we’ve discovered over the course of the year. Much like the much-anticipated pop music mashup, each style is a deliciously good way to remember the year individually, although we don’t suggest mashing them all together into a liquid hot mess to choke down.

 

 

New Belgium Brewing Co. Snapshot

Snapshot Wheat hallmarked the spring with its bright and tangy flavor. This unfiltered wheat ale arrived during the throes of the Polar Vortex, bringing with it a bright, citrusy hope for the future. Since then it has yet to disappoint with each tart sip.

 

Samuel Adams Rebel IPA

The release of Rebel IPA dared us to try a new IPA from one of the godfathers of craft beer. The IPA showcased the scope of Samuel Adam’s brewing prowess with its well-balanced hop-forward presence, making it the second best-selling IPA in the country in just a few short months.

 

 

Stone Brewing Co. EnjoyBy IPA

The EnjoyBy IPA series from Stone Brewing highlighted the educational component of drinking, in this case the sooner you drink it, the better. Brewed to be consumed within thirty days, each style in the EnjoyBy series showcases the unique characteristics of the hops that result in such a freshly bitter beer.

 

 

Arcadia Rapunzel Wheat IPA

Arcadia Ales helped bring a newly popular style to the Michigan consciousness with Rapunzel Wheat IPA. The ale combined the creamy and smooth mouthfeel of a wheat beer with bright citrus hop bitterness. Representing the Michigan beer landscape even more, the beer incorporates locally-sourced hops.

 

Right Brain Brewery Smooth Operator

The cream ale from Right Brain Brewery came just in time for summer, providing an exceptionally flavored, light-bodied “lawnmower” beer option for the Michigan craft beer sector. The easy drinking beer in the 16-ounce can soon became (and remained) a top hit for those who like to laze the day away with a cold one in hand.

 

Traveler Beer Jolly Shandy

The newest beer project from Alan Newman, Traveler Beer, brought a brand new option to the Grand Rapids area with its craft shandy lineup. When Jacko, a pumpkin shandy, showed up on the scene just in time for witching season, beer drinkers learned how innovative the style could be.

 

Shocktop Shockolate

Roasted cocoa nibs brought a rich, roasted flavor to this Belgian wheat style ale. The style came in just time for a decadent chocolate treat during the cold season.

 

 

Deschutes Brewery

After much anticipation, the 6th largest craft brewery in the country brought its wares to the West Michigan market. Black Butte Porter, the country's best-selling porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Inversion IPA and Jubelale all launched the market in October. After a few months of getting to know these well-balanced and tasty beers, new seasonals and beer styles will soon be available as Michigan continues to get to know (and love) one of the best nationally-ranked craft breweries. 

 

Perrin Brewing Killing Craft

After two long years of anticipation, Perrin Brewing launched its first packaged beer on the Michigan beer scene with the super limited bottle series. The Killing Craft series began with the bourbon barrel aged duo, Kill Em All and With Kindness, which started off this series that is focused on highlighting the artistry of crafting beer. 

Beers Paired with Family Time

11-25-2014

Beer and food pairings for Thanksgiving are popping up like crazy. Although fantastic and incredibly helpful when it comes to picking out that perfect ale for your turkey leg, beer and food pairings for Thanksgiving are overlooking another huge factor of the holiday – family. Use this guide to help you decide which beer will be best for surviving Aunt May’s cheek pinches or the newest crazy girl your brother brought home.

 

 

Your sibling’s significant other: Best with New Belgium Rampant IPA

You’re going to need a big beer to withstand your sister’s boyfriend who looks like he belongs in some boy band or your brother’s new girlfriend who still believes that they will last forever and the two of you are going to be best friends. Rampant, an imperial IPA from New Belgium Brewing Co. is there to help. At 8% ABV it has enough alcohol to help you as you attempt to warm up to the person in question. The bold fruity aroma can break through any bleak thoughts you have regarding possibly having to attend their future wedding. And finally the big bitter bite that is present in each sip and finishes on a dry note perfectly mimics the acidic tone you take as you explain in detail what you will do to that person if they ever hurt your sibling’s feelings.

 

 

Grandma’s questions about your love life: best with Bud Light Cran-brrr-rita

Responding to your dear grandma’s eternal questions regarding your single status or attempting to explain that your current love interest really does consider his band as his career can get tiring. Bud Light Cran-brr-rita will remind you that, just like your beverage, your grandmas is truly sweet and well-meaning. The tart and fruity combination of Cran-Brr-Rita will make your mouth happy, which will remind the rest of you to smile. Best part is that at 8 ounces, you will soon need to end the conversation to grab another one.

 

Your overly attached screaming nieces/nephews: best with Perrin Kona Brown

Make sure to have a growler of Perrin Kona Brown ale on hand when the adorable herd of nieces, nephews or little cousins decide to swarm you. The Kona coffee that the ale is brewed with will give you the caffeine kick required to suddenly have herculean strength and carry three children at once as you play horsey. The smooth chocolate malt, likewise, will parch your throat as you slowly read your way through a leaning tower of books once they tire.

 

Watching football with your uncles: best with Right Brain Smooth Operator

Football games seem to last forever so a beer that won’t knock you out at once will be required. This cream ale comes in low at 3.8% ABV so you will be sure to maintain focus throughout the game, even as you take awkwardly frequent sips to keep from getting too bored. Smooth Operator comes in a 16 ounce can so it will bring back fond memories of tailgating in warmer weather. Those memories and your can of beer will keep you entertained as you pretend to watch the game while actually avoiding cleaning up the kitchen at any cost.

 

 

 

Playing card games with your siblings: Best with Stone Brewing Co. Arrogant Bastard

When playing with your siblings, a friendly game of euchre can quickly turn into an ugly competitive match. Prepare for battle accordingly with the over-the-top Arrogant Bastard strong ale from Stone Brewing Co. It’s like liquid confidence, with a malty backbone built to help you withstand any embarrassing childhood nickname that is unburied. The bitter bite to the beer helps set the edge necessary for recalling past traumas that you still blame a certain someone for and also creating the winning hand. But at the end of it all, the beer comes in a bomber so of course you will end up sharing and bonding with them, as long you win.

 

One-on-one with mom: best with Oskar Blues TenFidy

She will want to know what you're doing with your life, bolster your self-confidence and subtly guilt trip you for never visiting enough. You’re going to need a complex brew to match the rollercoaster of emotions that will take place, which is where the full-bodied imperial stout from Oskar Blues comes in. Bittersweet chocolate malt, hints of vanilla and smoke make this a perfect beer to sip on and occupy your mouth so you don’t talk back when you hear the “I told you so” comments. The warming alcohol quality will help to loosen up your emotions until you’re back to calling her “mommy" and are spilling the beans on all your hopes and dreams. For all stages of the one-on-one talk Tenfidy is there for you with its contradictory and complementary layers of flavor.

 

 

 

Beer and Halloween Candy

10-28-2014

Back in the day, I took Halloween very seriously. It was the candy holiday and my family prepared the proper way – by coming up with ridiculous costumes and stealing pillow cases off the beds to use for carrying back our haul. Now, as a grown up, I’ve been forced out of the trick or treating game and beer has replaced the pillow case as the candy accompaniment. Chosen wisely, these two make perfect pairings.

 

 

New Belgium Rampant IPA with sour gummy worms

A perfect example of matching strength to strength, Rampant Imperial IPA from New Belgium Brewing pairs well with the sour gummy worms. The sweet and tart flavors stand up to the bold and bitter brew while the juicy and tropical fruit hop notes complement the gummies’ varied flavors.

 

 

Deschutes Black Butte Porter with malt balls

Milk chocolate coating meets chocolate malt for this candy pairing. The porter is light bodied enough to not overwhelm the palate and the carbonation and dry finish help to clean the tongue between bites.

 

 

Oskar Blues Old Chub Nitro with peanut butter cups

What goes better than chocolate and peanut butter? More chocolate with peanut butter, of course. The smooth and creamy brew can be enjoyed straight from the can. The dark roasted malt is slightly sweet and bitter, perfect to serve as a side to the rich and thick peanut butter chocolate candy.  

 

Samuel Adams Cream Stout with Snickers

The caramel, peanuts and creamy chocolate in Snickers gets to take the main stage for this pairing, with Samuel Adams Cream Stout serving as a refresher. The stout is a dessert itself but proves to be light enough to let the creamy filling and bold chocolate peanut combo shine through.

 

 

Perrin Kona Brown with Kit Kat bars

Sweet milk chocolate and crunchy wafers are given a caffeine boost with this brown ale brewed with locally roasted coffee. The coffee brings out the roasted malt quality which adds another layer of chocolate complexity to the candy, while serving as a base to balance out the sweetness of the treat. 

New Belgium Accumulation

10-23-2014

The snow may not be piling on yet but you can still accumulate some seasonal white stuff with Accumulation White IPA.

 

 

The returning seasonal from New Belgium Brewing Co. is now available for the cold months. To become acquainted with this white IPA, you start with a brilliant golden pour that has just a touch of haze. Topping it off is a heaping head of white foam, much like the snow that will soon be piling up. Bring the glass closer, right by the ol’ schnoz, and take a couple of sniffs. That wonderful smell? That’s the aroma of Accumulation – full of tropical and citrus hops, which can even be reminiscent of fond childhood memories chowing down on fruity pebbles. Now that the prep work is done, take a rewarding slug of the brew. The bold bitterness from a heavy hop dosage should go down smooth, thanks to a wheat creamy mouthfeel. There should be a light caramel malt that provides a stable body to support the hops, as well as a slight fruity sweetness.  The finish is incredibly crisp, leaving the senses just begging for another sip, so go ahead and have another. 

 

 

Welcoming Deschutes Brewery

08-20-2014

Today is a great day in the world of beer for Michigan – Deschutes Brewery announced their intent to distribute in Michigan, beginning on October 6th in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing. As the 6th largest craft brewery in the country, Deschutes beers have been long anticipated in the mitten state. The brewery will initially release Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Inversion IPA and Jubelale.

 

For more information, check out the official press release below and make sure to look out for Deschutes Brewery on October 6th.  

 

 

 

Press Release

 

Deschutes Brewery Beers Coming to Michigan

Bend, Oregon brewery’s craft beers will be available for fans in Western Michigan the
first week of October, with launch events scheduled for October 8-11

 

August 20, 2014 – Bend, Oregon – Deschutes Brewery announced today its craft beers will be available in Michigan beginning October 6th. The Oregon-based brewery will partner with West Side Beer Distributing for distribution of its beers in the Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing areas. 

 

Stacy Denbow, expansion manager for the brewery, said, “We’ve seen a great amount of excitement leading up to our Michigan launch, our last major expansion for the 2014 year. Our fans in Michigan are passionate about their craft beer and we’re looking forward to them being able to get Deschutes in their home state.”

 

Beer is slated to be available October 6th in the three western Michigan cities, with launch events scheduled for October 8-11th. Initially, Deschutes Brewery will offer Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, the nation’s number one selling craft porter, Inversion IPA, and its winter seasonal, Jubelale. The beers will be available in 6-packs (12-oz bottles) and draft.

 

Denbow continued, “We’ve been preparing for expanding our distribution area over the past few years, but we always want to make sure we can provide adequate supply to our entire footprint. We are keeping a close eye on capacity, and that’s why we are focusing only on the western portion of Michigan at this point.”

 

Deschutes launched in Ohio, Kentucky, central and western Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin earlier this year. The western portion of Michigan rounds out the brewery’s geographic expansion for the year. 

 

About Deschutes Brewery

Founded in 1988 as a brew pub in Bend, Oregon, Deschutes Brewery is known for brewing a diverse line-up of award winning beers including the popular Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale. From the beginning, fine ingredients and hand-crafting have been the focus – for both the beer and the food.  In 2008, the brewery opened a second pub in Portland’s Pearl District. Deschutes Brewery now ships beer to 26 states and around the world from its main brewing facility located on the banks of the Deschutes River.  To find out more, visit www.DeschutesBrewery.com or follow on Facebook (/Deschutes.Brewery) and Twitter (@DeschutesBeer).

 

 

Stella Artois Beer Battered Fish

07-15-2014

Apparently polar vortexes are possible during the summertime, which probably means we should all start preparing for hibernation by consuming as many calories as possible. It’s the smart thing to do. Beer battered chips and fish is just the dish to do the trick. The fish still lends a summery aspect to the dish while the beer provides crispiness to the batter.  A light lager, such as Stella Artois, works best in a beer batter for all your frying needs. The beer adds three major components to your batter – carbonation, alcohol and foam – all of which ensure a light a crispy crust for a better batter.  This recipe for beer battered fish and garlic lemon aioli from Something Savory is great for whipping up a simple meal. Don’t forget the chips and a Stella Artois for a perfect pairing.

 

 

 

Beer Batter Recipe

  • 1 12 ounce bottle of Stella Artois
  • 2 cups flour
  • Seasonings to taste. I really like a bit of paprika, pepper and salt mixed up together.
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Whitefish filets

 

Directions

Whisk beer batter ingredients together in bowl and then let chill for 15 minutes. Next, heat up about an inch of oil in a pan. You will know it is ready when a bit of batter crisps up when dropped in the oil. Dip whitefish filets into batter then lay down in oil. Cook until golden then flip sides and repeat. Once it’s done cooking, place on paper towel to soak up access oil. Serve with a slice of lemon, garlic lemon aioli (recipe below), chips and a Stella Artois or four.

 

http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=images&cd=&docid=9TeEAt-XHEiz6M&tbnid=1AEsfwsTNSjHRM:&ved=0CAIQjBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.clarkequay.com.sg%2FNYe%2Fwebsite%2Fbinarystream_processor.aspx%3FT%3DKoDE9MPi%252FDfeCINO0aTW3Q%253D%253D%26C%3Djvt7obHolDz9iHKsj2sU%252Bw%253D%253D%26PK%3DR4XF3Ql6FHg%253D%26K%3D7C9A71&ei=u0bFU-XHNdWkyAS934CQBQ&bvm=bv.70810081,d.aWw&psig=AFQjCNF03cEPNsfei8qy_ZxRzF1PRfqcfg&ust=1405524014491721

 

Garlic Lemon Aioli Recipe

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • Salt, pepper, thyme and parsley to taste.

Mix all ingredient together and serve on side of beer batter fish.

The Perfect Craft Beer Pairing for the Game

07-01-2014

T minus two hours until the U.S. goes head-to-head against Belgium in another epic World Cup match. As the minutes tick away and everyone hurries through the workday in order to change into red, white and blues and head down to their preferred perch to watch the game there is only one question that is still unanswered.

No, it’s not who will win. That will be the U.S. Obviously. “We believe that we will win,” is the chant, right?

The question is what beer will be best served alongside the cheers and jeers of the soccer game. For a perfect craft beer option, look no further than New Belgium Brewing. The passion for the brewery was born in Belgium, which is where the name derives, and they do brew up many delicious Belgium styles. However, the brewery is U.S. born and thrives throughout the country as one of the top craft breweries. Since the Craft Beer Revolution in the U.S. New Belgium has consistently proven itself as a brewery that supports and takes part in local communities throughout the states. The brewery simultaneously is an emblem of the “American way” while harmonizing patriotic ideals with international know-how. So pony up to your favorite pub’s bar and have them pour you the drink of the game – a pint of New Belgium beer.

 

Enjoy By 07.04.14

06-03-2014

What’s more American than a ridiculously bold and bitter double IPA? Probably nothing. Which is why the next release in the Enjoy By Series from Stone Brewing Co. is meant to be enjoyed by or on America’s birthday. With Mitch Steele,  brewmaster at Stone Brewing Co., in town for the National Homebrewers’ Conference from June 11 to June 14 there is no better time to enjoy this limited release in celebration of craft beer, bold IPAs, and the birth of a nation.

 

 

Bottled just this past Friday, Enjoy By 07.04.14 has a 35-day life span. Designed to be enjoyed ASAP and brewed not to last, this IPA maintains a fresh, hoppy character as it cruises to your gullet. With 88 IBUs and an ABV of 9.4% this ale maintains a balance of overwhelmingly hoppy flavor. Brewed with eleven different hop varieties (Calypso, Super Galena, Simcoe, Delta, Target Amarillo, Motueka, Citra, Cascade, New Zealand Nelson Sauvin and Australian Galaxy) Enjoy By is characterized by layers of bitter complexity. The aroma showcases tropical fruit and light peach while the flavor profile balances complementing hop bitterness.

 

Perrin Brewing Co. VPA

05-29-2014

 

The newest release from Perrin Brewing Co. is VPA (Veterans’ Pale Ale), brewed in honor and support of the troops, past and present, who have sacrificed for our country.

 

VPA is a sessionable pale ale brewed with a combination of Summit, Centennial and Citra hops, which result in a bold American hop aroma. The flavor is effortlessly balanced between a light and clean malt body that smooths and supports the floral and citrus hop bitterness. The color is clear, bright straw. This ale clocks in at 5% ABV and 40 IBUs.

 

 

For every pint sold of VPA, one dollar will be donated to the Finish the Mission Veterans Relief Fund. This nonprofit's mission is to support local, West Michigan veterans and their families by helping with an array of monetary shortages they are experiencing, including mortgages, dental and health expenses. In addition, Perrin Brewing Co. is a proud sponsor and participant in the Freedom Cruise, which will ride through Grand Rapids June 25-29.

 

Whichever way you pour it, VPA is a do-gooder. Whether that’s supporting those who protect us or simply because it’s an incredibly drinkable and delicious new ale to sip on.

 

 

Beer Shelfies for American Craft Beer Week

04-30-2014

The rise of the shelfie has infiltrated beer culture. As part of the celebration of craft beer, the Brewers Association enlisted the help of breweries from all 50 states to create a montage of beer shelfies.

 

 

Although shelfies have been on the receiving end of criticism, due to the narcissism that can come along with the practice of taking hundreds of pictures of yourself, the beer shelfie seems like a good idea. It goes beyond the basic beer porn type of photos seen across social media and flips the camera (or smartphone) around to show the mysterious imbiber of the brew in their natural habitat. The Brewnited We Stand campaign, by using the shelfie platform, is able to showcase how diverse, fun and weird the beer community can be. All by having people take pictures of themselves with their beers of choice. On top of that, it’s a great campaign that is able to visually represent the breweries’ cultures in a very personal way – through the people behind the brew. What better way to learn about the many breweries and their delicious product, both near and far, than by viewing up close photos of the brewery folk having fun working and drinking?

 

To take part in the beer shelfie fun, grab a brew, take a self portrait, post it on your preferred (or multiple) social media and tag it #ACBW to show how you’re toasting to American Craft Beer Week (May 12 to May 18). 

 

 

 

5 Tips for Throwing a KCCO Party

04-15-2014

How to throw a KCCO Party 

 

 

 
KCCO beer has landed in Grand Rapids! Get ready to have some fun way the Chive KCCO parties. Not sure what or how to do so? Here are a few quick steps to make sure you max out the moment and enjoy or throw a fantastic time.
 
 

1. Drink KCCO beer. 

This is sort of a given but still necessary to include. KCCO beer is a black lager brewed via Resignation Brewery, a part of Redhook Brewery. It is a black lager with toasty malt notes and a super smooth lager finish. 5.1% ABV 
 
 

2. Document the action. 

The saying "pics or it didn't happen" tends to ring true. Especially when it comes to sharing your KCCO experience with the Chive community. 
 
 

3. Include facial hair. 

Nothing says Chive on quite like a well manicured beard or mustache. The fake variety are accepted, as well. 
 
 

4. Sharing is caring. 

KCCO beer is limited. Don't hog it to yourself, share it with your friends! Same goes for those aforementioned pictures. Post them up online to show off the fun.
 
 

5. Keep Calm and Chive on.

This one is pretty obvious, right?
 

Traveler Beer Co.

03-28-2014

Traveler Beer Company

 

The Traveler Beer Company began with a phone call between Alan Newman, founder of Magic Hat Brewing, and Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Company. That phone conversation begat the Alchemy and Science project, which then produced the Traveler Beer Company.

 

 

The Traveler Beer Company produces a new sort of adventure for the craft drinker – craft shandys. According to the Beer Traveler Company, the story of the shandy goes way back.

 

“The shandy tradition dates back to the 17th century and is typically beer mixed with a citrus-flavored soda or carbonated lemonade, ginger beer, ginger ale or cider. Today, English publicans pour a blend of traditional English ale with various lemon and lime beverages for their patrons though real lemons or limes are rarely used.” - Beer Traveler Co.

 

Alan Newman and company realized that in the craft beer community that was bursting with barrel aged brews and dank IPAs there was a surprising lack of any craft shandys. That’s when the Beer Traveler Company found its mission.

 

 

The first in the lineup turned into the brewery’s flagship, Curious Traveler, a malt wheat ale infused with lemon and lime puree, lending it a brilliant citrus aroma and taste. The additional options that are available throughout the Grand Rapids market are Time Traveler, which is a strawberry shandy that utilizes fresh strawberries to create a unique and sweet flavor, and Illusive Traveler, a grapefruit shandy that harnesses the bright citric flavor without the fruit’s bitterness.

 

Keep an eye out for these shandys so you can get a bit curious and acquaint yourself to them.

 

Nachos and Beer: Super Bowl Pairing

01-31-2014

Nachos and Beer: Your Super Bowl Pairing

As the Super Bowl approaches there is only one thing on my mind – nachos. Maybe it’s multiple types available or maybe it’s the cheese. Whatever the cause, nachos are the ultimate Super Bowl snack. This crispy, cheesey, spicy and salty snack requires a beverage that will be its equal in taste and overall awesomeness. The nachos require a beer (or three) that pairs perfectly with the dish. Depending on personal nacho preferences, here is a list of beer styles and brands to pair with the ultimate Super Bowl snack.

 

 

Classic Cheese Nachos with Jalapenos and Salsa

Pairing: Pale Lagers (Stella Artois, Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils)

Gooey and cheesy with a bright heat from the jalapenos, these nachos require a lager with a complex body. Light hoppiness from the lager will withstand the flavor without overemphasizing the heat. Instead, the clean finish will cut through the cheese gooeyness while higher combination levels with combat and balance out the spiciness.  If you want to take it a step further, check out this recipe for beer cheese made with Stella Artois.

 

BBQ Nachos

Pairing: Ambers (New Belgium Fat Tire) and Dunkels (Frankenmuth Dunkel)

Often made with pulled pork, BBQ nachos combine gooey cheese with sweet and tangy BBQ sauce covering dark meat. The sweet maltiness complements the BBQ flavors while also adding to dark and meaty quality. The clean finish of the dunkel and the dry, slightly bitter finish of the amber both work to dig through the cheesiness.

 

Deluxe Nachos

Pairing: Pale Ales (Summit EPA) and IPAs (Perrin IPA)

So many toppings are on these nachos that your chip is in danger of breaking. Ground beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, olives, salsa, onion, sour cream and avocado are all common toppings on these nachos that boast a complex, spicy, salty and tangy flavor. The hops in both pale ales and IPAs complement the tang in the sour cream while the effervescence and bitter end clear the palette for the next bite. The bold beer flavors provide a strong enough brew to hold its own beside the deluxe nachos.  

Enjoy By IPA 02.14.14

01-14-2014

Stone Enjoy by IPA 02.14.14

 

 

The long-awaited day is here!

 

Starting tomorrow Grand Rapids and Lansing Michigan will be privy to the newest installment in the Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By IPA series.

 

Let’s all take a moment to bask in the hoppy happiness that comes with that knowledge.

 

Brewed specifically to be big, bold and bursting with hop flavor this IPA is guaranteed not to last. In fact. as I type this you have exactly 31 days, 9 hours, 25 minutes and 7 seconds to guzzle down the beer before it’s gone or at least gone bad. In the age of collecting, cellaring and coveting beers to savor at our leisure, why make and make a beer that is designed to go against those hobbies? Well, Stone Brewing Co. is doing something fantastic for the craft drinkers out there – it’s creating a tangible and purposeful teaching moment, one pint at a time with Enjoy By IPA. This is the next level for beer drinkers out there that highlights the importance of pure freshness in a brew.

 

This Enjoy By IPA is made to be drank by February 14, 2014, which is a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in my opinion. It is a double IPA with a whopping hit of citrus and floral hops. Clocking in with 9.4% ABV and 88 IBUs it is a very dry and bitter brew that conveys a dank hoppiness in the head, with malts that on first sip smooth the way for a hop overload. It finishes dry and bitter, with a slight hint of alcohol warmth in the throat.

 

Find it. Drink it. Enjoy it. 02.14.14.

 

.

 

2013 Beer Release Review

12-30-2013

2013 Beer Releases Review

 

2013 is going down in history as the year full of fun and beer. Beer highlights  included new packaging and brand new beers in the market. Here’s a breakdown of the biggest beer introductions in Grand Rapids for the 2013 year. Take a look, reminisce and check out any beers you haven’t gotten your mitts on yet.

 

Budweiser Black Crown

As the winner from Budweiser’s Project 12 competition, Black Crown launched at the same time as the 2013 SuperBowl. An amber lager aged over beachwood chips it delivers a smooth flavor that made it stand out from the nation-wide competition held, making it the audience favorite and then the newest addition to the Bud Family.

 

Rochester Mills Beer Co.

Just in time for the Michigan Winter Beer Festival, Rochester Mills Beer Co. (based out of Rochester, MI) began distribution via draft and cans. For many, this was the best belated Christmas present they could get since in Rochester Mills Beer Co. consistently is one of the most sought-after and popular beer pubs in the state and with their distribution launch are now available in Grand Rapids.

 

Petoskey Brewing

A new brewery from the North launched their beers on draft in the first quarter of 2013. Although the brewery is itself new, the idea is rooted in 100-year history, dating back to 1898 when the original “Old Brewery” used the building for the original Petoskey Brewing facility. Now, Petoskey Brewing once again shines as a brewing landmark while providing artisan beers to the Grand Rapids area and beyond.

 

Bud Light Straw-Ber-Rita

The Bud Light Rita family gained two new additions this year, beginning with Straw-Ber-Rita in the spring. Straw-Ber-Rita, and then the limited winter specialty Cran-Brrr-Rita, provided more choices to the Rita family for those who wanted a change from the original Lime-A-Rita. And those new choices are mighty tasty together!

 

Oskar Blues Brewery

This past march the 2013 Craft Brewer of the Year, Oskar Blues Brewery, launched their Cantastic line up in the Mitten State. The brewery is renown for sparking the craft can revolution by being the first brewery to distribute their beers in cans only. Since then, the brewery has grown exponentially, with a new brewery located in North Carolina, which is good since it craft beer drinkers continue to steadily and increasingly gravitate and drink up the fuh-CAN-tastic beers from Oskar Blues.

 

New Belgium Brewing: Rampant Imperial IPA

Rampant is a well-balanced example of an imperial IPA. Calypso and Mosaic hops combined to create a bright citrus aroma and stonefruit flavor profile in this bitter, copper-colored brew. As a brand new addition to the Explorer Series, Rampant IPA contribute a heaping handful of hops bitterness that leaves you craving more.

 

Perrin Brewing: Grapefruit IPA

This year Perrin Brewing produced a fantastic line up of new beers from their brewery in Comstock, MI – there wasn’t a bad one in the bunch. However, one that stood out was the summer seasonal, Grapefruit IPA. A sessionable and low IBU IPA that simply burst with fragrant citrus aroma and taste stole the show this summer.

 

Stella Cidre

This year, Stella Artois introduced Stella Cidre, a European-style cider that showcases an effervescent body with a dry and crisp finish. Since it first launched, Stella Cidre has won multiple accolades, including winning gold at the 2013 North American Beer Awards.

 

Smuttynose Brewing Co.

Smuttynose Brewing Co. launched Finestkind IPA and Big A IPA drafts through West Side Beer in October, bringing another world-class brewery to Michigan. Based out of Portsmouth, Smuttynose is a leading craft brewer in its home state of New Hampshire while both Finestkind IPA and Big A IPA are top rated beers on BeerAdvocate and RateBeer...and are now available in the Great Beer State

 

Frankenmuth Christmas Town

Frankenmuth’s newest release, Christmas Town joined the ranks as the brewery’s winter seasonal, ensuring that everyone got into the holiday spirit. A delightful winter warmer, this new addition to the Frankenmuth family helped us end the 2013 year on a happy and beery note.

 

 

 

Give the Gift of Beer

12-19-2013

It’s officially one week until Christmas. The mall is now a scary place to visit. It’s time to find some sanctuary in the beer aisle and, while you’re at it, finish holiday shopping. Here’s the ultimate list of booze to get for that hard-to-buy-for (over 21 years old) person on your list.

 

 

The Mixologist: Shock Top Choctop

Essentially a beer cocktail kit in a 6 pack, Choctop is a black and tan featuring the winter seasonal Chocolate Wheat and Shock Top Belgian.

 

The Gluten Free: Angry Orchard Cider

Gluten-free drinking is no longer a problem with the rise of ciders, especially with the range provided by Angry Orchard. Choose between Crisp Apple, Traditional Dry, Apple Ginger or the winter seasonal Cinnful Apple. Or, have all of the above.

 

The Sweet Tooth: Right Brain Naughty Girl Stout

No longer is sweet treats regulated to the kitchen, beers provide rich, chocolate flavors with a bit more than a sugar kick. Naughty Girl Stout is aptly named since the flavor profile is reminiscent of the popular mint chocolate cookie.

 

The Snow Bunny: New Belgium Accumulation

Whether its snow or hops accumulating, this winter white IPA is full of bright hop aroma that will warm up anyone after a day on the slopes.

 

The Hop Head: Arcadia Ales Hop Rocket Imperial IPA

Simcoe hops bring out an assertive aroma that will bring you to the moon and back.

 

Beer Sixer for Thanksgiving

11-26-2013

Mixed beer sixer for Thanksgiving

 

 

Beer, historically, has been the go-to gift to for those that lack any sort of culinary inclination and still need to contribute to the holiday feast. The joy that the sight of sixer of beer can elicit from the host’s face is well worth the effort it takes to select a specific beer. But why wait stop at one? This year, make an impression with a sixer featuring individually chosen beers that each enhance the delicious fanfare of Thanksgiving.

 

Rochester Mills Milkshake Stout

Dark and rich chocolate notes make this beer like a dessert in a bottle, ensuring that no one will recall that you forgot to bring the pie.

 

Stella Artois Cidre

With an effervescent body and crisp finish this is a delectable twist on the typical champagne toast.

 

Summit Saga IPA

An assertive bitterness and resiny, grapefruit aroma make this IPA bold enough to serve as an accent to herbed and full-flavored dishes.

 

Shiner Cheer

A seasonal favorite, this ale is brewed with peaches and pecans that lend it a unique sweetness full of dark roasted nut flavor making it a perfect accompaniment to pecan pie.

 

Brooklyn Lager

A remarkably crisp, dry-hopped lager that goes well with roasted turkey, buttery mashed potatoes and herbed stuffing, making it the versatile drink of choice all meal long.

 

Arcadia Loch Down Scotch Ale

Roasted malt and caramel notes join a biscuit aroma to finish crisply. Pair this with mashed potatoes and gravy or roasted turkey to complement the richness.

Most Arrogant Bar Challenge 2013

11-21-2013

Most Arrogant Bar Challenge

 

 

 

Bastards and arrogance abound as the annual Stone Brewing Co. Most Arrogant Bar Challenge is finally here. The contest lets drinkers put their taste buds to work, with each participating bar seeing who can sell the most liquid arrogance and reign as the “Most Arrogant Bar.” There are several bars within the Grand Rapids and Lansing areas that have taken up the challenge to be “Most Arrogant Bar” so make sure to search them out for a chance to support them in their quest for the title.

 

After a week of sipping on liquid arrogance I am already aware of the side effects. These side effects include feeling really good about myself, attempting impossible feats (such as somersaulting), wearing different patterned clothing (now everything looks fabulous on me) and challenging strangers to thumb wrestling contests. In short, my confidence is through the roof and has reached the point of arrogance.

 

Although some of the side effects listed above could be considered dangerous  (too many thumb wrestling matches can lead to severe thumb strains), these risks are well worth it considering the reward for your mouth. Beers that are included in the liquid arrogance list include Arrogant Bastard, OAKED Arrogant Bastard, Lukcy Bastartd and Double Bastard. Try one or all, vote with your taste buds in getting your favorite bar the title of “Most Arrogant Bar” and discover if you are truly worthy to go for Stone Brewing Co.’s bastards.  

Ugly Sweater Run

11-15-2013

 

 

I’m already grooming my fake mustache and searching for the perfect ugly sweater for the Sam Adams sponsored Ugly Sweater Run.

 

That’s right the “ugliest 5k on the planet” is coming not only to the Mitten State but to Beer City USA itself. Starting at 11 am on December 1st the crowd will gather to drink copious amounts of hot chocolate and get ready walk or run off all those Thanksgiving pounds to the beat of cheesy holiday music.

 

The Ugly Sweater Run is pretty a pretty cut and dry give/get scenario: If you’re over eight years old then register for the race (eight years old or younger run for free), and bring a toy to give to Toys for Tots. All toys will be placed under the giant inflatable holiday tree. Then get a vintage hat to look super cool, a fake mustache for those mustache-deprived and two drink tickets to for Sam Adams Boston Lager, Winter Lager or Angry Orchard Hard Cider. Also, although not as tangible as a cup of hot cocoa or delicious beer, participants will most likely experience a warm fuzzy feeling, thanks to all the holiday cheer, post-run endorphins and the super warm ugly sweater they are sporting.

 

Another reason I’m pretty excited about this run is that the video features the only Mariah Carey song I have admitted ever liking. Check it out for yourself, although you can probably guess which song I am referring to.

 

 

 

One last note: don’t worry about racing. This 5K is seriously fun. I attempted a run outside to condition my lungs to the colder temperature in preparation and then promptly remembered I have cold-induced asthma. I’m still going to participate, although the running might be less of a focus than the competition to see who can drink the most hot chocolate.

 

If you’re into mustaches, ugly sweaters, bottomless hot chocolate, delicious craft beers or crisp ciders, running, walking, holiday music, fun or giving to underprivileged children then here is the link for registration for the Ugly Sweater Run.

 

They are on the Facebook.

They also provide some Pinterest inspiration.

And they tweet about all things involving ugly holiday sweaters.

 

 

Ugly Sweater Run

Saturday, December 1

11 am

Calder Plaza, Grand Rapids MI

Anchor Christmas Ale

11-04-2013

Anchor Christmas Ale

 

The super-secret and ever-changing Anchor Christmas Ale is back!

Here is a really cute video talking about the 39th installment in the Christmas Ale series from Anchor Brewing, along with a press release detailing the 2013 logo and the series, in general.

 

 

 

Press Release:

(San Francisco, CA) – Anchor Brewing Company announces the release of the 2013 Anchor Christmas Ale; a rich, dark spiced ale that marks the 39th year of this Anchor tradition.

 

Every year since 1975 Anchor has brewed a distinctive and unique Christmas Ale, which is available from early November to mid-January. The Ale’s secret recipe is different every year, as is the tree on the label, but the intent with which Anchor offers it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life.

 

“Here at Anchor, we strive to capture the spirit of the holiday season with our annual Christmas Ale,” said Mark Carpenter, Brewmaster at Anchor Brewing. “Much like Christmas morning, everyone anxiously awaits for the day that they can finally crack open a bottle of Christmas Ale and see what this year’s ale is going to taste like. We don’t just change the recipe and the label each year for change sake, each year we are trying to improve and make the best spiced ale we can make. We think beer lovers will be pleased when they taste the complex, spiced flavors of the our 2013 Christmas Ale.”

 

Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. This year, Anchor Christmas Ale’s tree is the beautiful California White Fir. It was hand drawn by local artist James Stitt, who has been creating Christmas Ale labels for us since 1975.

 

Not everyone who came to California in 1849 came in search of gold. A few came in search of trees. English botanist William Lobb was one such plant hunter. As a collector of California’s exotic flora for English nurseries, the “lynx-eyed” Lobb (born in East Cornwall in 1809; died in San Francisco in 1864) was responsible for the introduction of fifty-eight species of California plants to English gardens, including Giant Sequoia and California White Fir.

 

In its youth, the symmetry of California White Fir’s pyramidal form makes it the ideal Christmas tree. Its shade tolerance allows it to thrive at modest size for years amid groves of much taller Sequoias; yet it can attain heights of up to 160 feet when given the opportunity. The winged seeds of the California White Fir are collected not only by botanists, but also by mountain songbirds, chipmunks, and squirrels.

 

From November through mid-January, Anchor Christmas Ale is available in 6-packs, magnums, and on draught in select restaurants and bars across the U.S., as well as at the Anchor Brewing Taproom in San Francisco.

 

For more information on the history of Anchor Christmas Ale, please visit the link below.

Learn more about Anchor Brewing at www.anchorbrewing.com.

 

# # #

About Anchor Brewing Company
Anchor Brewing Company’s roots date back to the California gold rush making it one of America’s oldest breweries. Its Anchor Steam® Beer is San Francisco’s original since 1896. In 1965, Fritz Maytag acquired and revived the struggling brewery at a time when mass production of beer dominated and seemed unstoppable. Maytag started a revolution in beer that originated today’s craft beer movement. An undisputed icon, Anchor is America’s first craft brewery where beers are handmade in our traditional copper brewhouse from an all-malt mash. At Anchor, we practice the time-honored art of classical brewing, employing state-of-the-art methods to ensure that our beers are always pure and fresh. We know of no brewery in the world that matches our efforts to combine traditional, natural brewing with such carefully applied, modern methods of sanitation, finishing, packaging and transporting. See what we are brewing today at www.anchorbrewing.com.

10 Things as Soft as Suede

10-29-2013

10 Things as Soft as Suede




Suede, the fabric, is pretty great. Suede, the beer, is awesome. Part of the reason this brew is so awesome is that the flavor balance and mouthfeel are both as smooth as the soft fabric. Which made me think, what else is super awesome and soft like suede? These are the top ten soft like suede things, personally. What would be on your list? 

 

1. Puppies when they cuddle up next to you

 

2. Deep conditioned and brushed hair (or beard).

 

3. My sheets when I accidentally throw in twelve fabric softener sheets instead of one.

 

4. Those fuzzy socks that make it look like you have furry feet.

 

5. Flower petals. Although, if you rub then on your face you may end up with pollen up your nose and an allergic reaction.

 

6. Frozen yogurt looks and is very soft.

 

7. The snuggie blanket you pretend you don’t own but secretly covet all winter long.

 

8. Chapstick with shea butter or something in it.

 

9. Peanut butter.

 

10. Suede Imperial Porter from Stone Brewing Co. 

9.6% ABV 

Avocado honey, jasmine and calendula flowers infuse this imperial porter with a deep, complex flavor that is as smooth as suede.  Intense floral flavor highlights the dark cocoa and coffee notes, an unusual and tasty combination in an imperial porter.

 


National Pizza Month

10-23-2013

October is Pizza Month – Let’s Celebrate with Beer!

 

 

 

History 

Although pizza is an “Italian” cuisine, we can actually blame WWII for the pizza craze that has gripped the nation. The GIs came back from overseas in full pizza-loving mode and the rest of America soon learned the craving for pizza to be contagious. Our pizza loving ways didn’t become a true nationally celebrated month until the mid 1980s when some dude named Gerry Durnell out of Santa Claus Indiana declared October National Pizza Month. The rest is literally history.

 

Pizza and Beer Pairing 


The perfect way to celebrate such delicious history? With more delicious goodness, this time in liquid form. The best pizza and beer pairings are the ones that really let the robust pizza flavors take center stage. Of course, depending on the toppings, sauce and cheese combination the pairing can vary drastically. However, for a regular pie, American-style lagers and ambers pair very well, generally.

 

Suggested Beer Pairings

 

 

Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager



 

Blue Point Brewing Toasted Lager

 



 

Rochester Mills Rochester Red

 


 

 


Petoskey Brewing North 45 Amber 

 


Homebrewing for the First Time

10-15-2013

Homebrewing for the First Time

 

After months of suspense I finally homebrewed. Unsurprisingly, I sucked at it.

 


 

Although the process of brewing is an ancient tradition and typically there are only four ingredients involved, brewing a beer that actually tastes delicious is quite the feat.

 

Luckily, I had some helpful guidance from a coworker and avid brewer who provided equipment and a brewing location. The brewing part ended up being a lot of fun. The air smelled amazing from the brewing beer and I got to sit for a bit and drink a few of my coworker’s homebrews while tending to my own liquid.

 

After transporting the carboy full of my brew back home, I spent the night acting like a brand new mother by checking in on it in the middle of the night and taking way too many photos of the bubbly action. However, I was not a good mother since I forgot to replace the plastic wrap on the top with the air lock. I only realized my mistake when I came home from work to discover the carboy making a loud and scary nose with the plastic wrap about to explode. After a very freaked out phone call to a brewing pal and a bit of clean up later the air lock was on but I started to live in fear of contamination. That is, until I started to neglect my first brewed.

 

I visited my family, work things started to pick up speed and I forgot about my beer baby in the corner. It never got to go through secondary fermentation and instead steeped for a full three weeks before I managed to bottle. After hearing stories about the boring clean up aspect, as well as the tedious labor of bottling I was a bit apprehensive. However, with a couple of beers, a friend and a few hours of my time the beer ended up bottled. 

 

I sampled some during the bottling process and it disappointed me. Although I had every intention of creating a West Coast style pale ale I somehow created a pale amber ale. If I had the supplies to dry hop I may have been able to create something close to deliciousness. Instead, I ended up with a rather unbalanced ale that at least managed to skirt contamination. Hopefully time and bottle conditioning will improve it but if not, or at least until then, I have plenty of fine tasting brews to keep me company. 


Copper Wort Chiller 

 


 


Beer Baby in a Carboy 

 


 


Bottling Station 

 


How to Make a Pumpkin Keg

09-30-2013

How to Make a Pumpkin Keg


Judging from the pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spiced lattes and pumpkin beer now readily available we are in the throes of Pumpkin flavor season. Some may be feeling the pains of a bit of pumpkin over indulgence. I, on the other hand, can't get enough. A new level of pumkin awesomeness can now be attained with this tutorial on how to make a beer keg out of a pumpkin. 


It's easy, it's fun and the end result is a DIY pumpkin-flavored beer (the video uses Sam Adams Octoberfest) and a bunch of pumpkin seeds perfect for roasting and eating. 


Watch it here to make one for yourself. 




 

5 Oktoberfests You Need to Drink Right Now

09-23-2013

5 Oktoberfests You Need to Drink Right Now

 

 

Draft Magazine came out with a very persuasive list for why we should all drink Oktoberfest beers right now. To make it even easier to follow the advice from this magazine, here are 5 Oktoberfest beers you should be drinking right now, although maybe not all at the same time.

 

1. Samuel Adams Octoberfest

It isn’t Oktoberfest season unless you are getting a taste of this beer that is the most popular seasonal style from one of the most well known and long-standing craft breweries.

 

2. Rochester Mills Oktoberfest

This weekend the brewery will be celebrating Oktoberfest in true beer festival fashion – with lots of beer, live performances, dancing and a carnival atmosphere. However, their draft Oktoberfest can be sampled and celebrated throughout Michigan.

 

3. Frankenmuth Oktoberfest

Steeped in traditional German brewing culture, this time of year is when Frankenmuth Brewery truly shines. Their Oktoberfest style is a stein of German goodness ‘till the last drop.

 

4. Brooklyn Oktoberfest

Brooklyn Brewery ensures it stays true to the original styling of this Marzen style brew. Their hard work paid off, with an Oktoberfest beer that has earned multiple gold medals from the World Beer Championships.

 

5. Blue Point Oktoberfest

The tagline for this beer is to party like the Crown Prince of Bavaria, whose betrothal in 1810 first ignited the brewing of Oktoberfest beer. Now, Blue Point ensures that the Oktoberfest party continues with this annually brewed traditional lager, perfect for royalty or regular citizens.  

 

 


American Craft Beer Week

05-14-2013

A Guide to Celebrating American Craft Beer Week

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, once again! American Craft Beer Week (May 13-19) is in full swing, which means it’s time to celebrate with fun, beer-filled activities. For those who want to go beyond simply drinking beer to celebrate, since in reality that is no different than any other week of the year, here is a guide for appropriately celebrating every beer drinker’s favorite holiday.

 

Step One: Pair that beer with some grub.

This is a holiday so feel free to go beyond your beer and cheese option and do some wild pairings. Test out different dishes to see what beer flavors they accentuate or mask or do a themed pairing with all breakfast food. Or, go the route of spontaneity and assemble whatever you have in your fridge then take out your beer and start trying whatever is available. This is what some of us call making dinner.

 

Step Two: Travel the world through beer.

Growing up I never could master the around-the-world slinky trick. However, I’m quit proud of my world traveling skills when it comes to beer. Start off local, spread out from the Midwest and hit up Southern, Western and Northeastern brews before getting out of the states. Europe’s rich brewing history shouldn’t be overlooked, nor should the up and coming craft beer hotbeds in Chile or Asia.

 

Step Three: Play a new kind of drinking game.

See how long you can go this week without drinking a beer you already have tried. Pushing the limits and expanding your view of beer will not only expand your palette but also introduce you to new breweries you may have previously ignored.

 

Step Four: Don’t get wasted.

American Craft Beer Week is about appreciating and enjoying beer, not chugging it to reach such an inebriated state that you can’t remember half of what you drank the night before. Plus, May is session beer month so this is the perfect time to segue into lower ABV beers that you can drink a few of without the room spinning.

 

Step Five: Make friends.

The craft beer community is known for getting together in the name of beer. So, for the sake of beer, go out there, have fun and be nice and make new friends. 

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