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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.

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

5 Stouts to drink for #StoutDay

11-06-2014

The weather outside may be frightful but inside your mouth (and belly) things can still be delightful. Why? Because today is International Stout Day, which means celebrations and libations are in order. For optimum mouth happiness, test out these five stouts to join in on the day's festivities. 

 

 

Right Brain CEO Stout

Voted Michigan's Favorite Stout for two consecutive years, Right Brain Brewery's CEO stout is sure to please. Brewed with chocolate, espresso and oatmeal for the perfect creamy, sweet and dark flavor, CEO Stout is a big and bold flavored American stout. 

5.5% ABV 25 IBU

 

Rochester Mills Milkshake Stout 

For a brew that is sure to bring all the boys or gals to the yard, Milkshake Stout from Rochester Mills Beer Co. is the go-to stout. Brewed with milk sugar, the dark, full-flavored brew showcases layers of roasted malt complexity with each creamy sip that lingers on a slightly sweet note.  

5% ABV 

 

Goose Island Muddy Imperial Stout

Inspired by the Chicago Blues scene, Muddy Imperial Stout from Goose Island Brewing Co. blends molasses, brewer's licorice and Belgian rock candi sugar seamlessly together in this brew. The rich and bold stout is perfect for making a statement. 

9% ABV 32 IBU

 

 

New Belgium Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout 

For a twist on the classic style, go for Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout, the newest out of the Lips of Faith series from New Belgium Brewing Co. The brew combines a Belgian yeast with chocolate sweetness and sprinkling of salt, which accents the sweetness in this dessert in a glass. 

9% ABV 35 IBU

 

Oskar Blues TenFidy

A beer big enough for any celebration, Ten Fidy Imperial Stout from Oskar Blues Brewery pours an opaque black, akin to motor oil. The huge brew is full of caramel, chocolate and roasted coffee flavor, with a hefty wallop of hops wrapped in a blanket of smooth malts. 

10.% ABV 98 IBU

 

 

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. 

Tacos and Beer Pairing

05-05-2014

 

Cinco de Mayo is upon us, which means its time to celebrate Taco Tuesday a day early and get down on some taco and beer pairings.  

 
First, let's set the stage for this pairing. These tacos are all hypothetically topped with the basic toppings cilantro, onion and lime trio while each taco begins with on a double layer of warm corn tortilla. With those staples on each taco, the focus is on the featured meats flavor for creating a perfect beer pairing. 
 
Carnitas Tacos and New Belgium Fat Tire
 
Carnitas are pig parts braised then pan fried for a crispy, tender combination. New Belgium Fat Tire is an amber ale with a toasted malty sweetness that complements the carmelized meat. The malts are balanced out by a bitter hop edge, which stands up appropriately to the dish's spice while cutting through the fattiness.
 
Barbacoa Tacos and Stone Brewing Co. Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA
 
Barbacoa, form of barbecue meat that typically is shredded beef slow-cooked with magic to taste delicious has layers of dark, meaty, smoky and sweet flavors. These tacos demand a brew with the same level of complexity and intense flavor, which is where Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co. comes into play. The black ale's rich malty flavor is what first reaches the tongue and serves as an accessory to the smoked, rich meat. The bold Northwestern hops provide a whammy of bitterness that cleanly slices through the meat's richness and accentuates the bright lime citrus. 
 
Chicken Tacos and Blue Point Toasted Lager 
 
Toasted Lager from Blue Point Brewing Co.  matches the flavor strength of chicken tacos by providing a lightly toasted maltiness that blends nicely with the grilled chicken flavor while allowing the bright zest of lime to come to the forefront. The smooth lager finish creates a crisp refresher sip between bites that calms any residual spice left on the palate. 
 
Fish Tacos and Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils 
 
The light and delicate flavors found in fish tacos are enhanced by a light pilsner such as Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils. Brewed with pale and German malts for a mild base, which is then accented by Saaz hops, Mama's is a mild beer meant to be paired with light and citrusy fish tacos. 
 
 
 
 

RateBeer Best 2013

02-10-2014

Over the course of last week RateBeer came out with their annual best ratings. Our brands that we sell here in Grand Rapids (and in Barry County, as is the case with Goose Island) did quite well on the RateBeer  Best lists for 2013.  Although it's just a list, it is fun to see how tastes evolve, year to year and it is especially exciting to see some personal favorites on the list, as well. Below are the results.

 

 

The Top Brewers in the World

The Best Beers in the World

  • Goose Island Bourbon County Barleywine
  • Goose Island Carolus Cuvee Van de Keiser Blauw/Blue
  • Sam Adams Utopias
  • Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By IPA
  • Stone Brewing Co. Russian Imperial Stout

The Best Beers by Style Category

  • Double IPA: Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By IPA. 7th place
  • Stout: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. 3rd place
  •             Goose Island Bourbon County Stout – Coffee. 9th place
  •             Goose Island Bourbon County Stout Proprietor’s 2013. 13th place
  • Strong: Goose Island Bourbon County Barleywine. 1st place
  •                 Samuel Adams Utopias. 4th place
  • Imperial Baltic Porter: Smuttynose Baltic Porter. 6th place

Top Releases of 2013

  • Goose Island Bourbon County Barleywine
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Stout Proprietor’s 2013

Breweries by Subregion

  • Illinois: Goose Island Brewing – Best Brewery. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout – Best Beer
  • Maryland: Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter – Best Beer
  • New Hampshire: Smuttynose Brewing – Best Brewery. Smuttynose Baltic Porter – Best Beer

 

 

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.  

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.

 

 

 

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