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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.

 

 

Beers To Hibernate With

02-06-2015

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

 

 

Blake’s El Chavo

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

 

Right Brain Firestarter Porter

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

 

Stone Old Guardian

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

 

Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale

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

 

 

Stella Artois

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

 

Perrin Big Konas

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

 

Super Bowl Pairing: Chips and Beer

01-28-2015

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

 

Let the Super Bowl snacking begin! 

 

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

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Smuttynose Brewing Coming to MI

09-12-2013

Smuttynose Brewing Co. Coming to MI 






As we happily announced this past Tuesday, we will be adding Smuttynose Brewing Co. to our craft portfolio in October. Keep checking back for updates on what we will be doing to celebrate being the 23rd state in the Smuttynose distribution footprint. Until then, here’s the official press release announcing their plans to distribute to Michigan. 


Smuttynose Brewing Co. expands distribution to Michigan with West Side Distributing 


Posted on September 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm by Press Release      


(Portsmouth, NH) – Smuttynose Brewing Company is delighted to announce their new partnership with West Side Distributing, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who will bring New Hampshire’s leading craft brewer’s beers to the Wolverine State starting in October, 2013. The deal with West Side makes Michigan the 23rd state (plus Washington DC) where Smuttynose beers are available. 


The relationship between West Side and Smuttynose didn’t develop over night, but over several years of courtship by the largest beer distributor in Michigan. “Whether it was at big beer events like Craft Brewers Conference or just an email here and there, West Side politely and casually let us know they were interested whenever we were ready,” said Peter Egelston, Smuttynose’s President and Founder, “but being at capacity for the last four or five years meant entering a large, craft beer-loving state like Michigan was impossible. With our new brewery project almost ready to come online, I was excited to talk to West Side about moving forward.” 


Michiganders will see Smuttynose beer in four key markets; Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Romulus/Detroit. Initial shipments of Finestkind IPA and Big A IPA will be exclusively on draft for the on-premise trade, while shipments of bottle packages will begin in early 2014. Egelston cited West Side’s plan for building the Smuttynose brand in Michigan as a key factor in making the decision. “We’re really excited to add such a wonderful beer state to the list of places Smuttynose is sold and we can’t wait to grow with West Side.”Initial roll-out events will take place October 9,10,11 when several key Smuttynose employees will make the rounds to introduce themselves and their beers to Michiganders. Details will be announced over Smuttynose social media.


Founded in 1994, Smuttynose is New Hampshire’s leading craft brewery. In 2012, its 50 employees worked to brew, package and sell nearly 41,000 barrels of beer across 22 states and Washington DC. After nearly 20 years in their original home in Portsmouth, the international award-winning brewery will move into its new, LEED Gold-registered brewery and visitors’ center on the historic Towle Farm in Hampton, NH in 2014. 


Family-owned West Side Beer Distributors is the largest beer distributor in Michigan. The Klopcic Family’s roots in the business began in Detroit when Don Klopcic, Sr. opened Don Lee Distributing in 1965. They expanded west to Grand Rapids in 1981, with the acquisition of West Side and have since added the Romulus (2008), Kalamazoo (2009) and Lansing (2012) territories. In addition to their beer distribution responsibilities, all branches of the business are very active in their communities and are proud to support responsible beer consumption and education efforts

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