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Beer-licious Super Bowl Recipes


Your Beer-licious Super Bowl Menu


Beer, football and food have always been the perfect recipe for a perfect Sunday. This Super Bowl Sunday step up the ante with these three traditional Super Bowl foods all made with beer.


Beer BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This is my ultimate pulled pork recipe. Pair it with a pretzel bun and a brew and you are set for life, or at least for the Super Bowl. The key to this recipe is picking out a liquid to complement the flavor. I’ve experimented with several beer styles and prefer a dark porter, which adds a nice depth to the sauce.


Suggested Pairings:

Arcadia Ales Cocoa Loco: The molasses and chocolate malts add a sweet richness to the pork.

Right Brain Brewing Fire Starter Chipotle Porter: The chipotle peppers brewed into the beer add bit of heat and complexity to the sauce.

Recipe: Courtesy of Food Network


Beer Bratwursts with Sauerkraut

Beer, bratwursts and sauerkraut were made to be enjoyed together. Make sure to do so this weekend. This recipe can be modified to be used with an oven instead of a grill. I also prefer a spicy mustard.


Suggested Pairings:

Stella Artois Belgian Lager: Use one bottle for cooking the beer with and then pour the others into a glass and appreciate the fizzy head and clean finish. 

Recipe: Courtesy of Serious Eats


IPA Cheese Dip

Cheese and beer are to of my favorite things and happen to pair together perfectly. Actually, beer and cheese create a much better pairing than wine and cheese, partially due to their similarities (both are fermented and aged) as well as the fact that beer better cuts through the cheese, which can coat the palate and blunt the taste of wine. A sharp and bitter beer will help balance out creamy, pungent flavor of the Gouda cheese.


Suggested Pairings:

Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale: The robust bitterness from the hops balances out the creaminess while also providing a clean finish.

Recipe: Courtesy of my kitchen experiments


6 oz. IPA

1 oz. grated Gouda cheese

1 ½ 8 oz packages of Neufchatel cheese

1 clove of roasted and pureed garlic

1 T. spicy mustard

1 C. baby spinach

salt and pepper to taste


Mix all the ingredients together in an oven-safe dish. Pop in the oven, preheated to 325 degrees, for 30 minutes or until bubbling. Serve with

crostinis and more beer. 


Enjoy the Beer, recipes and especially the Super Bowl this Sunday! 

top 5 tips for cellaring beer


Top 5 Tips for Cellaring Craft Beer

Growing up, one of my favorite childhood hobbies revolved around collecting troll dolls and Polly Pockets. These were very cool things to collect in the 90's and I was quite proud of my hobbies. But as I've grown up I've given away the troll dolls and Polly Pockets and moved on to a new hobby; cellaring craft beer. Cellaring beer is almost as easy as collecting troll dolls, once you've gotten a few of the main points settled. Cellaring beer is also fun since you get to pick and choose what beers will be best to be cellared, hypothesizing on how cellaring will increase and intensify certain flavors and which will fade with time. It's like a long-term science experiment for your taste buds. Here are the top 5 cellaring points to keep in mind while cellaring your favorite bottles.

1. Consider the profile of the brew.

Beers with higher alcohol content age best. Go for beers that are at least 8% ABV or higher. Beers with a high malt content and low hops are also best, since the hop flavor fades over time, leaving a lackluster beer of what used to be a stellar hoppy brew.

2. Buy in multiples.

For the best cellaring experience buy at two bottles of whatever beer you choose to cellar. This way you can drink one right away, which lessens the probability that you will be tempted to pop open that other bottle before it has matured for long enough. While drinking your first bottle take notes on the liquid and store those with your second bottle to review later on. Better yet, buy three bottles. One to open immediately, one to open in one year and one to open in 5 (or 20) years.

3. Pick a spot to store your beer.

The spot your pick to cellar your beer should be consistently between 50-60 degrees or, at the very least stays a pretty consistent average temperature, not too hot or too cold. Ensure your beer spot is hidden from strong sun light.

3. Cellar vertically.

Although there is debate on storing beer horizontally versus vertically, in general vertical is still considered best. This will keep any sediment in your beer settled on the bottom of the bottle, rather than it creating a yeast ring inside your bottle over time. Storing vertically also limits the liquid's contact with the cork (if it is corked), reducing any unwanted corky flavors.

4. Be Patient.

Cellar for at least 1 year. Or for however long you want. Either way, make sure to save that beer for a special occasion or special non-occasion and take your time enjoying and noting the beer's nuances once you do (finally) drink it.

Chocolate Stout Cake


How do you Celebrate Michigan’s Birthday?


With Beer.


Nothing quite says “celabrate” when it comes to the Great Beer State celebrating its 176th birthday quite like beer. Well, beer and cake. Preferably together and with a side of beer, too. Without further ado, here is Michigan’s birthday cake; a chocolate stout cake with stout buttercream icing.

Note: For the stout I used Right Brain Brewing's CEO Stout, recently available in 22 oz. bottles, because I wanted a nice coffee note to the cake. If you are in the Grand Rapids area I would suggest stopping by Perrin Brewing for a growler of the vanilla stout, which would taste fantastic as well as leave lots of beer left over for you. I stayed away from imperial stouts because I didn't want to waste the high alcohol content and end up crying while reducing the  beer. 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8-inch cake pans. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in a heavy saucepan. Add cocoa powder and whisk smooth. Let cool.


In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking soda and 1 ½ tsp. salt together. In a different bowl, use an electric mixer to beat eggs and sour cream together. Add the stout/chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat to combine. Add flour mixture slowly while briefly beating. Add the chocolate chips and fold batter with a rubber spatula to completely combine. Pour batter evenly into the three pans. Bake 35 minutes and cool 10 minutes before popping the cakes out of their tins to further cool.


For the Icing:

Reduce the cup of stout by simmering it for roughly 20 minutes on the stovetop or until there is about a ¼ cup left. Next, blend the ½ cup of butter with 1/8 cup of the reduced beer until light and fluffy. Gradually add in alternating increments the white sugar and the powdered sugar until the frosting is the right consistency. Taste, and if preferred, add more beer for flavor. Now frost your cooled cake layers and stack together. Attempt to draw the state of michigan on the top of the cake with colored icing. Fail or give up, grab a beer and eat the cake already. 


Happy Birthday, Michigan! Eat up! Drink Up!

Cake (courtesy of epicurious)


2 C. stout 

2 C. unsalted butter

1 ½ C. unsweetened cocoa powder

4 C. flour

4 C. sugar

1 T. baking soda

1 ½ T. salt

4 eggs

1 1/3 C. sour cream

1 ½ C. bittersweet chocolate chips


Stout Buttercream Frosting


1 C. stout

½ C. butter

1 C. powdered sugar

1 C. sugar





First Canned Beer


Canning It



Tomorrow will commemorate the anniversary of another epic day in beer history. On January 24, 1935 the first beer in a can rolled out and changed lives forever.


Cans made transportation of beer easier by proving more durable, more stackable and more cost efficient than the typical bottle. This led to their increased popularity and use for mass distribution throughout the mid to late 1900s.


However, due mostly to the initial canning process which didn’t allow for a protective coating inside the can, canned beer started to get a bad name. Canned beer tasted metallic and started to be considered the cheap alternative to bottled beer. Now, cans sport a water-based polymer lining that seals beer from metallic contamination.


Today, many craft breweries are returning to the can for environmental and as well nostalgic reasons. Nothing brings back memories of long-past summers than a cold can of beer in the hands. The sustainability factor also plays a role for craft brewers since cans are 50 percent lighter to ship and take much less energy to produce since they are made from ultra-recyclable aluminum.


With top-notch breweries such as New Belgium Brewing and Sixpoint Brewing proudly showcasing their brews in cans, its obvious that canned craft beer is here to stay as more breweries, like Perrin Brewing, plan for their own can releases in the future.


So tomorrow, in a nod to the past and to the future, raise a can of beer in memory of that great day in 1935. 

Chocolate Beers


Chocolate Beer


Thanks to beer, chocolate has evolved from the candy bar or cake you guiltily eat into a rich, dark and awesomely alcoholic beverage you celebrate the day with. As a lifelong chocolate lover, I considered it my duty to try out and judge some of this season’s chocolate beers. The verdict? Chocolate beers are my new favorite alternative to dessert or really anything.

Arcadia Ales Cocoa Loco 

7% ABV

This one is brewed with Michigan blackstrap molasses, which adds another layer of depth to this triple chocolate malt stout that. It has an initially sweet and then heavy taste with an extra creamy mouthfeel. I drank it after eating steak tacos and it paired well as a dessert to the smoky dark meat.


New Belgium Cocoa Mole

9% ABV

The heat from the chipotle peppers, along with the 9% ABV, created a warming sensation while the combined caramel and chocolate malts added a smooth richness to the flavor. As a fan of spicy dark chocolate, this beer was right up my alley.


Brooklyn Brewing Black Chocolate Stout  

10% ABC

It pours rich and black with distinct chocolate notes while the imperial stout’s high ABV warms your throat. The thick chocolate notes are perfect for baking chocolate chip cookies with.

Right Brain Brewing Naughty Girl Stout


Brewed with actual Girl Scout Thin Mints that provide a minty sweetness to the rich malt flavor. On its own it’s great but I want to try it in an ice cream float next time.


Right Brain Brewing CEO Stout


Creamy, roasty and dark with distinct chocolate notes, this one is more mocha than pure chocolate, which happens to be how I like it. The full-bodied stout is well-balanced and highly addictive.

Perrin Brewing Chocolate Porter

7% ABV

Perrin’s chocolate porter definitely satisfies any chocolate cravings with chocolate liquor and 30 pounds of dark chocolate brewed into this beer. Malty, rich and sweet with a smooth finish, this porter provides all the chocolate beery flavors I need. 

What should I brew


What Should the Hopstress Brew? 

Fellow beer lovers,

Place your vote on West Side Beer’s Facebook page and help me decide on what my inaugural home brew will be!


For 2013 I made the New Years Resolution to begin home brewing my own beer. This past year I’ve tasted, cooked and baked a lot with beer but now it is time I start making my own liquid.


Now the big question is what should I brew? Let’s be democratic about this and put it to a vote, shall we?  Go on and follow this link to our Facebook page to let me know what you think. Once we’ve voted I’ll go and get my home brew on while updating you on the process. 

Perrin Brewing January Feature for Flavor616


My Kind of Centerfold: Perrin Brewing is Lil’ Miss January for Flavor616 Magazine




This month I opened a new magazine in the Grand Rapids area and had to turn it sideways to get an eyeful of the centerfold. Lil’ Miss January, the magazine feature and centerfold was an awesome photo featuring a seductive looking bottle of what Perrin Brewing Co. beer could look like in bottled form.


The January issue also stood out as the inaugural issue for Flavor616, a new magazine in Grand Rapids that is designed for those who love local, beer, food, and wine. Considering that Perrin has the first three out of those four categories covered, it made sense to begin the new magazine with Grand Rapids’ growing and most sought-after brewery.


This past weekend highlighted the launch of the magazine and featured three Perrin beers that ranged in style from a hoppy pale to the Black Lager,  including the fruity Raspberry Wheat on the draft list. Black Lager seemed like the crowd’s favorite, which comes as no surprise since the brew flawlessly combines bready aromas with a clean and crisp finish. With a balanced body like that, what else could you ask for from a centerfold? 

New Belgium Shift on Draft


New Belgium Shift on Draft


Sometimes, I’m overcome by nostalgia for the good ol’ days. Where, after a day of hard work, you could relax and celebrate the end of a shift with a nice cold American beer. Then, I remember that you can still do that and hurry up to finish working in order to take part in what I consider a great American tradition, the post shift beer.


New Belgium’s Shift is the exact beer to match that sort of nostalgic reminiscing. A sessionable (5% ABV) pale lager, it combines subtle bready malts with American herbal and floral hops that end in a crisp and clean finish.


Initially, the brew was strictly available in 12 oz. cans, a nice nod to the classic workingman’s 5-o-clock beer. However, as a way to start this New Year off right, Shift is now available on draft.


That’s right. Get out your pint glasses hardworkers of America. It’s time to end one shift and start another by pouring out a glass of the gold liquid, Shift. 

Beer is always the Answer


When in doubt, choose beer. 

When you have a case of the Mondays. 

For that New Years resolution to be healthier.

For days when you don't feel well or for days you feel like celebrating. 

To go along with pizza, Mexican take out or a nice candlelit dinner. 

For all the moments of 2013, I bet beer is the answer. 


Thanks Sixpoint Brewing for the reminder. 



Beer in History: Imperial Stout


A Beer in History: Thank the Czar for Russian Imperial Stout!


It’s cold and windy outside, which means the time for drinking Imperial Stouts is upon us.



In the late 1700s Russia was ruled by a female Czar, Catherine the Great, who not only managed to rule an empire but knew how to enjoy a good brew. The story goes that on a diplomatic trip to England she first encountered the stout beer style and decided she would be bringing stout home to Russia with her. Of course, at this time, she wasn’t privy to such innovations as West Side’s refrigerated beer trucks so securing the beer’s safe passage across the Baltic Sea without its spoilage became an issue. The brewers, when faced with such a dilemma, did what brewers do best; they played around with the beer and got a bit creative until the final result was a stout with a high alcohol content that could withstand the journey.


The beer, which typically clocks in at over 10% ABV, showcases a strong and bitter pour with warming sensations from the alcohol, dark fruit and chocolate flavors. This combination made it popular beyond just Catherine the Great’s personal tastes and soon many breweries were brewing and shipping the brew across the Baltic and beyond. It remains a favorite drink, especially during the bitter cold of winter, for many beer drinkers out there. Here are a few of our brands’ own unique takes on the Russian Imperial Stout style.


Arcadia Ales Imperial Stout 9.5% 82 IBU 

Pours Black with a molasses and roasted malt aroma. Prunes, bittersweet chocolate are balanced with a heavy dose of hops. This stout is the proud winner of the Gold Medal for Bottle Conditioned Ale at the 2002 Real Ale Festival.


Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout 10% 51 IBU 

Imperial Stout that uses three mashes to create a luscious, dark chocolate flavor. Multiple award-winner, including gold medal for the 2011 World Beer Championships.


Perrin Brewing Imperial Stout 8.5% 35 IBU

Coffee, molasses and chocolate flavors combine for a rich black beer that is topped off with a creamy toffee head.


Right Brain Brewing Fat Lat Imperial Stout 9.2% 90 IBU

Brew with a massive body and robust roasty character with a sweet finish, yet not overpowering. 


Stone Brewing Imperial Russian Stout 10.5% 65 IBU 

Intensely aromatic and heavy on the palate, this version of the traditional Russian Stout pours black and heavy.

Right Brain Begins Bottling


Right Brain Brewery Begins Bottling


The year 2013 is starting off looking pretty tasty with Right Brain Brewery’s new bottling line releasing some of their signature and seasonal brews.


 Already, they released Michigan’s favorite stout, CEO Stout (on Black Friday), and the Naughty Girl Stout (on 12/21/2012) in 22 oz. bombers. More beers will be released throughout the year as Right Brain settles into its new home. Already, the beer community is abuzz with what will be the next beer to be released – which one of Right Brain’s strangely crafted brews will it be?


Right Brain is located in the pinky of Michigan, Traverse City, where it focuses on exploring the imaginative side of beer through creative brewing that uses only fresh and local ingredients. They recently moved to a larger location in order to increase production and begin bottling some of their draughts. 

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