Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beer Roll: December

Since I've been so busy, I figure I needed a solid way to make sure I post at least once a month for you all.
So this new feature I'm calling "Beer Roll" - a roll call for all the beers I've tasted during the month. This will include new tastes and the standards.

Beer Roll for December 2011:

  • Bell's Christmas Ale
  • Big Sky Brewing Moose Drool Ale
  • Corona Light
  • Dark Horse Raspberry Ale
  • Magic Hat #9
  • Royal Oak Brewery Aged Java Porter
  • Sam Adam's Chocolate Cherry

Monday, December 5, 2011

Beer News: Happy Prohibition Repeal Day

December 5 marks the anniversary of the 21st Amendment of the United States Constitution.

"We celebrate Repeal Day because December 5th marks a return to the rich traditions of craft fermentation and distillation, the legitimacy of the American bartender as a contributor to the culinary arts, and the responsible enjoyment of alcohol as a sacred social custom." -
Happy Repeal Day !

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Beer News: Google Beer

Well, Dogfish Head is at it again, and this time it is collaborating with Google and Google's bees.

From Mother Nature Network

Since it was announced late last month, Google's new beer has been creating a better buzz than anything related to its terrible online app (Buzz was officially killed off last week) — and I'm happy to hear that Google bees had a hand in it. 

Didn't know Google kept bees? The online tech giant installed four hives in the spring of 2010 and ended up with more than 405 pounds of honey during the subsequent fall flow. “The honey is being put to good use — everyone who participated in the extraction got a jar to take home, while the rest of the honey will be used in the cafes and for cooking classes organized by Marc Rasic, an executive chef at Google and one of the people behind the beekeeping initiative,” wrote software engineer Rob Peterson.

Like the White House, Google has recently put some of that honey to use for an official company beer. In partnership with eccentric Delaware brewery Dogfish Head (the same guys with their own series on Discovery Channel), the search giant included the sweet stuff — along with many "interesting" ingredients from around the world to create "Urkontinent." PC World lists some of them as wattleseed from Australia, amaranth from South America, green roobios tea from Africa, and Myrica Gale from Europe.

"It’s what Google does every day — take a fractured world of information and put it into something cohesive and whole," Dogfish Head founder and president Sam Calagione told the site.

URKontinent went on tap Sept. 27 and may be packaged for full distribution depending on how people like it. So far, reviews over on trend towards the positive. 

"I was expecting the worst given the aroma but it was completely different from what I imagined," said one. "The wattle seed really came through in the end, with a little malt back bone. Overall very smooth. Mouthfeel was nice, not as heavy on the mouth as the appearance would suggest, but light and good carbonation."

You can check out a comprehensive 13-minute video on Google's new brew. The company, however, is careful to point out that it has no interest in entering the beer business and will not make a dime off of URKontinent. Bottoms up! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beer Website: I'm a Beer Hound - Find a Michigan Retailer

Are you interested in finding Michigan beer near you? Are you interested in brewing your own beer? I'm a Beer Hound has a searchable database of retailers that specialize in Michigan craft beer.
This site has more than just the obvious places!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Beer Review: Dark Horse Brewing Raspberry Ale

 I recently tried the Raspberry Ale by Dark Horse Brewing Co. I found it at Crunchy's of East Lansing, and I ordered it in a mug (25 oz.) Clocking in at only 5%, this was a refreshing drink and I wasn't hammered when I was finished.
As described by Dark Horse Brewing Co. "This is a light bodied easy drinking ale. We only use real raspberries so the flavor is very mild fruit and balanced, not what you would expect from a "fruit" beer. The way we see it is we're brewers so lets make good beer, not some fruity carbonated malt beverage. Oh yeah, our motto..."beer first, fruit second"."
At first look of this beer, it's a light orange-yellow color, and made me think of summer. The head was creamy but still light. (What little head was left. The waitress slopped our beers all over the table.) At the first taste, I had some trouble tasting the raspberry. What this is, is a really solid, light and refreshing wheat ale. Where in a lot of brewers add citrus notes to their ale, Dark Horse has added raspberry. That subtle hint of raspberry, where it's least expected, makes this beer a stand-out in the ale category. And true to its claim, it tastes like real, fresh, raspberries -- this is NOT a "fruity carbonated malt beverage" which is so common with purported fruit beers. (Sam Adams fruit beers come to mind.)
The bitter hops flavor is really subtle and well-balanced as well. What the subtleties add up to is a really great ale that you can drink all night, with just about anything to eat along side.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Beer Event: International IPA Day

Happy International IPA Day!
May I recommend my favorite: New Holland Brewing's Mad Hatter IPA.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beer News: Short's and Dogfish Head Collaborating

From Short's Brewing

Both Dogfish Head and Short’s have open minds about brewing, yet both breweries strive to do everything that they do, no matter how unusual or new, in a delicious and dignified way. Therefore, it was a natural decision for the two breweries to work together. The concept for the collaboration brew this: each brewery would contribute ingredients from its home state, the key ingredients would be new or unusual in craft brewing, and the brewing would take place at Short’s.
The yet unnamed collaboration brew is a Baltic Porter featuring beach plums from Delaware, horehound from Michigan, and red popcorn (sent by Nick Floyd of Three Floyds brewery in Indiana). The resulting brew will resonate strongly with those who love Short’s Black Cherry Porter. It is delicious.
Short’s is releasing the test batch of this beer at its Pub on July 4th. Then, on Wednesday July 6th, Joe and Sam will host a public reception at the lobby of the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa from 5-6:30 p.m. That evening, Sam will dine with the Short’s crew at the Aerie Restaurant on the 16th floor of the tower. Special kegs of Short’s and Dogfish Head will be featured at Aerie that night (a tap takeover to remember!). Short’s Brew will also be featured at Jack’s Sports Bar, which is located near the hotel lobby.
Meanwhile, during the first week of July, the brewers of Short’s and Dogfish Head will be brewing a batch of the collaboration beer in Elk Rapids that will be bottled and distributed throughout Michigan later this year.

*Personally, I'm not a big fan of Short's; their beer is more reminiscent of wine than beer. And while I'm excited that they're taking major influence from Dogfish Head, I'm concerned that with a Short's stout base, it will just be a heavier Short's brew. What's your opinion? Leave a comment below!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Beer Video: American Craft Beer Week

American Craft Beer Week kicks off next week, May 16. Support your local breweries!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Beer Quickie: Leinenkugel Cans Spotted on Shelves

Doing my weekly grocery shopping this week, I noticed a brightly colored case in the beer aisle: Leinenkugel in cans! There are two different cases available: Summer Shandy, in the traditional 12-pack case, and a summer variety 12-pack, in a box. The variety pack has Summer Shandy, Honeyweiss, Sunset Wheat and Berryweiss.
With all the social events I'm planning on this summer, I plan on taking that summer variety pack with me everywhere!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Beer Shout Out: A Practical Wedding

This is so cool! Boobs and Beer was linked over at A Practical Wedding.
My wedding is May 21! It's coming up so soon!

If you're wondering, we are for sure having Oberon and Detroit Brewing Lager, as far as beer choices go. It was suggested that I round out the flavors with something with a little more hops. I suppose I could go with Miller Lite, as it is Triple Hops Brewed. But that's not a Michigan brew!
Any suggestions for a reasonably priced, Michigan beer with prevalent hops?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Beer News: New Law Lets Grocery Stores Give Beer Samples

You all know that new law that lets grocery stores sell alcohol before noon on Sundays?
Well this same law also lets grocery stores give samples of beer and wine in the store.
All grocery stores have to do is purchase a one-time $70 permit, apply for a free event permit and give training to their employees. This seems like a pretty good deal for stores to help you decide on that pricey drink from a different kind of brewer.

Kroger and Whole Foods are two chains that are currently offering this.
And West Michigan Spartan and D&W stores are having events this weekend.

As a shopper at the store, you simple need to provide your ID showing that you are 21+.

For more on this, check out MLive.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beer News: Memorial to Pierre Celis

Pierre Celis - Father of Wit Beer (March 21, 1925 - April 9, 2011)

Pierre Celis was a Belgian brewer who opened his first brewery in 1966 to revive the wit beer style in his hometown of Hoegaarden. Pierre was born on March 21, 1925 in his family home on the edge of the Hoegaarden town square. He grew up working on his father's cattle farm, but also helped out in the brewery of his neighbour Louis Tomsin. Tomsin brewed wit beer, which was a speciality in the region around Celis' home town. After Tomsin closed his brewery in 1955, wit beer disappeared from Hoegaarden. Celis, who became a milkman after he married, took up beer making in 1965. The first year he started out with a wash tub in the barn of his father. With a loan from his father he bought equipment that came from an abandoned brewery in Zolder. His first batch of Hoegaarden beer was made on 19 March 1966 and he opened Brouwerij Celis (Celis Brewery). In 1980 he opened Brouwerij de Kluis as he transferred the production to new buildings. In the late 1980s his brewery burned down. Because the buildings were not insured, he was forced to sell his company to Interbrew, now AB Inbev. He then founded the Celis Brewery in the USA, which was managed by his daughter Christine.

In Honor of Pierre, I recommend drinking a Celis White, or Celis Raspberry today.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Beer News: Bell's Brewery to Start Selling Beer in Cans

In 2012, start looking for Bell's beer in cans! So that means all you sports fans, beach goers and boaters can now bring your favorite Michigan beer to the party.

Via M-Live

KALAMAZOO — Bell's Brewery Inc. is planning to install a 500-cans-per-minute canning line at its Comstock Township facility by spring of 2012 as part of an on-going expansion project, president Larry Bell said Wednesday.

By comparison, the main bottling line at Bell's, Michigan's largest brewery, runs about 260 bottles a minute.

Bell said bottles will continue be the container of choice for most bars and restaurants, but putting beer in cans opens opportunities in the boating, golf and sports venue business that aren't currently available.
"Right now cans are doing about 3 percent of the craft beer market," Larry Bell said. "They probably will skew a little bit higher in Michigan, we think, because the nature of drinking opportunities for cans in this state is greater than other states."

Bell said the final decision hasn't been made on which of his beer brands would end up in cans, nor has Bell's decided what size cans it would use.

Houghton's Keweenaw Brewing Co., which opened in 2004, was the first microbrewery in the state to can craft beer.

Rochester Mills Beer Co., of Rochester, and MillKing It Productions, of Royal Oak, are the only other breweries in the state to can.

Arcadia Brewing Co., of Battle Creek, and Brewery Vivant, of Grand Rapids, have purchased canning lines and plan to begin canning in April.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Beer Tasting: Irish Beer at Dusty's Cellar

Dusty's Cellar near Lansing, MI offered a St. Patrick's Day Beer Tasting. Dusty's Cellar usually specializes in wine. From my experience, they are also clearly knowledgeable about beer.
From the list above, I sampled : Harp, Wexford Creme Ale, Murphy's Stout, Guinness Foreign Extra, Magner's Cider, McSorley's Pale Ale, Sam Adams Red, McSorley's Black Lager, Short's Uncle Steve's Stout. (Plus a special tasting of Dark Horse Brewery's Blueberry Stout.)

For those who haven't tried Harp in a few years, you're in for a surprise! It has been reformulated and is now hoppier and fruitier than before. This is a nice, light, Irish brew.

Wexford Creme Ale lacked bitterness, and tasted like the love child of an ale and a creme sherry. This paired very nicely with the assortment of Irish cheese that was offered. For me, it was good, but lacked complexity. This creme ale only struck one note.

We skipped on the Smithwick's and Guinness Draught because we already knew what those tasted like. But there was a lot of nostalgia for these two among the other tasters at the tasting.

Murphy's Stout is very similar to the Guinness Draught. Murphy's has a bit more of the coffee flavor that can come out in a stout, and it was heavier. It also tasted cleaner than a Guinness.

The Guinness Foreign Extra was one of the favorites from the Irish table. It has a very bold flavor with sourness that's rare in stouts, and you can taste the alcohol. Guinness got it right when brewing the Foreign Extra. It's everything that traditional Guinness is lacking.

Magner's Cider was not one of my favorites of the night. This is likely because it's not actually a beer, and it's much too sweet. You get left with a pleasant green apple flavor at the end note.

McSorley's Pale Ale was heavy for an ale, but still light. This is a complex beer with a good kick of hops. My first McSorley's experience, and I was not let down.

The Sam Adam's Red came as a surprise. It smelled like wet dog. I think this is because of the amount of yeast. While drinking this red, all I tasted was yeast. This is a disappointing red.

McSorley's Black Lager tasted like you would expect a lager to taste. This hit it out of the ball park! By far my favorite of the night. This was an easy-drinking heavy lager that hit all the right notes.

The Short's Uncle Steve's Stout was very bitter, and didn't hit the usual malty notes a typical stout will hit. If you really want a hoppy stout, go for this one. I wasn't a fan, but several other tasters expressed their love of this beer.

Although not part of the official tasting list, the beer guys got excited and opened a bottle of Dark Horse Blueberry Stout. This was such a delicious beer to savor. This is a stout with a hint of real blueberry flavor, not a blueberry beer with stout flavor. For a true stout fan, this is the way to go if you want a flavored stout. The alcohol flavor is quite strong, though. Drinking this was like taking a shot of liqueur. I would love to experiment and bake some blueberry muffins with this stout.

Overall we were much more impressed with the Irish table than the American Irish table. Each had its good and bad beers, but the Irish table was more consistent. Then again, they have hundreds of years of tradition going for them.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beer News: Proposed Bill to Reduce the Tax on Micro-Breweries

Associated Press - February 23, 2011 3:05 AM ET
TROY, N.Y. (AP) - Sen. Chuck Schumer stopped in at a couple of brew pubs during an upstate tour on Tuesday, but he wasn't there to sample the suds.
Schumer toured Brown's Brewing Company in Troy and Empire Brewery in Syracuse to promote new legislation to cut the excise tax on small breweries. The BEER Act, sponsored by Schumer and more than 20 colleagues, would reduce the federal tax on beer from $7 a barrel to $3.50 for the first 60,000 barrels.
Schumer said about 65 microbreweries in New York would benefit. He said the beer industry supports nearly 60,000 jobs in New York state and cutting taxes on small brewing operations would allow the brewers to expand and hire more workers.
Empire employs 65 people at its Syracuse brewpub and makes 1,100 barrels a year in Syracuse and 3,000 at a second location in Brooklyn. Owner David Katleski says the company plans to develop a 5,000-barrel brewery in the town of Cazenovia by 2012.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

 If you are interested in contacting Sen. Schumer with your support, please follow this link:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Beer Review: My Take on Oak-Aged Brews

First things first: I love oak-aged beers.

I first fell in love with the flavor when I tried New Holland's oak-aged Mad Hatter. Somehow, the brewery managed to make beer taste like whiskey. And who doesn't like whiskey, right? We'd drink a lot more of it if it didn't totally screw you up at the end of the night. It is much more pleasurable to savor a full pint, and still be able to walk out of the bar when done.
Although New Holland was the first I tried, almost two years ago, the trend is picking up among brewers.

Some brewers start with fresh oak casks, burned a bit on the inside to bring out the flavor. Other brewers start with casks which have already been used for aging whiskey. Each is good, each brings its unique flavor. If you're interested in the second option, some distillers are selling their pre-used whiskey casks. They cost $80-$150 a barrel, depending on the size and the source.

Next, the brewers pick a beer flavor which will nicely compliment, or pleasantly contrast with the oak flavor. New Holland's Mad Hatter IPA is a good choice. It is a hoppy beer whose bitterness mellows with the oak. The Mad Hatter is a great base for many flavors. Any time I stop into the brewery bar, there are usually two or three additional flavor of Hatter on tap. (Though my favorite will always be the oak-aged.)
The Royal Oak Brewery in Royal Oak, MI also has made an oak-aged beer available. The one I have sampled started with their house red. Their red has an earthier flavor, which in my opinion competes with the oak. This is a good choice for people who don't like to taste the oak as much. But if you're going to give the beer a punch of oak flavor, you had better go balls out. Amiright?

Third, the brewers let their beers age in the oak cask of choice. Aging beers is also an up-and-coming trend - like people age cheese and beer for more distinct flavors. Usually, the longer it ages, the deeper the flavor.
So what pairs well with an oak-aged beer? I would suggest creamy foods, like cheese or olives, or foods with citrus, something marinated with orange or lemon perhaps.
Again, professing my love for New Holland - their pub offers marinated olives that use orange zest in the marinade. This pairs very nicely with the oak-aged Hatter.
If you're going to be drinking a variety of beers, I would recommend this type to be drunk after lighter-flavored beers, and avoid beers with fruit. The oak flavor can be quite over-powering and can mar the softer fruit flavors.

Additionally, last year I was told by a New Holland rep that their oak-aged Hatter will be heading to stores at some point in the future. Let's hope that point comes sooner than later.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Beer Poll: What beer should I have at my wedding?

Sandy at the Boobs & Beer blog is getting married this summer. What beer(s) should she feature?

Which Michigan beer would you be excited or pleasantly surprised to see at a wedding?

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Beer Chart: What Beer should I drink?

Are you wondering what beer to drink tonight? This handy-dandy flow chart should help!

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