AboutAimee Jackson – PorchDrinking.com
Growing up in Michigan, March was always a month of excitement and anticipation for me. After a long, cold winter, I always found myself eager to spend time outdoors on the first day of sunshine, and my spirits were lifted along with the slowly rising temperatures. In addition to the excitement that the spring season brings, the beginning of another one of my favorite “seasons” was filling me with anticipation this time of year: March Madness! However, as we all know, everything that we had planned on has abruptly been halted by COVID-19. School has been closed, spring break plans have been canceled and March Madness has taken on a new meaning. However, instead of complaining about how this has inconvenienced our lives, why not look at this opportunity as a chance to slow down?
I originally wrote this article with the intention of reaching for one of these light beers while cheering on my favorite basketball team. Instead, I’ll offer you six recommendations on light beers that you can enjoy while binge-watching Netflix, working on projects around the house or otherwise entertaining yourself during this unique time of social distancing.
In the midst of the busyness and stress that comes with being an adult, the moments when you can let loose and feel like a kid again are truly precious. I enjoyed one of those experiences with my husband a few years ago when we made the spontaneous decision to participate in the “Sleepwalker Run” in Grand Haven, MI at the end of January. The Sleepwalker Run, which takes place this year on Friday, January 24, consists of either a .62 mile sprint or a 2.62 mile run in your pajamas through downtown Grand Haven. It’s a part of the town’s annual Winterfest, which occurs Jan. 23-26, 2020.
A few years ago, my husband and I decided to check out the Winterfest events on a whim. We felt like little kids as we ran through downtown in our long john underwear and roasted s’mores on a giant parking lot bonfire. Afterward, we went to Grand Armory Brewing Company to indulge in some of our favorite food and beer.
Prior to welcoming our beautiful baby girl into the world in May, my husband and I spent many weekends exploring Michigan’s amazing craft beer scene together. When we were dating, many conversations took place over our favorite IPA at the local brewery or while trying somewhere new that neither of us had ever been to. Craft beer is our passion and hobby, but this came to a screeching halt when our little one arrived. Suddenly, beers were replaced with bottles, and sleep became our most precious commodity. After a few weeks, though, we had a strong desire to find a way to incorporate our pre-baby interests into this new adventure we were on, and we set out to bring our daughter to her first brewery. Since then, we have learned a lot about what makes or breaks a night out on the town with a newborn in tow, and we felt a desire to share our wisdom with our fellow craft beer lovers to let you know that IT IS POSSIBLE to enjoy spending time with your little one AND to indulge in a night out with a good craft brew.
For those of us who live in the Midwest, it has been a long, bitter winter. However, for Big Ten basketball fans, a competitive regular season has pulled us through to the first signs of spring.
For most people, the Christmas season is their favorite time of year. However, for me, March Madness could be the underdog that upsets this crowd favorite in a battle for the most wonderful time of the year. I love that every game matters, as I have a team to root for in each match-up. I enjoy the high of celebration as teams claim victory, and I feel the heartache for each team as their season comes to an end. The upsets, the Cinderella Team, and the bracket busters elicit excitement in me, and of course, I have my favorite team that I hope is ultimately cutting down the nets at the end of it all. For those of you who will be rooting on a Big Ten team with me this March Madness, this Ultimate 6er will provide you with craft brews that show your loyalty to your team and your conference as you celebrate. Let the madness begin! Cheers (and Go Big Ten!).
If you read my Ultimate 6er | Snowed-In in Michigan, you would remember that, “from November through March, I have learned to always be prepared by stocking our home with the essentials: a space heater, frozen pizzas and, of course, a few beers to keep us warm and cozy on this snowy day,” so when Polar Vortex 2019 hit, my husband and I were ready to face it. One of the craft beers we picked up along the way to try was Lost Minds (7% ABV), a tart IPA from Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In honor of National Pizza Day on February 9, I am overjoyed to be writing about two of my favorite things: craft beer and pizza. Seriously–is there anything better than taking a bite of a hot, tantalizing slice of your favorite pizza and chasing it with a sip of a cold IPA or a refreshing pale ale? Just thinking about it makes my stomach rumble and my mouth begin to water.
In our explorations of Michigan’s craft brewery scene, my husband and I have tasted a lot of amazing food paired with some exceptional beer. However, nothing seems to top the beer and pizza combination for us, and we find ourselves returning to some of our favorite Michigan breweries again and again simply to indulge ourselves in this dynamic duo. If you don’t have a location to celebrate National Pizza Day already chosen, here are my recommendations for the best of Michigan’s craft beer and pizza scene to inspire you. Maybe we will see you there!
Growing up in Michigan, I have always found myself amazed at the power of snow. An overnight snowfall has the strength to shut down roads, schools, businesses, and any plans that I have for the day. As an employee of the public school system, I am one of those blessed adults who is still able to enjoy the thrill of having the phone ring at 5:30 a.m. to tell me that it is a snow day. My favorite winter days are those where the snow falls so quickly and in such great amounts that we have no choice but to stay home cozied up under blankets by our fireplace. With West Michigan’s “lake-effect snow,” it is not uncommon to have blizzards that last for several days in a row, making even a simple run to the grocery store a hazardous undertaking. Therefore, from November through March, I have learned to always be prepared by stocking our home with the essentials: a space heater, frozen pizzas, and of course, a few beers to keep us warm and cozy throughout these snowy days.
Walking into the 11th annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer, and Food festival was an overwhelming sensory experience. The excitement and chatter of thousands of festival goers filled the air, in addition to music being provided by local musicians. The smell of tacos from Lindo Mexico and pulled pork from Slows Bar Bq, just a few of the local eateries on site, teased my taste buds. Although I enjoy wine and cider, my eyes were drawn immediately to “Beer City Station,” the area of the festival dedicated to over 60 brewery tents lined with taps and ready for me to explore. My husband and I bought our tasting tickets and set out on our culinary adventure.
The 11th annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer, and Food Festival is quickly approaching, and there is no better way to spend a cold fall night than with these tasty comforts. With over 1,500 different beers, wines, ciders, and spirits from the around the world, there is something for everyone to enjoy- not to mention the delicious local food samplings! The festival takes place over the course of three days (Thursday, November 15-Saturday, November 17), and live music from local musicians will be provided throughout.
Now that summer is officially over, a weekend getaway to the Great Lakes State may not be high on your travel bucket list. However, fall is the perfect time of year to travel north, as the opportunity awaits to get two tours for the price of one! The changing colors of Michigan’s beautiful landscape provide a stunning backdrop for a craft beer tour in Southwest Michigan.
After a long, cold winter, west Michiganders emerge from hibernation to find paradise on the sandy shores of the Big Lake. However, in the blink of an eye, those precious days are slipping away and I find myself clinging tightly to the refreshing flavors of one of my favorite summer golden ales, Lost Dune. This New Holland Brewing Company seasonal should be at the top of your list if you are looking for a beer that truly represents the flavors and history of the craft beer scene in west Michigan. Not only are the blueberries in the brew grown on Michigan’s West Coast, but the beautiful artwork on the can brings to life the experience of climbing our sandy mountains and dipping your toes in the water on our shores.