About- Danny King
One of my favorite holiday traditions is driving around looking at lights. When I was a kid, my family would pack into the car and take the longest route possible between my aunt’s and our house to look at Christmas lights. Even in high school, my friends and I would drive around looking for those homes whose merry-making bordered on deranged. Now that I’m older, I still take the Christmas light tour after dinner. Short’s Brewing Company, following in the Christmas tradition, released an American sour ale to highlight the raucous displays that have become as much a part of the holidays as Santa and presents.
Sometimes I struggle to figure out what beer to bring to an event. Other times the Universe throws an opportunity at you too good to pass up. This time, a serendipitous combination of a last-minute ski trip to Short’s land and a “diaper” party combined to make one of my favorite winter beers the obvious party choice: Short’s Brewing’s The Double Magician.
For the past four years, Detroit area breweries have teamed up in October to collaborate on innovative beers in honor of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Fall Beer Festival. However, this year’s theme took experimentation to the next level. Seven breweries decided to pay homage to the cornerstone of Michigan pop (not soda), Faygo, the beloved pop brand of Michiganders and Juggalos alike. While Faygo has been covered in the national press, usually as a side-story to the oddities of the Insane Clown Posse, the Detroit Beer Experiment, a collective of Detroit-based breweries, decided to give the product it’s culinary due by way of beer. Stephen Rogonson of Batch Brewing Co and Robert Orler of Brew Detroit were nice enough to answer some questions about the Detroit Beer Experiment.
October brings with it many things: changing leaves, the full onslaught of pumpkin beers and the end of outdoor parties. But my favorite part of October is, after the buzz of GABF, getting my hands on the Michigan medal winners. Luckily Michigan is a large enough brewing state that at least someone within a 30 minute drive will win something. This year, Brew Detroit snagged an International-Style Pilsner Bronze with Cerveza Delray, named after the beleaguered neighborhood just south of Mexicantown that is currently home to a lot of pollution but will soon welcome the Gordie Howe International Bridge (a welcome addition to everyone besides a company that is the literal embodiment of a bridge troll).
In writing this, I fired up the PorchDrinking DeLorean and visited our original showcase of #9 from 2012. Even though it’s way before my time with Tristan and the gang, reading the article was a nostalgia trip that perfectly reflects the reason #9 deserves its place in this series. Coit Stevenson is so excited just to get #9 in Colorado he barely remembers to review it. #9 was for many drinkers their first dabble into fruit beers and pale ales. With the market today practically drowning in Blood Orange as multi-fruit sours are available in any mid-level liquor store, it’s nice to remember a time when a little bit of magic, and some apricot, brought so much wonder onto your palate.
The world of limited releases is vast, and usually you have a good reason to go after them. Maybe you’re so into the brewery that you post up 12 hours before opening in order to snag it on opening day. Maybe you’re attempting to try every rice beer made in the tri-state area and if you can’t get your hands on this you’ll never be complete. Sometimes, like my trial of Abita‘s Horchata Turbodog, there’s just a beer that looks like your pup at the Mexican grocery store you go to to stock up for a snowstorm. No matter what path you take to find Horchata Turbodog, there’s a cozy dark ale waiting for your taste buds to nestle into it.
I don’t know about you guys, but I am fucking PUMPED for the Olympics. As with Eurovision and World Cup, I love any event where countries compete against each other without (much) bloodshed. As a boy from the frigid north, the Winter Olympics are my favorite and I think a ton more fun to watch. I’ve been prepping for PyeongChang in my own way; I’ve dusted off my skis (but not GS suit) and racing in a beer league. I’ve been getting blasted for making criticizing figure skaters (I am in the right. I will die on this hill.) and most importantly, I’ve been making some rules for us all to watch the biennial awkwardness of NBC trying to milk four hours of TV out of people walking in silly outfits across the stage.
Like many of you, I get a lot of beers and beer accessories for Christmas. This year my boyfriend went with a monthly beer club – with the extra promise he won’t have more than 2 of the 12 every month. As a bonus, they were nice enough to deliver before my PorchDrinking deadline, so I get to share my haul with you guys! While I was familiar with one of the breweries from the east coast, the club introduced me to Sprecher Brewing Company and their Winter Lager.
Detroit: You’ve heard of us. We’re making a comeback! The real story is Detroit never really left, but the leaps and bounds it has made in the last decade are astounding to anyone who has lived in the area since the rebellion. The Motor City has so much history, art, music, and culture to share, but most importantly for our readers it has tons and tons of beer too!
When I was offered an internship for the summer at the Prosecutor’s Office in a small county tucked away in the fingers of Michigan, I immediately knew my summer reading had to include Anatomy of a Murder. Anatomy of a Murder has long been hailed as one of the best examples of how law & order actually work. Besides that, it was supposed to be damned entertaining. I’ve spent the last two months learning the ins and outs of prosecuting a case both in the courtroom and through the eternal, if overly elaborate, wisdom of Robert Travers (aka former Michigan Supreme Court Justice John D. Voelker) and his Trout-obsessed country lawyer in Paul Biegler.
Recognizing a dire lack of new music to play on sun-sparkled highways and in the background of Sofia Coppola nature scenes, HAIM came out with a new album this month. The sisters Danielle, Este and Alana have been celebrated for their evocative California cool aesthetic before. “Something to Tell You” has been credited for its callbacks to acts like Fleetwood Mac and Bonnie Raitt. However, I still haven’t seen anyone tackle the interplay of the sisters’ vocal. Almost all the choruses are sung in unison as well as many other portions, voices mixing into one. The “close harmony” distinctive sounds of the 30’s and 40’s were dominated by sister acts. Since those early days, bands were comprised in whole or part by sisters and have played a dominate role in the music of the day.
Every summer, thousands of Michiganders make their trek to the northern part of Michigan for their “Up North Vacation.” What exactly Up North entails depends on who you talk to, as the Detroit Free Press recently pointed out.
Like many a Pirate’s doomed lusts for treasure, I’ve frequently attempted (and failed) to get my hands on Black Lotus Brewing Ninja Pirate to review it for the PorchDrinking.com audience. Winning a gold medal for best strong ale at the World Beer Cup tends to bring some competition for the bottles.
My first attempt, a week and a half after its release, failed because the beer was sold out. In my second attempt to procure a bottle of Ninja Pirate, a mere two days after the beer release, I was at least laughed at by head brewer Nick Joseph. It took one more failure before I finally got my hands on a bottle and subsequently found time to share the pride of Clawson, MI with you all. Trust me; Ninja Pirate is worth the wait.
On March 10, 2003, Natalie Mains of the Dixie Chicks told a crowd of concert goers in England that she was ashamed that President Bush was from Texas, because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The backlash was immediate and harsh when the statement was taken out of its anti-war context and presented in the light of ‘we are ashamed of Bush’. It led to a near industry-wide blackout of the Dixie Chicks, who at the time were arguably the biggest country music act to obtain success beyond Nashville since Garth Brooks. As we move along through the first months of the Trump regime, with all the protests and boycotts that have come along with it, it looked like the craft beer world may be dragged into the fray as well.
The Dixie Chicks spoke for themselves, but what happens when a corporation speaks for one of its members? Just ask Ballast Point.
St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. A day where you celebrate Irish heritage by getting drunk enough to exhibit all the worst stereotypes of Eire: unhinged drunkenness, hot-tempers, and boiled-based cuisine. You’ve probably attended one of the many different St. Patrick’s days where smaller towns hold their own parades to give pipe and drum bands some practice before the main event already. As such, you’re slowly starting to remember the transitions in Celtic Symphony. Maybe you even remembered that the chorus is “Up the RA” and not “Up their ass.” PorchDrinking wants to make sure you enter this festive season with the right tunes. Because of this, they have bestowed this sacred duty to their resident potatoey-looking writer.
I got a new car this week, due to the good people of the EPA busting VW’s scam. “Ugh” you say, “ANOTHER driving playlist, we just had one of those.” This isn’t just any driving playlist, dear readers. I’ve been a fan of the long-haul since the moment I could drive. Day trips to Toronto for a baseball game, 7 hour trips to and from Iowa City to Ann Arbor constantly in college, or an impromptu pilgrimage to Graceland, I’ll join anything. The headline photo comes from a last-minute favor to drive my friends to a KMFDM concert in Chicago. The electric system of my car Botilda shut down on I-90 but they still got in on time. Because of all these long-ass trips through the flat, level heartland of America, I started collecting voice-busters in order to power through the drive.
There comes a point in every hobby where you have to take things to the next level. This usually involves investing more time, energy and, most of all, money. I’m someone whose always resisted that for any hobby. With craft beer, it’s been a specific price point. When I started drinking I set a price I was willing to pay for a single bottle of beer from a store. Surely, I thought, I’ll never actually cross that line. Nothing can be that good. Well Porchdrinkers, Prairie Artisan Ales finally blew me to the next level of craft-dom with BOMB!, its imperial stout.
ABV: 7.5% | IBU: 15
The mad genius of Soft Parade is that it’s a year-round beer. When you look at that label—which I’ve obsessed over before—it screams a late summer beer (which is why I’m talking about it now). However, it has the heft to get you through fall and summer and a sweetness to pick you up with the blooming each spring. Shorts says they created it to appeal to wine drinkers, and I think they might have failed. Instead, they created a product that can hit the beer drinkers who want sweet and unique, the people who want a heavy hearty ale, and the people who want to just get fucked up (that 7.5% ABV always comes as a shock).
I’m not normally a cider guy. I’m spoiled by good non-alcoholic cider in Michigan, and the different taste just confuses me. However, it’s the only type of craft beer that my boyfriend seems to actively enjoy (that’s in not small part to Vandermill of Grand Rapids coming to the Fall Detroit beer festival last year). Therefore, I ventured this summer in order to find something we can both enjoy. And the search came just in time. As The Rio Olympics pointed out in their bummer presentation, it’s historically hot and you gotta find a non-AC blasting way to keep cool on the strings of unbearably hot day. Delightfully, Cherry Creek Winery has decided to branch out from the grape game and created Dancing Elephants Hard Cherry Apple Cider.
Back in May, I was hit by two new songs that were so fun and noisy, I fell in immediate love. Tegan & Sara’s Boyfriend (and really the whole album that it comes off of) is pure, unabashed pop perfection that had me bouncing up and down. It’s like a Patrick Nagel painting coming to life (for people who don’t know who that is, it’s like if Adult Swim’s Moonbeam City hadn’t been a disappointment.) On the flip side of that was Tyler Glen’s Trash, a middle-finger salute to the Mormon Church. While the song is dark and full of angst and reverb, it’s layering of sound hit me in the exact same way as Boyfriend — a bunch of noisy pieces that add up to a fun whole in a way that normal band instruments just can’t capture. After eating up all my phone’s data playing them on Youtube while I drove, I decided to capture this wall-of-noise sound I wanted for my noisy summer.