Posts ByJack Raymond, Author at PorchDrinking.com
Wax Wings Brewing Company’s love for IPA runs deep. In this past year alone, their Into the Labyrinth series has received seventeen iterations, each batch allowing for dynamic experimentation in process and flavor. Like Daedelus from the titular Icarus myth, owner Rob Hopkins is driven by a desire to invent and innovate—to approach the sun without torching his wings. He could talk hops until he’s green in the face so when asked he happily divulged details on what some might consider their crowning achievement: V.
As an organism’s genetic sequence twists and changes, sometimes happy accidents occur, forever altering the course of a species. Fish switched fins for feet, lizards grew wings and took to the sky and here we are with livers, fine-tuned for processing the world’s delicious beer.
Nobody wants to get labeled as a bandwagoner, pandering to whatever’s in vogue for the sake of staying trendy. When the New England IPA movement started gaining steam, brewers were quick to call out posers in a street cred battle that bordered on ridiculous. Well, the style is obviously here to stay, and with years of popularity under its belt, it’s fun to look back at some classics.
Arvon Brewing Co. didn’t have much chance to bask in the afterglow of opening a brewery. Before even a month had passed at their new taproom in Grand Rapids, Michigan, quarantine hit, forcing them to close off the space they’d worked so hard to prepare. But instead of letting the pandemic rain on their parade, they improvised.
As Michiganders acclimate to sheltering in place, it’s important we find the right beer to hibernate with. Something dark, something sweet, something boozy. Something to lend a reprieve from the newsfeed. Lo and behold, City Built Brewing Company’s 5 Hour Stout, a pastry stout brewed with obscene amounts of coconut and vanilla. It’s thick enough to put a bear to sleep so it should do the trick for those intent on napping away the next few weeks.
From what I can gather, HOMES doesn’t give a rat’s ass about pleasing the masses. Visit their ultra-mod taproom in Ann Arbor—golden-age hip-hop bumping, precious little bao for the eating—and you’ll notice a distinct lack of styles to try. No ambers, no browns, no stouts, no wheats. Their draft list features almost exclusively fruited sours, such as their Sherbet Series, hazy IPAs and maybe a stray sour IPA for good measure.
Buckle up for spooky season. Ghosts and ghouls, sweaters and chai, crunchy leaves under your feet. You know the drill.
For the beer world, this time of year bears one of the industry’s most polarizing styles: Pumpkin Ale. To some, they’re as comforting and scrumptious as a slice of pie. To the rest, they taste like a scarecrow farted in their snifter. It seems the trick to making a successful pumpkin beer is using the gourd in pure form or in conjunction with other styles/ingredients. With Pumpkin Tart, a blended Farmhouse Ale brewed with real pumpkin and spices, Brewery Vivant checks both these boxes.
Michigan’s magic is in its power to make locals forget winters exist. We suffer for half the year as ice-pops, then thaw for a couple months of good season. Thankfully, summers around here are peak. Life blooms, lakes warm, that ice cream truck jingle haunts our city streets. Best of all: fruit. We have bushels coming out the ears, blueberries and tart cherries especially, but also apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes—the list goes on. For brewers, it’s not a question of if they can find fruit for beer, but which ones they’ll pick. For Barrel + Beam Terre Magique, blackberry is our lucky winner.
Who would have thought, underneath all that foam, Barney really is like you and me—filled with blood. If his really tastes this good, somebody get an IV drip funneled into my mouth, stat.
Barney Blood isn’t Short’s Brewing Company’s first stab at pairing whimsy with the macabre. Look to the Thirstie Mutilator for that, its label featuring a unicorn wielding chainsaws for hooves, and yet, the concept here makes even more sense. If you processed Barney through an industrial blender, I bet this is what you’d get. Don’t worry though, Short’s assures no dinosaurs were harmed in the making of this beer.