#MIbeer – PorchDrinking.com
Much like seeing flowers bloom for the first time, many craft beer drinkers associate the beginning of spring with the release of Bell’s Brewery Oberon Wheat Ale. Bell’s signature ale has been around well before craft beer was in vogue, and its popularity continues to this day thanks to a great flavor profile and a myriad of clever marketing tactics – the best being Oberon Day.
The beer was actually called Solsun up until 1998, but a naming dispute with a Mexican brewery prompted the name change to Oberon… and the rest is history. The day-long event celebrating the release of Oberon for the year has become a fan favorite for Michigan beer fanatics and casual drinkers alike. On March 26, Bell’s plans to make this year’s Oberon Day the biggest ever – here are the details.
Founders Brewing has been around for more than 20 years, but they didn’t find their staple beer until 2012. Since its introduction, Founders’ easy-to-drink All Day IPA has been a smash hit. The beer hit a nerve for many people across the U.S. due to its outright drinkability and convenient packaging formats, making it a beer that could be consumed on land, on water, and anywhere in between—and sales have reflected that. Five years since it was released nationwide, All Day IPA just had its most successful year ever, growing an incredible 50.3% in 2017. All Day is now the 3rd best-selling IPA in the nation, an incredible feat for any beer over such a small period of time. The crazy sales numbers of its stalwart beer have lifted Founders to new heights, with volume sales up 51%, but if you ask co-founder Mike Stevens about All Day, he’ll say that the session ale has only begun to reach its potential.
You can add Founders Brewing to the list of breweries that have put out their 2018 beer release calendar. And Founders is looking to build on a massive 2017 with another big year of releases and additions to their lineup.
Calagione, Avery, Jordan, Oliver, Koch, Grossman, Cantwell, Bell, Maytag, Firestone, Bouckaert, Cilruzo. Over the past 20 years craft beer has experienced its greatest boon, and with that explosive growth, there have emerged figures so iconic and influential, that they have risen to become household names. However despite their steadfast ascent to becoming the 16th largest brewery in the country, Stevens and Engbers don’t command the same celebrity as their fellow industry luminaries.
From Utopias to Pliny the Younger, Dark Lord to Bourbon County Rare, Duck Duck Gooze to an unending new wave of glorified rare beers emerging from the likes of Surly, Hill Farmstead, Side Project, Tree House, Trillium, Casey, Toppling Goliath, Fremont, WeldWerks and beyond. In craft beer’s current stage of hype and circumstance it can be difficult transcending the clutter of buzzworthy beers as an established brand. Founders Brewing, who celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year, will do just that on December 1 with the release of Canadian Breakfast Stout, or CBS.
If you make good beer, you tend to generate a large following over time. When Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers founded Founders Brewing Co. back in 1997, their goal was simple: making simple, straight-forward beers that were both approachable yet unforgettable. Now in their 20th year of business and with distribution in 40+ states, Founders is no longer just a Michigan mainstay; they’re a household name with the nationwide craft beer community. Their beers, like All Day IPA and Kentucky Breakfast Stout, consistently rack up accolades both inside the beer community and with the everyday consumer, but it’s the popularity of their simply named Breakfast Stout creation that might generate the most buzz amongst fans.
Founders Brewing Company’s PC Pils has become my summer go-to beer. I’m not certain how that came to be–I didn’t search it out. I simply picked it out one day when looking for an easy drinking brew, and was pleasantly surprised with the light, refreshing style. Before long it became the natural beer to pick up when we were looking to drink something reliable and quenching.
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!
Summer’s here and in full swing, so going to the beach or hanging around outside are two common activities most people do while drinking beer. Since most people don’t want to wreck themselves, a good idea would be to Czech Yourself with Transient Artisan Ales‘ first lager.
ABV: 7% | IBU: 55
For most new to beer, and a sizable number of those well-versed in the various styles beer has to offer, trying an IPA is like sneaking a swig of your dad’s whiskey after everyone has gone to bed. It is an unpleasant rite of passage into the craft beer world that I, simply put, did not agree with. There was too much out there to enjoy without forcing myself to drink something I didn’t enjoy.
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.
Sometimes what you crave is the combination of sweet treat and delicious beer. Founders Brewing’s Lizard of Koz is the perfect intersection of just that. Released last year, the Imperial Blueberry Stout comes from the brilliant mind of Jeremey Kosmicki. Founders’ Brewmaster, Kosmicki created this sweet concoction for someone very dear to him. This imperial stout was made special for his little sister’s birthday. He included all her favorite ingredients: fresh Michigan blueberries, rich chocolate and vanilla aged in bourbon barrels. Needless to say, Kosmicki’s little sister, Liz, loved her brother’s creation.
The continued meteoric rise of craft breweries affords beer drinkers an opportunity to enjoy special releases with unfathomable regularity. But, once in a while, a classic “gotta have it,” beer rolls around; be it Pliny the Younger, Utopias, or in this case — KBS.
Since 2002, Founders Brewing has been putting its coffee-chocolate-malty stout in whiskey barrels and then storing them below its Grand Rapids home for a year. Each spring, just as tulips emerge from the soil, KBS escapes the caves so it can be enjoyed by throngs of fans. Welcome to spring; welcome to KBS season.
You won’t find the best beer from Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan — you’ll find it below Grand Rapids, where barrels of goodness hibernate in caves. For example, each April, the famous Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) arises from its slumber and seeks to conquer the palates of beer geeks everywhere. And this year, for Founders Brewing’s 20th Anniversary, several special beers are emerging from those caves, too. So, let us talk about the first release, a barrel-aged cherry ale from Founders named Frootwood.
Colorado has been the beneficiary of receiving both limited or, in some cases, wide distribution of nationally acclaimed cult following beers over the years, from Pliny the Elder, to Abraxas, Hill Farmstead’s Dorothy to Goose Island’s BCBS variants.
How does one of America’s most iconic craft breweries celebrate 20 years of Midwest liquid gold? Founders Brewing’s 20th Anniversary will be commemorated by dropping a special line of barrel-aged beers to bolster an already impressive overall portfolio.
The snow is falling in parts of the country. While some states have yet to see its first flurries, others got over 20 inches of snow over night this month. Before the snow piles so high we give up and resign ourselves to the couch, filling our days with binge watching Netflix, we’d like to offer a few choices for provisions to stock up on. Better prepared than sober, I say.
Photo courtesy of Arcadia Ales.
To quote a past professor: I reserve the right to be wrong.
In sixth grade I only once cleaned up after a friend’s Tamagotchi Giga Pet. I belonged to a school district around a farming community and found it was not uncommon for students to walk through cow or horse or pig manure in the morning before school. We knew what sticks were for and this egg-looking pixilated-dog toy had no use-stick button. I had cast aside my childhood then and welcomed cynicism. Since then, I have not succumbed to fads: my first cell phone was out of necessity at twenty, as apartment landlines became expensive and impracticable and employers immediately threw away applications without a phone number; I still have a flip phone, find the constant use of smart phones offensive; I avoided Twitter for eight years; I still don’t exactly understand Tinder or Reddit or what a millennial is or what their duties are or why one young man felt the need to tell me not to whistle while doing laundry because I was appropriating unpaid-labor culture; only now do I think a Tickle-me-Elmo would be fun (however, Gak was great, though I never owned any). And as of recently, I had no desire to fill the void in my life with anything pumpkin-spiced.