#MIbeer – PorchDrinking.com
Great Lakes Brewing Company has been busy this year, releasing two new beers during the first few months of the year. So far, we have Great Lakes IPA now out for year-round distribution and Midnight Moses as a part of their Holy Moses variety pack. Late last month, a third offering arrived ready to meet our taste buds during this summer season. Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Buckin’ Mule Moscow Mule Ale is a unique and refreshing alternative to the mainstays one normally comes across in the beer cooler.
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.
Well folks, the wait is finally over. After much speculation, Founders Brewing has shared news with PorchDrinking, that they will begin full distribution throughout the state of Colorado beginning mid-to-late October 2018.
A road trip resulted in us visiting more than 40 breweries, brewpubs, taprooms and bottle shops in almost all parts of the Midwest, so I had to share my top six picks for breweries along our journey. You simply should not miss any of these places if you are within 50 miles. Not only did each brewery make stellar beer, but there was something special about each one, whether it was the atmosphere, the food, or the history. Note that these breweries were in the order which we visited them – there’s no way a favorite can be picked! After all, breweries are like snowflakes: all are beautiful, and none are the same! Here’s a look at six breweries that stood out in our tour of the Midwest.
Oh, summer. As a native Minnesotan and current Chicagoan, I have a mixed relationship with the best season of the year. I’m used to rationalizing the cold, the rain, the snow, more cold…and even hail, endured during roughly nine months of the year, knowing that the sweet embrace of 70 degrees and sunny skies is right around the corner. Unfortunately, summer in the Midwest can be as fleeting as the last drip of Lager in your glass, which is why Midwesterners go so crazy for the nice days: because there are so few of them. One of my favorite summer activities is patio drinking. It’s a staple pastime that tans the skin and bloats the belly as you sit outside sopping up suds and some much-needed Vitamin D. Much like its inhabitants, the breweries of the Midwest also rejoice when the first summer forecast comes into the picture. Patio season can even start before Memorial Day – I’ve seen Chicago breweries unveil their patio chairs on an unseasonably sunny day in March. And guess what? That patio was filled. We asked several Midwestern brewers why patio season is so special for their brewery and for their patrons.
There’s few things darker than standing in a pitch black cave. The lack of light heightens your other senses immensely. As the lights went out in the famed Grand Rapids barrel storage cave of Founders Brewing Co., my nose lit up with the smell that any barrel-aged beer fan should be familiar with—bourbon. Founders’ head cellarman Jason Heystek is used to it by now, just like he’s used to scaling the rows of bourbon, tequila and wine barrels that line the former gypsum mine. Five minutes into our tour of the caves, Jason had already found a comfortable seat on-top of a KBS barrel. Much like the booze-soaked liquid that warms the body, Jason exudes a sense of comfort and enjoyment that reverberated throughout the group, making our tour almost 90 feet underneath Grand Rapids, a truly unforgettable experience.
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.
ABV: 6.0% | IBU: 37
I don’t like novelty beers. You know the ones I’m talking about – the cream soda, apple crisp, this-tastes-like-donut-holes kind of beers. Beers that have more to do with striking a chord of nostalgia than …
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.