#MIbeer – PorchDrinking.com
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.
Photo Credit: Eric Tank
ABV: 5.5% | IBU: 50
Craft beer has always been about the story. If you can make oatmeal, you can probably make beer. That’s the easy part. Beer comes in different shades of colors and styles. Yet, despite the basics of brewing being so simple, we are still drawn to drinking and discovering all the different styles and interpretations brewers put on our favorite liquid courage.
In order to standout as a brewery in the great state of Michigan, you’ve got to go above and beyond just brewing really solid beer. Since 2012 over 100 new craft breweries have opened in the fruitful state of Michigan alone. But Transient Artisan Ales, in the southwest corner in Bridgman, has begun found a way to gain not just local industry attention but national acclaim as well.
What I know about tailors is from the “here’s what they won’t tell you about tailors” had-to-be-there stories from friends I’ve never seen in fitted suits. I leave work late in the evening to drive to Traverse City, Michigan, expecting early the next day to stand bare-assed in front of a five-sided mirror and a woolen man with circular glasses and pins in his teeth. He’ll shift my inner thighs someplace more manageable, while muttering, “No, no, this won’t do.”
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).
The Sunday evening before Memorial Day brought rain, but it let up when I was feeling most productive. When the clouds broke and the western skies opened, I walked to the laundromat, washed, and exchanged a dollar for dryer quarters.
Often when I have friends who travel outside of Chicago they’ll text me when they wander into a local brewery and ask if I want them to pick me up any beer. Every time the answer is ‘yes’ and that allows me to try beers from all over the country without having to leave the Second City.
Tulips and Blonde Beer. The first two things that come to mind when I think about spring in full swing. For Mother’s Day weekend, the family and I took a lovely trip to Holland, MI to attend the Tulip Time. Michigan in general has some of the most exciting craft beer on the market, so naturally I wanted take advantage of our adventure and drink as the locals drink.
Featured photo by Garrin Ball, courtesy of themittenadventure.com
When Steve and Drew Lutke bought a Groupon for a beer brewing kit they never imagined it would lead to them opening a brewery. After years of talking about the idea, gathering investments, planning the space and actually building a brewhouse, Hop Lot Brewing Co. is celebrating their one year anniversary this month.
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