#michiganbeer Archives – PorchDrinking.com
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.
Flagship beers are the lifeblood of any successful craft brewery. They provide sales consistency and additional sales points through variant releases that are familiar to the consumers, yet introduce new SKUs throughout the calendar year. New Holland Brewing’s cash-cow remains their Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout line, a decadently strong and barrel-forward beer that continues to generate acclaim for the Michigan-based brewery. Amidst a reimagining of the New Holland brand, the Dragon’s Milk brand continues to quietly hum along, generating positive sales year over year, thanks to the success of the original Stout and the popularity of new, buzzed-about variants.
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.
In the midst of the busyness and stress that comes with being an adult, the moments when you can let loose and feel like a kid again are truly precious. I enjoyed one of those experiences with my husband a few years ago when we made the spontaneous decision to participate in the “Sleepwalker Run” in Grand Haven, MI at the end of January. The Sleepwalker Run, which takes place this year on Friday, January 24, consists of either a .62 mile sprint or a 2.62 mile run in your pajamas through downtown Grand Haven. It’s a part of the town’s annual Winterfest, which occurs Jan. 23-26, 2020.
A few years ago, my husband and I decided to check out the Winterfest events on a whim. We felt like little kids as we ran through downtown in our long john underwear and roasted s’mores on a giant parking lot bonfire. Afterward, we went to Grand Armory Brewing Company to indulge in some of our favorite food and beer.
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales is most known for its well-crafted array of sour ales, but it’s Traverse City brewpub location is known for something else. The brewpub is attached to Bowers Harbor Inn, home to upscale restaurant, Mission Table, and gorgeous views of the waterfront. It might also include a haunted spirit. Just in time for Halloween, here’s what you need to know about this Jolly Pumpkin location’s haunted history, which may be one of spookiest brewpub spots in the U.S.
Prior to welcoming our beautiful baby girl into the world in May, my husband and I spent many weekends exploring Michigan’s amazing craft beer scene together. When we were dating, many conversations took place over our favorite IPA at the local brewery or while trying somewhere new that neither of us had ever been to. Craft beer is our passion and hobby, but this came to a screeching halt when our little one arrived. Suddenly, beers were replaced with bottles, and sleep became our most precious commodity. After a few weeks, though, we had a strong desire to find a way to incorporate our pre-baby interests into this new adventure we were on, and we set out to bring our daughter to her first brewery. Since then, we have learned a lot about what makes or breaks a night out on the town with a newborn in tow, and we felt a desire to share our wisdom with our fellow craft beer lovers to let you know that IT IS POSSIBLE to enjoy spending time with your little one AND to indulge in a night out with a good craft brew.
Brewing new beers to celebrate a local event or festival is not unusual in the craft brewing community. Michigan-based Perrin Brewing Company took that idea and flipped it on its head with their latest IPA: Storming The Gates Area 51 Experimental New England style IPA. Brewed in celebration of their 7th anniversary party, the new NE-style IPA is brewed to celebrate (or mourn) the now-canceled Storm Area 51 event that was supposed to take place on September 20, 2019. While that viral event is now no-more due to a myriad of practical and human safety issues, the IPA remains and has had many Michigan beer fans storming the gates of the brewpub this past week.
In honor of National Pizza Day on February 9, I am overjoyed to be writing about two of my favorite things: craft beer and pizza. Seriously–is there anything better than taking a bite of a hot, tantalizing slice of your favorite pizza and chasing it with a sip of a cold IPA or a refreshing pale ale? Just thinking about it makes my stomach rumble and my mouth begin to water.
In our explorations of Michigan’s craft brewery scene, my husband and I have tasted a lot of amazing food paired with some exceptional beer. However, nothing seems to top the beer and pizza combination for us, and we find ourselves returning to some of our favorite Michigan breweries again and again simply to indulge ourselves in this dynamic duo. If you don’t have a location to celebrate National Pizza Day already chosen, here are my recommendations for the best of Michigan’s craft beer and pizza scene to inspire you. Maybe we will see you there!
Growing up in Michigan, I have always found myself amazed at the power of snow. An overnight snowfall has the strength to shut down roads, schools, businesses, and any plans that I have for the day. As an employee of the public school system, I am one of those blessed adults who is still able to enjoy the thrill of having the phone ring at 5:30 a.m. to tell me that it is a snow day. My favorite winter days are those where the snow falls so quickly and in such great amounts that we have no choice but to stay home cozied up under blankets by our fireplace. With West Michigan’s “lake-effect snow,” it is not uncommon to have blizzards that last for several days in a row, making even a simple run to the grocery store a hazardous undertaking. Therefore, from November through March, I have learned to always be prepared by stocking our home with the essentials: a space heater, frozen pizzas, and of course, a few beers to keep us warm and cozy throughout these snowy days.
Walking into the 11th annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer, and Food festival was an overwhelming sensory experience. The excitement and chatter of thousands of festival goers filled the air, in addition to music being provided by local musicians. The smell of tacos from Lindo Mexico and pulled pork from Slows Bar Bq, just a few of the local eateries on site, teased my taste buds. Although I enjoy wine and cider, my eyes were drawn immediately to “Beer City Station,” the area of the festival dedicated to over 60 brewery tents lined with taps and ready for me to explore. My husband and I bought our tasting tickets and set out on our culinary adventure.
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.
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).
After a long, cold winter, west Michiganders emerge from hibernation to find paradise on the sandy shores of the Big Lake. However, in the blink of an eye, those precious days are slipping away and I find myself clinging tightly to the refreshing flavors of one of my favorite summer golden ales, Lost Dune. This New Holland Brewing Company seasonal should be at the top of your list if you are looking for a beer that truly represents the flavors and history of the craft beer scene in west Michigan. Not only are the blueberries in the brew grown on Michigan’s West Coast, but the beautiful artwork on the can brings to life the experience of climbing our sandy mountains and dipping your toes in the water on our shores.
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.
Thanks to the permeation of their ad campaign throughout Chicago, my initial impression of Traverse City was that there was going to a brewery every block. That turned out not to be true – and that’s probably a good thing. While a good deal of breweries can be reached via a leisurely stroll on Front St., a lot of the other worthwhile spots are a bit more spaced out, which forces you to explore the unique history and scenery that makes Traverse City one of the better tourist destinations in the Midwest. We got the chance to experience a good deal of what the city had to offer through a variety of brewery stops on Saturday and Sunday, along with a trip up the peninsula to visit the Old Mission Lighthouse and the scenic grounds of the Jolly Pumpkin brewpub. Here are my highlights.
After a five-day excursion with my beer-loving parents through Western Michigan and Traverse City, I’ve come back enamored with many of the local brews… and about five pounds heavier. But it was all worth it: every single brew, cheese board, burger and beer flight. During the trip, we visited over 20 breweries throughout Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Marshall, Ludington and Traverse City. Some were massive, others were upstarts, but each left an impression. To make my recap as readable as possible, I’ve decided to divide my thoughts up into regions, starting with the focal point: Grand Rapids, and the additional visits we took to Bell’s, Dark Horse and Starving Artist located in Kalamazoo, Marshall and Ludington respectively. Here are my highlights.
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.