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Friday, August 8, 2014

New Beer Friday, "Bad Beer Rules" Edition (Aug 8)

Mt. Pleasant Iron Horse IPA,
not a bad beer
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

If you’re under the age of thirty-five you probably don’t remember the time when it was almost impossible to find anything but American light lagers and stale imports in bars in West Michigan. That was about fifteen years ago. Although the craft beer movement was gaining momentum and American made ales and lagers were beginning to appear in a handful of bottle shops, most bars had yet to jump on craft beer bandwagon, and that was a bit frustrating for my brother Mark and me during our occasional bar hopping excursions.

We did most of that bar hopping in the old dives on the lower west side of Grand Rapids. If we happened to get the itch while spending the weekend up north at our father’s cabin, we would hit a couple of the far flung taverns in Lake County. But whether hopping bars up north or in the city, during most of those excursions we had no choice but to apply what we called the "Bad Beer Rule.”

The Bad Beer Rule dictates that if a bar doesn’t have any craft beer you must order the worst beer that’s available. Now I must admit that since my early bar hopping days I have come to realize that “bad” is a relative term when applied to beer. What I deemed to be “bad” back then might have been liquid gold to another patron. But when one first discovers the pleasures of craft beer there is a tendency to be a bit sanctimonious.

I don’t do much dive bar hopping in GR any more but when I do I seldom have to apply the Bad Beer Rule as it seems that even the diviest bars in Beer City USA today carry a selection of craft beer. I discovered recently that the same holds true for the rural up-north watering holes.

A couple of weeks ago Barb and I did a little bar hopping in three Lake County taverns. While Michigan craft beer was available at both The Logger’s Landing and the North Bar in Luther, I opted for High Lifes (High Lives?) and Barb had Miller Lites. We decided to go with the lower alcohol beers, but the point is we had a choice.

On the way back to the cottage we stopped at the Twin Creek Tavern which is, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere. We sat at the nice wooden bar in this wonderful old country tavern and finished the excursion with a couple of Mt. Pleasant Iron Horse IPAs.

New and Returning Beer

Crows Cider and Doug
  • Crow's Ciderye, $27.99/375ml - "a rye whiskey barrel aged hard cider. A light rye whiskey aroma, semi-dry to the tongue with a semi-sweet crisp apple finish" (source).
  • Crow's Hard Cider Chai, $14.99/750ml - Made with organic apples and spices.
  • Crow's Hard Cider Coffee, $14.99/750ml - Made with organic apples and coffee.
  • Crow's Hard Cider Peach, $14.99/750ml - Made with organic apples and peaches.
  • Vivant Contemplation, $3.39/16oz - "Ale brewed with Michigan honey & locally grown hops" (source).
  • Green Flash White IPA, $6.19/22oz - "While developing the recipe for our White IPA, we lined up malted wheat and more than a dozen hop varieties to select the three hops with the most citrus character: Simcoe, Amarillo and El Dorado. A citrus hop explosion leaps from the glass with big tangerine aromas up front, while hop flavors of bitter orange zest dominate and linger to the finish" (source).
  • Shiner Oktoberfest, $1.59/12oz - "Here in Shiner, TX (pop. 2,070), we’re suckers for tradition. Which is why this classic Oktoberfest brew is made with the highest quality two-row barley, Munich and caramel malts, along with German grown Hallertau Tradition and Hersbrucker hops. It’s our way of honoring our ancestors and the beer they loved to celebrate with. So raise your stein to tradition and enjoy this utterly classic brew" (source).
  • Arcadia Jaw Jacker, $1.79/12oz - "Jaw-Jacker balances our finest malted barley with a bit-o-wheat and is complimented with a citrus hop kick and just the right amount of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice for a nice marriage of pumpkin pie and beer. Made in the fall to celebrate the changing of the season" (source).
  • Arcadia Rapunzel, $1.79/12oz - "A wheat IPA, as blond as her hair and worth sneaking out the window for" (source).
  • New Belgium Tour de Fall, $1.69/12oz - "New Belgium’s love for beer, bikes and benefits is best described by being at Tour de Fat. Our love for Cascade and Amarillo hops is best tasted in our Tour de Fall Pale Ale. We’re cruising both across the country during our favorite time of year. Hop on and find Tour de Fall Pale Ale in fall 2014" (source).
  • Coronado Black Sails Black IPA, $8.29/22oz - "A decidedly hoppy and bitter, moderately strong American Pale Ale. Dark roast coffee and earthy flavors meld into piney hops with citrus and grapefruit aromatics" (source).
  • Coronado Sock Knocker Imperial IPA, $.8.29/22oz - "Sock Knocker pours golden orange, with a hoppy, citrus flavor that lingers well into the finish. Amarillo, Centennial, Columbus and Simcoe hops unite to create an immensely floral, botanical nose and a veritable explosion of citrus and pine on the palate. With an even more obscene hop overload than Coronado’s infamous Idiot IPA, Sock Knocker is an India Pale Ale truly deserving of its imperial crown" (source).
  • Sam Adams Oktoberfest, $1.69/12oz - "The first thing you notice when pouring a glass of this seasonal beer is the color. Samuel Adams® Octoberfest has a rich, deep golden amber hue which itself is reflective of the season. Samuel Adams® Octoberfest is a malt lover’s dream, masterfully blending together four roasts of barley to create a delicious harmony of sweet flavors including caramel and toffee. The beer is kept from being overly sweet by the elegant bitterness imparted by the German Noble hops. Samuel Adams® Octoberfest provides a wonderful transition from the lighter beers of summer to the winter’s heartier brews" (source).
  • Hacker Pschorr Oktoberfest, $1.79/12oz - "Bavarian barley slow roasted, caramelized to a rich, red amber color combined with the purest spring waters from the Alps, exclusive yeast and the finest Hallertau hops" (source).

Picture of the Week

Any mushroom experts out there give lessons?
We would have loved to ID these.


1 comment:

  1. The smallest one in the bottom row looks to be a member of the large coral fungi family. Most, but not all, of this variety of mushrooms are edible, but you had better like dirt as it is nearly impossible to clean all of it out.