|Two Steves enjoy a beer.|
I’ve been hearing good things about Hop Lot Brewing Company so a few weeks ago my wife Barb and I decided to drive the hour north from our cottage on Big Bass Lake to check out one of the Traverse City area’s hottest new breweries. Visits to Tandem Cider and Mitten Brewing’s recently opened satellite location in Northport made our pleasant day trip to the Leelanau Peninsula even more enjoyable.
Hop Lot is located on M-22 just south of Sutton’s Bay. In just over a year the brewery has established itself as one of the area’s most popular tourist destinations. Owners Steve and Sarah Lutke have accomplished this by combining solid lineups of hand-crafted beer and well-prepared food with a beer garden that offers a unique “Up North” experience — campfires, community tables, a hop garden and a large, tree-shaded area with picnic tables and plenty of green space where patrons can play outdoor games.
There were only four beers on tap during our visit but head brewer Steve told us that he recently upgraded from a three-barrel to a ten-barrel system which he hopes will give him a better chance of keeping up with demand during the busy summer season. A selection of cider and wine is also available. Visit Hop Lot’s website for hours, special events and more information.
New and Returning Beer
- Beard's Luna Wheat Ale, $2.29/12oz - "A medium wheat beer with notes of citrus" (source).
- Beard's Oh, the Citranity, $2.29/12oz - "A pale ale featuring all Citra hops, bright citrus nose and flavor" (source).
- Beard's Serendipity, $2.29/12oz - "Exceptionally smooth with a pronounced chocolatey flavor and balanced sweetness. Subtle notes of sherry and smoke on the finish. Pairs well with desserts featuring peanut butter and chocolate, or a second glass of Serendipity" (source).
- Victory Berliner Weisse, $2.59/12oz - "Pale in color with a noticeable haze, this Berliner Weisse pours with fluffy white foam. Malt aromas combine with woody, spicy, and vanilla notes. Tart and sour flavors balance well with a floral, mildly sweet finish" (source).
- Victory Sour Monkey, $10.79/750ml - "Aroma is very varied with lemon, sour, and mild brettanomyces notes. Flavor follows with a tart acidity. Not dry as it finishes with a malty grain flavor" (source).
- Victory Festbier, $1.79/12oz - "Subtly sweet with a delicate malt nose, our Festbier gains its impressive body from our use of all imported German malts and decoction brewing process" (source).
- Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout, $2.09/12oz - "Number four in our stout series, this beer is brewed with all malted barley and hardwood smoked malt. Aromas of smoked chocolate and coffee leave way to a full-bodied stout with a smokey finish. Fore is a house favorite among our brewer" (source).
- Brooklyn Framboisie, $23.79/750ml - "Started as a base sour beer featuring barley malt, wheat, and spelt. This was then aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, each containing fifteen pounds of fresh raspberries. Finally, the beer was bottle conditioned with Brettanomyces lambicus and Champagne yeasts. The result is a sharp, dry, bombastic beer that is excellent with food. It is often enjoyed as a double feature with “Goat Cheeses,” “Salads,” “Chicken,” “Duck,” “Barbecue,” or “Game Meats”.No juices, purees or extracts were hurt during the course of this production" (source).
- Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest, $1.69/12oz - "We’re exploring the roots of Germany’s famous Oktoberfest beers. Each year, we partner with a different German brewer to explore a different approach to the style. This year we’re working with Bamberg, Germany’s Mahrs Bräu on a new version of the classic style. This authentic version of the festival beer is deep golden in color with a rich malt complexity, but with a noticeable spicy hop character from the use of the nearly forgotten Record hop varietal" (source).
- Stone Who You Callin' Wussie, $1.99/16oz - "For far too long the tyrannical industrialized beer overlords have disgraced and cheapened the noble heritage of the pilsner with their relentless multi-generational downward drive to commercialized homogenization. Over decades, this once vaulted style has been slowly and methodically gutted, bringing forth a soulless and anemic result, all the while spending billions in advertising to convince the unwitting public that their fizzy yellow end result was beer. Well, I will not have it. We are striking back for true craft by stealing the pilsner back from their evil clutches, and restoring it to its almighty glory. They do it cheaply. We do it right. Choose vapidity, or choose righteousness...but whatever you do, choose wisely" (source).
- Odd Side I want my HTV, $2.29/12oz - "Imperial Citra Pale Ale" (source).
- Left Hand Rye on the Prize, $9.99/22oz - "In 1993 we set out to change the world with better beer. To keep our eye on the prize, Left Hand has chosen an independent path to build a stronger community – founded on the best beer we can make. Rye on the Prize has a bold, hopped up character inspired by our mission to do good by you, the beer drinker, and our community" (source).
- Hofbrau Oktoberfest, $1.89/12oz - "The Munich Beer Festival, or Oktoberfest, is an event of superlatives - it’s the largest popular festival in the world, staging in the beer metropolis of Munich. Millions of visitors from all over the world flock along every year to enjoy its very special atmosphere. For this occasion, Hofbräu brews a rich, full-bodied beer which goes down ideally with traditional Bavarian cuisine. With its deliciously bitter taste and alcoholic content of 6.3% volume, Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier is as special as the Beer Festival itself" (source).
- Atwater Bloktoberfest, $1.99/12oz - "Octoberfest, a German tradition that celebrates harvest. Now Atwater carries on the tradition with our own special lager "Blocktoberfest". Brewed with 100% German malt for a rich taste and amber color" (source).
- Rogue Good Chit, $7.39/22oz - "Good Chit Pilsner is made with Rogue Farm barley that we Floor-Malted in small batches. Floor Malting is an old fashioned, 8 day process that includes steeping, germination, raking, roasting, bagging and hands-on love 24 hours a day. "Chit" refers to the start of the rootlets that emerge from the embryo of the kernel once steeping is complete and germination begins" (source).
- Rogue 6 Hop IPA, $7.39/22oz - "The first in a fresh crop of Rogue Farms IPAs, crafted entirely from ingredients we grow ourselves in Oregon’s renowned Willamette Valley. The Rogue Farms Revolution, Independent, Alluvial, Rebel, Liberty and Freedom Hops in 6 Hop IPA create a well-balanced, drinkable IPA grown from Ground to Glass" (source).
- Rogue 8 Hop IPA, $7.39/22oz - "The boss of the hop family, this IPA brings brash and burly flavors" (source).
- Rogue Honey Kolsch, $2.09/12oz - "We grow bees. Taste the difference" (source).
- Erdinger Oktoberfest, $1.69/12oz - "This golden, clear Erdinger is brewed all-naturally, using traditional barrel-fermentation, never pasteurized" (source).
- Sam Adams Octoberfest, $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).
- Great Lakes Oktoberfest, $1.69/12oz - "Cleveland’s celebration of Oktoberfest dates to the mid 1800’s when German immigrants gathered at outdoor beer gardens like Haltnorth’s and Kindvater’s St. Clair Gardens. Our amber lager with rich malt flavor and noble hops honors Cleveland’s diverse cultural heritage" (source).
- Greenbush One and the Same, $1.99/12oz - "Raspberries from K & K Farms in Coloma, MI lend it tartness and sweetness and wheat lends it body. Where we’re from, these are One and the Same" (source).
- Perrin Blackberry IPA, $1.89/12oz can - "Crisp and refreshing, our Blackberry IPA brings together floral and citrus hop notes and finishes with a sweet blackberry backbone" (source).
- New Belguim Bretta IPA, $6.19/22oz - "Follow the rules, keep on the straight and narrow, play it safe—isn’t it time you shook things up a bit? Life’s too exotic to stick to the familiar, so hop on the wild side with Bretta IPA. This Hop Kitchen release dares to cross wickedly wild Brettanomyces yeast with some of our favorite fruity hop varieties. Conditioned on two strains of Brettanomyces for a month, the IPA’s citrusy, piney hop notes courtesy of Equinox, Galaxy and Warrior riff off the yeast’s pineapple flavors, while rustic undertones emphasize a wild streak. Bring the funk and mix it up with Bretta IPA" (source).
- New Belgium & De Koninck Flowering Citrus Ale, $3.29/12oz (2 per) - "A beautiful summer day in Antwerp; the sun pours past the belfry and rooftops and floods into the market center. A ballet of brightly colored shoppers twists and twirls through the commotion, pinwheels of color against the cobblestone square. You find two seats on the café’s patio, ordering beers to pair with the bustling view: De Koninck Flowering Citrus Ale. This Lips of Faith collaboration with Antwerp’s historic De Koninck Brewery is a delightful burst of citrus and flowers, keeping pace with the color and commotion of summer. Sit back and enjoy the pop of key lime and whole lemons; breath in the fragrance of hibiscus, rose petals and strawberry-tinged Mistral hops; toast to life’s pleasant surprises. Soak in the summer scene with a Flowering Citrus Ale" (source).
- Sunshine Meadery, $17.19/500ml - "Our meads begin and end with sunshine. Every good mead begins with a love story between the sun and a flower, preparing it for the arrival of the honey bee. We put as much energy into developing honey into mead as the bee puts into making the honey for us. We strive to keep the sunshine flowing by adding enthusiasm, passion and energy to what we do. The result is a mead embodying its sunshine heritage" (source).
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