You may not know it, but here in West Michigan, wine is all around us. Whether you’re out in the vast orchards of the southwest or up in the rolling hills of Traverse City, there’s no shortage of grapes to be found. Our whites and bubbly are especially notable, but maybe even better is the simple pleasure of sitting around a table with friends, tasting your way through the winery’s flavors while overlooking the winding vineyards on a beautiful day. We’re here to help you find new vintages and tasting rooms alike — here’s your guide to just some of the great wineries the mitten can proudly claim.
I’m up north, bopping about a peninsular wine trail, when I find my schnozz inside another tasting glass, sniffing the day’s fifth Merlot. The menu proposes such scents as “bramble jam” and “tanned leather.”
Cocktails can be a little intimidating, to be sure.
When you pick up a menu and see words like amaro, falernum and aperol for the first time, it starts to feel like a foreign language textbook. You could always take a gamble and assume any word you don’t know is some sort of herbal liqueur — you’d often be correct — but isn’t it better to actually understand what’s in your drink?
West Michigan is no Sahara — you can find something to drink with ease.
In the city, it’s easy to lose touch with the natural world. Billowing smokestacks emit fake clouds. Everything is brick and asphalt we can’t eat. Then there’s the smell of a gutter.
Prohibition — “the noble experiment” — was a complete, counterintuitive failure. The hooch got dirtier, the crime messier, the consumption higher. Even Congress, the arbiters of such bogus legislation, had their own bootlegger, “The Man in the Green Hat”, who snuck whiskey, moonshine, scotch and more to members of office. Surprise, it didn’t stick.
To pour a glass of Perrin Brewing Co.’s Clear Coast is to perform a mind trick. Apart from the microscopic bubbles popping in and out of existence, the seltzer looks more like water than water. And yet it does water one better, with a secret ingredient: alcohol. This here’s LaCroix gone wild.
Cracking open a Bud Light bottle is a lot like stepping into a pair of old slippers. They’re comfy and familiar, but kind of stink. You wouldn’t bring them out around company. While domestics serve their purpose, microbreweries have improved upon cheap beer’s blueprints, creating remarkable beers that are still light, approachable and affordable. That said, they’re not always easy to find. When the wall of craft beer towers like the library of Babel, it can feel like a safer bet to grab that six-pack of Blue Moon. Old habits die hard, but here are some suggestions from around Michigan to ease the transition from macro to micro.
Linear’s own Cliff Ensing treated us to a bounty of cocktails, on menu and off, while reminding us that Linear’s happy hour (3-6 p.m. every day) is one of the best around. Half off signature cocktails, draft beers and wine glasses is not so bad! You didn’t really mean you were going to the gym more often this year, did you?
It’s OK to be a little scared of the future: the polar ice caps melting and flooding our metropolises, robots snacking on our bodies for battery power, the inevitable heat death of the universe. It’s all a bit much.
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