The southwest corner of Michigan has long been the playground for Chicagoans looking to escape the concrete jungle for a slice of natural beauty. At the same time, that region of the Mitten has developed a craft beverage scene that fights well above its weight — or what its local population might suggest. Enticed by this notion, the Revue team rallied for a road trip to Southwest Michigan — specifically, Berrien County — to sample the wares. Here’s what we found out.
When Grand Rapids tied Asheville, North Carolina in a 2012 online poll to determine the best beer city in the country, lots of local beer enthusiasts cheered. A few raised an eyebrow.
We get it: Beer drinkers like hazy IPAs.
Craft beer fanatics don’t have to be from New England to enjoy the IPA style first popularized by breweries in that region. We have plenty of breweries in West Michigan and across the state that will sell you a 16-ounce can of OJ-inspired IPA.
Tucked away in a nondescript strip mall in Holland’s Beechwood neighborhood, Brewery 4 Two 4 takes experimentation to the max. That’s somewhat out of necessity, since the brewery produces its beer on a tiny half-barrel system at its 321 Douglas Ave. taproom.
Pilsners speak to me because they’re both easy drinking and complex beers if you want them to be. Luckily, Michigan craft breweries have started to embrace pilsners and lagers in growing numbers. At Revue, we decided to try several new or refreshed offerings, and those we missed in a 2016 taste-off.
The top-rated selection in a blind tasting of Michigan-made coffee-themed beers happens to be from a lakeshore brewery that’s making some waves of its own.
Darkstar Stout from Holland-based Big Lake Brewing LLC earned top honors in the Revue coffee beer taste off. The beer slightly edged out selections from Short’s Brewing Co. and Muskegon’s Pigeon Hill Brewing Co.
Confession time: I’ve fallen out of love with IPAs.
Call it palate fatigue, call it a reaction to too many bad/unbalanced beers in the marketplace, but my beer of choice has shifted quite a bit in the last year. Now, I still like the style and I enjoy tasting the flavors of different hops, but the thought of drinking a hop bomb really turns me off.
Rockford Brewing Co. scored big in the competition at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. Revue sat down with owners Seth Rivard and Jeff Sheehan to discuss the praise the brewery’s been receiving and how they’re not letting it get to their heads.
High-ABV, bourbon barrel-aged beers can do well in the cellar, meaning that their flavors can develop over time, mellow out and even improve.
But it begs the question of whether age does these beers any favors and at what age they begin to fall off.
To find out, I pulled from my cellar a five-year vertical of KBS from Founders Brewing Co. spanning the years of 2013 through 2017 and convinced my cohorts at Revue to conduct a blind tasting.
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