To explore local breweries and discover the trends that move the industry, it’s nice to stop to take stock of the new flavors and styles that approach our palates.
Being in the middle of the country, West Michigan has a tendency to get the news a little late when it comes to the latest and greatest beer trends. But breweries in the Mitten seem to have quite a knack for taking these popular beer styles and recreating them with a healthy dose of Michigan innovation.
To that end, Revue gathered some observations on recurring themes in the local craft beer scene and how the brewers are responding to them.
The movies don’t lie: A makeover can change everything.
Whether it’s drastic (Robin Williams, “Mrs. Doubtfire”), practical (Julia Roberts, “Pretty Woman”) or painful (Steve Carrell’s chest hair, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”), a new look is often a ticket to new frontiers.
This year, a handful of West Michigan’s top breweries have gone the “She’s All That” route — recognizing that a few minor tweaks can turn a nerd into the prom queen.
When a teetotaling lawmaker introduced legislation last month that would have more than tripled state excise taxes paid by craft brewers, opposition to the bill was quick and fierce. What began with hobbyist homebrewers in basements and garages two or three decades ago has grown into a nearly $2 billion chunk of the country’s overall $22.3 billion craft beer market. For Michigan brewers, the bill was an attack on the industry they built from the ground up and an assault on the American Dream itself.
Big Red Coq is the champ in a Revue taste-off of local ambers and reds.
Take a trip to Portland or Asheville, Fort Collins or Pittsburgh and you’ll notice many of the breweries share a common theme: They welcome — if not encourage — patrons to bring their dogs. Many Michigan breweries have been slow to open their doors to dogs — that could soon be changing, but for now, here are a few that are already dog-friendly.
Innovation spawns progress, but it’s a fine line. After all, not every innovation should move off the back of a napkin and become reality. Here are four “innovative” beers that probably should have remained barroom banter and not made it to production.
For this edition of Revue’s occasional beer road trip series, we headed south out of Grand Rapids with just a skeleton of a plan to explore five breweries. Little did we know the 150-mile journey would lead us to discover some new favorites along the way, including recently launched small-town pubs, a young brewery that’s on the forefront of reviving classic German-style beers, and humble but growing producers making some high-quality liquid.
Revue wanted to know what the go-to beers are for people in the brewing industry. Ten brewery owners let us open their refrigerators and take a peek.
A new brewery is breathing life into a long-vacant former furniture showroom on Plainfield Avenue in Grand Rapids’ burgeoning Creston neighborhood. Launched last month by two couples — Vince Lambert and Cailin Kelly, and Scott Schultz and Molly Bouwsma-Schultz — Creston Brewery aims to bring an inclusive environment to the local craft beer scene with something for people of all backgrounds and tastes, including non-beer lovers.
Although craft brewers once maligned mass-produced American lagers as “fizzy, yellow beer,” many have started to embrace the traditional German styles as consumers seek out sessionable options.
Let’s face it: Sometimes you just want a flavorful, crushable beer. Lagers are the so-called lawnmower beers, but that doesn’t mean they have to forego nuance and flavor, as this sampling proved.
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