A Dive into Great Lakes’ Beer Menu

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On Sunday I decided to take the family out to lunch. When choosing where to eat I always ask myself do they have a good beer menu? Then I remembered that we hadn’t been to Great Lakes Eatery and Pub in Dundee in a few months. With ten taps dedicated to Michigan beer Great Lakes has a lot of great choices and definitely fits my criteria of places to eat.

The current beer list is a nice mix that included a pale ale, blonde, brown, oatmeal stout, IPA and cider. I went for the Perkulator Coffee Dopplebock. It is such a comfortable beer in your mouth with a smooth malty sweetness and a coffee bitterness. It’s an amazing tasting beer. In a beer menu filled with my favorites Perkulator is “a little more favorite.”

It makes for easy dining decisions when there are places like Great Lakes that care about supporting Michigan. It helps when the food is good.

Great Lakes is located off of I-23 in Dundee right in front of Cabelas.

B.Nektar + Pasta = Yum (no organic goats necessary)

<div class=\"postavatar\">B.Nektar + Pasta = Yum (no organic goats necessary)</div>

Why certain retail businesses fail and while others succeed has long intrigued me. Ann Arbor, especially, intrigues me to no end. I have gone to some wonderful places only to see them close (I still mourn Pelagos), yet it seems people will pay $30 for a piece of lettuce in other places. I mean, sure, the lettuce was pooped out by a goat wearing an organic headdress made of hemp and singing harmonies, but still, it’s a piece of $#&!^ lettuce!!!   As someone who can most definitely not afford $50 for a small plate of food, I am always on the look out for good meals for less than my hourly wage. If I can pair that food with a nice beer, all the better.

So lucky for me that I discovered Piatto Di Pasta in the southeastern part of town. Nestled in the plaza on the corner of Stone School & Ellsworth, this is an awesome Italian restaurant/take out place. A friend had recommended it and so I decided to incorporate it into my next beer pairing article. The bad news is that I had only porters in my refrigerator and, to my palate anyway, porters and Italian food don’t go that well together. Luckily, I had bought a B.Nektar Zombie Killer Cherry Cyster from Made in Michigan last week and even luckier was how well the tastes went together!

First, the food! I got two entrees, which included bread, salad (or soup) and your choice of meat, noodles and sauce. I got the penne pasta, traditional sauce and meatballs for myself and the cheese ravioli, spicy sauce and chicken for Boyfriend Ken. ZOMG—that is a clove of garlic that you see in that meatball. Yes, a clove of garlic. I ate and ate and still couldn’t finish all of the pasta (if you have ever seen my rather expansive thighs, you will know that I can eat). While waiting for Boyfriend Ken to get home, I liberated some of the ravioli from his plate. Hands down, the best I have ever eaten and in fact, I was kind of hoping he’d work late and leave all the pasta for me :)

See? It’s a clove of garlic! That clove is now somewhere in my stomach, awaiting further digestion.

Now the Cyser, as I said, went very well with the pasta and meat. This cider is amazing! It is basically apple cider with honey and cherries…but so much more! It’s much lighter than a mead, yet not as heavy as, say, a red wine. The honey flavor is light and adds a crispness to it, while the cherries round out the tart finish. Since Italian food is somewhat heavy, this was the perfect drink to balance it out. (A porter beer, for instance, would have just made the meal too heavy).

One of the best labels, period.

So give Piatto Di Pasta & Zombie Killer a try, individually or together. The food is locally sourced when possible and organic and the “cyser” is too…and they won’t break the bank! And no organic goats were necessary, either!

Bleu Cheese Throwdown: IPA vs. Stout

<div class=\"postavatar\">Bleu Cheese Throwdown: IPA vs. Stout</div>

I attended a very fun birthday party this past weekend. Because the host and hostess are awesome, they had two kegs of beer on tap: Dark Horse’s Crooked Tree and Saugatuck’s Neapolitan Stout. Both beers are fantastic; I have had Crooked Tree a bunch of times, but the stout was new to me. Might have drank a few of those.

At some point, my friends and I started consuming rather large quantities of bleu cheese. As my friend pointed out–“Bleu cheese takes like blue” and in fact, it do! (It rhymes; sue me). So the question became, “Which beer pairs best with this cheese?”

The IPA definitely had an edge. The sharp, bitter hoppiness complimented the “blue” tangy taste of bleu cheese. Crooked Tree is crisp and has, to me anyway, a nice dry finish. This finish seemed to go well with the moist texture of the “blue” tasting cheese.

My friends kind of dismissed the stout out of hand, but I think there is something to be said for it. As the name implies, it has chocolate, vanilla beans and strawberries like its namesake ice cream. Because it is a milk stout, it is creamier than many other stouts, and not as dry. I found this creaminess to be a nice compliment to the bleu cheese. It might have been a touch too much dairy for some, but I liked the sharp cheese and smooth beer combination.

Have you tried these beers with cheese? Am I off my rocker? What are some other good beers to pair with bleu cheese?

Porter vs. Porter

<div class=\"postavatar\">Porter vs. Porter</div>

So where was I? I know, amigos, it’s been a hot minute. I’m one of those
people who either has nothing going on, or a million things going on and
I’m afraid it’s been the latter these past few months. I’ve been
drinking my fair share of fine, malted beverages, but haven’t had the
room to report upon them.

Fortunately, things appear to be settling down.  Therefore, here I am!
The most recent beers in my mug were at an Ale Dinner party that I went
to last night. We had five lovely courses, each paired with an equally
lovely beer. My course was dessert, and so I made my tried and true
flourless chocolate cake (always a hit at the Seders). I brought with me
some Bell’s Porter. The party also featured Founders’ Porter (paired
with the roast beef–nice!), and so I decided to do a side-by-side
comparison of the two.

Founders’ Porter – this is a rich, smooth beer. It’s about as perfect of
a porter as I could ask for.  It has chocolate notes to it, a hit of
coffee, and is balanced by the bittering hops.  Having said that though,
it was not (for me anyway) perfect for the cake.  I am not a huge
chocolate fan, and it was just too much. This porter went much better
with the roast beef.

Bell’s Porter – This is also a fine example of a porter. I found it not
as chocolately or coffee-y (?). The dark malts balanced with the hops, a
little more on the bitter side than the malty side. In this way, it made
a much better match with the chocolate cake, as I didn’t feel an
overload. The slight bitter taste balanced the sweet deliciousness of my
cake.

So there you have it! Two great porters that pair better with different courses. Looking forward  to more, as winter slowly creeps in.

On a personal note, I want to thank my friends Kevin & Jnaz for their infinite patience with me these past few months. I’m glad to be back!

Tashmoo

Tashmoo. An early 20th century Great Lakes steam ship. A former amusement park on Harsen’s Island. A Native American word meaning “meeting place.” Plenty to talk about over a good bier.

 

What to do with all that Detroit space? Well, drink beer. Or should we say, bier? This fall, over five Sundays, we’re transforming a vacant lot in Detroit’s West Village into a European-style biergarten with a little Detroit moxie.

 

http://tashmoodetroit.com

In addition to 5 Michigan beers on tap, there were two local food vendors (who will rotate in the coming weeks), Porktown Sausage and People’s Pierogi. As a meat-eater I went for the brat, beer’s natural partner, at least according to most

 

https://mllenoelle.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/pop-goes-the-biergarten

Spring Beer Dinner at the Grange–Springing Into Awesome

Brandon Johns is not just one of the coolest people I know, he is one of the bravest.  I mean, seriously? Starting a restaurant in this economy?? And stocking it with locally sourced and seasonal food, still not a sure thing even in this town? Wow.  That’s just gutsy.

Not only is Chef Johns committed to local food, he is similarly committed to local beer.  This past week, the Grange held its Spring Beer Dinner which highlighted the best of food and brew.

The first beer served was Arbor Brewing Company’s Tree Fort beer.  This is a light, refreshing “lawnmower beer” that has improved with every batch.  It is, quite simply, the beer you’d want after a long day of mowing.  It was a perfect start to the dinner and was paired with a variety of snacks, Brandon style.  I say “Brandon style” because “Patti style” snacks are a bag of Doritos, take it or leave it.  But at the Grange, we got homemade chips (yum!), popcorn popped in bacon fat, deep fried pickles and deep fried smelt with OMG I never had before but promptly fell in love (and, as someone at our table said, “I get the feeling that the Superbowl at Brandon’s house wouldn’t have pretzels).  I could have eaten that stuff all night and felt I got my money’s worth.  The salty, crispy, fried deliciousness paired perfectly with the lighter ale.

Next, we had sauteed lake trout over spelt and leeks.  The beer was New Holland’s Golden Cap Saison Ale.  This beer is made with spelt and so it paired very well with the spelt.  (I just realized that we had smelt and then spelt and that is kind of cool). Golden Cap is an updated version of a traditional farmhouse ale.  You see, back in the day, the farmhands would drink beer (water was icky and unsafe) and if you feed your workers a 9% Trippel, well, they are going to be sleeping instead of, er, hoeing.  Thus, a lighter beer! (Okay, this one has an a.b.v. of around 6% but still).

The next course featured Arcadia’s Whitsun Ale paired with paella, rabbit & shrimp over gold rice.  I have to confess some hesitation to eat Thumper but he’s pretty good!  Whitsun is a wheat beer, full bodied & toasty with some hints of caramel. The toasty body paired very well with rice and Thumper (Brandon kindly remember that I don’t eat shellfish and had a special dish just for me! That’s the kind of service I’m talkin’ about).

The “main” course was a smoked pork shoulder but I got another special dish of homemade pasta.  People love to get me crap for not eating pork–and I do miss it–but I am so glad that I got this dish instead! It was delicious and paired well with the fourth beer, the Dark Horse/Arbor Dark Corner brown ale.  If you haven’t had this collaboration ale, you need to get some before it runs out.  It is the same recipe but different water and house yeast, and the brewpubs made totally different beers.  Both are great–but both are different.  Both went nicely with my pasta and Jeff reported that they were “perfect” with his smoked pig.

Finally, we had a selection of Michigan cheeses, including a ricotta that was–and I’m not gonna lie–like eating a pillow of deliciousness.  The beer was Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale.  This was the strongest beer of the batch. It is malted and oak aged, with a touch of molasses.  Nice heavy beer to go with the light cheeses.  It made for an excellent dessert course. Much better than chocolate, which I actually don’t care for.

I can’t say enough about this excellent dinner! We had wonderful dinner companions, including Ron from Rave Associates (who was knowledgeable and personable, as always) and a wonderful host in Brandon!  I’m truly glad that we have such a cool–and brave–guy here in Ann Arbor.

Beer Tasting & Art Auction to Benefit Meadow Montessori

Beer Tasting & Art Auction

Time Friday, May 13 · 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Location Friendly Ford
2800 North Telegraph Road
Monroe, MI 48162

 More Info $35 per person, $40 after May 6th. Ticket price includes 6 beer tastings and a variety of gourmet foods that pair with Michigan craft beers. Additional beer tastings can be purchased.
Live & Silent Auction
Proceeds Benefit Meadow Montessori School
For tickets, go to www.meadowmontessori.org or call 734-241-9496

Event’s facebook page

The beer menu with commercial descriptions…

Founders (Grand Rapids, MI)

Dirty Bastard:Dark ruby in color and brewed withseven varieties of imported malts. Complex in finish withhints of smoke and peat, paired with a malty richness and a right hook of hop power to give it the bad attitude that a beer named Dirty Bastard has to live up to. Ain’t for the wee lads’ 8.5% ABV

Red’s RyePA: Serious hop bitterness along with unyielding grapefruit bouquet from the Amarillo dry-hop. Balanced with the malty richness of four varieties of imported Belgian caramel malts. Pours a spectacular crimson with a creamy tan head. A generous addition of rye malt accentuates a spicy crisp finish.ABV: 6.6%

Porter: Pours silky black with a creamy tan head. The nose is sweet with strong chocolate and caramel malt presence. No absence of hops gives Founders robust porter the full flavor you deserve and expect. Cozy like velvet. It’s a lover, not a fighter. ABV: 6.5%

Pale Ale: A testament to Cascade hops in a bottle, this medium-bodied pale ale has a refreshing citrus flavor and a distinctive floral hop aroma due to the aggressive addition of hops during fermentation. You’ll notice a slight malty sweetness with a balanced hop finish. Perfect to enjoy anytime, anywhere. 5.4% ABV

Arcadia (Battle Creek, MI)

Angler’s Ale:Angler’s Ale is a strikingly authentic English-style Pale Ale. Medium-bodied and easy-drinking, this clean, crisp ale boasts well-balanced flavors of caramel, toffee, and toasted malt, with just the right amount of bitterness. A delicate herbal hop finish is provided by Goldings whole leaf hops

Loch Down:Step into the Scottish Highlands withthis authentic Strong Scotch Ale. A lovely and deep garnet color is joined by the aroma of plums and toffee in this unique and special ale. Brewed with Maris Otter malted barley from Crisp Maltings, Ltd. in England, the rich and full-bodied feel of this beer brings out flavors of caramel and roasted chestnuts, which is balanced with a clean and crisp alcohol finish, and just the right amount of lingering hop bitterness. 7.5 ABV

Whitsun: A wheat beer brewed with just the right amount of coriander, orange zest and Michigan honey which provides an earthy sweetness not often found in beers of this style.  Coriander and a light hop addition add balance (ABV: 6.2%)

Skye High Rye:
A West Coast-style Pale Ale with rye malt, Sky High Rye boasts a massive floral aroma of resinous hops. The hops contribute flavor notes of lemons, peaches, and pine needles, combined with the sweet, malty flavors of toffee and bread. Rye adds a pleasant peppery, spicy note like a fresh slice of pumpernickel bread. Very well-rounded and very drinkable, Sky High Rye will surely inspire adventure in all who taste it. 6.0% ABV

Mt Pleasant Brewing Company (Mt. Pleasant, MI)

Iron Horse IPA:Don’t be shy, try it. Like any good I.P.A. this one has plenty of hop presence but not so much that it is not approachable by our hop-weary friends. Instead of “biggering and biggering” like so many I.P.A.’s these days we are keepin’ it real with a beer that will make you want to drink more than just one.

Coal Stoker Blackberry Ale:This brew is another top seller. Created by accident, a chance blending of raspberry wheat and stout, we recreated this crowd pleaser for distribution. Call it a mad scientist production, call it a miracle, call it dumb luck if you want; we call it serendipity

Railyard Raspberry Wheat: This is a beer brewed with raspberries, not a raspberry beer. The real raspberry juice we use adds something special to this wheat ale rather than taking something away. It can be, and is, enjoyed by all types of beer drinkers. It especially pairs well with fruit salads or just about any type of dessert

Steam Engine Stout:
Devout beer lovers will love this dark, rich, full bodied stout. We like to say that our Steam Engine Stout is a classic, sweet stout – it is, but this brew goes above and beyond your average stout.

Arbor Brewing Co. (Ann Arbor, MI)

Dark Corner: A Corner Brewery/Dark Horse collaboration beer click here for more details. American Strong Ale 7.5% ABV

Brasserie Blonde:
Gorgeous copper-orange ale. Rich, enticing aroma of oranges and lemongrass. Crisp and refreshing on the palate. A perfect blend of malt, spice and sweet & zesty hints of citrus  5.5%

Strawberry Blonde:
Strawberries are Spring’s first fruit.  They announce the end of the long Midwest winter and welcome the lazy days of summer.  They herald a season of weekends at the lake, walking barefoot through the grass, and whiling away the afternoon at your local beer garden. Be sure to savor your Strawberry Blonde while it lasts because like a Michigan summer, it’ll be gone before you know it. (7.75% ABV)

Red Snapper:
A deep reddish brew with medium body and carbonation. This toasty, malty, and dry pale ale has a depth of hop taste and acidity in the palate and finish. 4.9% (ABV)

Short’s Beer Dinner at Sidetracks

<div class=\"postavatar\">Short's Beer Dinner at Sidetracks</div>

Last night, Jeff & I went to a burger and Short’s beer tasting at Sidetracks in Ypsilanti.  We love their food and would go any time, but the lure of Short’s was just too much to resist.  Sidetracks (actually, the event was at Frenchie’s) was awesome–they did a super job of pairing beer and food that complimented each other.  Without further ado, here is what we sampled last night:

The appetizer was acorn squash baked with apple cider paired with Autumn Ale.  This beer was an ESB with a delicious malty mouthfeel and bitter aftertaste. It went perfectly with the squash. I normally do not care for squash but when I took a bite and then swished beer in my mouth, I found it quite enjoyable.

Next, we a mac’n’cheese “burger”, which was Sidetracks’ mac’n’cheese (mmmmm) with ground up beef in it (#kosherfail).  This was paired with Short’s Bloody Beer that I have heard a ton about but never tried.  It was good, but not at all what I expected. I think I expected it to taste more like Mike O’Brien’s chips’n’salsa beer.  This beer had a nose that was all tomatoes, but not a huge tomato-y taste.  I could pick out a hint of the dill, peppercorn and horseradish that was also used in the recipe.

The third course was Short’s Black Cherry Porter with a black cherry & goat cheese burger.  I do not like goat cheese (email me privately to hear my rather off-color description of what it tastes like) so I had to scrape it off.  This made it a #notkosherfail! Unfortunately, the black cherries were also in the cheese so I missed out on that.  What I didn’t miss out on though was the beer! Do not be scared off of this beer, thinking it’s a “fruit” beer because it doesn’t taste like what you might be thinking of.  It is made with pureed black cherries and does have a nice cherry aftertaste.  The overwhelming taste, however, is that of a robust and delicious porter.

Next, we had Abnormal Genius and a peanut butter and bacon burger.  Naturally, I had to pick the bacon out (#kosherwin!) but the remaining food was still lovely.  Peanut butter and meat, who’d have thunk it?  Again, the beer was a perfect match.  Made with honey and sunflower seeds, brewed in 2006 and named after Joe Short himself, this beer is incredible. It smelled like a mead, tasted like a beer.  There was a nice hit of honey up front that quickly mellowed into a nutty flavor.

Lastly, we had a baked pear with ginger creme paired with Ginger in the Rye.  This beer was my favorite of the night, much to my surprise. I am not a huge fan of ginger (unless it’s Vernors) and so I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.  Brewed in 2007, this beer has Hefe yeast and (of course) plenty of rye and ginger.  It was on the lighter side, without the heavy ginger flavor that I don’t care for.

By the way, I did bring my camera but I was starving and thirsty and everything got eaten and drank up too quickly for pictures. But you all are smart and can use your imagination.  Or heck, take a drive up to Short’s and try some of these beers for yourself!

Detroit Beer Week! (Oct 16-23)

<div class=\"postavatar\">Detroit Beer Week! (Oct 16-23)</div>

In only its second year in existence, the people over at Detroit Beer Week are making quite a buzz for, well, Detroit Beer Week. Established last year to hold events at local bars, restaurants, galleries during the week preceding the Eastern Market Fall beer Festival. This year, the organization has just recently released its events for the week of October 16-23. The events are listed below (thanks kalamabrew), and a link to their facebook page can be found here.

The Eastern Market Fall Beer Festival will take place on 10/23 from 1-6 pm (Michigan Brewers Guild Members can enter at noon). Over 40 breweries will be present with an expected 200+ beers to sample. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door and can be purchased online, or at participating breweries throughout south east Michigan.

Oct. 16
Tap: Detroit
Time: 7 p.m.-midnight
Where: St. Andrew’s Hall, 431 East Congress St.
Details: Tasting stations from eight local restaurants with dishes created specifically to pair with Michigan-brewed beers, rare beer cellar tasting, Michigan Spirits Lounge. A portion of the nights proceeds will be donated to Pints for Prostates campaign.
Tickets: $35 (main event) and $55 (all-access).

Oct. 17
Whiskey and beer
Time: 6 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Where: Ye Olde Tap Room, 14915 Charlevoix
More information: Take a look at the history of this Prohibition-era bar.

Oct. 18
Slows-Bar-BQ happy hour
Time: 3-7 p.m.
Where: Slows Bar-B-Que, 2138 Michigan Ave.

Oct. 19
Cliff Bells beer dinner featuring Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. and Dragonmead Microbrewery
Time: 9-11:30 p.m.
Where: Cliff Bells, 2030 Park Ave.
Cost: $30
Details: Four courses and beer pairings with brewers. Reservations are recommended.
More information: Call 313-961-2543.

Oct. 21
BIKE-toberfest: Detroit brewing, past and present
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Details: Detroit cycling beer enthusiast, Bil Lusa, will take you on a tour of Detroit’s historical and current breweries. Explore Traffic Jam & Snug, Motor City Brewing, historic brewery buildings of Eastern Market, Atwater Block Brewery and more. Bike rental available. Depart from Detroit Beer Co.
More information: Email Lusa at lusab@brewingnews.com.

Beer vs. wine cheese pairing
Time: 7-10 p.m.
Where: Motor City Wines, 608 Woodward Ave

New Holland Brewing night
Time: 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Where: Grand Trunk Pub, 612 Woodward Ave.
Details: New Holland Brewing Co. takes over Grand Trunk.

Oct. 22
Foxtown/Park Ave. pub crawl
Time: 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Where: Various locations – Park Bar, Cliff Bells, Rub BBQ Pub, Hard Luck Lounge, State Bar, Hockeytown Cafe, The Town Pump Tavern, Centaur
Details: $10 wristband will get you drink and food specials and waive cover at each location. A Detroit Beer Week representative will be selling wristbands at each location.

Oct. 23
Detroit Fall Beer Festival

Official Detroit Fall Beer Festival after party
Time: 6 p.m. – midnight
Where: Atwater Block Brewery, 237 Joseph Campau St.

Oct. 24
Sunday “Bloody Mary” Sunday
Time: Noon – 4 p.m.
Where: 3rd Street Bar, 701 West Forest Ave.
Details: Bloody Mary bar, breakfast items

Jolly Pumpkin Ann Arbor location to open Wednesday

The Ann Arbor Michigan Jolly Pumpkin location opens to the public on Wednesday, September 16th @ 11 a.m.
Address:  311 S. Main Street Ann Arbor, MI 48104 (click for map)

More information on the opening, posted on Beer Advocate:

Here is what the opening draught list will look like:
– Bam Biere
– 
Bam Noire
– 
Autumn Bam (pub only amber / wheat sour brewed in Dexter)
– Chocolate Stout (non-sour brewed onsite)
– Belipago (non-sour Belgian IPA brewed onsite)
– Vienna / Marzen (non sour brewed with Ale yeast onsite)
– North Peak Diabolical IPA (66.6 IBU’s and 6.6% ABV)
– 
North Peak Siren Amber