Respect Beer

When you start a blog about beer some people may get the wrong impression about what you’re doing. Some may expect that the majority of your posts will begin with, “Dude…I got so wasted last night…” or that you will start compiling top ten lists of the beers with the highest ABV (alcohol by volume).

Others may think that the purpose of a craft beer blog is a platform for you to be a snotty or preachy beer snob, extolling the virtues of craft beer while snidely looking down upon those  who prefer traditional American beer styles like Budweiser.

Our hope is that we won’t be doing either of those things in this blog which is why I’d like to offer Beer Advocate’s tips for respecting beer  as sort of a framework of where we’re coming from and as  a guide for those who may be just venturing into the exciting world of craft beer.

Don’t get me wrong.  We’re human.  We don’t want to give the impression that we’ve never over-consumed  or that we’ve never, especially among other craft beer geeks, laughed at catty jokes about turning a stout into a Bud Light (i.e. going to the bathroom). 

But hopefully these tips will help us, and you, set the tone for the conversation.

Tri-City Brewing Company prepares for bottling

We made our way to Tri-City Brewing Company today in Bay City, MI. Tri-City currently has two beers available. A golden ale called Phoenix (named after an old closed brewery in Bay City) and an Irish red called Phelan. The operation is funded by 30 investors, one of them we met helping fold up and prepare boxes to hold cases of beer for distribution all over the state. The bottling machine just arrived this past week and they were hard at work putting the finishing touches on it before beginning the bottling process. We met Kevin, the head brewer and president of the company. He said they will eventually produce various styles of beer, and have tested a couple this past summer at a local beer tasting.

The brewery offers growlers right now, and the traffic of customers was pretty steady the whole 20 minutes we were there. Definitely good things going on with Tri-City Brewing Company. Keep an eye out for a six pack at your local beer store. Word on the street is, Monroe may even see their beer in the near future!

A Taste of Things to Come

Let’s face it. If you’re new to craft beer, figuring out what you like can be a bit daunting. And just going to the store and buying  a six-pack of a brew that you’re not sure you’ll like can be wasteful and expensive.

One of the best ways  to get acquainted with craft beer in a fun and social way (outside of having a knowledgable and generous friend with a good stock  at his/her house) is to attend a beer tasting.  At most beer tastings,  for a reasonable price , you can  sample a wide variety of beers in small amounts and get some pretty tasty food along with it.  In some cases you may even be able to meet a representative from the brewery who can tell you a little bit more about how that beer is brewed and what it is that makes it distinct. Not to mention the fact that it’s the perfect venue for meeting other people who appreciate craft beer (folks I lovingly call “beer geeks”…because I am one) and may be able to give you a few recommendations of what to try.

Want to find a beer tasting or other beer event near you? One of the best sites to check out is Beer Advocate.

Having gone to plenty of tastings ourselves, one of the things Kevin and I now like to do is volunteer  as pourers. Tonight we are volunteering at a specialty beer and wine tasting fundraiser, sponsored by Nagle’s Market in Milan,  to benefit the Milan Public Library. It’s from 6-9 p.m. at the Milan American Legion Hall (44 Wabash Streat). I can’t seem to find how much this particular event costs, but if you have the time, I’d encourage you to check it out. It’s for a good cause.  Well be working at the Rave Associates table. Rave is one of the top distributors of craft beer and wine for Southeast Michigan. If you do decide to go, be sure to stop by and say hello! 🙂

Road trip!

I’m on my way to Bay City, MI to visit a friend. I used the my favorite Beer Mapping site to find a place to stop on the way up. I found the Redwood Lodge in Flint, MI. This place is huge, definitely a hot spot, probably more for the food than the beers.  They have over 10 beers on tap, and I think one cask.    I had an Imperial Stout – not as strong as other imperials I’ve had, but good and nutty.   Now, I am enjoying an Imperial Red. This Red is great – it doesn’t have a big smell to it, but it tastes just like a bag of hop pellets smell.  The description in the menu describes it as being loaded with hops.     I’d love to stay and check out some more of their brews, but it’s about time to move on.   Definitely will be back here to eat someday, the food looks amazing – but a bit on the pricey side.

Beer: the friend maker

“Some people drink beer to get drunk, though it is an inefficient means of doing so…Beer’s greatest use is as a sociable relaxant” Michael Jackson from “The Beer Companion”

I wanted to start off my first post with the above quote because one it is one from one of the greatest promoters of beer and two it is how I feel about beer. In the last few decades a lot has happened in the beer business because of the boom in craft brewing. The stereotype of beer being a simplistic drink that was wine’s slack toothed cousin should have been long gone by now, but much like that cousin it has over stayed it’s welcome. The diversity of styles now available to the American consumer is the greatest in the world and some of the best beer in the world is brewed right here in the U.S.. Yes, even Michigan breweries beers are producing some of the best beers you can drink. Whenever I hear anyone say “American beers suck” I shed a single tear.

 I have met some great people in the last few years through craft beer events. Some have become good friends and others are just people with whom we get together with every once and awhile. There is always the ice breaker of craft beers to start us off on what will become a myriad of subjects. Some conversations go to politics and some debate whether Robbie the Robot could beat Robot from Lost in Space in the Battle-bot Arena and the conversation always ends with us discussing when will be the next we will get together. My wife and I recently went on a tour of Michigan breweries and we met some of the most interesting people on that trip. I will remember the Grand Rapids crew that we hung out with for two nights, the people willing to take us in at Jamesport Brewing Company when a report of a big storm was coming in(we were camping), the merchant marine at Keweenaw Brewing Co., or the people from Red Jacket in Calumet more than I will ever remember the beers I drank. These times are the greatest joy I receive from beer.

I hope that with this blog and along with the help of you the reader that we can promote craft breweries (specificallyMichigan breweries) and maybe even have a brewery in Monroe of our own someday. We can only hope.

Beer brewing demonstration

I made this video a while back this summer, and it’s been pretty popular on YouTube. I figured this blog would be the perfect place to show it off. Kevin and Sarah are, in my book, master brewers. The beers I’ve tried of theirs are phenomenal – I’ll have to get them to post sometime about the Smoketoberfest beer they brewed recently!

Welcome!

Welcome to the Michigan Beer Buzz blog. This could very well be the first blog from Monroe, MI all about beer. The idea came about while a group of us were sitting around Fort St. Brewing in Lincoln Park, MI. We thought the world needed yet another blog, but ours would be the coolest blog ever. Since we’re all beer nuts, and are always swapping ideas about breweries, beer flavors, tastings, festivals, beer brewing tips, etc., we figured it would benefit the beer community to start keeping track of all this good information!

So far, there will be three of us posting to this blog. We will be recruiting others in the future who share the same passion for craft beer as we do. We definitely aren’t experts in the field, so please help us out. Post comments, send us articles and help us make this the best beer blog ever! We have some really exciting posts coming your way, so sit tight and enjoy Monroe’s first ever blog about beer!