Grand Armory Brewing – Sippin’ on Gin Barrel Juice Double IPA

Barrel Aged IPAs don’t seem to always be a big hit, but I don’t know if until today, I’ve tried a Double IPA aged in Gin Barrels. Today, I’m taking a look at the appropriately named “Sippin’ on Gin Barrel Juice” double IPA from Grand Armory Brewing in Grand Haven, Michigan. So does gin barrel aging work with a double IPA? Watch to find out!

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Upper Hand Brewery – An IPA from the UP Division of Bell’s

Upper Hand Brewery might not be a brewery that you’ve heard of, but they have a heck of a pedigree. Upper Hand is a division of Bell’s and was founded by Larry Bell himself, with the mission of trying to brew beers with a lot of personality of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. So since this is an IPA, is it going to be like Bell’s Two Hearted? Watch to find out more!

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Arbor Brewing Company – Violin Monster Spiced Double Stout

Violin Monster is Arbor Brewing Company’s Fall Seasonal Stout. I’ve never had Violin Monster and I think part of has to do with this fantastic label redesign. I’m happy to see now that Arbor is putting much of it’s beer in cans because I feel like that’s helping on a couple fronts – it’s helping to let everyone know how fresh the beer is, and I feel like it’s also helping with the consistency. What does that have to do with my review of the beer? Watch and find out!

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10 Beers to Watch Out for At the 2018 Detroit Fall Beer Fest

With the upcoming fall beer fest a mere days away, I figured I’d give you all some insight on how I usually approach beer fests, and how I decide which breweries or specific brews I’m going to try.

Underneath these two tennants that I try to follow, I’m going to list through the top 10 beers at the Fall festival that I want to try. You might say “you have 15 tokens, why only top 10?” That’s because I want 5 extra tokens to play around with breaking my own rules!

The throught process I go through is really simple:

  1. Check out the breweries that I’ve heard good things about but haven’t gotten to try. I am a sucker for good word of mouth.
  2. Prioritize those by breweries that have little to no distribution. I figure why stand in line for a Founders limited release when I can check out City Built or Arclight instead?

I figure this way I’m exposing myself to more of what’s out there, rather than putting myself in that sort of echo chamber of beer I always have access to. It’s all about pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and seeing what else is out there.

Normally, I’d go to a brewery tent and ask what they recommend or what they think is the best they have to offer, but because we’re experiencing the calm before the storm on Brut IPAs, I’m going to be seeking out some of those specifically.

The top 10 beers (in no specific order) that I’m going to be looking for at this years fest are:

  • Drafting Table – One of the Mean Vanilla Bean Stout variations – I live close to this brewery, but I’ve heard great things about this specific stout, and haven’t been able to get my hands on one of their bottle releases for this.
  • Shorts Brewing – Hibiscus Brute (A Brut IPA with Hibiscus) – I’m really interested in seeing what Shorts does with the Brut style. It took them a couple releases to revise their NE style – wonder why we never see Slurm released anymore?
  • Witch’s Hat Brewing – Batch 1000 Brut Train Hopper (American IPA) – I’ve yet to be disappointed by a Witch’s Hat beer, and again… brut
  • Aberrant Ales – Hopstepper (Brut IPA) – I tried to get a crowler from Aberrant recently and their machine was down, so hopefully I can get a taste now.
  • ROAK Brewing – Blueberry Flavorful Five (Double NE IPA) – I’m a big proponent of Flavorful Five, so I’m excited to try a blueberry variety
  • River Rouge Brewing – Barrel Aged Stencil Stout (BA Stout) – Grossly under-rated brewery with great beer. If you haven’t had the Peanut Butter Chocolate Stencel Stout and their out of the specialty BA Stout or Imperial Porter, that PB Stout might blow your mind.
  • Arclight Brewing – Soursmith Strawberry Rhubarb (Lambic) – Arclight does some of the best sours in the state. If you like sours and you haven’t tried them, anything on their list is exceptional.
  • Eastern Market Brewing Company – Strawberry Milkshake IPA (IPA) – I really enjoyed their Saison when I visited them in January, and I’m intrigued to try more from them.
  • Stormcloud Brewing – 2018 Harvest Tripel (Fresh-hopped belgian tripel) – I don’t get to try belgian tripels as often as I’d like, and I’ve recently fallen in love with Fresh-hopped beers. Stormcloud is known for their belgian inspired beer, so I’m looking forward to trying this one.
  • City Built Brewing – Honor Amongst Thieves (Imperial Stout) – I really really REALLY want to try their Melisandre, but that just got released in cans and I don’t want to spoil that for myself before a review!
  • Honorable Mentions – Cellarmen’s, White Flame, Dragonmead

In short, too many great beers and not enough time or tokens.  Unfortunately for me, this year I feel like I’m coming down with something already so hopefully I’ll still be able to taste and smell come this weekend!

Are you going to the Fall Beer Fest at Eastern Market? What are some beers you’re looking to try? I’d love to hear what you think – and don’t forget to eat and drink water!  And you can find your very own program and more information here: Detroit Fall Festival 2018

Oddside Ales – Caged Wisdom Brut IPA

I don’t know how many of these are going to come out, or if we’ll see a Brut IPA explosion like we saw in the last two years with the New England style, but the exciting thing about Brut IPAs are that they’re new, and they’re popping up all over the place. This time I have Oddside Ales Brut IPA, Caged Wisdom (Yes, Arrested Development fans…) so with this being only my second Brut IPA, I only have Brewery Vivant’s Champion Brut to compare it to, so what’s different? Watch and find out!

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Saugatuck Brewing – 2018 Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Chai

Pumpkin beers seem to be a binary choice in the craft beer world – love them or hate them, there are few people that fall in between. I personally don’t mind them, as long as they’re done well. I figured as it was getting closer to Halloween, I should probably try my first pumpkin beer of the season, and what better way to start than with Saugatuck Brewing’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Chai, which is brand new for 2018. This is officially listed as 2018 Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Chai, which is another release in Saugatuck’s Bourbon Barrel Aged series, which joins prestigious company like Beam Me Up Stouty and BBA Neapolitan Milk Stout (which I NEED to get my hands on). So which side of the fence am I on with this Pumpkin Beer? Watch and find out!

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Bell’s Side Yard Ale

When I think of Bell’s beer, I think of more traditional styles, like Expedition Stout, Winter White and Two Hearted Ale. What I don’t think of is a New England Style IPA, and that’s exactly what I have here today – Bell’s first EVER!!! New England Style IPA, Side Yard Ale. They decided to not go too crazy with different hop varieties and stuck with Chinook hops, which were freshly harvested from their very own hop yard. This is a wet-hopped NE IPA, and those chinook hops went from harvest to boil in just 4 hours! Holy Logistics, Batman! So how did Bell’s do with their first NE IPA? Watch and find out!

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Barrel and Beam – Frugivore Kettle Sour – A Summer Beer with Mangoes!

Today I’m checking out a Kettle Sour from the UP – specifically, Marquette, Michigan. This is Frugivore from Barrel + Beam, which they say on their website “a brewery solely focused on crafting world-class farmhouse and barrel-aged real ale. Our name reflects the intersection of Old-World process with New-World taste and premium ingredients.” Frugivore is a Kettle Sour that’s brewed with mangoes, and they like to categorize it as a summer beer. Since it’s still technically warm enough to be summer, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at it, so stay tuned!

Read moreBarrel and Beam – Frugivore Kettle Sour – A Summer Beer with Mangoes!