BOTL is a club that was founded as a means for our members to educate themselves and others about brewing beer, ciders and meads. We are all in this hobby as like minded individuals that have a thirst for knowledge and an appetite for an enjoyable time. Most of us are from Holland, MI and the surrounding communities.
We are not accepting new members at this time.
For more information about our fine organization please email us at
We meet on the second Thursday of each month at New Holland's Brewing Facility. Start time 7 PM.

Please bring 3 bottles of this month's style homebrew that you want to share or a different style of your homebrew.
When bringing your homebrew to share, please bring your recipe too.

Styles of each month:
January – Barleywine, Winter Warmer, Strong Ales
February - Stouts and Porters
March – Cider, Cysers, Perry and Meads
April - English Milds and Browns
May – Lagers, Kolsch and Hybrids
June - Pale Ale, IPA and Ryes
July – Ambers, Reds and Alts
August – Wheat, Wit and Weizens
September – Fruit Beers,
Scottish Ales and Smoked beers
October – Oktoberfest, Pumpkin, and Spiced beers
November – Belgian/French Ales, Lambics and funky stuff
December – Saturday, Dec. Christmas party, best of cellar and potluck lunch

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Brewed The Hard Way??

by GaryGlass, AHA Director  On Sunday, some 120 million viewers across the United States tuned in to this year’s Super Bowl pitting the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers. During the game, the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser Busch Inbev (ABI), the Belgian-based makers of Budweiser, ran an ad called Not Backing Down, in which they asserted that making Budweiser is “NOT A HOBBY.” I’m sure the nation’s million-plus homebrewers were shocked!
 Well, no, not really. The hobby of making beer is usually done in small batches at home by passionate beer lovers. Budweiser is made in massive automated factories (not what I would consider “brewed the hard way,” as suggested by a Budweiser ad aired during last year’s Super Bowl)—it’s actually about as far from a hobby as you can get. As homebrewers, we brew beer because we love beer with full flavor and by brewing beer ourselves we can hone in on the flavors we like most. And beyond that we can experiment and create new beer flavors that no one has tried before. Budweiser is the antithesis of homebrew: beer that’s made to be as light in flavor as possible and to never change.
 So if you are someone who wants to experience the diverse array of flavors and aromas beer has to offer, try homebrewing! If you’re interested but not quite ready to make the leap to homebrewing, try something from one of more than 4,000 small and independent American craft brewers, many of which started as homebrewers. And, if you are already a homebrewer, keep doing what you’re doing, and cheers!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Upcoming Beer Events

North American Belgian Beer Festival - Feb 13 Westland MI
Gilmore Car Museum’s annual beer-tasting - Feb 13
Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival - Feb 13
T.C. Suds & Snow at Timber Ridge Resort - March 5
Brew-Ski Festival at Boyne Highlands - Mar 12
Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival - March 12th

Monday, January 11, 2016

Why Is Craft Beer Canning Popular?

 byAngieMason  If you're not getting local craft brews direct from the tap, there's a big chance you're getting them in a can - or you will soon.
 Many local breweries are among those turning to cans as the best way to package beer to-go. They like the benefits cans offer, and locals said rumblings about a shortage of cans haven't caused them much concern.
 Crystal Ball Brewing Company, in West York, has been working with a mobile canning unit, which travels to various breweries to can their beer. But the packaging was working so well that the brewery purchased its own canning line, said Jesse James De Salvo, one of the owners.
 "It allows us to not schedule our brewing around an upcoming canning run," he said. The brewery can put out more beer in draft and can more styles without having to wait around for another mobile canning run.
 "It helps across the board," he said. "We're really excited about that."
While major beer companies tend to use 12 ounce cans, Crystal Ball, like many smaller breweries, opts for 16 ounce cans. "Our theory is that if you're drinking craft beer, then whatever container you're pouring from should hold 16 ounces because that will fill your pint glass," De Salvo said.
 Spring House Brewing Company, in Lancaster, will soon switch packaging from 22 ounce bottles to 12 ounce cans. Rob Tarves, brewer, said a can is just a "perfect vessel" for beer. It doesn't let in light or oxygen, and it helps get their beer to more people. "The consumer is starting to see craft beer in cans as standard," he said in an email.
Cans have less of an impact on their carbon footprint. Plus, the company handles its own shipping, and more cases of cans fit in its box truck than bottles.
 MORE why-craft-beers-getting-canned

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cooking With Beer

 Here are two recipes to try...

Fontina Spaetzle and Beer-Cheese Recipe

Active preparation time: 40 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2–3

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp white pepper
½ tsp salt
¼ cup (2 fl oz/59 ml) milk
2 eggs
2 Tbs (1 fl oz/30 ml) olive oil
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg, and pepper. Mix well. In a separate bowl, beat the milk and eggs together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Bring to boil a gallon (3.78 l) of lightly salted water. Working in batches, with a rubber spatula, push the dough through an inverted flat cheese grater or colander with large holes into the boiling water. With a slotted spoon, scoop out the spaetzle when it floats to the top. Drop it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain the water from the spaetzle, then toss the spaetzle in the olive oil (just as you would for pasta) to hold while you make the sauce.

Cheese Sauce
½ lb (227 g) Fontina cheese
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 cup (8 fl oz/237 ml) Belgian ale
1 Tbs butter
Cube the cheese and toss it with the cornstarch. In a small saucepan, bring the beer to a simmer and add the butter. Turn off the heat and add the cheese to the beer stirring constantly until it comes together. Place the mixture in a blender and puree until it is creamy smooth.

2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs parsley, chopped
½ tsp lemon juice (or to taste)
Toasted breadcrumbs
In a nonstick or well-seasoned pan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the spaetzle and sauté until it is golden brown. Combine the spaetzle and cheese sauce. Stir in the chopped parsley and lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with toasted breadcrumbs.

Beer suggestions: Balance the intense flavor of the cheese with a Belgian (or Belgian-style)


Irish Stout Onion Soup Recipe

Active preparation time: 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

2 large white onions
4 Tbs (½ stick) unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs fresh thyme, chopped
1½ cup (12 fl oz/355 ml) dry Irish stout
1 qt (32 fl oz/946 ml) unsalted beef broth
Kosher salt
Black pepper

4 thick slices of sourdough or French bread
8 slices of Gruyère cheese

Peel and slice the onions into 1/8-inch (3-mm) slices (a julienne cut). In a large heavy-bottom pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook slowly for 25–30 minutes, stirring often until they reach a dark caramel color. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and thyme to the pan. Add the beer to the pan and bring to a boil. Add the beef broth and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler to high. Arrange four ovenproof soup bowls on a sheet pan. Ladle the soup into the bowls. Lay a slice of bread on top of each bowl of soup. Top evenly with the cheese. Place the sheet pan carefully under the broiler. Broil until bubbling and browned.

Beer Suggestions: Sweet Stout

Friday, October 16, 2015

King Of Beers Buying To Be Kings Of Distribution?!

reuters - The brewer has rattled the craft beer world by striking deals for five distributors in three states. The US Justice Department is probing allegations that Anheuser-Busch InBev is seeking to curb competition in the beer market by buying distributors, making it harder for fast-growing craft brewers to get their products on store shelves, according to three people familiar with the matter.
 In the past few months, the world’s largest brewer has rattled the craft beer world by striking deals for five distributors in three states. Many states require brewers to use distributors to sell their product, and once AB InBev buys a distributor, craft companies say they find that they can’t distribute their beer as easily and sales growth stalls.
 Antitrust regulators are also reviewing craft brewers’ claims that AB InBev pushes some independent distributors to only carry the company’s products and end their ties with the craft industry, two of the sources said, noting that the investigation was in its early stages. AB InBev’s purchase of several craft beer makers in recent years means that it is in a position to offer a greater variety of products itself.  ...MORE

Thursday, September 17, 2015

MillerCoors To Close North Carolina Brewery

MillerCoors is closing its brewery in Eden, North Carolina due to sales decline as there has been a visible shift in consumer preferences from mainstream beer to craft beers.
 MillerCoors brews 7.1 million barrels of beer a year there.
On another note, Greensboro restaurateur and developer Marty Kotis said he may open a small craft brewery in Eden, which was devastated by the announcement that it would cease operations and lay off all 520 workers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Apps for Craft Beer Lovers

apps-craft-beer   6 apps for craft beer lovers.

Untappd – It’s the Facebook of the beer drinking world. (It’s also the Twitter and FourSquare of the beer drinking world, but Facebook is the best comparison. ) Rather than posting pictures of your cat or quizzes determining where your soul is from, you check in with what you’re drinking – and connected friends can toast (aka like) it and leave comments.
The app also recommends other beers based on the style you’re enjoying and lets you find nearby establishments that serve craft beer. It most importantly serves as a beer journal, letting you keep track of what you like and don’t like – which is becoming more important as the options available to craft beer lovers expand dramatically (and it becomes a bit harder to remember which ones are good and which are just so-so).
(Available on iOS and Android)

Brewery Passport – In a new town for a day or two and want to seek out the local micro and nanobreweries? Brewery Passport lets you know how close they are. It’s a fairly barebones app, but it lets you know who’s nearby and offers links to their Website and Facebook page, letting you take a look at what they’re pouring before you venture out and connect with the brewery. There’s also a journal function, letting you note your favorite beers by style at each establishment.
(Available in iOS and Android)

Next Glass – You really enjoyed your last beer, but you’re either out of that brand or want to try something different. Next Glass scans the label (not the UPC code) of your bottle or can and makes recommendations for other varieties you might enjoy – and does so with a remarkable accuracy. Over time, the app learns your taste preferences – and can build a taste profile, letting it make even more accurate suggestions.
(Available on iOS and Android)

TapHunter – On the hunt for a rare whale beer? Get alerts when it goes on tap at your local watering hole with this app. TapHunter tracks when kegs are, well, tapped and can also offer personalized recommendations. The hiccup here is that the app relies on bar, restaurant, growler filler stations and other beer-related businesses to sign up with the service, so if your usual haunts don’t do so, it may not be useful for you.
(Available on iOS and Android)

iBrewMaster 2 – If you’re a home brewer, this is an absolutely essential tool. The app comes with more than 600 pre-installed recipes – and the ability to share and read recipes from other home brewers. It will guide you through the entire process of making your own beer – and provide estimates on things like alcohol content and calories. Loaded with tools and calculators, it will also help you find suppliers and let you keep a schedule of what you’re brewing at any given time.
(Available on iOS. Android version forthcoming)

Pivo – Visiting another country and forgot to bone up on key phrases? The Pivo app lets you order a beer in 59 different languages – even including phonetic pronunciations. Sure, you could just mime the gesture, or point at the tap. And “beer” is one of those words that’s generally understood in any bar in the world, but why label yourself as a tourist quite so obviously? (Plus, being able to ask for a beer in Gaelic or Serbian is a cool party trick.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Brewers State Fees Fund Wine Industry?

mibiz Michigan-based craft brewers want to change state law so the annual licensing fees they pay can go to benefit research and promotion for their industry rather than support a competing craft beverage sector.
 Under current law, every dollar that alcohol manufacturers pay in licensing fees to the state is earmarked to fund grape research for Michigan’s wine industry.
 While state officials appear to be in no hurry to change a program they believe is working, a growing number of executives in the state’s nascent craft brewing industry are calling for those licensing dollars to be put to use in ways that help foster their agricultural supply chain, namely for Michigan-grown hops and barley.  more -brewers-state-fees-

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Burning Foot Beer Festival - Aug 29 champion
 The guild, which is open to any brewery in a county bordering the Lake Michigan shoreline, is still in its infancy, but planning for its first event is already in its advanced stages. The Burning Foot Beer Festival is scheduled to take place at Pere Marquette Beach from 3-9 p.m. on Aug. 29.
 Ticket sales have been "going well," according to Brower. A total of 2,000 are available for $30 each at
 Brower, who is also an attorney specializing in liquor law and licensing, said the Michigan Liquor Control Code requires the formation of a guild in order to have a beer festival featuring brew pubs. Now that the guild is official, the multi-year dream of having a beer festival in Muskegon can be realized.
"It became apparent that the guild was the way to accomplish a beer festival," Brower said. "But, it's also a good way to solidify the communal atmosphere we have between breweries."
 The creation of the Lakeshore Brewers Guild is not meant to supplant the state's foremost beer organization, the Michigan Brewers Guild, but is meant to be more of a "supplement" for breweries along Lake Michigan, Brower said.
 In addition to hosting festivals, the Lakeshore Brewers Guild will work with its members to build the "Lakeshore Ale Trail." Membership to the guild has been steadily increasing since its creation. Current member breweries include:

Pigeon Hill Brewing Company (Muskegon)
Unruly Brewing Company (Muskegon)
Big Lake Brewing Company (Holland)
Our Brewing Company (Holland)
New Holland Brewing (Holland)
Fetch Brewing Company (Whitehall)
Trail Point Brewing Company (Allendale)
Stormcloud Brewing Company (Frankfort)
Old Boys Brewhouse (Spring Lake)
Vander Mill (Spring Lake)
Grand Armory Brewing (Grand Haven)
Pike 51 Brewery (Hudsonville)
Milwaukee Brewing Co. (Milwaukee, Wisc.)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Big Lake Brewing To Increase Production And Distribution In Holland

 Big Lake Brewing, a locally-owned microbrewery in Holland, will celebrate its two-year anniversary this week with equipment upgrades, tripling production and a new focus on the business, Holland Sentinel reported on July 1.
"Our expectations are constantly shifting as we go along — two years ago there's no way I would have put us at this point," said Nic Winsemius, brewer and owner of Big Lake Brewing.
The 3,000-square-foot brewery and taproom opened in the Family Fare shopping center in Holland on July 5, 2013.
 Early success allowed reinvestment in the business after one month. Owners and brewers Nic Winsemius and Travis Prueter, and owner in charge of wine and cider Greg MacKeller remain committed to reinvestment and growing the business.
"It's a really exciting time," Winsemius said. "Our focus on quality has led us to invest in some laboratory equipment to better ensure consistency, and we will also take delivery of a new seven-barrel brewing system later this month." The equipment will allow an output of 1,000 barrels a year, or about 19-20 a week. In September 2013, the output was about three barrels a week.
"We've consistently sold all of the product we can make, and this is the fourth time we've increased our capacity," Prueter said.
 Staying just under 1,000 barrels a year will allow continued self-distribution. The goal is to stay at 1,000 for about two years, Winsemius said. The next step would be 4,000-5,000 barrels a year.
The brewery got into the business of canning and distributing early this year. Canned and draft Big Lake Brewing brews are available at the Holland taproom, nine restaurants and bars and six small retailers in West Michigan from Holland to Ludington. The increased capacity will help expand distribution.
 With sales on the rise and work to do, both Prueter and Winsemius have left their day jobs as engineers to devote themselves to brewing and business management. "It was always our goal to work at the brewery full time," Prueter said. "But we didn't expect it to happen this quickly."

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Will Craft Beer Survive AB Inbev?

 byMatthewBoyleandDuaneStanford  After 19 years of running Elysian Brewing, a craft beer maker in Seattle, Chief Executive Officer Joe Bisacca was ready for a change. He was tired of worrying about making payroll, feeling guilty about the company’s miserly 401(k) plan, and trying to keep pace with the ceaseless demand for Elysian’s irreverently named beers, such as Space Dust, Superfuzz, Mens Room, and Loser Pale Ale. The last was inspired by the grunge-rock band Nirvana and carries the slogan “Corporate beer still sucks.” So he and two partners, David Buhler and Dick Cantwell, talked about selling. Before long they were in touch with Andy Goeler, CEO of craft beer for AB InBev’s Anheuser-Busch division. Elysian and AB InBev might seem like a strange match. AB InBev, the world’s biggest beer company, manufactures Budweiser and its sister brand, Bud Light, the kind of corporate products that get the rhetorical middle finger from Loser Pale Ale. AB InBev is also an assiduous cost trimmer. That didn’t seem to bode well for Elysian’s 217 employees. ...more-wwwbloombergcom

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Is Too Much Flavor Numbing Our Beer Palates?

  JON SUFRIN-Special to theglobeandmail
The first time I tasted a hop-forward craft beer, a door opened in my mind. I realized I had been drinking bland beer my entire life. Beer, as I knew it, was refreshing, but it was about as interesting as Evian. This craft beer was fruity, floral, citrusy and bitter, like an artfully composed cocktail. It demanded attention.
 From that moment on, I sought out only hoppy beers. I wanted that same adrenalin rush and I wanted my mind blown again and again. So I snapped up every India Pale Ale and other hop-heavy style of beer I could find: Southern Tier IPA, Red Racer IPA, Augusta Ale and then onto double IPAs.  But recently, I noticed that the beers I sought tasted more or less the same. They tasted, of course, like hops. My range of preferred beers had become disconcertingly tiny. Like an opium addict, I was chasing the dragon of that first experience and in the process I was ignoring an entire world of beer.
 I’m not the only one with this curious problem. In the United States, the obsession with hops runs deep. According to IRI, a market research firm from Chicago, sales of IPAs in the U.S. surged 50 per cent last year and accounted for a quarter of all craft beer sales. Some U.S. brewpubs serve beer with fresh hops added as a garnish. (The only way to get a more intense hop rush is to inject the stuff directly into your veins.)
 Hops have given beer drinkers an unprecedented flavour gain, but there seems to be something vaguely Faustian about it. Isn’t sensory overload one of the drawbacks of our modern world? Shouldn’t we be developing palate sensitivity rather than seeking ever greater outside stimulation? Shouldn’t appreciating good beer – or appreciating anything for that matter – be more about paying attention rather than waiting to get slapped in the face?
 Maybe we’ve reached peak hops.
 Hoppy beers have been around since at least the late 1700s, when the British Empire shipped highly hopped beer to India (hence the name, India Pale Ale). The abundance of hops aided preservation and ensured that the beer would still have flavour after the months-long journey. But this new wave of IPAs is completely its own animal.
 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. claims to have ignited the craft beer boom in the U.S. with its hop-forward Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Launched in 1980, this beer uses Cascade hops, an unusually floral American variety.
 These hops give you really grapefruity, piney notes, You can’t find those types of hops anywhere else. It’s the terroir, it’s the soil. If you have an IPA made with English hops, it won't be as popular.
 But these wonderful flavours come with a cost. Because those hops add such a low-effort flavour boost, some brewers use them carelessly, without regard for balance, just to tap into the lucrative IPA market.
 Gradually you can’t taste it any more. You get used to it. And as people have gotten used to it, you have to start putting in more hops.
 In the midst of this hop rush, other types of craft beer are often pushed to the wayside. Craft beer is not defined by hops alone and IPAs don’t have a monopoly on flavour. Complicated beer has been around for centuries, such sour beers from Belgium, slightly salty Gose beers from Germany, fruity saisons or lively Trappist-style beers such as St. Bernardus Abt 12.
 There are some brewers that still think that a hoppy beer is something that represents craft beer. To them, craft beer equals hops, but it takes a very skilled brewmaster to make a hoppy beer that’s still enjoyable to drink as opposed to just being a novelty.
 It’s natural. People have been turning away from bland lagers and getting into this new thing. And when you do that, you tend to go after something that’s very different. When I first started tasting the American IPAs, I thought, ‘this is crazy and wild.’ I like extremes, but I think if you open a brewery and it’s the only thing you go after, that’s a little over the top.
 My fear is that people will think these hoppy beers are the only style of beer. There are so many types of beer. It would be nice to see people getting into them rather than putting all their money on one horse.
Flavorful beer styles
 Herewith, four flavourful beer styles that don’t rely on hops.

Sour IPA
This is a very new style. It’s called an IPA, but it’s not really that hoppy. Sour IPAs are made with sour mash, which is what is used in Berliner Weisse [a sour wheat beer from Germany]. The mash creates lactic acid, so it’s sour, and the combination of that with the hops brings out really nice flavors.

It’s way lower in bitterness than an IPA, but it can still holds some of the same characteristics. I think that an IPA fan would appreciate saison because it has fruitiness, tropical flavors and other things that people look for in an IPA, but without the bitterness.

This is a very old style of beer, and a lot of people associate lager with crappy beers. But people are starting to make better lagers and are bringing in some of the flavors that you’d see in an IPA. And now people are even starting to make India Pale Lagers, which uses lager yeast instead of ale yeast. Lager yeast ferments a little bit cleaner, so you have something that’s more drinkable. It’s a cool style.

Amber Ale
It’s not the most popular style, but I like it because it has characteristics of both pale ale and brown ale. If you want to try something that doesn’t have crazy bitterness but has a little bit more roasted malt flavors, amber ale is a good style.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Increased Hop Consumption

 These are good times for farmers who grow hops. The beer-flavouring plant is in short supply because of the dramatic increase in the popularity of craft breweries, Newser reported on June 12.  That has growers in the Yakima Valley - which produces 75 percent of the nation's hops - rushing to expand their production.
 Mitch Steele, brewmaster for Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido, California, agreed that "hop usage is outpacing supply." Stone Brewing, one of the nation's largest craft breweries, typically contracts several years out for its hops.
"When beer volume projections change, we get into trouble with some varieties," Steele said. So far, Stone Brewing has been able to buy or trade for the hops it needs, he said.
 But some brewers have had to curtail production because of the shortage, he said. It's not just the hops plants that are in short supply, Steele said. More processing facilities that dry and bale the plant are also needed, he said.
 In Washington, acreage grew more than 6 percent in 2014 from the year before and is projected to rise 10 percent this year. Prices are also climbing.
Craft beers typically use four to five times more hops than blander mass-produced beers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2015 Siciliano's Homebrew Competition BOTL

 Congratulations to all B.O.T.L. members and their fine scores!
Scott Bouman -------American Brown 40.5 Gold
Paul Erdmans ------- Belgian Dubbel 32 Bronze
Tim Keen ------------ Hefeweizen 35.5 Silver
Brian Machiele ------ Pale Ale Citra/Mosaic 39 Gold
Joe Potratz ----------- Peanut Butter Porter 39.5 Gold
Kevin Schumacher - American Premium Lager 37 Silver
Travis Vugteveen ---English Mild 36 Silver
Ed Weller ------------Belgian Wit  Bronze

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What Is The Most Overrated Beer? Hmm

by  A Deadspin writer has called Bell's Oberon "America's most overrated beer."
Will Gordon of Deadspin said in a post Wednesday good wheat beers aren't hard to find, and says it's strange that Midwesterners "go bonkers for Oberon Ale, Bell's thoroughly ordinary seasonal wheat."
 In his piece, Gordon praises Bell's Two Hearted Ale, saying the beer "rises above the pack." But Oberon, Gordon writes, is "just some beer."
 "I fully respect the way nostalgia and ritual can enhance a drinking experience, but I still think it's bonkers for people to get so damn worked up over the annual release of Oberon. Many places in Michigan and surrounding states go so far as to declare an Oberon Day, which this year fell on March 23. A holiday for a seasonal wheat beer is a hell of a thing. It's a shame the people who invent such things wasted the idea on Oberon," Gordon writes.


 Every day, some metropolis tries to lay claim to the title of "Beer City, USA."  We factored in influence, breweries, history, impact, culture, and maybe -- just maybe -- some personal bias. Here, for our beer money, are the 16 best beer cities in the US.
 16. Asheville, NC
Like a breakdown of Jimmer Fredette’s college stats, it’s impossible to NOT talk about Asheville’s size in a conversation about its beer scene.
The breweries: Wicked Weed, Twin Leaf, Burial Beer, Hi-Wire, Catawba, Wedge, French Broad, Asheville, Highland
The bars: Thirsty Monk, The Bier Garden, Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria, Jack of the Wood
15. Boston, MA
The Hub of the known universe was, at one point, the Hub of the modern craft beer world as well, thanks to a young gent named Jim Koch discovering his great-great grandfather’s beer recipe.
The breweries: Harpoon, Trillium Brewing Company, Boston Beer Company, Endurance Brewing, Pretty Things (Somerville) 
The bars: Bukowski’s, Parish Cafe, Publick House, Deep Ellum, Sunset Grill & Tap, Lord Hobo, Row 34, The Lower Depths
 14. Portland, ME
While the other Portland has hogged all the brewing attention and stolen Maine’s lumberjack fashion sense, the original Portland’s making its own waves -- and they’re less likely to make T-shirts about it. 
The breweries: Allagash, Shipyard, Bunker Brewing, Peak Organic Brewing, Maine Beer Company
The bars: Great Lost Bear, Little Tap House, The King’s Head, Thirsty Pig, Duckfat
13. Burlington, VT
The nearby presence of Alchemist -- even if Heady Topper didn’t exist -- might be enough to get Burlington a spot among the greats. But, thankfully, the small city has so much more. 
The breweries: Alchemist, Switchback, Infinity, Vermont Pub & Brewery
The bars: Farmouse Tap & Grill, Das Bierhaus, Hen of the Wood, Three Needs
 12. Cleveland, OH
At the rate it’s going now, in 10 years Cleveland might soon have a serious shot at the top of every list of this type. 
The breweries: Great Lakes, Market Garden, Indigo Imp, Fat Head's, Nano Brew, Butcher & the Brewer
The bars: McNulty’s Bier Markt, Tremont Taphouse, Johnny's Bar, City Tap Cleveland
 11. Philadelphia, PA
An employee at a prominent Philly brewery explained it to us like this: Philadelphians are passionate people. And if they love you, they hardcore love you. 
The breweries: Yards, Free Will Brewing, Philadelphia Brewing Co., Dock Street, Tired Hands, Victory
The bars: Monk's Cafe, Good Dog Bar, City Tap House, Johnny Brenda's, The Grey Lodge Pub
 10. Minneapolis, MN
Not even 10 years ago, Surly sold its first keg. Since it was sold in Minneapolis, we're guessing that keg was difficult to tap because it was covered in 3ft of snow. 
The breweries: Surly Brewing Co., Fulton Brewery, Summit Brewing Co., Dangerous Man Brewing Co., 612 Brew, Harriet Brewing, Indeed Brewing Company
The bars: Town Hall Brewery, Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub, The Happy Gnome, Muddy Waters
 9. Milwaukee, WI
The history of Milwaukee is basically a page in the history of American brewing. Pabst, Schlitz, Miller, Blatz -- hell, Milwaukee’s pretty much responsible for keeping everyone of your dad’s work buddies hydrated for more than a century. 
The breweries: Lakefront, Water Street, Brenner, Milwaukee Brewing Co., Miller, Leinenkugel
The bars: Romans' Pub, Sugar Maple, Burnhearts, Nomad World Pub, Uber Tap Room, The Rumpus Room
 8. Grand Rapids, MI
So obviously any discussion of beer in Grand Rapids has to start with Founders, on its way to becoming an international beer force thanks to a minority investment from Mahou San Miguel of Spain, though locals remain more focused on the simple joy of housing an enormous sandwich and some amazing beers in their taproom (and getting their hands on some KBS when it comes along). But there’s a vibrant scene beyond the big boys. Brewery Vivant has won over a legion of fans with its take on Belgian-style brews (and its duck confit nachos and gorgeous brewpub built in an old chapel). HopCat is as fine a beer bar as you’ll find anywhere (crack fries!)... so much so that they’re evolving into a mini beer empire with a growing number of Midwest outposts, but Grand Rapids will always be home. Oh, and they have some fine brews in their own right.
 While several other Grand Rapids breweries are also developing strong followings (Mitten, Harmony), GR also has to get some points for the surrounding areas... most notably Kalamazoo, where you’ll find a little brewing outfit known as Bell’s (among others). Yes, they’re an hour apart, but you think you couldn’t spend an hour traveling in between some of these places in New York or San Diego? The point is, Michigan has one of the most vibrant, innovative, and locally loyal brewing cultures of any state in the union, and Grand Rapids anchors the state’s most prolific brewing region. Walk into any bar and you’re looking at dozens of seriously impressive beer options that were likely brewed within a quick car ride. It’s without question one of America’s finest places to enjoy beer.
The breweries: Founders, Brewery Vivant, Mitten, Harmony, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, HopCat
The bars: ALSO HopCat, Graydon’s Crossing, Logan’s Alley, Rezervoir Lounge
 7. New York, NY
Some of these cities earned their rank because of a concentration of breweries, or maybe high-quality beer ubiquity that leads to a drinker’s ability to get four different imperial stouts at a Thai place.
The breweries: Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint, Other Half, Finback, SingleCut, Bronx Brewery, Evil Twin
The bars: Blind Tiger, Alewife, Proletariat, Alphabet City Beer Co., Rattle N Hum, Tørst, Jimmy’s No. 43, Bar Great Harry
 6. San Francisco, CA
With its forward-thinking cocktail culture and the surrounding wine country, you’d think that SF’s beer scene would be an afterthought, but that is false, and upsetting.
The breweries: 21st Amendment Brewery, Almanac Beer Co., Anchor Brewing Co., Cellarmaker Brewing Co., Southern Pacific Brewing, Magnolia Brewery, Triple Voodoo Brewery
The bars: The Monk’s Kettle, Mikkeller Bar, Toronado, Magnolia Brewpub, Southern Pacific Brewing, La Trappe
 5. Chicago, IL
There was a time early on in the craft beer boom when Chicago seemed to be lagging behind a bit, but it caught up in a hurry and then some.
The breweries: Goose Island, Half Acre, Pipeworks, Revolution, Off Color, Moody Tongue
The bars: Map Room, Hopleaf, Bangers & Lace, Local Option, Maria’s Packaged Goods, Fischman Liquors
 4. Seattle, WA
Even without beer, Seattle would still be the beverage capital of America: they clearly dominate coffee (been to a Starbucks lately?), and booze (over half the country’s craft distilleries are in Washington State), and you could even make an argument for wine (ask someone from Napa where they’d rather be in 10 years), but who cares? Because they DO have beer... oh, do they have beer.
The breweries: Fremont Brewing, Reuben’s Brews, Black Raven Brewing, Georgetown Brewing, Stoup Brewing, Epic Ales, Pike Brewing Company
The bars: The Pine Box, Chuck’s Hop Shop, Beveridge Place Pub, The Burgundian, The Noble Fir, Brouwer’s Cafe
 3. Denver, CO
Denver isn't the only Colorado town obsessed with beer -- Fort Collins birthed Odell and New Belgium, Oskar Blues is in Longmont, and Golden has this little outfit called Coors. 
The breweries: Great Divide, Crooked Stave, Wynkoop, TRVE Brewing, Black Sky Brewery, Denver Beer Co., Renegade Brewing Co., Our Mutual Friend
The bars: Colorado Plus Brew Pub, Falling Rock, Euclid Hall, Historians Ale House, Highland Tap & Burger
 2. San Diego, CA
You have consumed beer from San Diego. You absolutely, definitely have.
The breweries: Stone, Ballast Point, AleSmith, Green Flash, Alpine, Coronado, Pizza Port, Lost Abbey, Karl Strauss, Bagby, Mike Hess, Modern Times, Societe, way too many more to name
The bars: Hamilton’s Tavern, Blind Lady Ale House, Tiger!Tiger!, The Brew Project, Barrel Republic, Toronado, Draft, O’Brien’s Pub, Encinitas Ale Hous
 1. Portland, OR
Movie theaters, arcades, putt putt courses, strip clubs, concerts, museums, tattoo parlors, optometrists’ offices, art galleries, and record shops. What do they all have in common? Those aren’t just great places to stage adult movies -- they’re all places where you’re likely to drink beer in Portland.
More than 70 breweries call the city-proper home (not including the sprawling suburbs), which places Portland as the city with the biggest volume of beer out there. Widmer Brothers -- who were on the cutting edge of craft beer when "craft beer" wasn’t even a phrase -- got their start here, laying the groundwork for some of the best brewers in the country to do their thing. And now, Portland’s ground zero for some of the best brewing in the country, from Breakside -- purveyors of this year’s GABF-winning IPA -- to the barrel-aged innovation of Cascade and Upright, the legendary Hair of the Dog, the weirdos at Gigantic, and newer guys like the great Ecliptic and Ex Novo, which is the city’s first nonprofit brewery.
And lest you think it’s all craft and snobbery, the city’s also credited with revitalizing Pabst for the younger crowd. Depending on your opinion of skinny jeans, you might have Portland to thank for keeping you hydrated and out of poverty. So while the city has its fair share of beer snobs (“supporters of native Oregon beer,” they call themselves), there’s really something for everybody in the City of Roses. 
Add to that some of the best beer bars in the country, an endless parade of fests (ranging from the enormous Oregon Brewers Fest to the Fruit Beer Fest, Cheers to Belgian Beers, and Firkin Fest), bartenders leading the charge for beer/cocktail hybridization, and a brewing community that's more "love (and collaborate with) thy neighbor" than competitive, and you don’t just have a great beer city. You have the best damned beer city in the country.
The breweries: Breakside Brewery, Hair of the Dog, Gigantic, Cascade, Hopworks, Upright, Laurelwood, Widmer Brothers
The bars: Horse Brass Pub, Bailey’s Taproom, APEX, Imperial Bottle Shop, Saraveza, Belmont Station

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New Breweries Around Our Area

 Business partners Scott Schultz (a former brewer at Founders) and Vincent Lambert (finance manager at the Kent County Land Bank Authority) are seeking special land use approval from the city Planning Commission on May 14 to open a two-story brewery in the old DeKorne Furniture storefront at 1504 Plainfield Ave. NE. Plans for the building include construction of a microbrewery and restaurant with a banquet hall, outdoor seating and live entertainment. The partners are finalizing funding, leasing and other details for the brewery project and hope to begin construction this summer.
 Other new craft brewery projects under development include Harmony Hall, New Holland Brewing and Grey Line Brewing Co.( Nate Walser). All are to open in G.R. this year.
 Local homebrewer's Dave Petroelje and Gary Evans are also working on opening their breweries in G.R. and Allendale respectively. While in Wyoming, Rommie Bailey is moving forward with Kitzingen Brewing Co.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Holland To Use Only Michigan Ingredients

 With glasses raised, craft beer aficionados from around the state chanted in unison at a New Holland Brewing event Friday, March 3, that announced the brewery will soon be brewing its bevy of specialty beers at its Eighth Street location with nothing but Michigan ingredients.
The hops, barley, yeast... all of it, Michigan made.
“It’s always been a huge commitment for us. Made in Michigan is so important to us,” said Joel Petersen, vice president of marketing at New Holland. “We’ve always liked to use Michigan ingredients when we could but never have been able to say we would only use Michigan ingredients.”
The brewing company hopes to accomplish its goal of Michigan-only ingredients by 2016, as it continues to develop partnerships with farmers, producers and craft beer experts from around Michigan, a state New Holland officials said they are lucky to be a part of because of its unique combination of land prime for agriculture and a booming market for craft beer.
“I’d say you would have a really rough time finding that in other states. Hops, especially, can only be grown in certain regions,” Petersen said. “We feel partly like we hit the lottery being in Michigan. We feel blessed to live in this region with this access.” ..morehollandsentinel

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Oskar Blues To Purchase Perrin Brewing

  Oskar Blues has agreed to purchase Michigan’s Perrin Brewing Company, a smaller craft operation founded in 2011. The pickup may be the first in a series of investments for Oskar Blues, a top-25 craft brewery.
 The acquisition is backed by investments from Fireman Capital Partners and former West Side Distributing owner, Keith Klopcic, according to Oskar Blues’ founder, Dale Katechis. He said the transaction is expected to close within the next 60 days.
 Katechis said a deal between the two companies closed in early March; while he would not elaborate, sources familiar with the transaction have described the investment as a “special purpose fund,” and a vehicle for acquiring more craft brands.
 Oskar Blues made 149,000 barrels in 2014 and had revenues of $43 million. The brand is currently sold in 42 states and Washington D.C.
  Oskar Blues brewed a batch of beer with the company last fall and discussions about a possible acquisition began moving forward.
“The idea of hyper local is becoming more and more relevant to the consumer and obviously affecting the entire industry’s business models,” said Katechis. “We want to continue to be aggressive and strong and in our minds, this is our way of having one more card that we could play and it is real and genuine.” ...more Brewbond

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pigeon Hill Expanding

 Muskegon-based Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. opened less than a year ago and has agreed to purchase a 9,270-square-foot-facility in Muskegon, at 441 W. Western Ave., which is across the street from its taproom, Grand Rapids Business Journal posted on March 3.
 The project will end up costing Pigeon Hill about $1 million, with financing help from a bank.
 Pigeon Hill Brewing co-founder and CEO Joel Kamp said the brewery wasn’t actively seeking a production facility, but was contacted by the owner of the building, represented by Signature Associates. The facility will house a 20-barrel brewhouse with two fermenters to start — either 60- or 90-barrels each — and a brite tank. A barrel is 31 gallons. Brewing will stagger between several of the brewery’s mainstay beers, such as Shifting Sands IPA, Walter Blonde Ale and Renegade White Double IPA.
 The brewery will also purchase a canning line to help extend the brewery’s reach.  The brewery in the company’s taproom can sufficiently meet guest demand there. “This expansion is mostly for distribution,” Kamp said. “This will also us to get into canning and further into the market at tap and off-premise retail accounts.”
 Prior to being approached about the new location, Kamp said Pigeon Hill Brewing did expect to expand production in another year or two. Now, the company expects to have the brewery site operating by the end of the year. Kamp said the brewery's initial opening was delayed by a variety of approvals and build-out issues, but many of the issues at the new building have are already been completed.
 Pigeon Hill’s goal is to brew 5,000 barrels annually within the next four years.