From The Cellar: Dark Horse 3 Guy Off The Scale Barley Wine 2009

Dark Horse says:

“A barley wine style ale brewed to 15% alcohol with hints of raisin, chocolate, caramel, sherry, cherry, and alcohol, just to name a few. And this beer will only get better with age.”

img_02981Dark Horse 3 Guy Off The Scale Barley Wine
American Barleywine, 15% ABV

(Editors note: we’ve stockpiled enough Dark Horse 3 Guy Off The Scale to review it every-so-often to see how it is developing, aging and changing. Feel free to read through from the one year tasting to the most recent review. However, if you’d like to jump around, be our guest, and read more about Dark Horse 3 Guy Off The Scale after one year, three years and five years in the cellar.) Continue reading

Chicago Craft Beer Almanac 2013 – The Year in Beer

Holy hell, has it been a busy year in beer.

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Not just for beer, but for us here at the GDB desk as well. The Saveur nom. The Chicago Magazine cover piece. Starting all that shit about “girl beer”. Oh, and one of us had a kid, too. That’s kind of important, right? (Little Julia already has some cellared beer, including a Westy, set aside for her 21st b-day. Dad of the year, right there.)

So without further ado, let’s see where the hell we’ve been in the last 12 months or so. Behold, our Chicago Craft Beer Almanac for 2013, the biggest year in Chicago beer news (since last year, which you can remind yourself of here)!

Here we go: Continue reading

Adventures in CellarSitting Review: Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree

Dark Horse Says:

Have you read the description for the regular Crooked Tree yet? Well this beer is almost the same just double the flavor and alcohol. We actually took the Crooked Tree recipe and doubled all of the ingredients except the water, just the way a DOUBLE should be made.

Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA
Double IPA, 13.6% ABV

(Editors Note: We here it Guys Drinking Beer occasionally like to push the envelope of beer cellaring. IPA’s aren’t traditionally good candidates for the cellar. They are brewed to be puckeringly hoppy and, thus, designed to be enjoyed that way. But we thought it would be a fun experiment to see what happens to an overly hopped, high alcohol content Double IPA when it sits in the cellar for a year or more. Below are the tasting notes for Dark Horse’s Double Crooked Tree after one year, two years, three years and four years in the cellar.)

Just for fun, prior to the epic Kentucky Breakfast Stout Breakdown, we decided to take a quick look at how the aging process affects one of the most gargantuan DIPA’s we’ve ever encountered.

The whopping 13.6% ABV catches up quick, meaning that you’ve only got a few scant moments before this monster of a beer kicks your brain out of its moorings and starts in on your liver. Thankfully we kept each sample to four ounces per bottle a piece due to distribution, so we think our brains were clear enough to get our notes straight.

Knowing of what they speak, Dark Horse even adds some cellaring notes to their own page, saying “Although this beer is as cool as “The Fonz” when first purchased, it gets really mellow and smooth with some age…you’ll notice the heavy caramel and malt flavors are trying to sneak past the hops.” That’s what they’ve found. But what about us? What do lowly beer tasters like us uncover? Here’s what: Continue reading

Dark Horse Brewing Has the Most Awesome Employment Listing Ever

dark-horse-brewing logoNot only do we keep our eyes on things like brewery news, beer labels, beer legislation and everything else, we also keep our eyes on other things – like beer employment.

Marshall, Michigan’s Dark Horse Brewing Company is one of our absolute favorite Michigan breweries, a feeling that’s bolstered when we saw some of what was listed their employment page.

Basically, the job descriptions and requirements are like, the best ever. Starting with this: “If you’ve dropped acid 20 times, lost two or three years to booze and can still manage to keep time, then you might fit in.”

Selected requirements for their Chicago-based sales gig, which requires “lots of beer drinking”:

  • Must be a fun people person, no squares
  • Strong but responsible beer drinking skills
  • Can read a map and navigate without gps
  • Work while being “hung over”

Additionally: “If you meet the criteria listed above and would like to give it a shot please send a cover letter stating why you want to work with a motley bunch of hillbillies, hippies, and bikers in the world of beer. Along with the cover letter please include a resume and a list of your top 6 favorite things in life.”

I have a hunch that says if someone were to respond to this, simply quoting this monologue from Conan the Barbarian, you might have a leg up on other candidates.

Know anyone that fits the rest of those?

They’re also looking for another Head Brewer, as well as a Head Cellar “BEING” to lead 2-6 people in their cellar operation – we’re intrigued by that one.

Anyways, if you are looking for a beer gig, you could certainly do worse.

Is Detroit A “Domestic Beer Town?” Comerica Park’s Beverage Boss Thinks So

photo courtesy

We get where the Associated Press was trying to go with a story titled, “World Series beer battle: Suds taps give insight into Tigers, Giants fans.” They wanted to highlight how different San Francisco Giants fans and Detroit Tigers fans are by talking about what beer they drink at the ballpark.

Your typical Giants fan? They’re eccentric and hip and they drink craft beer like it’s their job.

“In a trendy, gourmet food-and-drink obsessed place such as San Francisco, a generic “cold beer” at AT&T Park often doesn’t cut the mustard as a companion to the stadium’s pungent garlic fries or a Caribbean-style concoction called the Cha-Cha Bowl. Revelers can choose between 56 different beers inside the waterfront ballpark.”

A typical Tigers fan, however, is portrayed as a guy named “Mack” who wears ill-fitting flannel shirts and ripped jeans – but not because they’re cool – but because they’re old.

“At Detroit’s Comerica Park, where only a couple of locally made beers are on tap, die-hard Motor City fans are just fine with the unpretentious, established American beer brands.

Detroit is a “blue-collar, domestic beer town” said Bob Thormeier, who oversees food and drink services at the Tigers ballpark.”

We, and we’re sure the (hundreds of?) thousands of craft beer drinkers and Tigers fans in metro Detroit, and most definitely the craft breweries that are within a 20 minute drive of Comerica Park take exception to that.

Now we’re not going to argue that San Francisco isn’t a really trendy city with great craft beer, because it is. But we don’t think of Detroit as a hard hat, lunch bucket town anymore, see Beverly Hills Cop.

So, Mr Thormeier, since you are in charge of food and drink at Comerica we have a few suggestions for you next baseball season.

First and foremost, you can probably ditch the phrase “domestic beer” because the domestic beer you’re likely referring to isn’t exactly domestic anymore. The parent companies for the likes of Budweiser, Miller and Coors aren’t located in the United States anymore so it’s a stretch to call those beers “domestic.”

But they’re brewed in the U-S aren’t they? Yes, yes they are. But to invoke that argument you then must also acknowledge that so is Beck’s, a pilsner that had long been brewed in Bremen, Germany.

Implying that the blue-collar worker only drinks Bud or Miller products – as you would define a “domestic beer” – is outdated thinking and, frankly, pretty stereotypical.

Secondly, Mr. Thormeier, there is some really great beer brewed right in your backyard – locally brewed by people who live and work in Michigan. In fact, metro Detroit breweries have brought home 24 medals from the Great American Beer Festival since 1989.

Drive 20 minutes to the North or West and you’ll run into the likes of Kuhnhenn, Dragonmead, Royal Oak Brewery, Bastone Brewery and countless others. Hell, you’re practically a Miguel Cabrera home run away from Detroit Beer Company and Atwater Brewery (According to the article, the latter is served at Comerica as is Bell’s).

Venture out into other parts of the state and you’ll find other great breweries like the aforementioned Bell’s, Dark Horse, Founders and so many others..

But here’s what we find most interesting, Mr Thormeier, you had this to say about purchasing locally made sausages and hot dog buns.

“And it’s very important with the way the economy has been around Michigan and around Detroit to try and keep things local and try and boost the local companies as best we can,” said Thormeier.”

So you’ll support the local sausage maker and bun maker but you limit your support of the local brewer to a mere 10 vendors out of 130?

You’re probably wondering why some guys in Chicago are taking a stand for Detroit. Truth be told, Mr Thormeier, we like Detroit. We think Detroit is making a comeback. Please don’t slow down that progress by limiting your support of local businesses and by pinning an outdated stereotype on the city. Drinking a craft beer doesn’t make you any less blue-collar.

Boatyard Brewing Gets Green Light In Kalamazoo

pictured, Boatyard’s Hold Fast Pale Ale

We’ve long thought of Kalamazoo, MI as a stop along the way when drawing up beer trips in Michigan.

Bell’s Eccentric Cafe is always a must-visit, as is Olde Peninsula in the fall to snag a growler of their pumpkin ale. But these visits were just that, a stop along the way en route to somewhere else – Dark Horse in Marshall, Arcadia in Battle Creek or Founders in Grand Rapids.

Now, Kalamazoo is beginning to distinguish itself as a destination.

MLive reports that Boatyard Brewing got the go-ahead from the Kalamazoo City Council to move forward with its planned brewery, bringing the total number of breweries and brewpubs in operation, or in planning, in Kalamazoo to five.

At Boatyard, they will manufacture beer but will not have takeout sales, according to a memo to city commissioners prepared by Chief Jeff Hadley of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.

Steele and Gilligan plan to make up to 5,000 kegs of beer per year in their 2,700-square-foot space on Paterson Street. Their investment and capital outlay totals $325,000 and they plan to employ up to 20 people.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell congratulated the brewery after the city commission unanimously passed the item on its consent agenda, mentioning Kalamazoo’s status as a “beer city.”

“Anyone else out there looking for the opportunity, Kalamazoo’s the place to be for microbrews,” Hopewell said.

Boatyard’s website boasts a dozen different beers including a winter seasonal that sounds like it’s nine kinds of awesome. The Christmas Eve Porter is, “made with a hint of black-strap molasses and rum-soaked caramelized raisins. When the fermentation is complete we top it off with pure vanilla.”

That almost makes us crave a winter beer. Almost.

Also in the works is Acradia Ales new production facility and taproom, which is expected to open in the summer of 2013.

Those two join the already well established, and aforementioned, Bell’s Eccentric Cafe and Olde Peninsula Brewpub along with Bilbo’s Pizza, which brews a handful of beers in-house.

Falling Into Fall (Beers)

If you followed our advice then you’re likely staring into an empty fridge that has been cleaned out of all of your summer favorites. No more Krankshaft, no more Oberon and no more Ruby Redbird.

And if you didn’t follow our counsel, no biggie, but I bet you’ll start thinking about fall beers soon.

Regardless of which camp you fall into we took it upon ourselves to compile a handy, dandy guide of our favorites for Fall.

Continue reading

FACEOFF: Battle Of The Midwest Kölsch

As we usher in the unofficial start to a new season, and green-light drinking those fall favorites, we thought we would bid farewell to summer with a good ‘ol fashioned showdown between one of our favorite summer beer styles from a few of our favorite Midwest craft brewers.

We rounded up four different Kölsch’s from four different breweries who’s beers are generally accessible in the Midwest, depending on where you live. While three of the four were brewed true to style, all were unique in their own right – particularly the offering out of Marshall, MI.

Our four contestants; Metropolitan Krankshaft Kölsch (Illinois), Schlafly Kölsch (Missouri), Short’s Kölsch 45 (Michigan) and Dark Horse Kmita Kölsch (Michigan). We paired the Kölsch’s with hot Italian sausage and burgers covered in pepper jack cheese, just for good measure.

Now, before we get into the beers, let’s define a Kölsch so we have a base for this faceoff. For that, we turn to Beer Advocate:

“First only brewed in Köln, Germany, now many American brewpubs and a hand full of breweries have created their own version of this obscure style. Light to medium in body with a very pale color, hop bitterness is medium to slightly assertive. A somewhat vinous (grape-y from malts) and dry flavor make up the rest.”

And now, the Kolsch-off:

Continue reading

A List Of Beer At The End Of The Year: Here’s What We Liked In 2011

All the cool kids are doing year-end lists, so we’re jumping on board this particular train as well. You may recall we recapped our Top 5 Beers after a year of being in existence, but we have a few notable brews floating around in our brains that are worth mentioning. True, we spent most of the year Saving The Craft, but while we’re all between holidays we thought we’d mention a few of our favorite brews and see what y’all thought. Here we go: Continue reading

Review: Dark Horse & City Provisions Sarsaparilla Six Stout

This is not a picture of the Sarsaparilla Six. It’s a crappy cellphone picture of the Too Cream Stout but they look pretty much exactly the same.

KARL: When it comes to beer, I really try not to get my hopes up. The beers that you really want to be or expect to be great rarely are, and more often than not it’s the ones that you have no preconceived notions about that end up being your new favorites or your standouts. (At least, that’s how it’s been for me, anyways.) However, I broke that personal rule when I heard about the City Provisions collaboration with Dark Horse where they were planning a sarsaparilla stout. Continue reading