Founders Brewing is Making a Change: Glunz is Out and Lakeshore is in

New Lakeshore Beverage CEO J.R. Hand has wasted little time beefing up the craft beer portfolio of the newly merged City Beverage and River North Beer. Multiple sources have confirmed that Founders Brewing is leaving its current wholesaler, Louis Glunz Beer Inc, for Lakeshore.

photo courtesy @chicagobars

photo courtesy @chicagobars

The move will be effective once Glunz depletes its inventory of Founders beer, according to a source.

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From The Cellar: Founders Nemesis 2009

Founders says:

“What you have here is a rarity. A special, one-of-a-kind ale that is only made once a year. Sometimes that’s all. Forever. No more. Nada. Limited-time only. You never know what you’re gonna get. But you can be sure it’ll be damn tasty.”

nemesis091Founders Nemesis 2009
Wheatwine, 12% ABV

(Editors note: we’ve stockpiled enough Founders Nemesis 2009 to review it every year or so 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 Founders Nemesis 2009 after one year, two years, three years and four years in the cellar.) Continue reading

Adventures In CellarSitting Review: Founders Devil Dancer

Founders says:

“When you dance with the Devil the Devil don’t change. You do. Massive in complexity, the huge malt character balances the insane amount of alphas used to create it. At an incredible 112 IBU’s it’s dry-hopped with a combination of ten hop varieties. This one can age with the best of them.”

Founders Devil Dancer
Imperial IPA, 12% ABV

Founders Devil Dancer
(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 Founders Devil Dancer after one year, two years, three years and four years in the cellar.)

1 YEAR

Andrew: As you undoubtedly saw in our Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree side-by-side we like to take a somewhat unconventional approach by cellaring beers that aren’t typically cellared. In this installment we pit the 2009 Founder’s Devil Dancer up against the 2010 Founder’s Devil Dancer. Continue reading

Grand Rapids Wins BeerCity USA 2013 Title, Chicago Barely Gets Any Votes

photo courtesy Michigan.org

photo courtesy Michigan.org

 

We can’t say we’re all too surprised that Grand Rapids, Michigan has been named BeerCity USA, outright this time, for 2013.

The folks in west Michigan sure do love their beer, and who can blame them when the likes of Founders, Brewery Vivant and HopCat – just to name a few – are in their back yard.

In all 50,000 votes were cast this year, Grand Rapids received over half of them (27,005). Two other Michigan beer-centric cities finished in the top five: Kalamazoo, home to Bell’s, was number two and Ann Arbor, with its bevy of craft beer bars, was number four.

So where did Chicago place? It didn’t, according to this Examiner article.

The following cities each had less than 300 votes: Bend, OR, Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, Durango, CO, Fort Collins, CO, Madison, WI, Milwaukee, WI, Missoula, MT, Philadelphia, PA, Raleigh, NC, San Diego, CA, St. Louis, MO.

Yeesh, for a city known for its ability to get out the vote we didn’t have a very good showing, did we?

As a consolation prize (sort of), Chicago did crack this Travel & Leisure list of America’s Best Beer Cities, coming in at number 15 – behind Providence, Rhode Island and Savannah, Georgia.

Our dismay for Chicago’s voter turnout aside, congrats to you – Grand Rapids. We’ll raise a pint of Founders All Day IPA in your honor this evening.

Drink Your Way Through The Alphabet And Learn Something Along The Way

alphabeer_logo_flat

PRESS RELEASE

Chicago, IL – AlphaBeersm is the only event that teaches craft beer lovers about 26 beers – one for every letter of the alphabet. It’s a three-hour tour of hops and barley and lagers and ales, and everything is crafted by masters who are passionate about their beers.

The 10th AlphaBeer takes place on April 20 from 12p.m. to 3p.m. at John Barleycorn River North (149 W. Kinzie St.) in downtown Chicago. At this very special event breweries from the Great Lakes area, including Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, and of course, Chicagoland, are being highlighted.

Several special guests will be joining the event to talk about their beers, including representatives from 5 Rabbit, Brewery Vivant, Founders, Goose Island Brewing Company, and New Holland. Chef Cleetus Friedman of Fountainhead is also scheduled to talk about Loudmouth Soup, the beer he produced in collaboration with Greenbush. Other guests on the roster are Chicago Beer Geeks and the Chicago chapter of Barley’s Angels, a beer club for women.

Attendees won’t just be tasting the beers. Chef Jill Houk is returning as the emcee, or AlphaBeerMaster, for the fourth time. She’ll educate guests on the ABV, the IBU and what to eat with each brew. Notes on each beer are broadcast on multiple screens so everyone can learn their A-BEER-C’s.

“On tap” for the event are the following beers (subject to change based on availability):

  • A All Day IPA, Founders
  • B Breakfast Stout, Founders
  • C Curmudgeon, Founders
  • D Dynamo, Metropolitan
  • E Eugene Porter, Revolution
  • F Farmhand Ale, Brewery Vivant
  • G Goose Island, Pepe Nero
  • H Huitzi, 5 Rabbit
  • I Iron Works Alt, Metropolitan
  • J Jinx Proof, Three Floyds
  • K Kalamazoo Stout, Bell’s
  • L Loudmouth Soup, Greenbush & Cleetus Friedman
  • M Monkey King, New Holland
  • N New Grist, Lakefront
  • O Over Ale, Half Acre
  • P Paleooza, New Holland
  • Q Coming Soon
  • R Revolution, A Little Crazy
  • S Sky High Rye, Arcadia
  • T Tiny Dancer, Goose Island
  • U Unfiltered Wheat Beer, Boulevard
  • V Hammer, Bullet, Vice; Half Acre
  • W White Chapel Wit, Haymarket
  • X “X” Fidy, Oskar Blues
  • Y GFY Stout, Spiteful Brewing
  • Z Zaison, Brewery Vivant

Tickets are $45 to try 26 different craft beers. A limited number of tables of 6 are available for only $225. Tickets can be purchased at http://thelocaltourist.com/event/alphabeer-x

What: AlphaBeer X
When: April 20, 2013, 12p.m. to 3p.m.
Where: John Barleycorn River North, 149 W Kinzie St., Chicago, IL
Details: http://thelocaltourist.com/event/alphabeer-x

About AlphaBeer

AlphaBeer is hosted by Theresa Carter, founder and publisher of The Local Tourist, LLC. The first event was in 2009 and it was inspired Ms. Carter’s mother, who each week would drink a beer from a different letter of the alphabet with fellow commuters on their Friday night train ride. Since then AlphaBeer has appeared at multiple venues in Chicago and has featured over 200 different beers.

About The Local Tourist

TheLocalTourist.com, or TLT as it’s affectionately known, is Chicago’s one-stop-spot for things to do, events, restaurants, nightlife, news, reviews, photos and more. It’s a business directory, an events calendar, and a multi-contributor magazine filled with news from the TLTeam of city experts. Its mission is to help locals experience the fascination of a tourist, and tourists feel the comfort of the local.

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(Editor’s Note: We receive a ton of beer-related press releases, but we’ll only bring you the ones we think are relevant, fun, interesting, cool, newsworthy, or offer something we’d be interested in checking out ourselves. Rest assured we’re not just posting these to churn out content – take this as a tacit endorsement from the staff of GDB.)

Review: Founders Bolt Cutter

IMG_0664

Founders says:

“Bolt Cutter is a cellarable barley wine with an ABV of 15%. Dry-hopped with a mountain of Cascade hops, it’s balanced by a malty sweetness and spicy complexity, resulting from barrel aging some of it in bourbon barrels, some in maple syrup-bourbon barrels and some not at all (standard fermentation only). We’ve allowed the beer to mature in bottles and kegs since July so that it would be perfect for its release next month. Bolt Cutter pours a deep copper color and is best sampled at different temperatures to allow the flavors to unfold.”

Founders Bolt Cutter
American Barleywine, 15% ABV

Sayeth the Guys:

Ryan: While the brewing process for this beer is pretty amazing, which includes multiple barrel aging’s and dry hopping, the story behind the name is even more impressive.

According to Founders’ website Bolt Cutter is named for the actual bolt cutters the brewery’s president went out and got after a bank threatened to shut them down.

“Years ago,” says Co-Founder, President & CEO Mike Stevens, “when our brewery was located on Monroe, we were defaulting on our loan. Eventually, the bank called and threatened to chain our doors shut if we didn’t come up with the money that we owed them. We had seven days to come up with half a million dollars.”

“So I bought a pair of bolt cutters,” says Co-Founder, Vice President of Brand & Education Dave Engbers. “We were determined to keep our doors open and to keep brewing beer, no matter what it took. Luckily, we never had to use them.”

Engbers keeps the bolt cutters in his office as a reminder of how far we’ve come and the journey we’ve taken since brewing our first beer in November 1997.

Does the beer live up to its billing, $24 price tag and the story behind it? Abso-frickin-lutely.

Pouring a vibrant orange in color, the Bolt Cutter has a big nose of pine needles, orange peel, caramel and juniper berries.

The citrus and pine needle aroma carryover to the palate, combining with a distinct tangerine flavor to create an almost aggressive hoppiness. A good dose of sweet caramel mid-sip and a slightly chalky bakers chocolate finish does wonders in calming down this hop-forward beer.

The finish is a tad boozy, but nowhere close to what I expected in a 15% ABV beer. In fact, the alcohol is fairly tame, all things considered.

As for the mouthfeel – it’s thick, slick and coating – but not too over the top. Almost creamy as it warms.

The dry-hopping gives Bolt Cutter a phenomenal aroma while the different barrel aging’s give it a subtle, yet complex, sweet flavors.

While Founders says it’s cellarable – which we don’t doubt – it is highly drinkable fresh, which can’t always be said for barleywines topping out at 15% ABV.

IMG_0653Karl: First, a small snapshot of how random the Great Craft Beer Hunt can be in these times.

When Bolt Cutter was released, it was near impossible to find. I kept an eye out for weeks, knowing full well that as soon as it hit the shelves, it was likely snatched up in minutes. After a month or so, I gave up hope of ever getting to sample any – visions of how good the Frangelic hazelnut coffee special release would have to suffice, I supposed. then, from downstate, Ryan emailed and said there was Bolt Cutter like whoa down in his neck of the woods. Should he get some? Of course he should! Strike that, store wasn’t open – closed for a week for renovations. Damn. So that afternoon I wander into my nondescript little corner store for a 6-pack and what do I see in front of me? An everdamned bomber of Bolt Cutter. I text Ryan to inform him of my discovery; lo and behold he’s stumbled across some more himself, and is returning to Chicago with barleywine in hand.

Silly, huh?

This is a long way of introing the fact that if I’m honest, I don’t really like barleywines all that much. They’re often just too big, too bitter, too overwhelming to appreciate a sip at a time, sometimes requiring hours, hours that could be better spent with porters, stouts, bitters, scotch ales, and so on. It was only because Founders holds such high regard for me that I wanted to try this offering so much. While it didn’t completely redefine my opinion of the style, it was quite mature and relatively easygoing, which I appreciated.

Starting with a mild aroma of lightly scorched caramel, Bolt Cutter cut a profile of gingerbread, pine, sweet sugary toffee with a bright, soapy finish. The body was surprisingly creamy while the tail on this beer was extensive and quite complex, with flavors changing at least thrice while they died away on the palate. Quite tasty, surprisingly relaxed and not hammer-over-the-head ohmygod HUGE like so many other barleywines tend to be.

Probably best that we shared it out between 5 guys – I don’t know that I’d have the patience for a full ration myself. But still, I don’t regret the weeks of open eyes and hoping – the trek was worth the reward.

From The Cellar: Founders KBS 5 Year Vertical (2008-2012)

Founders says:

“What we’ve got here is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year to make sure wonderful bourbon undertones come through in the finish. Makes your taste buds squeal with delight.”

Founders KBS
Imperial Stout, 11.2% ABV

Ryan: To say this vertical has been a long time coming is an understatement. Those of you who have tried to scrounge up even one bottle of Founders elusive KBS in the last few years knows how hard it can be.

When we first began this endeavor, two years before we began this site, Founders KBS was still called Kentucky Breakfast Stout. It also wasn’t as impossible to find as it is now. Continue reading

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

photo courtesy tigers.com

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.

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