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Charlotte Oktoberfest – Homebrews Plus

Hello Beer Fiends,

As long-promised and overdue, here is the second of the Charlotte Oktoberfest write-ups that I have from the 2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest festival held at the Metronlina Tradeshow Expo on September 29, 2012. Apologies for the delay, this took forever and a half to type up! Yeesh, my fingers hurt now!!! All for you all, though, all for you! 😉

2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest Homebrewers

2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest!

Homebrewers. The local legends of beer one-off experimentations, imitations-of-large-name-beers, and classic styles redone with new twists. These are the people that like making little tweaks to their recipes to make it that extra little bit more <insert beer flavor, aroma or aftertaste of your choice here>.

So to make up for missing so many of the homebrewers available to you all, I am going to list the brews that I didn’t get to try in my post yesterday. You will feel shame for me, I am sure, when you compare the lists of today and yesterday. I definitely hung my head in shame at myself!

Homebrews I Missed (in order from Oktoberfest booklet:
Adam Kaufman: Rex’s Rye Rocket
Bill Lynch: Big Bill’s IPA, Buster Cherry Blonde, Citradiculous IPA, Robusto Porter
Brian Beachemin: Beat The Heat Wheat
Brian Schonder: Hunt For Red Oktober
Bruno Wichnoski: Old Ace, Sir Bruno’s ESB, The Great One
Charles Scheffer: Pumpkin Ale
Chris Black: Smoke and Mirrors, Drunkin’ Punkin’
Chris Webber: Rhine Rain, Tip The Porter
David Jones: Eternal Hoppiness, Half Wit SC Peach Wheat
Felton Dengler: Cut The Grass Damn It! Pale Ale
James O’Leary: Night Vision Black IPA
Jen Kaufman: Jen’s Joy Juice
John Oshman: Osh’s Awesome Ale
Kelly Pruett: Centennial IPA
Lisa Johnson: Dandelion IPA
Mark Graham: Fear The Turtle!
Mike Schenk: Kashi Brown Ale
Pat Wichnoski: Crimson Oktoberfest, The Big O (aka Sexual Chocolate)
Paul Bright: Mahopma Curry IPA
Randy Griesman: Kumawannaliea Pineapple Wheat
Rob Adams: Cinderella’s Last Ride
Scott Jacobs: God Save The Hops
Stephen Gilbert: Dunkel Donuts, Flummoxed Lummox
Stephen Hutchinson: Peaceful Warrior
Tom Henderson: Ich bin ein Berliner
Tyler Norris: Choppy’s Old Bier

Alternative Beverage Staff: Alt Bev American Red Bitter, APA, Hefeweizen; Red Hook ESB Clone
Bethea Baker: Alt Bev American Pilsner, Black IPA, Dortmunder Export, Irish Red, Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Ale, Raspberry Wheat, Small Session Brown Ale; 60 Minute IPA Clone, 90 Minute IPA Clone, Hophead Potter, Southern Belle’s Half Hearted Ale
Chris Austin: Cherries Forever Stout
Clif Mullis: Black Currant White Merlot, Peach Chardonnay, Strawberry Riesling
Christopher Grzebyk: Hop Smuggler Centennial
Ian Peterson: Cockin’ Cannons Cherry Chocolate Stout, Eastern Steamer, Outta Boresight Bitter
James Lafferty: Autumn Trailblazer Sweet Potato Ale, Dirty Shirley Wine Cooler
Jason Thornton: Black Beard IPA
Loren Standley: Not Your Common Cider, Thomas Jefferson Ale

Crystal Gainous: Copacetic CABREW Pale Ale
Eric Allgaier: Cabarrus Breakfast Stout, Dreadful Sorry, Get your !*@$ing Chocolate Outta My Peanut Butter Porter
Ford Craven: Craven’ Cucumber Kolsch
Jenn Waterson: Hoppier The Better
Josh Davis: Deutscherdbeer Hefe Weissbier
Luke Waterson: Wit You Want?
Nancy Scott: Blumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Pie
Patty Acquaviva: Strawberry Blonde
Rick Godby / Sharon Doherty: Dark Lady Porter
Rusty Agee: Brown Party Likker
Scott Peterlin: Granny’s Apple Saison
Steve Propst: Millennium Falconer
Tim Kelley: The American Hefe

Bill Dubas: El Deguello, Masala Porter
Brian Sico: Dicken’s Cider, Hop Monster, NitWit
Chris Duke: Sweet Georgia Blonde
Dave Buning: Campfire Wheat, Some like it hop, Yep that’s a Stout
Mike Hahne: Knicker Twist

Adam Childers: Fraulein’s Delight, He Ain’t Hefe He’s My Brother, What the Helles?
Barry Wray: Go2Helles, Woooooo!
Brenton Queen: My British Fling
Eddie Wetmore: Carpet Doesn’t Match The Drapes
Jason Garvin: Velocity Redlight 1.1, Velocity Redlight 1.2, Velocity Redlight 1.3
Lee Wagoner: Wham Bam Thank You Mamber
Paul Watkins: Dead Ringer
Steve Moulton: Knicker-dropper, Stoutzilla
Tom Wechter: Painted Lady

Chris Miller: Fade To Blackberry Wit, Frost On The PUmpkin Porter
Jake Atwell: Amaretto By Morning
Lee Hill: Captain Nolan’s ORCA
Mike Marble: One Giant Leap Double IPA, One Small Step Amber
Mike Pflugrad: Porky’s Prostitute Porter
Sam Victory: Creature Feature, How ‘Bout Them Apples, Unity Wit
Silas Swaim: Cottonmouth Brown, h’Wheat
Terry Smith: You Didn’t Brew That!
Terry Smith / Sam Victory: HOPS’ High Point Pride Cask English Bitter
Tim McDonald: Fire In The Hole Jalapeno Ale, Man On The Moon Cherry Wheat, Once In A Blue Moon, Skidmark Porter
William Speisberger: Hubba Bubba Cranium

Brad Albrecht: American IPA
Brian Little: Jamils Evil Twin
Chris Olden: Chirs’ Pilsner
John Crnich: German Hefeweizen
Kevin Neyland: Chocolate Milk Stout
Michael Thomas: Dry Hopped Cider
Patrick Stephens: Brown Eye Ale
Press Brewery: American Pale Ale, Jalapeno Ale
Velocity Brewing: Redlight Version 1, Redlight Version 2, Redlight Version 3
Russ Burnitt: Old Chub Clone, Surly Furious
Rusty Starnes: Black IPA
Tim Kelley: American IPA, Oxford Nut Brown
Wes Midkiff: Axis IPA, Sorachi Ace IPA
Will Omsbach: Right Coast IPA, Right Coast IPA 2

Adam Puzerewski: Bunny Hop Wheat, Philly Peach Wheat
Alex Pagano: Batch 674
Andy Kalinoski: Brown House Ale, Das Golden Shower
Brent Brewer: Knockout Stout
Louis Oliver: Cherry Poppin’s Cider
Michael Pribble: Breakfast of Champions
Patrick Allen: Red Blooded American Ale
Trevor Gildea: Fantasy Draft 2

Brad Petit: Nothing But Cascade
Dan Adams: No Soul, Welfare John
Jim Griggers: Guten Morgen, Janet Weiss
JP Boileau: Land of Barley & Blue, Palmetto Oaked Ale, Waking up at 6:23am Breakfast Stout, Hop Witit, Push Up, Sweet Southern Blonde
Keven and Wendy Deaton: Cluster F#$K Chocolate Coconut Stout, London’s Folly, Oaked EPA
Matt Rodgers: Dweller Marzen, The Black Key
Paul Selig: SMASHed Cherry
Phil Tollison: Gestalt, Souther WatermALEon

Chad Hahn: Blonde Ale, IPA
Jason Alarcon: Snatches of Pink
Kevin Dolan: The APE
Ryan Trask: CitrAm Pale Ale
Ryan Weir: Cream Ale, Peanut Butter Porter

Bill MacElroy: Stiche Alt Bier
Brian Cendrowski: Dieterhosen Festbier, The Fixer
Hang To: Tripel
Jake Grove: Sage Advice Cascadian Dark Ale
Jeremy Grieshop: Harold-is-Weizen
Joe Coxey: Doverdale Wheat
Margaret Antonik: Sweet Ginger Brown

Dave Koenig: Brunette Bombshell, Koenigfest, Pooh’s Hunny Blonde Ale
Dave Wanucha: Dag Gum Dunkel
Mark Stoehr: Bahama Mama Smoked Coconut Wheat, Hoppy Stout
Steve Nance: Absinthe Of Malice
Tom Nolan: Cocoa Love, Farmhouse Floozie

Dave Keller: Bat Cap
Bernie Kessel: Pink Lady Cider
Mark Staffon: My IPA
Rich and Lee Pettus: Smokey Mountain Porter

Bill Lynch: Amber Ale with Carrots, Candied Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Vanilla Beans in Bourbon
Brian Beauchemin: Smoked Porter
Charles Scheffer: Pumpkin Ale
Felton Dengler: Ale Brewed with Carrots and Spices
Ford Craven: Brown Porter Mashed with Butternut Squash
Josh Davis: Farmhouse Ale with Wild Blackberries
Kevin Martin: Ale Brewed with Roasted Tomatoes and Fresh Rosemary
Lisa Johnson: Ale Using Sweet Potatoes In The Mash
Mike Schenk: Ale Brewed with Potato, Sweet Potato, Carrots and Beets
Rob Adams: Spiced Carrot and Parsnip Belgian Dubbel
Shawn McBride: Olde Ale with Pumpkin

WHEW! That was quite the list! As you can see, my trials versus misses were grossly outnumbered. Clearly I need to party with the homebrew tent way more next year! 😉 So that is all for today, and thanks for your patience while I got all of that typed up. I will continue more in the next installation after a short baking/cooking break tomorrow! Until then, though….

Craft You Later,

Wednesday Beer Log- Noda New Releases

Hello Beer Friends,

I am sure you are going “what about Oktoberfest” right about now if you read my Friday beer log entry. However, I have decided to take this week to write them all up, then the next two weeks to post them up. This way I can be sure nothing is missed, and everyone gets to enjoy the awesomeness that is the list of beers from Charlotte Oktoberfest.

That said, Noda Brewing Company recently released a few new good (okay, great) beers into their line-up. Some for good, some for the season, and some for a very limited time. So let’s observe:

Get The Party Tarted: Cherry Sour Ale (until it runs out)
This beer was inspired by a Berliner Weisse
we call it a “NorthCarolinerWeisse”.  It’s infused with Bing cherries and raspberries. With 4.5% ABV and 10 IBUs, this tart and sour ale is absolutely delicious, light-bodied but full of flavor in every sip. I had two pints in a row of it, it was that good. (Yes, for me that is telling!) I really liked the fact this beer had a sour flavor that melded phenomenally with the tart cherry and light raspberry flavors. It never got too sour, too tart, nor too sweet. It was just perfectly balanced. Nice job Noda!


Get the party tarted indeed!

Dark-o’-Lantern: Pumpkin Spice Porter (Nodable Series, Limited Amount)
This pumpkin spice porter has cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves which lend to a more earthy character, with cinnamon being the primary taste.  At 6% ABV, 38 IBUs and 36 SRM – this beer has a strong malt flavor along with toasted barley, and a hint of the pumpkin pie spices we all know & love. This smokier beer has vague hints of pumpkin, but it is enough that it is definitely classified by taste as a yummy pumpkin porter!


Dark O' Lantern needs some light....or not!

Gordgeous: Pumpkin Ale (Fall Seasonal)
This Pumpkin is hot, and it knows it. Gordgeous uses over 100 lbs of organic pumpkin caramelized with 40 lbs of brown sugar. Noda used whole seed spices cracked on brew day and mixed allspice, cardamom, cloves and freshly shaved whole ginger root to create a unique pumpkin ale. At 6.4% ABV with 17 SRMs and 29 IBUs, this is a fantastic pumpkin ale that isn’t too pumpkiny, isn’t too pumpkin pie-spiced, and isn’t too heavy. The carmelization of the pumpkin comes through the sips, as do each of the spices they added. The ginger adds a nice balancing note that makes it not taste like every other pumpkin ale. This beer has a great “this is fall!” feel to it while you sip it staring at the falling leaves. It tastes, quite simply, like a harvest pumpkin beer should: pumpkin, blended spices and harvest married on a medium-bodied sip of ale. Maybe under a full moon. In a gordgeous tux, no less.

Hope’s Stout: Milk Stout (made for a great cause, click here for more information)
Noda wanted to achieve both a full bodied & complex stout character, but with the drinkability of a session ale, something that wouldn’t be unapproachable by the non-heavy dark beer drinkers. In part, probably because Hope’s dad (see link above if you’re lost by now) is a Budweiseresque beer drinker. Noda added a hefty amount of cocoa nibs to give the beer a distinctive dark chocolate character that melds well with the roasted notes from the dark malts. This 4% ABV, 39 SRM and 35 IBU beer is a definite keeper. This is a lighter-bodied stout, for sure, however it tastes like it was cooked with some steamed milk to bring the comfort of hot cocoa into a beer. I am not kidding here, nor waxing poetic. That is what it tastes like. With a little bit of malted milk ball flavor, a teeny bit of hoppiness (or happiness as the case is), and a lot of  the steamed milk flavor thrown in to give it just that perfect blend of a light stout. If you want a comfort beer, get this one. If you want to support a good cause, definitely get this one. Again, click the link above if you’re lost… 😉

Craft You Later,

Getting Ready For Fall Beer in NC…

Well Beer Friends,

It’s about that time of year again. Oktoberfest Festivals and Oktoberfest brews are gearing up to start hitting us in late September through October. For all the Fall lovers out there, this is a special time of year that is ‘home’ to some of the most yummy creations (and combinations of breweries under one ‘roof’) known to us beer lovers.

Get Ready For Oktoberfest with these earlier events!

However in the spirit of Oktoberfest, sometimes you want to go out and start before mid-September. I’ve found a few events that will be screaming your name out loud. In order of date, below, starting this Saturday!

lazy daze festival arts crafts sister cities beer garden

Lazy Daze in Cary has the Sister Cities Beer Garden 8/25!

This coming Saturday, August 25, if you’re in the Cary area of the RTP, you can check out the Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival! From 9am – 5pm on Saturday, enjoy the Arts and Crafts shopping options: which include local artists working with Clay, Candles, Paintings, Floral, Furniture, Glass, Jewelry, Photography and Wood. You can also check out the Entertainment options available (wandering and stage entertainment), and whilst you peruse all of these fun things… Grab a Beer from the Sister Cities Beer Garden! According to their site, “The SCA Beer Garden is getting crafty! This year, you’ll find local craft beers provided by three local breweries. There’s food, a place to relax and refresh with brats and beers. You’ll find the SCA Beer Garden located beside Creative Images on Chatham Street. Cary’s current Sister Cities are County Meath, Ireland; Hsinchu City, Taiwan; LeTouquet, France; and Markham, Canada.” So go and get your international craft groove thing on this weekend, and do let me know what you find!

busy beef cafe fall beer raleigh beer week 2012

Busy Bee Cafe Kicks Off Raleigh Beer Week August 25!

Also this weekend on Sunday, August 26, go to the Raleigh Beer Week Kick Off Party at the Busy Bee Café in Raleigh! Kick off the Raleigh Beer Week right, with a selection of special draft beers at the Busy Bee Café! Starting at noon on Sunday, go find these drafts to sample:

  • Olde Hickory Event Horizon
  • Terrapin Knob Creek Maple Syrup Monk’s Revenge (last keg of our 2nd anniversary brew!)
  • Founders KBS
  • Bruery White Oak
  • Mother Earth Bourbon Barrel Aged Tripel Overhead
  • Thirsty Dog Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian Imperial Stout
  • Olde Hickory 7 Devils
  • Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti

For more information on Raleigh Beer Week, which is 8/28-9/1, and their events you can participate in, go here!

mecktoberfest olde mecklenburg brewery oktoberfest seasonal fall beer

Kick Off Charlotte’s Oktoberfest Season @ Olde Meck!

On Wednesday, August 29, will find the Charlotte local brewery Mecktoberfest Kick-off Party. Hosted by Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, this is the kick-off event for their annual Oktoberfest Festival, Mecktoberfest. From 5:30-8:30 pm, you can go to Olde Meck and enjoy the Marzen-Style Amber Lager that is the Fall Seasonal. Live music will be presented by Jay Mathey, and the beer will be flowing with that wonderful fall aroma!

high country beer festival fall beer festival pre-oktoberfest

A Beer Festival in Boone, NC

In Boone, on September 1, is the 5th Annual High Country Beer Festival. This event is put on by the Ivory Tower Brewing Department of App State, and proceeds are donated to the Appalachian State University Fermentation Sciences Program, the Hunger and Health Coalition and the North Carolina Brewers’ Guild. Additional pertinent information is as follows:
Location is Broyhill Center on Appalachian State University’s Campus
Cost is $35 per person, or $10 for Designated Drivers (our favorite friends!)
Date is Saturday, September 1st, from 3-7 pm (yes, friends, this is Labor Day weekend, and yes for Charlotteans, this is a chance to get out of the DNC craziness for a day!)
Breweries Present: NC BREWERS: Boone Brewing, Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Big Boss Brewing, Buchi Kombucha, Carolina Beer Company, Catawba Valley Brewing, Cottonwood Beer, Duck Rabbit Brewery, Foothills Brewing, French Broad Brewing, Huske Hardware House Brewing, Ivory  Tower Brewing, Laughing Water Brewery, Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery, Mother Earth Brewing, Natty Greene’s Brewing, Olde Hickory Brewery, Pisgah Brewing, Roth Brewing, Triangle Brewing, Weeping Radish Brewery. OTHER BREWERS: Blue Moon, Blue Dawg, Bluepoint, Brooklyn, Crispin Cider, Dogfish Head, Full Sail, Harpoon, Kona, Left Hand, New Belgium, New Holland, Original Sin Cider, Oskar Blues, Shock Top, Smutty Nose, Southern Tier, Stone, Victory, Magners Cider, and Spaten Brewing.

westbend beer event brewhouse rocks lewisville nc beer

Westbend Vineyards & Brewhouse Rocks! for St. Jude’s!

On Saturday, September 8, if you’re around Lewisville, NC (west of Winston-Salem), you can head to the Westbend Vineyards & Brewhouse Rocks event! Best part? This event is $10 and benefits the St. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital!!! According to their website, “Live music all day! The Phase Band performs from 1 to 5pm. Blue Monday performs from 6 to 10pm. Come see the finest BMW M-series cars in the southeast and enjoy some authentic German food! Also, #31 Zack Staley will be here so bring your camera and he will be signing autographs. Food will be available for purchase by the Snack Wagon from Greensboro and The German Club. Picnics welcome, no outside alcohol allowed. Gates open at 11am. Westbend Brewhouse introduces its NEW Pumpkin Ale! Profits donated to St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital. $10 per person.” So go support a good cause if you’re in the area, and drink some beer and wine crafted by Westbend while you’re at it!

grapevine wine bar oktoberfest beer sampler fall beer

Grapevine’s Oktoberfest Saturday Beer Sampler!

At Grapevine Wine Shop in Baxter Village of Fort Mill, SC, there is a Saturday Beer Sampler coming up on September 8 featuring 6 Oktoberfest pours. Each pour will be a 6-ounc pour, no chintzy tastings from Grapevine, no sir! You can stop in anytime between 2-5 pm on Saturday and ask for the Beer Sampler to get your Oktoberfest drink on! Cost is $12 per person for this yummy sampling!

greek festival greek beer yiasou charlotte

Visit Charlotte’s Yiasou Greek Festival for Greek Beer & Wine!

Finally, from September 13-16 in Charlotte, you can go to the Yiasou Greek Festival off of East Blvd, and try out your hand at some Greek Beer and Wine, while enjoying lots of wonderful Greek Food, to the accompaniment of Traditional Greek Dances, Music, and Singing. In addition, there are plenty of shops to peruse, free tours of the Greek Orthodox Catherdral, recreations of the Greek Changing Of The Guards Of The Unknown Soldier and Warriors of Greece Reenactment, and enjoy a few hours wandering about fully entertained for the cost of $2 admission plus whatever you purchase! Non-Alcoholic drinks and Domestic Beer choices accompany a selection of Greek Specialties: Mythos Beer, Greek Red & White Wines, Greek Retsina (Rosé Wine), Mavrodaphne (Greek Dessert Wine), and Greek Sherry!
WHEW! Okay that took a lot of time, so yes, it’s Thursday when I’m posting this, but I know you guys are awesome and patient, so it won’t bother you at all that all this information is not coming out on my normal Wednesday for Beer Postings! Because you rock like that.

Anyways, let me know if you visit any of these events, and what you think of any of the beers that you try out! I think you’ll all enjoy whatever you get into from this selection of events, so keep me posted on if I’m right or not! Until later, cheers and Happy Thursday!

Craft You Later,

Wednesday Beer Log: Hometown Breweries 1

Beer drinkers beware, there are breweries all over. Look left, look right, and in one of those directions, you can head towards a brewery in your hometown! Well, at least in my two hometown cities you can!

I am originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan (yes, there really is a Kalamazoo!), but I also consider Charlotte, North Carolina home. Ergo, two hometown cities. Furthermore, two GREAT cities. No, I am not biased, this is just fact. Believe it. I do!

So let us start up North for today. In Kalamazoo, a great little big town smack dab in the middle of the Detroit-to-Chicago route, and the Traverse City-to-White Pigeon route. Land of Pop, Euchre, Vernors, Meijers, Kellogs, Stryker and Upjohns. Those of you who know Michigan are nodding your heads. Everyone else is scratching them. But that is okay. We Michiganders are a forgiving and understanding lot, so we’ll just continue on without a hitch.

Growing up in Kalamazoo but leaving for college, I obviously didn’t get to drink at any of these wonderful places through my formative beer years, however they were all there, and so was I, and so I heard about them. So here we go:

1) Olde Peninsula Brewpub & Restaurant: This is the original brewpub for Kalamazoo, and a popular spot to catch up with friends. One of the best things about this pub is they do a $10 brewery tour with a “guided tasting of each beer” they serve. How is that not amazing? With constantly changing beers, the current spring menu incldes the variety of choices below, taken from their website, and can I just say yum?!?!
a) Haymarket Cream Ale: 4.25% ABV. This American cream ale is straw in color and mildly hopped for a smooth, delicious taste.
b) Sunset Red: 5.75% ABV. Semi-sweet amber ale with hints of caramel malts and just enough hops to make this a Downtown favorite.
c) OP IPA: 6.75% ABV. Very flavorful, dry-hopped with a generous amount of hops from start to finish.
d) Rockin’ Raspberry Wheat: 5.5% ABV. A blend of barley & wheat malts gives it a rich golden color. Mildly hopped with a soft raspberry finish.
e) Midnight Stout: 5.25% ABC. Brewed when the night is young! This blend of roasted barleys & chocolate malts gives this ale a chocolatey coffee-like flavor.
f) Custom Mix-N-Match Brews: Black Razberry (Midnight + Raz); Black & Tan (Midnight + Haymarket); Red Razberry (Sunset + Raz); 1-2-3 (Haymarket + Sunset + Midnight)

2) Paw Paw Brewing Company: Paw Paw, you say? What the heck is a Paw Paw?!? Well, among other things, it is a city in Michigan. Ha, you should’ve seen that coming, really! So the Paw Paw Brewing Company is a January 2010 concoction (fine, put-into-reality), and is run by a pair of guys who are also brothers-in-law. They have a pretty delicious-sounding line-up, that I hope to try when I am up there this summer!
a) Paw Paw Wheat: 5.1% ABV, 14 IBUs. This American style Wheat is perfect for a sunny day. Clear in color and smooth, this brew is light and pleasant on the palette.
b) St. James English Mild: 5.1% ABV, 20 IBUs. Session brew of English pale, caramel & German-style Munich malts combine with American Summit & English Golding hops, and roasted oatmeal for a smooth, toasted-malt & nut flavor.
c) Gus Meister Amber: 5.1% ABV, 22 IBUs. Pleasingly smooth and slightly darker than most amber styles, this Amber carries a caramel note through the finish. English and crystal malt lend themselves to the pleasant aroma and finish.
d) 2Paws IPA: 5.8% ABV, 75 IBUs. 2Paws IPA first announces itself with an intoxicating citrus aroma derived from a wonderful mixture of hops. Easy to drink, 2Paws IPA incorporates special ingredients that allow the bitterness to go the distance of pure pleasure without compromising a smooth finish.
e) Black River Oatmeal Stout: 5.8% ABV, 30 IBUs. Pleasing mild roast, rich bittersweet chocolate and chocolate ice cream flavor. Terrific mouth feel, clean and drying in the finish.
f) Raspberry Wheat: 5.1% ABV, 12 IBUs. American style wheat blended with locally grown red raspberries makes up a summer favorite for all to enjoy. Light raspberry taste and wonderful aroma.
g) Laughin’ Paw Pale Ale: 5.4% ABV, 40 IBUs. European style pale ale with a unique mixture of English Malts and Hops form our 5.4% ABV pale. A subtle roast combined in its flavor profile give the Laughin’ Paw Pale Ale its pleasant and unique roasted finish.
h) Twisted Pumpkin Ale: 6.2% ABV. Structured with a light Amber base and American malts Twisted Pumpkin is brewed with a combination of real pumpkin and special spices. The light malts bring out a bready characteristics which brings out a crust like taste making this seasonal taste like a slice of pie.

3) Bilbo’s Pizza & Brewpub: Anyone who has been to Kalamazoo or Portage has seen Bilbos. The luckiest ones have eaten their food. Delicious. Even as a kid, this was one of the best places to go for pizza & salad. YUM! Then you learn they cater to adults by brewing their own beer, and it’s like “SOLD!” was just written in place of their name. Love it! Now, the brewery is only out of one of their locations (Stadium Drive, gotta be the one by WMU of course!), and it is a small operation with only a few beers at a time.
a) Sledgehammer: 5.2% ABV, English Brown Ale with toasty, mildly hoppy smell, and a bit of citrus to finish it off.
b) Wheat Wizard: 5.5% ABV, Hefeweizen with a lemony hop taste.
c) Thunderbird: This American IPA has citrus flavors that combine with a spicy yeast flavor and a sharp hop note.

4) Bravo Restaurant & Cafe: Bravo was one of the “fancy dinner” places we would go as kids, or have something catered from them for real special occasions. So there are some fun memories of Bravo!s for me! Here are some notes from their website about their April beers!
a) Chefs Ale: 6.3% ABV, 21 IBU Amber Ale. Crisp and uniquely bitter flavor with a hoppy finish. The caramel notes make it a perfect match with the restaurant’s wood fired pizzas, calamari and lighter foods.
b) A-dam Good Beer: 5.5% ABV, 33 IBU Pale Ale. A well balanced and crisp APA with a nutty biscuit flavor. A perfect blend of flavors for the spicier foods.
c) Exit 78: 6.5% ABV, 23 IBU American Red Ale. Find it just off I-94, Exit 78, and nowhere else. A well balanced ale with a beautiful light ruby hue from German red malts. Light and easy to drinkn with virtually all foods.
d) Nimbus: 6.8% ABV, 28 IBU Oatmeal Stout. A dark and lightly cloudy ale. Caramel flavors brewed with oats giving a creamy texture and sweetness to smooth the spiciness of the hops. Matches perfectly with any grilled foods or a chocolate dessert.
e) Adams Ale: 7% ABV, 47 IBU IPA. The “Hop Heads” India Pale Ale. Very hoppy , very high in alcohol and very good! A perfect blend of flavors for salmon or any spicier foods.

5) Old Hat Brewery: while this brewery is a bit up the road from Kalamazoo, like Paw Paw, this is another brewpub in the area. Beers below are what they are serving now and year-round!
a) Station 1300 Light Lager: 5.3% ABV. German-style golden ale, this is a soft and drinkable delight. There is a restrained hoppy dryness to this ale that allows for a faint fruit flavor to emerge.
b) Depot Pils: 5.3% ABV. Darn good pilsner if the brewer don’t say so himself. A Bohemian style pils with Czech Saaz hops all the way through good to the last hop.
c) Red Lager: 5.5% ABV. A smooth, malty ruby-hued lager with a surprisingly crisp hop finish.
d) Alt: 5.6% ABV. A Dusseldorf-style altbier, this ale is the brewer’s choice. This brew boasts an impeccable balance of malt and hops, and its ruby color is true to style. As bitter as it is malty.
e) Amber Rhy Ale: 5.3% ABV A malty German-style ale made predominantly with rye and wheat malts with a touch of caramel malt. This unique mixture lends to a slight rye flavor, caramel color, and a mild hop finish.
f) Mustachioed Gentleman Pale Ale: ? ABV. An American style pale. Distinct bitterness, though not an IPA, with a definite hop aroma and finish. Very balanced, you’ll be licking your beer mustache to get every drop.
g) Bees Knees: 5.2% ABV. Dry Honey taste with a pilsner hop finish. Very light head, similar to a Vienna but with honey. Try this one with a lime on thos hot summer days, AND this is Gluten Free!
h) Maibock: 7-8% ABV. A spring bock, fruity and bold, with a fresh malt flavor and a noticeable alcohol content!
i) Doppelbock: 8-9% ABV. Our monster fall and winter bock, with a pronounced caramel flavor and a raisin note.
j) Billy Bock: 6.5% ABV. A big malty lager, with a caramel & butterscotch note, and a slightly bitter finish, but only produced when we feel like it!
k) Hefe Weizen: 4% ABV. A summer German ale, contains 50% wheat malt and a yeast that produces clove and banana esters. Traditionally server with a wedge of lemon.
l) Cherry Baby: 4% ABV. A light sweet beer with a Cherry Soda taste. Not much hop flavor.
m) Scotch Ale: 7% ABV. A high gravity Scotch Ale with a big malt flavor. Large caramel taste, slight bitterness, with no hop finish.
n) Pumpkin Ale: 4.2% ABV. Just like Grandma used to make: sweet & sassy. Available October, November, and whenever we feel festive!

Aaaaand I have saved my favorite “local” brewery for last!

6) Bell’s Brewery: This is by far my favorite Michigan Brewery. I know, I know, I am a bit biased, but you will be hard pressed to find a Michigander who doesn’t celebrate when they drink a Bell’s. Oberon, Kalamazoo Stout, and the other yummy choices they have. In addition, there is the “Eccentric CafĂ©” which I will be parked at this summer at least once. Okay, maybe twice. Here are the Bell’s brands!
a) Amber Ale: 5.8% ABV. Deftly balances a mixture of toasted grain & light caramel notes with a range of floral, citrus and herbal hop notes, capped by a clean bitterness.
b) Two Hearted Ale: 7% ABV. Defined by its intense hop aroma and malt balance. Hopped exclusively with the Centennial hop varietal from the Pacific Northwest, massive additions in the kettle and again in the fermenter lend their characteristic grapefruit and pine resin aromas. A significant malt body balances this hop presence; together with the signature fruity aromas of Bell’s house yeast, this leads to a remarkably drinkable American-style India Pale Ale.
c) Pale Ale: 5.2% ABV. This beer stands apart from the model of completely hop-dominated pale ales, offering a noticeable degree of malt body to counter the hop bitterness. A blend of floral & herbal hop notes provide the aromatic & flavor highlights, alongside the distinctive contribution of our house ale yeast. A crisp bitterness finishes the experience without being harsh.
d) Porter: 5.6% ABV. This emphasizes the darker, roasted aspects of malt. Hints of dark chocolate and freshly roasted coffee provide the focus, while hops remain in the background. Not as full-bodied as a stout, Porter bridges the gap between malty brown ales and our more heavily roasted stouts.
e) Kalamazoo Stout: 6% ABV. Offers a blend of dark chocolate and coffee flavors with just a hint of brewer’s licorice. One of our oldest recipes, it balances a significant hop presence against the roast malt body. Brewer’s licorice is gelatin-free, thus vegetarian-friendly!
f) Third Coast Beer: 4.8% ABV. Offers a crisp, dry bitterness with a mixture of floral & herbal aromas.
g) Bell’s Lager Beer: 5% ABV. Matching a crisp bitterness & distinctive herbal hop aromas to a simple yet firm malt backbone. Following in the tradition of Bohemian-style pilsners, this beer spends a full six weeks maturing in the fermentation vessels. This extended conditioning period refines the overall flavor, highlighting the contributions of the malts & hops.
h) Oarsman Ale: 4% ABV. The grain bill includes a healthy portion of wheat, while citrusy hops lend bright notes to the aroma. Fermented with Bell’s house ale yeast, Rather than being the dominant flavor note, the tartness in Oarsman takes on more of a palate-cleansing role, making it perfect for pairing with food.
i) Oberon Ale: 5.8% ABV. A wheat ale fermented with Bell’s signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt lends a smooth mouthfeel, making it a classic summer beer.
j) Best Brown Ale: 5.8% ABV. With hints of caramel and cocoa, the malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops.
k) White Winter Ale: 5% ABV. Fermented with a Belgian ale yeast, this blend of barley & wheat malts yields a mixture of clove and fruity aromas, all without the use of any spices.
l) Cherry Stout: 7% ABV. Gaining its signature tartness from 100% Montmorency cherries grown in Michigan’s Traverse City region. Rather than doubling up on sweetness, this tart cherry varietal serves as a counterpoint to the warm, dark chocolate notes from the malt bill. Lightly hopped for balance, this stout is one of the cornerstones of the Bell’s stout portfolio.
m) Special Double Cream Stout: 6.1% ABV. Completely dairy-free, this stout blends eight different specialty malts to yield a remarkable depth of flavor. With only a touch of burnt notes, it focuses on the softer, cocoa & espresso-like aspects of roasted malt.
n) Java Stout: 7.5% ABV. Using a custom blend of coffee beans, roasted locally for us by Water Street Coffee Joint, to generate its intense flavor.
o) Third Coast Old Ale: 10.2% ABV. Focusing on malt, offering notes of burnt caramel & other earthy malt flavors. Designed with vintage aging in mind, the malt aspect is matched to a heavy complement of hops. Sharply bitter at first, this will fold into the malt character over time and balance out the maltiness.
p) Expedition Stout: 10.5% ABV. One of the earliest examples of the Russian Imperial Stout in the United States, it offers immensely complex flavors crafted specifically with vintage aging in mind, as its profile will continue to mature and develop over the years. A huge malt body is matched to a heady blend of chocolate, dark fruits, and other aromas. Intensely bitter in its early months, the flavors will slowly meld and grow in depth as the beer ages.
q) Consecrator Dopplebock Beer: 8% ABV. It is a well balanced, full bodied lager with hints of caramel and molasses in its smooth, malty finish. It undergoes a lengthy lagering period: 3 months in the fermentor vessel!
r) Octoberfest Beer: 5.5% ABV. This session beer trades in the assertive hop presence for a focus on a light caramel malt note, lending body without too much sweetness.
s) Hopslam Ale: 10% ABV. Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, it possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repertoire. These Pacific NW varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style.
t) Hell Hath No Fury…Ale: 7.7% ABV. Originally conceived along the lines of a Belgian Dubbel, this morphed during development into something entirely different. Blending a pair of Belgian abbey-style yeasts into a recipe more akin to a roasty stout, it offers up warm, roasted notes of coffee & dark chocolate together with the fruity & clove-like aromas.
u) The Oracle DIPA Ale: 10% ABV. This West Coast-style Double India Pale Ale places hop intensity first & foremost, making only the slightest concession to malt & balance. The fireworks start with the aromatic punch of dry-hop sessions with hop varieties from the Pacific NW. Resinous, citrusy hop flavors mixed with aggressive bitterness from a massive kettle addition deliver on that aromatic promise.
v) Christmas Ale: 5.5% ABV. This beer uses locally grown malts, and not containing any spices: all of the dry, toasted notes & subtle toffee flavors come from the 100% Michigan-grown barley, custom malted by Briess Malting, while a blend of hops from Michigan & the Pacific NW lend earthy, herbal aromas.
w) There are too many specialty beers from Bell’s to put in here, but Harvest Ale, Smoked Stout, Milk Stout, Raspberry Ale, Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout, and Le Pianiste Ale are just a few of the many they’ve offered over the life of Bell’s Brewery!

So I think that takes care of the Hometown Breweries edition for Kalamazoo, Michigan, and hope you enjoyed them!

Craft You Later,

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