2014 Traverse City Summer Microbrew & Music Festival

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Mark your late summer calendars, there is a beer and music festival getting ready for your visit.

The 2014 Traverse City Summer Microbrew & Music festival is scheduled August 22 and 23rd at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Your standard admission ticket ($40 for a single day or $70 for the weekend) will get you access to 40 select breweries with over 200 different beers, ciders, meads, and wines.  Included are five 80z pours and a costom tasting glass.  You will also have access to brewery representatives, local food vendors, live music, and a silent disco tent (don’t feel bad if you had to look it up, I did too). There are also VIP tickets that get you into the festival an hour earlier than everyone else and also include side-stage viewing, home brewer’s tasting, private bathrooms (if you have ever been to a large festival, you know that can be a big bonus), seated dining area, lawn games, and more fun extras.

And that is just the beer,  Continue reading

Let’s get right down to it here. This beer is for people who like pain. Are you part Cenobite? This is the beer for you. While drinking this I tried not to think of the words “searing” And “flesh.” but how does it taste? To be honest I’m not sure. As I sit here sipping this glass, all I can taste is the peppers. It is like having a glass of hot sauce. The bottle claims to be a barrel aged Lukcy Basartd, but any hint of that flavor is blown away leaving you with this hot drink of fire. Some people like pepper beers. I admit that I will always want to give it a try when I find a new one. But this one may be too much.

Can-Stamp-mine-designI really can’t not share this because I think I could have used this item last weekend.  What you see here is a simple (good) and fun(better) solution to a common problem.  The ‘is this my beer?’ problem. This is The Can Stamp Now it is true, this product is not for every occasion.  I often find myself drinking something other than what everyone else is drinking, so that makes it unnecessary.  And usually when I am, it is out of a bottle and that would make in unfeasible.  But for those times when we all have a common drink, and that drink is in a can, it is a good idea to find a way to differentiate your own.  I used to do this by only cracking my can partially, but that is too easy to not notice.  What we have here is simply a metal stamp.  Press it into the side of your can to leave a nice little statement that can be seen, and felt by anyone who may be confused about the can’s owner.  Personally, I like the “in Use” one, but there are a number of choices in order to cut down on the, let’s be honest, astronomical chances that you and someone else have brought the same Can Stamp to a party.

I had the pleasure of trying Sam Adams Utopias a number of years ago, and I was rightfully  blown away.  It truely is an experience I would recomend to anyone.  The metal bottle, the strong aroma and the pleasantly palatable flavor all create quite the memory.  And I was content in the fact that I probably would not get another chance to try it.  It is simply a luxury that I could not afford to make a habit of.  Well to my pleasant supprise, only a few years later I was presented with the opportunity again.  And again, it was quite the memory.  But after having two vintages of Utopias pass my lips, I was even more content with having my Utopias experience complete.  But then I had to see this.

utopias cigars

These Sam Adams Utopias seasoned cigars are available for a limited time from Ted’s Cigars.

From their website

The pairing is perfection. Rich nutty and fruit notes in the Utopias play well with the spicy complexity of the cigar, while the Dominican Republican, Nicaraguan and Brazilian tobacco blend provides a smooth, deep caramelized taste that compliments the Utopias’; woody, toffee flavors.

Now I am going to have to buy a set of these and track down another bottle of Utopias, for what I expect to be an extreme beer experience.

 

 

 

 

So it sure has been a while hasn’t it?  well I would like to welcome you back to the new and improved This Week In Beer! So I have spent the last few months streamlining the website and cutting out much of the fat (no one really used that map anyway).  So hopefully this new site will usher in an era of smother functionality and smoother beer. I hope.

So beyond the trimmed down site, i have a docket of ideas for new features and shows.  The social site is still here, but it is seriously trimmed down.   The site is now responsive too so you should see a mobile friendly version when you visit from a smartphone or tablet.  I do expect to add features back in as I see the need for them, but for now I think all we really need here is a regular stream of beer related content for you all to enjoy.  and for me to enjoy as well.

But, I hear you say, did it really take you six months to redesign the site? It doesn’t even look that different, no way it took you that long!  You are right.  You caught me. There is more Continue reading

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Is that a saying?  it really should be if it isn’t.  and you really don’t have to be a regular at Thirsty Thursday to know it.  But do you realize how interconnected beer and baseball really are?  If you are curious, or even if you aren’t curious yet, you might be interested in this. The Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America’s Game.  Edward Achorn relays the story of Chris Von der Ahe, a St Louis entrepreneur who noticed that people were visiting his beer garden after baseball games.  So he did the obvious thing, he bought a baseball team in order to sell more beer, and in the process, injected some much needed fun into America’s favorite pastime.  Have I piqued your curiosity yet? A little bit?  want more? have a listen to this interview with the author on All Things Considered He paints a picture of the wild west atmosphere of baseball in the late 1800s and the wild character that was Chris Von der Ahe.

via The Summer of Beer and Whiskey | Uncrate.

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Dogfish Head Randall JrFrom the mad geniuses at Dogfish Head, comes a flavor infuser made especially for you to add your own twisted touch to your favorite beer. Looks to work just like the way you make tea (people still make tea right?). You just need to throw in your preferred ingredients (whatever your crazy heart desires, coffee beans, nuts, fruit, gummi worms, I’m not judging), seal it up and throw it in the fridge for 10 minutes.  Then you can unseal and drink it right from the Randall itself or pour through the integrated filter grid into your friends cups to share.  The product page suggests adding flavors to your microbrews to add even more layers of complexity to your brew.  Anyone looking to dabble in homebrewing could use this thing to test out their mad combinations before diving into a full brew.  Better realizing that your walnut-broccoli beer won’t taste quite as good as you imagined before you actually go through an entire batch. Another good use for this could be to convince that friend of yours that simply will not give up his Miller Lite to try to expand his horizons by infusing his own beer with a little added flavor (give it some more hops, *gasp* “quadruple hops brewed”?!?). They’ve produced a “quality” infomercial to explain to you exactly why you need to own a Randall Jr which I’ve included after the break. Continue reading

What is this madness? Life is stirring at thisweekinbeer.com.  We couldn’t stay down forever, and the perfect time to re-emerge from the shadows presented itself in the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival.  So we got our warm clothes together and stuffed hand warmers into our gloves and made our way to Grand Rapids.  There we got a taste of some great beers from around the state, one of which (also one of my favorites from the festival) came from The Livery.  Here is my cryptic review of their Belgian Dark Trippel. Continue reading

Beer and government, what’s the connection? We’ve all heard the media and lawmakers crying for small business owners to step up and create jobs. To create jobs you must make a product that the consumers want and oh boy do the consumers want craft beer. Craft beer is the fastest growing segment in alcohol sales in the United States and as so the breweries that make the beer are some of the fast growing small businesses.

During the mid-90’s regulations against small breweries were lifted and breweries started popping up throughout Michigan. Now we are entering two decades of brewing in our state and these 80+ small business owners and legislators are working together to further grow this industry. But it’s still young and the laws on the books are somewhat out of date and need tweaking to facilitate a climate that keeps this business steaming forward. We are also running into issues that we didn’t have before because these businesses didn’t exist.

Right now one entity can only own a certain number of breweries. Only have a minimal number of offshoot pubs. The tax bracket for brewpubs (don’t distribute) and microbreweries (do distribute) are different and can those tax amounts change to promote more growth. Also at what point does a microbrewery grow beyond its tax bracket?

Meeting with legislators in Lansing, the brewery owners found themselves being warmly welcomed by both the House of Representatives and Senate. With both honoring the industry by declaring the month of July “Michigan Craft Beer Month” for the fourth year in a row. This symbolizes the attention and admiration that our legislature has for these trailblazers and former home brewers turned dreamers turned businessmen and women.

Most of the breweries in Michigan are expanding in physical size, staffing and reach throughout the rest of the country. Creating more jobs in brewing beer, selling beer and giving the consumer an enjoyable and tasty way of supporting local Michigan made products. More restaurants are seeing the potential of serving Michigan made beer. Even seeing customers asking for Michigan beer. There are a few, and hopefully more on the way, restaurants that offer multiple Michigan beers on tap and/or in the bottle.

1 in 10 Michiganders work in the restaurant industry and this industry supports our tourism industry and a growing part of that tourism industry is… visiting our now over 80 different breweries. See the cycle? There are a rumored 20 more breweries to open in Michigan within the next year. Adding those breweries in might move Michigan from 5th in number of breweries per state to 3rd or 4th. With that growth comes jobs, comes more tourism, comes more tax revenue and a new industry that all Michiganders can stand behind and proud of.

With all of this growth there is still room to grow. In Michigan craft beer sales only make up around 2% of total beer sold, while in Oregon craft beer is at 28% and growing. So help your local and state economy, grab a Michigan brewed beer, visit www.michiganbrewersguild.org to find out where the breweries are and go on a brewery tour, and please every time you’re out having a beer ask “What Michigan beer do you have?”