you may notice a couple new features to the site, and if you haven’t SHAME ON YOU, pay more attention. I kid.  We are in the process of adding some facebook integration into thisweekinbeer.  The first thing you may notice is a link on the sidebar to our official Facebook page.  If you become a fan there, you can get updates from us whenever we post something new or send out exciting information to our most special fans.  You will also see that we have a new commenting system thru Disqus.  You can continue to leave comments as you have before with no problems, or you can use the facebook connect button located on the commenting  gadget to log in using your facebook account.

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While walking through the beer store the other day, this bottle jumped out at me and I had to try it.  How can you really turn down a foil topped, corked bottle with a big pink elephant on it?  Well?  Anyone?  ANSWER ME!  That’s right Tammy, you can’t.

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UPDATE: OberON, you will still be able get bells in Lansing.  More information can be found in our most recent episode here.

It’s only the 29th of January and this year is looking like an above average news worthy one.   Early this morning it was leaked out that Bell’s Brewery Kalamazoo, MI will may no longer be sending beer to the Lansing based distribution company Nick&Nick Classic Wines.  In a nutshell this means that what Classic Wines has in-stock is might become all the Bell’s beers that will be available; for a time that is as yet, undetermined.  This decision was made by Larry Bell himself.

The current talks of a buy-out between Classic Wines and M&M Distributing (mid-Michigan’s Anheiser-Busch distribution house) have started a brush fire of rumors and speculations about what is going to happen with these brands that have been the bread and butter for Classic Wines (est. 1987).  With the lions share of Michigan and other states top Micro-brews, Classic Wines’ business has grown right along with the Micro-brews that they have been offering for over 22 years.  With the raise and fall of the craft beer industry’s many different players, Classic Wines has always stood strong and pushed forward in the land-locked middle of the great mitten shaped lower peninsula of Michigan.  Sometimes this region of Michigan is over looked.  We do have the state capitol, but no huge lake or distinctive culture.  So growth in this market has been tough at best, but Classic has grown.

With Michigan beers themselves standing out as sought after beers for their command of brewing new variations of or classic styles, the over 70 breweries are finally getting attention on a national scale.  Before Michigan could get this far in the beer world, it had to start somewhere.  That start is Bell’s.  At last look Bell’s ranks as the 26th largest brewery in the US, and though some may not admit it, Larry Bell is the father or uncle to Michigan’s brewing culture.  Selling his first beer back in 1985 to now selling over 90,000 barrels per year.  With this success comes hard times and tough choices.  Larry and Bell’s Brewing have had many of both through out 24 years.

Just a few years back Bell’s pulled out of Chicago to avoid being in a distribution house that didn’t live up to expectations.  This resulted in 2 years with out Bell’s beers.  A new line of products were made to be sold under a different brewery name and labels.  So even though “Bell’s” couldn’t be sold Larry found a way to sell them something.  You can’t hold a smart man down, you can only underestimate him.

So now, Mr. Bell is handed yet another tough choice: sit idle and let his beer go to a distributor that he may not have faith in, or fight to maintain the right to put his beers (his passion, our refreshment) in the hands of someone who he knows will take care of Bell’s beers and name.  The last choice may not make the average consumer happy.  The greater Lansing area may not get any Bell’s product for sometime.  Hoarding may happen, people that can’t make it through this will drive way out of their way to get the beers they love.  Don’t forget, Larry may have started this beer revolution here in Michigan, but there are over 70 different others that have used his flame to light their own torches.

Be well and drink,

 

We recently took thisweekinbeer out to Karaoke night at Crunchy’s, and instead of giving you the pleasure of listening to Tricia or Me belting out some jams, i thought i would give you a quick Cryptic Review.  I had the pleasure of trying the Dragon’s Milk by New Holland Brewery.  Oh, and you do get a peek at Matt and Irene, our homebrew experts, serenading the bar.

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Hey, everybody.  You  may have noticed a missing show this week.  We had some sound problems  for the last couple of shows, but we’ll be back up with some new episodes very soon.  So stay tuned for more Cryptic Reviews, Tricia’s Thoughts and we even have some new Brewers Nights coming up and we’ll start getting some of Paul’s Review up here too.  And look foreward for a series from Winter Beerfest!  See you then!

You might not believe it, I know I was surprised, but this week I tried a new beer, and Tricia liked it!  Hear that budlight crowd? That means you might like this one too.  Gouden Carolus Noel.  It is a Holiday beer, so it might not be the easiest thing to find, but I think you’ll like it.  it doesn’t  have the same type of taste as some other holiday beers, there is alot of flavor going on, but it isn’t going to smother you with it.  Check it out.

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