Preamble by Steve Siciliano
Each September, our friends Pat and Marcie MacAulay book a week-long stay at a cottage on Bear Lake in Northern Michigan’s Manistee County. Barb and I never miss an opportunity to hook up with our good buddies so it’s become a late summer tradition for us to meet for lunch and drinks at a couple of Northwest Michigan watering holes.
When Barb and I make the 45-minute drive north to where the MacAulay’s are sojourning, we might hit Stormcloud Brewing in Frankfort, Iron Fish Distillery in Thompsonville or the Blue Slipper, a quaint little tavern in Onekama. When Pat and Marcie travel south to the vicinity of our cottage, we may opt to stop at one of the area’s excellent breweries, Jamesport or Ludington Bay. If we’re in the mood for rubbing elbows with some friendly locals, we’ll hit Charlie’s Bar, a nice little dive in Scottville. One place we never fail to hit on our southbound excursions is Starving Artist, a nano brewery located on a rural road just outside of Ludington.
Owner/ brewer Andy Thomas established Starving Artist five years ago in the barn behind his family farmhouse. For most of its short existence the small operation was a production only facility with distribution limited to pubs and restaurants along the lakeshore. Andy opened the barn door to the public for a few hours on Fridays and Saturdays. While he didn’t have the licensing to sell draft on site, visitors could chat with the affable proprietor while tasting small samples of his hand-crafted wares.
Last May the Mason County Planning Commission gave Andy the green light to rezone as a microbrewery and the operation now has a comfortable outdoor space where patrons can enjoy up to two pints of excellent suds. Beer aficionados traveling in the Ludington area should make it a point to check out this hidden gem. Go here for hours and more information.
New and Returning Beer
Abomination Does This Look Infected, $5.59/16oz - "DDH sour lactose apricot IPA" (source).
Abomination Drawing a Blank, $6.79/16oz - "Triple IPA" (source).
Abomination Wandering into the Fog, $6.59/16oz - "Brewed with a heavy wheat and oat malt bill hopped and double dry hopped aggressively with 7+lbs per bbl of Mosaic, Pacific Jade, Citra, Summit and Enigma" (source).
Anderson Valley BA Salted Caramel Porter, $4.39/12oz - "This slightly sweet porter is brewed with select additions of crystal malts and sea salt to create flavors of peanut brittle and caramel without being cloying. The medium body and mouthfeel lay the perfect foundation to support the rich vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors imparted by extended aging in Wild Turkey® barrels" (source).
Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose, $2.19/12oz - "Our Blood Orange Gose is a tart, refreshing wheat ale that is kettle- soured with lactobacillus and brewed with sea salt and coriander. However, unlike traditional versions of the style, ours features liberal additions of blood oranges during fermentation. This imparts tangy citrus notes that complement the champagne-like flavors, creating a complex and sessionable ale perfect for any occasion" (source).
Anderson Valley Cherry Gose, $2.19/12oz - "Brewed with the juice of Montmorency sour cherries from Michigan, this kettle-soured beer is a mélange of flavors and aromas. Bright cherry flavors mingle with the salty tartness of the Gose to create a uniquely complex and refreshing drinking experience" (source).
Atwater Blueberry Cobbler, $3.59/16oz - "Blueberry Cobbler is deceptively complex outing that features bready malts the dryness of fermented blueberries, light vanilla and blueberry aromatics. Strong, yet the flavors play well together" (source).
Austin Brothers Parallyzer, $2.79/12oz - "This unfiltered Double IPA pours a hazy orange, showcasing Simcoe, El Dorado, and Centennial Hops giving hints of citrus and pine on the nose. A smooth mouthfeel with grapefruit and juicy hop flavors" (source).
Barrel + Beam Sahti, $6.49/375ml - "Finnish style farmhouse with locally pick juniper boughs and berries" (source).
Barrel + Beam Spooky Kriek, $8.99/375ml - "Michigan Cherry Ale: flemish style pale sour aged on Michigan tart cherries" (source).
Bell's Sideyard, $5.49/16oz - "An excellent example of what happens when two styles come together in the brewhouse: wet-hopped IPAs and New England IPAs. Brewed with hops harvested directly from the Bell’s estate, Sideyard is massively dry-hopped, aromatic, hazy and juicy. Sideyard is the definition of fresh" (source).
Boulevard Restless Nights, $3.99/16oz - "A collaboration with Modern Times Beer + Coffee, this beguiling blend of fresh porter and barrel-aged porter was brewed with ten varieties of malted barley, wheat and oats. Following fermentation, this inky brew rested on bourbon barrel-aged coffee for two days, infusing trace notes of ripe fruit, citrus and rich vanilla. Look for it to hit shelves and tap handles in KC starting September 30, with other areas throughout our national distribution footprint to follow" (source).
Brewdog Aloha Stout, $4.69/12oz - "Say “Hello” and “Goodbye” to this decadent delicacy. A smooth, flavored Imperial Milk Stout of Monarch proportions. Waves of bitter and sweet wash across the palate, with erupting notes of toasted coconut, roasted coffee and hints of sweet crème brûlée. All melded into a malted tectonic plate" (source).
Brewdog Nanny State, $1.79/12oz - "If you think low alcohol equals low taste, think again. We made a hardcore beer and left the alcohol out. Nanny State breaks the curfew and slips under the radar. A brigade of speciality malts and North American hops sends bitterness to the brink and back. Squeezing this many hops in, and the alcohol out, is a testament to our craft" (source).
Brewery Vivant Verdun, $3.79/16oz - "Our take on a classic French style. Malty, Rustic, and made with some French Hops. The perfect Fall beer" (source).
Champion Fruit Casket, $2.99/12oz - "This is our Fruitless base with a heavy dose of agave and Mosaic hops" (source).
Champion Waterboys, $1.89/12oz - "Brewed with Charlottesville native Chris Long, this IPA is heavily dry-hopped with Simcoe, Summit, Huell Melon, and Mosaic hops for a resiny and citrus-forward IPA with proceeds to benefit Waterboys" (source).
Decadent Ales Lime Citrus Citra, $5.49/16oz - "Our Citrus Citra Double Dry Hopped DIPA with Coconut and Lime puree added" (source).
Decadent Ales Mango Sorbet, $5.19/16oz - "" (source).
Deschutes Hand Up, $1.79/12oz - "Grab a hoppy trackside Handup IPA and keep cranking across citrusy fields of floral hop flavor and tropical aromas to a crisp, dry finish" (source).
Deschutes Slightly Exaggerated, $1.79/12oz - "Wild skies. Whimsical waters. Paradise found. Impossibly aromatic with a slightly exaggerated tropical hop profile, this enchanting IPA is, like Oregon itself, truly extraordinary" (source).
Destihl Cranberry Criek, $2.99/12oz - "Our non-traditional Cranberry Criek evolved by merging tart cranberries with sweet cherries, normally associated with a traditional Kriek, but in a kettle sour beer that is wonderfully intricate, balanced, fruity and tart. We then dry-hopped this crimson-colored beer for a touch of citrus aroma and flavor, adding another layer of complexity and a perfect finish" (source).
Destihl Deadhead Touch of Haze, $4.09/16oz - "Our Deadhead IPA Series melds the strong vibe of our favorite music with the beer we love to drink, elevating both into a higher state of consciousness. Our Touch of Haze IPA resonates with big additions of Mosaic and Cascade hops harmonized with the smooth mouthfeel of flaked oats, for a mellow, juicy and hazy IPA that really strikes a chord" (source).
Dogfish Head Suddenly Compfy, $3.29/12oz - "Brewed with fresh apple cider, Saigon cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla beans, this Imperial Cream Ale is made with all the fixings of a great apple pie … just like grandma used to make" (source).
Evil Twin Coconut Fizz, $5.59/16oz - No commercial description.
Evil Twin Public Servant: Firefighter, $5.49/16oz - Double IPA.
Evil Twin Public Servant: Teacher, $5.19/16oz - IPA.
Griffin Claw BIP Screaming Pumpkin, $5.89/16oz - "Our Bourbon Imperial Pumpkin (BIP) is our classic Screamin’ Pumpkin Ale (brewed with cascade hops, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon) but brewed stronger and aged in bourbon barrels for 6 months. Results are a 9% ABV/15 IBU beer with rich oak-vanilla flavor with a oak barrel nose. The blending with the spices, hops, and malt creates in our opinion the ultimate pumpkin beer" (source).
Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot, $5.19/22oz - "I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be ever'where, wherever you can look. Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry an' they know supper's ready. An' when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise, and livin' in the houses they build. I'll be there, too. Great principles don't get lost once they come to light. They're right here. You just have to see them again. You think we're licked. They all think we're licked. Well, we're not licked. And we're going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause, even if this room gets filled with lies like these; and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody will listen. I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday we'll understand that. Now, now- Here's looking at you, kid" (source).
Mikkeller Awful Gato, $5.39/16oz - "Imperial Brown Ale with Vanilla & Coffee" (source).
Mikkeller Pardon Art Jargon, $5.39/16oz - "A glowing Double IPA hopped aggressively with Citra, Mosaic, and Cashmere - Bright orange in color; brimming with layers of lime zest, pineapple, and dankness that leap out of the glass. Medium bodied, with biscuits and sweet orange cream on the palate. Complex and refreshing" (source).
North Pier Old Shuck, $2.99/16oz - "This deep dark brew is an ode to Old Shuck, the ghostly demon dog that roamed the countryside in 16th century England. Big coffee aromas pairs perfectly with a late addition of earthy English hops, making this the perfect roasty ale to drink all year round" (source).
North Pier Tackle Box, $2.79/12oz - "This Hazy IPA is brewed with El Dorado and a blend of classic “C” hops. Huge, bold, and aggressive amounts of metal" (source).
Odd Side Wet Hop Citra, $2.59/12oz - "This light and crisp ale is sure to capture your taste buds. Not quite a pale ale not quite an IPA" (source).
Pigeon Hill Double Dunes, $2.29/12oz - "Delicious well balanced imperial IPA" (source).
Public Access Silent Rejoice, $5.49/16oz - No commercial description.
Pux Pinch, $2.39/12oz - "Sweet cider with pineapple and cherry" (source).
Railtown PBCT, $4.09/16oz - "Imperial porter with cocoa powder, lactose, and natural flavors" (source).
Saugatuck BBA Imperial Cafe Brown, $5.39/12oz - "A roasted, deliciously smooth brown ale brewed with fresh Madagascar vanilla and locally roasted coffee beans from our friends at Uncommon Coffee Roasters" (source).
Stillwater Stock Photo, $5.59/16oz - NEIPA.
Stillwater Strawberry Shakerato, $5.49/16oz - "Sour ale with strawberries, vanilla, coffee, cane & milk sugar" (source).
Stone Ghost Hammer, $2.39/12oz - "A fermenting beer never slumbers. Consequently, there is always scattered activity tending our precious beers throughout the dark hours. In these late nights and wee hours that hallowed responsibility falls to the shoulders of the overnight Brew Crew. These brewing soloists brave the long nights, often alone, to do what needs to be done. Most areas of the brewery are dark or in shadows. Throughout the night the cellars resonate with the occasional knocking of expanding and contracting pipes. It can be a bit spooky to hear the brewery creak and groan as if possessed by a spirit randomly knocking about with a mallet. This IPA, liberally hopped with Loral™, honors our intrepid overnight team by naming it after their mischievous poltergeist companion -- the Ghost Hammer" (source).
Stone Xocoveza, $3.19/12oz - "This is a beloved stout. When first introduced as a limited special collaboration release with San Diego homebrewer Chris Banker (after his recipe won our annual homebrew competition) and Cerveceria Insurgente, it was an instant hit and fans began clamoring for its return. Seeing as how its amazing flavor profile is evocative of Mexican hot chocolate, featuring coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and a generous amount of our own in-house made chocolate, we concluded it was the perfect stout to re-release in celebration of the Holidays and the entire winter season. This is now a highly anticipated yearly tradition that we are pleased to present from us to you, and makes a perfect wintry gift from you to your friends, loved ones, or simply to yourself" (source).
Video of the Week | Bell's Eccentric Cafe
It's a great weekend to visit Bell's Eccentric Cafe.