Preamble by Steve Siciliano
Barb and I hadn’t seen good friends Pat and Marcie MacAuley lately so when they suggested we meet up at a distillery that recently opened in their neck of the woods it took about a millisecond to agree. Getting from the west side of Grand Rapids to Wise Men Distillery’s Kentwood location during afternoon rush hour was a bit maddening, but it was nice hooking up with our bar buddies again. Excellent G & T’s and friendly hospitality made the cross-town drive, a good portion of it through the GR area’s ubiquitous road construction, well worth it.
Wise Men is located on Broadmoor Avenue just south of 44th Street. The tasting room is well appointed and comfortable, the atmosphere laid back and unpretentious. We snagged seats at the bar and sipped our cocktails while chatting with two thirds of the ownership team. Tom Borisch and Jason Post were affable and engaging and made us feel right at home. Head distiller Zack Van Dyke is the third member of the ownership triumvirate.
In addition to the gin, which Tom apprised us is made with fourteen botanicals, we were treated to samples of the new distillery’s fares -- vodka, rum, white whiskey and apple pie moonshine. All were good. The distillery plans on releasing a bourbon in two years and a “baby bourbon” that is currently being aged in 15-gallon barrels should be available by the end of the year.
New and Returning Beer
Sam Adams Kosmic Sour, $1.79/12oz - "Blended with a funky Belgian ale that is spontaneously fermented and aged for 2 years in Hungarian oak foeders" (source).
Perrin Pineapple Upside Down IPA, $2.49/12oz - "Taking inspiration from the classic dessert, Perrin has flipped the script with this new IPA, incorporating wheat and lactose for a decadent and creamy cake-like mouthfeel, balanced with Sabro and Styrian Cardinal hops, which lend notes of tropical fruit and coconut. The limited release brew was soaked in the flavor equivalent of 500 pineapples to provide the sweet-and-tart citrus punch promised by the name" (source).
Alesmith Juice Stand Hazy IPA, $3.09/12oz - "This hazy IPA will satisfy your hoppy cravings with its intense notes of tangerine, blueberry, bubblegum, and tropical fruits. Its full body, smooth malt character, and soft bitterness will keep you coming back for more" (source).
Alesmith Luped In IPA, $3.09/12oz - "The hops (Humulus Lupulus) are the real star of this San Diego-style IPA, showcasing bright notes of apricots, citrus, tropical fruits, and berries. Light malt notes and a smooth bitterness lead to an easy and drinkable finish" (source).
Anderson Valley Black Rice, $2.19/12oz - "Once called the “forbidden rice” as it was reserved only for Chinese royalty, black rice has a powerful anthocyanin antioxidant properties, a luxurious black color and wonderful nutty flavor. We brewed this nut brown ale with American two-row pale malt, a good helping of black rice, and a touch of chocolate malt. The result is a lightly hoppy, dark mahogany ale with undertones of roasted malt, dark rye bread with a delicious nutty flavor. Weighing in at an easy going 3.8% ABV, this beer is infinitely quaffable and ready to be enjoyed by everyone" (source).
Odd Side Hoplicated, $2.39/12oz - "Imperial Citra Red" (source).
Short's S'more Stout, $2.59/12oz - "A complex stout brewed with graham cracker, chocolate, marshmallow, and smoked malt. The rich hearty flavors seem to take their turn as the subtle graham aromas lead pleasantly into sweet flavors of marshmallow cream covered in chocolate. All is followed by a slight lingering flavor of smoke. A flaming marshmallow garnish is strongly encouraged" (source).
Terra Firma Scottish Moor, $31.9/16oz - "A fruity, cozy and complex beer originating in the Scottish highlands. Comfortable body and nice hop balance. Finishes with light medicinal heather and fruit with a hint of Brewery Terra Firma honey. As always, no flavorings or extracts were used, the unique flavor and color coming from whole heather flowers" (source).
Terra Firma Infinibee, $3.19/16oz - "A perennial favorite, InfiniBee is brewed with honey harvested from our hives here on the farm at the end of the 2018 season. Light, crisp, and flavorful with subtle honey aroma and just a touch of sweetness, the depth of flavor present in this deceivingly pale and bright ale will surprise you. The balanced addition of brisk hops assures a clean, thirst-quenching and satisfying finish" (source).
Sierra Nevada & Bitburger Oktoberfest, $1.79/12oz - "It’s the ultimate season of revelry, so we teamed up with Germany’s Bitburger Brewery for an Oktoberfest that turns backyards into beer gardens. Rally your friends and celebrate with a festbier whose rich amber color, secret hop blend, and smooth malty flavor bring the Munich tents to you" (source).
Stone Woot Stout, $3.19/12oz - "Brewed with rye, wheat malt and pecans and partially aged in Bourbon whiskey barrels, this viscous yet silken brew erupts with an oaky, nutty bouquet" (source).
Terrapin Jazz Cabbage, $1.99/12oz - "Jazz Cabbage hemp infused IPA is our dankest beer to date. Packing in our very own special strain of hemp flavors, this IPA will fill the room with aromas of the choicest sticky nugs. We brewed this beer by blending three high-quality hops to help complement the kind profile of this heady IPA" (source).
Founders Mosaic Promise, $1.79/12oz - "Mosaic Promise showcases two unique ingredients: Mosaic hops and Golden Promise malt. The versatility of the hop’s pleasing aroma and flavor characteristics and the traditional barley’s depth of flavor comprise this clean, rich, golden beer. We can brew complex beers with the best of them, but we recognize that there is also beauty in simplicity" (source).
Mikkeller SD Beer Geek Breakfast, $4.39/16oz - "Oatmeal Stout with Dark horse coffee. Roast forward, a complex malt profile " (source).
Evil Twin Apricot Compote Sour, $5.49/16oz - "Fruited sour with apricot, cinnamon, and brown sugar added" (source).
Evil Twin Summer Cocktail: Mojito, $5.19/16oz - "This beer is a double IPA brewed with natural flavors that hits 8%-AbV" (source).
Fat Orange Cat Remember What The Dormouse Said, $5.49/16oz - "Eureka and Citra hops" (source).
Freethought Shibumi, $6.29/16oz - "Shibumi is an experimental cuvée ale. We blended our IPA with our golden sour base, added organic miso in the whirlpool, fermented on organic sweet cherries + finished with a cool steep of chamomile. It pours a sun-faded rose color, with a light, wispy head. Aromatics of honeyed chamomile + tropical punch. On the palate miso adds a soft, umami texture to counter cherry popsicle, yellow chartreuse + salted plum. It finishes with layered floral tea notes" (source).
Mikkeller Chill Pils, $3.29/16oz - "Clean pilsner origin that gets a nice fruity blast of citrus from the Yuzu" (source).
Mikkeller SD Building Blocks, $3.29/16oz - "Keller style pilsner beer" (source).
Mikkeller SD Hang In There, $4.69/16oz - "New England Style IPA made with Kiwi Juice and Dry Hopped with Hops from New Zealand" (source).
Mikkeller SD Passion Pool, $3.89/16oz - "Gose-style ale with Passionfruit and Sea Salt " (source).
Mikkeller SD Staff Magician, $2.99/16oz - "NE Style Pale Ale" (source).
Mikkeller SD Wicked Sik Spells, $5.69/16oz - "Imperial American India Pale Ale" (source).
Stillwater Duck Sauce, $4.99/16oz - "Double india pale ale brewed with apricot, plum, pineapple, ginger, and candi syrup" (source).
Stillwater General Gose, $3.79/16oz - "Sour amber wheat ale brewed with orange peel powder, thai chili powder, sea salt and msg seasoning" (source).
Stillwater Kung Pao, $4.89/16oz - "Imperial stout brewed with chili powder, ginger powder, sichuan pepper powder, sea salt and peanut extract " (source).
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