Category Archives: Brewery Visits

We like to visit breweries all over the U.S. and beyond. Check in here to learn which visits are worthwhile.

TDY Road Trip: Glacier National Park

spokane breweries, kalispell breweries

Listen up yinz, TDY will be driving from Spokane, WA to Kalispell, MT next weekend and we need your recommendations on which breweries to check out along the way. We’ll be short on time so we need the best of the best.

Leave a comment and let us know what brews we just can’t pass up.

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Great Lakes Brewing

This past weekend a great friend of ours got married in Cleveland.  This was a the perfect excuse to visit Great Lakes Brewing between wedding activities.  This brewery is reason enough to make the trip up to the Mistake on the Lake. 

The brewery was in a cool up and coming neighborhood.  After finding street parking we walked around what we thought was the building for the brew pub.  The parking attendant was nice enough to point out that we were walking around the brewery and the brew pub was across the street. 

 

In the square across from the brew pub, a Saturday art market was taking place.  I didn’t walk around the market because it was way tooo hot and the beer was calling.  The brew pub looks like it used to be huge old house.  They have outside seating which looked very relaxing and was packed.  Inside there are two floors of seating.  The bar downstairs looks like it was straight out of pre-prohibition brewery.  Display cases throughout the brew pub housed classic beer stuff.  They even had a can of a Pittsburgh Brewing product; Old Frothingslosh

On to the food and beer now!  The tap list seemed a little short for a brewery.  They had 8 beers on tap and they all seemed to be the classic Great Lakes’.  We were a little bummed out they didn’t have Lake Erie Monster on tap (it’s ok we had it at Smokin’ Joes in the Southside last night, another reason Pgh is better then C-land.)  In general everyone really enjoyed their food and beer.  Our table had a wide variety of food and beer.  The sausage sampler was excellent.  The horseradish mustard is wicked strong!!  If you need to clear your sinuses have some of that stuff!  The Eliot Ness  went well with the sausage sample, I also hear the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter and Commodore PerryIPA were a nice pairing as well.

Lunch hit the spot.  I had the brats with pierogies.  The pierogies were homemade and the brats might have been too.  The food tasted excellent.  The Eliot Ness was a nice light pairing with the meal.  It lightened up the spicy horseradish mustard.  I was nervous to pair it with the IPA, because of the spicy mustard.  It was a huge surprise to find the IPA matched up really well with this plate.  The IPA didn’t add spice to the mustard it was able to cut through and let the hops hit the tongue.  What else could you ask for; beer, hops and pierogies.

All in all the group had a great time.  A lot of Eliot Ness, Commodore Perry and Dortmunder Gold went around the table.  Good food, good beer and great company.  The atmosphere in the pub allowed us to relax and be a little loud, ok a lot loud.  The visit to the brewery and the wedding came to an end, and it was time to make like LeBron James and get the f@#* out of Cleveland.

Arcadia Brewing Co. (Battle Creek, MI)

Last Visit : June 11, 2010

Visiting the town of Battle Creek,  best known as the home of Kellogg’s famous cereal brands, is a bit like taking a step back in time to enjoy a slice of true Americana.  Sarah and I happend to be visiting during the town’s cereal festival and so ran into a fairly crowded area.    Right in the middle of this typical Midwestern town is the Arcadia Brewing Co. which brews in the traditional styles of England and Scotland.  The taproom and restaurant are adjacent to the brewery so there are some good views of the bottling line from the bar.  However, this location is in a warehouse so that the restaurant can get pretty loud.  This place reminds more of a very typical brewpub with a full restaurant menu.

The Cereal City Bitter was the $2 pint special.  The bitter is nice and light with just that right touch of bitterness to make it a refreshing summer beer.  Sarah ordered the Whitsun wheat which has a great aroma and a crisp initial taste but ends with a yeasty aftertaste and a slight touch of hay (present in many american wheat beers.)  I did get to try the Hopmouth Double IPA which has a nice aroma of Cascade possibly mixed with some U.S. Fuggles.  This is a great addition to the Arcadia family which already makes a very good IPA.  The double IPA does carry some residual sweetness which some may not find complementary to the malt bill, but I think this is an interesting take on a typical IPA.

I have to give the Arcadia folks some credit for staying true to their beer.  The bar does not serve any outside brews or liquor and wine drinkers have only three options (Red, White, and Sangria).  This is a refreshing view as I have seen far too many brewpubs that pander to the masses by offering at least one of the mass produced U.S. light lagers.  Also a really cool feature for the men’s restrooms, there’s a chalkboard above the urinals to share your thoughts!

Arcadia is worth a visit if you happen to be near Battle Creek.  There’s plenty other things to see and do in the area and many other breweries to visit too.  You can make a weekend just by visiting the many local breweries in the Southern Michigan area. 

On Draft….

Cereal City Bitter

Hopmouth Double IPA

Starboard Stout

IPA

Whitsun Wheat

Rapunzel Light Wheat

Irish Red

B-Craft

Sky High Rye

Anglers Ale

***Brewery Visits are a biweekly post about our favorite tours and taprooms all over the U.S..  Check back to see where we are going next!

What We Drank at Beer and Gear…..

We tasted a lot of beers at the Beer and Gear festival.  Here’s what we thought about a few of them…

  1. Voodoo Pilzilla (Tim) – really is a pilsner on steroids.  Crisp and refreshing lager with a wonderfully dry finish.
  2. Voodoo Brown (Jake) – little roast/coffee flavor, dry and a touch of bitterness but still smooth.  a great fall beer!
  3. North Country Pale Ale (Tim) – nice coppery/caramel color. a bit light on hops but an interesting aftertaste which is an interesting mixture of the malt bill and a touch of the hop aftertaste.
  4. Erie Railbender  (Tim) – light on the aroma but with a complex oaky flavor.  a nice hop/malt balance.
  5. Voodoo IPA (Jake) – most likely dry hopped with several hop varietals as the aroma is complex but the IPA is not overly bitter making this a very smooth beer.  (Tim) – complex hop pallet with a dry aftertaste. 
  6. Mtn. State Cold Trail (Tim) – clean and crisp golden brew (think kolsch)
  7. Mtn. State Amber (Jake) – a very solid amber entry.  a smooth brew that has a well balanced malt bill.  does not end with an overly malty taste like so many ambers do.
  8. Mtn. State Seneca IPA (Tim) – great aroma with some cascade and other varietals.  very good bitterness profile at the end.  a nice complete IPA. 
  9. Otto’s Apricot Wheat (Tim) –  lots and lots of apricot flavor. reminiscent of a pyramid apricot ale but a bit light on the wheat/malt flavor.
  10. Great Lakes Blackout Stout (Tim) – smooth as velvet with a hint of roast malt and a nice thickness ending in a creamy aftertaste.  great stout!
  11. Voodoo Love Child (Tim) – a complex summer fruit beer.  people seem to either love it or hate it due to the residual sweetness. 
  12. Erie Misery Bay IPA (Tim) – crisp but not too hoppy.  a dry aftertaste with lingering hop residue (on the tongue not the back of the jaw)
  13. Victory Sunrise Weissbeer (Tim) – nice belgian style white beer.  a spiciness reminiscent of coriander comes through.    a good beer but perhaps not all that aptly named.
  14. Fatheads Coffee Stout (Tim) – all about the coffee flavor which is really overpowering.  not much body or head retention.
  15. Voodoo White Magic (Tim) – spicy aftertaste reminiscent of black pepper which makes this a very interesting take on the Belgian White style.
  16. North Country Breakfast Mild (Tim) – similar malt bill to the NC Pale Ale but with a less obtrusive hop profile.

Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI)

 Last Visit : June 12, 2010

I had the pleasure to visit the Founders Brewery this past weekend in Grand Rapids, MI. This visit is important for the Pittsburghers  because Founders has only been available in the Pittsburgh area since late last fall.  Right in a beautifully restored downtown area of Grand Rapids, this fairly new location (opened in 2007) has a great laid back vibe with good views into the brewery.  A great location combined with a whole lineup of great brews made for my favorite of the four Michigan breweries I visited this weekend. 

I tried a couple of things that you won’t normally find out in the stores.  The Devil Dancer is an excellent imperial IPA weighing in at 12% ABV.  The alcohol is not overpowering but there is a residually sweet flavor with a wonder ful bitterness.  Sarah enjoyed the Cerise (Michigan Cherry Beer!) which is very much like a cherry cider.  For a nice summer brew, try the Endurance Ale (4.8%) which is bursting with Cascade hop aroma and flavor.  Sarah and I both enjoyed the Curmudgeon Olde Ale (9.8%) which has a wonderful malt bill giving it the flavor of a much darker beer.  The food is mostly sandwiches but there are a lot of choices.  It’s the little touches on the sandwiches that make them so good here.  I enjoyed the Big Easy sandwich which is sort of like an italian sandwich served with an olive tapenade on sundried tomato bread.  Sarah thoroughly enjoyed the Turkey/Bacon/Gouda on Ciabatta bread.  I highly recommend the sandwiches!

My favorite brew from Founders is probably the Double Trouble Imperial IPA (avail. Jan-Feb).  Since you won’t be trying this one this summer, I highly recommend the Centennial IPA and the Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale.  I have not even encountered a mediocre beer from Founders (one of only a handful of breweries that I can say that about).  Wait around for the late fall for a special treat: one of the best breakfast stouts you may ever drink!  Try it now!

http://www.foundersbrewing.com/

***Brewery Visits are a biweekly post about our favorite tours and taprooms all over the U.S..  Check back to see where we are going next!

Weekend Preview: 6/11

First and most importantly, The World Cup begins today. As soccer players and fans, The Drunk Yinzer is incredibly excited for the next month. Be sure to catch the USA vs. England game Saturday at 2:30pm.

Secondly, The Drunk Yinzer will be short-handed this weekend as Tim “The Palette” will be in Michigan for a wedding but will still be fulfilling his duties by visiting Arcadia, Bell’s (Kalamazoo), and Founder’s (Grand Rapids) breweries in Michigan. Quite the trip, look for his brewery reviews in the coming weeks.

FRIDAY

Don’t call yourself a Pittsburgher until you’ve seen Joe Grushecky live. Grab an Iron while you’re at it. Altar Bar. 9pm.

SATURDAY

England vs. USA 2:30pm

Good luck getting a seat at Piper’s Pub or Harp and Fiddle for the game. There will be big screens at Schenley Park showing the game. We also recommend befriending someone with a nice TV and bringing over a six-pack of Stoudt’s American Pale prominently featuring the American Flag on the front.

New Holland Brewery’s Mad Hatter Bar Crawl – South Side – 4pm-6pm

After the game, celebrate with your countrymen on Carson Street and enjoy some excellent offerings from New Holland. For specific bars and beers go here.

Rock the Streets: Summer Jam 2010

Great cause, great music and a great looking, informative website.

Three Rivers Arts Festival: final weekend

We’re particularly excited for local bands The Harlan Twins and Lohio, both performing Saturday night at 7pm on the main stage.

Did we miss any notable beer-related events? Let us know in the comments. Check our Flickr and Twitter throughout the weekend for updates on what we’re drinking.

Breckenridge Tap House (Denver, CO)

Last Visit : July 18, 2009

Breckenridge’s brewery is of course in the ski resort town of Breckinridge, CO, but to cater to the beer drinking public they have opened a pub/restaurant in Denver.  This location is just down the street from Coors Field and the Sandlot brewery.  This looks and feels like a typical brewpub .  We had the place to ourselves at 11 AM on a Saturday morning, but struck up some good conversation with the bartender and some local patrons.  Breckenridge tends to brew some pretty unconventional beers so I recommend starting with a sampler and trying a few of the brews that you won’t find anywhere else. 

Sarah enjoying a stout at Breckenridge

At the urging of a local patron, I tried a pint of the 471 IPA.  I was assured that this was one of the best IPAs that he had ever had.  It was pretty good but lacked the essential hop character to make one of the truly great IPAs.  I have a hard time trying to explain to people the sensation that I get from an IPA.  The hop character should hit me in the back lower part of my jaw but still needs to maintain some subtleness.  There are really only a select few that can accomplish this effect.  I also had a pint of their summer ale and while good fell somewhat  short of my expectations.  Another good session beer but lacks some of the uniqueness of O’Dell’s St. Lupulin Ale.

An Impressive Collection of Vintage Beer Cans

 http://www.breckbrew.com/

***Brewery Visits are a biweekly post about our favorite tours and taprooms all over the U.S..  Check back to see where we are going next!