Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Michigan Microbrew

Last weekend, with my faithful microbrew friends The Stackmaster and The Enabler, I went to lower Michigan microbreweries of note such as Bell's, Founder's, and Dark Horse. These are considered to be amongst the best in the country by beer wonks at The Beer Advocate. You know this is good information as any microbrew beer expert I have ever met is an overeducated fat dude with a beard and has a close relationship with fanny packs and cargo pants. These guys rarely have girlfriends or real jobs, but they drink a helluva a lot of beer. They also argue about tiny details of mocha barrel aged porters like other guys argue about batting averages of the 1934 St Louis Cardinals, identity of former guitar players in Guided By Voices, and episode specifics of Star Trek. These geeks of another color have plenty of good info, but I would not recommend talking with them directly unless you can feign enthusiasm for 2+ hours on various yeast strains.

Over two days we did manage to cover plenty of ground. We went to Grand Rapids (Bell's, The Hideaway and the amazing beer bar Hopheads), Marshall MI (Dark Horse), Jolly Pumpkin (Ann Arbor), Kalamazoo (Bell's and Peninsula) and Battle Creek (Arcadia). You may not be able to make such a journey, which is why pros like us step up to the task. Here's what I learned...

* Ann Arbor is indeed 3-5 times nicer than Columbus. However, the tough fireplug dyke bartender at Jolly Pumpkin is 3-5 times meaner than your average Columbus resident. I was concerned at one point about receiving a well deserved softball cleat to my cup. I also didn't like being referred to as "Boys" in a slightly condescending manner. I didn't say anything though as I was very concerned about that softball cleat.

* Dark Horse Brewery, while ramshackle, may make the best beer in Michigan. They also feature graffitti in the men's room that proclaims "Alan Deever Lix Dix". I cannot confirm nor deny this claim.

* The convenient store next to Dark Horse, called "Wacky's", has one of the finest selection of local microbrew ever. It was there I scored a six of Short's outstanding Huma Lupa Licious IPA. I also watched a young woman buy a small flask of bourbon, Virginia Slim 200s, and 15 scratch off tickets at 230p on a Sunday afternoon.

* Grand Rapids is a shockingly nice place. On Saturday night, every woman I saw was dressed in a nice fashionable dress and heels. Very pretty girls. They were also some of the biggest gals I have ever seen en masse. Must be that corn heavy Midwestern diet. One woman in a bachelorette party told me I was "her boy" while I was in the elevator with her. She also told me I needed to "meet her in the hotel lobby at the end of the night". After thinking it through, I decided to reject her offer and not start an exciting new life in Western Michigan with a soft n' curvy hair stylist girlfriend. This may have been an error in the long term as my hair isn't so great. I may kick myself later when I think of all the free hair care product I left behind in that Holiday Inn, but life is about choices.

* Grand Rapids is home base to Amway, and one of America's finest old school hotels, the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. It is like a version of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining situated on the banks of the Grand River. The amazing thing is to consider that such a mammoth 5 star hotel was built on the back of suburbanites selling toilet paper and canned vegetables to one another. I have never met anyone that has bought, sold, or known anyone associated with Amway. Clearly someone is involved in this white bread pyramid scheme. Regardless, if you ever have to take a dump in Grand Rapids, I highly recommend the bathroom on the second floor lobby by the conference rooms.

* Kalamazoo is sort of bleak, but Bell's Brewery has a nice hippie shaggy dog vibe. I must warn you that Sunday night is some sort of regular female folk singer songwriter torture show. It's preferable to be ripped to shreds by the mosquitoes outside than to have to endure quasi-sensitive feminist acoustic drivel. When I left, I was light headed from either the Two-Hearted Ale or the sheer loss of blood from 978 bug bites.

* Battle Creek, while the home of the ever cheerful Snap, Crackle and Pop from Kellogg's, is utterly devoid of hope. I understand why people power down all that English style ale at Arcadia on "Sunday Happy Hour", which is little more than a loose keg party in a metal shed. I also learned that one of the world's worst blues songwriters lives in Battle Creek as he trotted out the lyrical abomination of the new millennium in his "Sunshine Wheat Blues". Had I the means, I would have quietly and tastefully "put him down" with a .22 and enjoyed the accolades from the patrons afterwards.

* There are no police in Michigan. I say this confidently as I drove routinely at speeds between 95-115 mph and seldom passed anyone as even 2006 Kia Rios careened at these high speeds.


At August 12, 2010 at 5:24:00 PM EDT , Blogger southern surfer said...

your good don't stop

At August 12, 2010 at 10:13:00 PM EDT , Blogger Dave L. said...

Dude - You should be a travel writer for real people. I know more about Michigan after reading this post than I ever did before. How can we get you paid for this??

Two-Hearted Ale is awesome. Maybe my favorite after Great Lakes Commodore Perry. It kicked my ass each of the last two Fridays at Happy Dog.

At August 13, 2010 at 2:54:00 AM EDT , Blogger 江仁趙雲虹昆 said...


At August 13, 2010 at 5:47:00 PM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

My friend, you need to enjoy the pleasures of the Dark Horse IPA as well as one of my new favorites in the Short's Huma Lupa Licious. Dark Horse also made something called "Pam's Kitchen" that was damn tasty too.

I think the key to my travel writing is I don't use words like "Quaint" too often. As in, "You'll love hobnobbing in the quaint antique shoppes on Main." When you use "lix dix" instead of "quaint", the writing becomes 38% more interesting.

At August 15, 2010 at 3:08:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home