Monday, April 2, 2012

Grand Rapids: Founders and Vivant

I went to Grand Rapids on Saturday. Oh, this was fun times! My gf and I met up with 2 beer-appreciating friends and spent the afternoon at Founders and Brewery Vivant. I had never been to either; the only brewery I've been to in Michigan is Dark Horse. So yeah. I was excited.
I took a few notes, and some pictures. At Founders we first tried the Freestyle Ale and Munich Man. The Freestyle Ale was a tasty Pale Ale with 15 types of hops, on the citrus-y side, not super bitter. The Munich Man was an Oktoberfest style ale - sweet and malty.
Here we have Paul, showing the beautiful layering of Founder's Cream of the Rock Milk Stout. Extremely smooth and creamy, chocolate, sugar. And look at all that fancy lacing.
Next onto Brewery Vivant. They turned an 80 year old historical chapel into a sustainable brewery focusing on Belgian-style ales. I got the sampler: clockwise from upper-left: Farmhand, Triomphe, Raspberry Rye Porter, and Solitude. The Farmhand Ale is a Farmhouse Ale, a little funky and light. The Triomphe is a pretty IPA. The Solitude is an Abbey Ale, heavy on the caramel. And the Raspberry Rye Porter had more rye than raspberry, and was super good.

I think I was sampling a double IPA here. There were also truffle fries. Truffle fries! It was all fantastic.
Before heading back to Lansing, our friends clued us in to Siciliano's. We got some beer bounty.
Paul generously sent us home with a growler of Dirty Bastard from Founders. Dirty Bastard is a Scotch Ale, also known as a Wee Heavy. I do not know if I've ever had a Wee Heavy! But what a great name. Wee Heavys go through a "long boil" to caramelize the wort and tend to be sweet, high alcohol, full-bodied ales.
Oh, I'm happy about the Dirty Bastard. Sweet malts stand out the most, but there is also a little smokiness and bitterness. Alcohol is slightly noticeable in taste and feel, understandably at 8.5% ABV. It's good stuff.
"Wee Heavy." "Dirty Bastard." These are fun words to say.
Paul and Angela at Brewery Vivant.
Lindsey and I, also at Brewery Vivant.
Great beer-centered day. I'm a lucky duck.
Founders: A
Brewery Vivant: A
Truffle Fries: A+

Sam Adams: Brewmaster's Collection

I've got love for Sam Adams. They're consistent with solid and high-quality beers.
They put out this snazzy "Brewer's Choice" variety pack.

As per their website:
"Our Brewmaster's Collection of beers represent our exploration and interpretation of classic beer styles. With a combination of tradition and new flavor development, each beer has its own character. The collection continues to evolve and change so look for new tastes to discover throughout the years."

I haven't gotten many variety packs of Sam Adams, besides their beloved Winter Classics mix. But this one piqued my interest.

The Irish Red is a beautiful red beer. Carmel malts, sweet fruit, apples, a touch of bitter hops. Smooth, easy-drinking, and pleasant.
The Mighty Oak Ale is another amber, also very attractive. It smelled and tasted sweet, more powerful than the Irish Red, and with some vanilla and oak. It feels a bit rich after a while due to the sweetness. Very tasty and enjoyable.
I enjoyed the Whitewater IPA in a Sam Adams "Perfect Pint" glass, which I heart. It was light like a cloudy lemonade at the bottom, a darker straw-like shade towards the top, with plenty of sediment and 1 finger of sudsy head. It smelled like sharp hops, strong nose, pineapple stood out especially. Likewise, the taste was bitter, citrus hops - especially pineapple, strong flavors.

Also included in the variety pack are the Black Lager, Boston Lager, and Alpine Spring. I'm making my way through. It's good stuff. A