The KBE or as I like to call it – a regular bar.

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September 4, 2012 by kkeerr

Hope everyone had a delightful holiday weekend.  Our weekend was filled with beer, food, football, kayaking, friends, games, and I did some baking – so I, for one, am pretty content.

We kicked off the long weekend with lunch on Friday at the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange.

“Great a coaster…where’s my doggie bag?”

We had never been there before but we were excited by the concept, basically this bar operates like the stock market – prices for their beer are based on real-time sales.  Unless you go at lunch.  Which we did.  It was a bit disappointing, as we wanted to try our luck with “the market” – we were going there for the experience not just to quench our “thirst.”
Here is their description from their website and Facebook page:
“Offering 28 rotating draught beers from around the world, the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange bases pricing of these draught beers on real-time sales, like the stock market, resulting in an ever-evolving happy hour.”
Unfortunately, the only place their website explains that the market only happens at a certain times is in the “Find Us” section of their website – not a section I needed.  Now I understand that this concept doesn’t work with an empty bar, but they were kind of hopping considering it was 2 o’clock on a Friday so I think they could get the ball rollin’ before 6 pm.
Anyway, we got past our initial disappointment of finding out the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange was only a beer exchange for half of their operating hours and ordered the tasting flight of New Belgium Brews.

Fat Tire – Trippel – Red Hoptober – Ranger IPA
Only recently, like this past week I think, New Belgium has begun distributing in Michigan (their 29th state). It is probably available in your state, unless you live in the north-east or Utah (but if you’re in UT then you are just driving to WY for your beer at least a few times anyway) so you should be drinking them. Barnivore reports that they don’t use any animal bi-products in their brews or the filtration and they are wind-powered. That is a company I will support.

Austin decided that he enjoyed the Redhoptober quite a bit and he ordered a pint.  “Sorry,” says the waitress, “we only have bottles and I have to tell you they are 9 dollars.”  Austin laughed and ordered another tasting flight.  Why pay $9 for 12oz of beer when you can get 20oz for $10.  But was it 12oz of beer?  Maybe not, we found these bad dads at Meijer later that days for about $3.

Would Austin pay $9 for a  22oz bottle of a craft brew in a bar?  Absolutely! However, if these were the size bottles the waitress was referring to she should have made it known that you would have been paying $9 for a 22oz bottle not a 12oz one.

Okay, enough about the bar – let’s talk about the brews.  I really enjoy trying new beers  but I am not yet great at talking about them.  (To correct this I need practice.  That means more beer drinking, right?  Right.)  After trying a new beer I like go to BeerAdvocate.com and/or Ratebeer.com to read reviews.  While I know what I like, I do not always know why I like it or what exactly it is about a beer that makes me like it.  I enjoy reading reviews from people who know what they are talking about.  Austin is pretty good at picking out distinct flavors.  Me? Not so much.  I try to pick up on the various subtle flavors but then I read a review or the brewery’s description and think, “I didn’t taste burnt pine or musty orange peel.”  My hope is that this research, yes we will call it “research,” will prove beneficial when I start brewing my own beer.  Since I am not yet a connoisseur…yet…I’ll leave the more informative and eloquent reviews of New Belgium’s Red Hoptober to those at BeerAdvocate and RateBeer but I will say that it was, relative to other craft beers, inexpensive and it did fill my craving for a fall flavor.  I am currently going through an internal struggle where I want all of the good things of fall to happen while the weather stays like summer.

Finally, beer aside, we did order some grub.  I had their Harvest “Burger” and Austin got their lunch combo with a wedge salad and some sort of wrap thing that I believe was tuna.

Austin’s rankings: Redhoptober, Ranger, Fat Tire, Trippel
My rankings: Ranger, Redhoptober, Fat Tire, Trippel

The food was good (as a vegetarian the Harvest Burger was a very welcomed change from the usual Boca or black bean burger), the portions were substantial, and it priced right where you would expect at that type of establishment.

Despite that we didn’t get the experience we were looking for we were satisfied and it was a good way to start the long weekend.  We will visit again, but only after 6pm.

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