Hoptoberfest

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September 21, 2012 by kkeerr

It has been nearly a week, I should have gotten to this post sooner.

I had a choice; I could visit a brewery or two last Saturday and get them checked off my list or I could postpone the Michigan Brewery Adventure tour and attend a beer festival where I would have around 130 beers from more than 30 craft breweries from across the state all in one convenient tented parking lot.  Brewery Adventure can wait, it has no deadline.

Since one cannot go to a festival of beer on an empty stomach we stopped for lunch on the way to Grand Rapids.
We lunched at The Kitch’Room.  Full-disclosure, while we aren’t close I’ve known the co-owner/chef for a while.  However, that doesn’t influence that I think his food is delicious and if you are in the Grand Rapids area make the trip down 28th St.  We ordered kale chips for a starter.  Fantastic.  We inhaled them, quite literally.  At one point I was eating them so quickly that I inhaled a crispy flake of leaf down the wrong “pipe” and began coughing a bit more than one would like in public.  What can I say, I’m pure class.  For our meal I had a roasted eggplant sandwich that had a magical carrot purée.  Austin had a chicken sandwich with an herb aioli.  We were both very satisfied and full, but why spot there?  Bring out the basil blondie with rosemary honey ice cream! Yeah, you just read those words.  It was the best dessert I have had in a long time.  I have craved it ever since and for like 5 or 6 bucks it is a steal.
Leaving the restaurant very happy we made our way to downtown Grand Rapids for the 2nd annual Hoptoberfest.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather and the crowd was completely manageable.  As the band Funktion played in the background we first headed to where Perrin was being poured.  I sampled their Golden Ale and their IPA, both were very good and I am excited about what Perrin is bringing to the area.  As I type this a week later the specifics are a little fuzzy.  While I might not be able to remember all the beers we tried (btw, I don’t think I’ve ever burned through cash that quickly) I do have more accurate memories of many of the breweries I tried:

  • Arbor Brewing Company
  • B. Nektar Meadery (Tried the Zombie Killer for the first time.  It uses Michigan cherries and it balanced nicely with the honey.  Speaking of cherries, did you see that there will be no Cherry Stout from Bells?)
  • Bell’s Brewery
  • Brewery Vivant – This was my first time trying a Vivant beer.  When we bought our pint cup I used my free fill up on a beer that now escapes me.  I regret not trying the Escoffier.  Austin said it was very good – I will just have to take his word until I can get my hands on some
  • Founders Brewing
  • New Holland Brewing Co.
  • North Peak Brewing Co.
  • Perrin Brewing Co.
  • Saugatuck Brewing Co. – I like to stay positive, but Austin sampled a beer from Saugatuck that was just bad, or strange, or perhaps too advanced for us.  I’m not sure, but we both thought it tasted like salt water.  It was their Hop in Your Eye and I have never seen Austin take so long to drink 3oz of beer.  Maybe it wasn’t mixing well with what we were eating and drinking.  I don’t know, but it tasted like the sea.
  • Schmohz Brewing Co.
  • White Flame Brewing Co

At one point we took a break from sampling to use the cleanest port-o-potties ever (they must have been brand new) and eat some tacos.  After a few hours we (and our wallets) decided it was time to head home.  We walked around downtown Grand Rapids for a bit and stopped for veggie dogs.  So, we had a lunch with an appetizer and dessert, 60+ ounces of beer, tacos, and hot dogs.  Did I mention Austin and I have been dieting?
Needless to say, it was a good day.  We are looking forward to the Winter Beer Festival in February.

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