All the buzz around Grand Rapids has been beer, beer, BEER right now!
But… if you’re experiencing FOMO (aka: Fear Of Missing Out) please know you are not alone. There are so many beer-themed events going on in Grand Rapids this week, even though I live close to all of the action, it’s impossible for this Momma on a budget to attend everything. Hell, I don’t think my liver would physically allow me to drink at all the events I’d really like to.
I’ve just been excited to go to a bar/brewery or two that has a healthy selection of Michigan Beer this week.
And that’s the direction I will point you in today.
Because there are more than 6,000 beer lovers in Michigan; I know that not every one of us is lucky enough to attend Winter Beer Fest Saturday.
So, if you can’t join them… beat them.
Er… something to that effect.
What you can do instead of whining about being left out of the Winter Beer Fest, is to throw your own damn beer-tasting party Yes!!
What if you invited a handful of friends over, and instead of bringing a bottle of wine, each friend brought a growler, 22oz or 4-6 pack of their favorite beer? What if you offered a handful of selections for those who were unsure of beer altogether?
Many people have told me “I don’t like beer” but I personally believe they simply haven’t found “their” beer. Plus, certain beers may require you to develop a pallet for it, such as IPAs. I’ve always loved beer, but didn’t get into IPAs until last year… now I’m obsessed. But if I started out drinking an IPA instead of ales, lagers & stouts… I probably would have thought I hated beer too.
There are so many craft breweries booming all over the country right now, why not take advantage of the multitude of flavors available right in your neighborhood?
Today’s craft beer goes way beyond your dad’s can of Budweiser. Thanks for my first sip as a kid, but… sorry dad, I have higher standards now.
However, I still want my beer to taste like beer, not a wine cooler.
Tasting is the key to knowing what you like, and what you don’t. For example, if you enjoy chocolate & coffee, you may enjoy Founder’s Breakfast Stout. If you like berries, try a Dark Horse Raspberry Ale or a Short’s Soft Parade… I’m sure you follow. Once you know where the flavors particular craft beers are rooted from, it can help guide you toward the beer you will enjoy.
Hosting Your Own Beer-Tasting:
- Offer descriptions of the beer you are offering, and encourage guests to bring information on the beer they will be sharing as well. Beeradvocate.com is a fantastic resource.
- Offer each guest a small sampler cup to pour small tastes into (about 3oz is the size of a typical “taste”) If a guest likes that particular beer, you can always pour more.
- Have your friends gather to try the beer together so everyone can discuss the flavors they taste, what they like and what they don’t. It’s always fun when someone mentions a flavor you didn’t notice.
- Offer snacks like nuts, cheeses, meats, crackers, etc that are simple & easy to assemble so you can focus most of your energy on the beer & socializing.
- Keep the tasting simple & small, especially if it’s your first time hosting one. About a dozen people is ideal.
Also, if you can’t partake in the Winter Beer Fest itself, know that plenty of breweries throughout Michigan will have on-going specials just for the ticketless. The breweries don’t shut down for Winter Beer Fest.
Here in Grand Rapids, there is a pre-fest breakfast starting 7am Saturday at Logan’s Alley, and a post-fest Dark Horse takeover at Stella’s starting at 5p that anyone can attend, ticket or no ticket. And unlike the Winter Beer Fest, these events are indoors so you’ll be warm & toasty… in more ways than one.
However you choose to celebrate beer this week, I hope you soak it all in & enjoy yourself.
Remember, if you see me at any of the GR Beer Week events this week, yell HEY MOMMA! or… FREE BEER! KELLI! might work too — and I’ll probably turn in your direction… hug me, toast me or beer me & I’ll hand you a small token of thanks for your fridge. I’ll do my best to tweet from @mommaneedsbeer at #MiWBF13 to make it easier for you to find me. Save the hashtag now and join the party!