For the start of the next post for Kalamazoo Beer Week, we return to Bacchus. Earlier tonight they featured Brewery Vivant (one of my favorite of the Grand Rapids breweries so I had to go). Rick the brand ambassador from the brewery was on hand to guide guests through the tasting. The beers featured for this tasting were Farm Hand, Solitude and Contemplation.
Food for this pairing was a chicken salad slider and redskin potato salad. I spent time with all three to find the best matches. The potato salad shocked me a bit when Contemplation fit so well. The smokey meaty bacon was brought out by the fruit and spice notes. Farm Hand just wasn’t enough and Solitude was a bit too much. I felt like I was reading Goldilocks and the Three Beers.
When I went into the chicken slider it went a bigger direction. Again the Farm Hand wasn’t quite enough. And even after that Contemplation didn’t quit fit either. But when it came to Solitude there were some rich raisiny and molasses notes that went so well without overpowering the chicken salad. It is one of those perfect pairings that you find in recipes when you might add some raisins, craisins or even grapes to the salad.
Now we move on to a deeper look at some of the beers that have been found during beer week. For me these are some of the standouts that I have run across. As a side note, it goes without saying that when you are looking to hit events for a beer week, you really need to approach it like you would a beer festival. Granted you can play hit or miss and spend time running around to every event you can get your self to.
The other option is to plan out some events that you don’t want to miss. This gives you a chance to make sure you make it to what you really want to experience without running around like a chicken with your head cut off. (Or be like me and plan it all out and still run around like a chicken with your head cut off). My goal this week has been to find the visiting brewers and brewery amabassadors in the places where I can spend a minute or two with them. This means I have avoided a bit of the parties that are the bigger events. But this also means that I have a chance to learn a bit more about the beers and the breweries that I might not have gotten otherwise.
With that said, here is a quick list of some great beers I found so far this week. First, the chocolate porter from Perrin Brewing
. This one can be a bit scary if you aren’t careful. Somewhere near 8% but you would not know it by drinking it (until you find yourself glued to your barstool). The chocolate and coffee notes are fantastic and it is super smooth.
The Fire Starter (chipotle porter) from Right Brain
is another great one. The spice doesn’t overpower, at least not at first. It is a nice subtle spice that builds as you find your way to the bottom of a porter that could stand out on its own.
I know this isn’t a Michigan brewery so I feel a little guilty for enjoying the beers but they were quite tasty and from somewhere I would never expect to find something this good. Epic Brewing
have four beers in town right now. It was their Brainless on Peaches that stood out though. This is a big one at close to 11%. To their normal Brainless Belgian they add in peach puree and then age it in chardonay barrels. Soft fruits with notes of vanilla from the barrel aging, then adding in the classic flavors brought from the Belgian yeast strain makes for a very good beer.
And my last stand out so far has been the Green Bush
Red Bud on cask. As much as I love cask ale this has been the only cask I have had this week. The natural carbonation works so well with wheat ales. With Red Bud the softer carbonation allows the hops and malts to mingle a bit more giving it great balance.
Time for a pint…