Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

July 18, 2007

Beer Diary:

Happy Frickin’ Anniversary

Midwest craft brewers are releasing specialty brews to celebrate some significant anniversaries.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
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The history of the modern American craft beer movement is a relatively short one. Most folks point to Fritz Maytag’s purchase of the Anchor Brewing Company back in the late ’60s as the worm’s initial turn against shit beer. The movement was more like a crawl, though, for a couple of decades, until fantastic growth in the late ’80s ended with a resounding thud when the industry saw a shakeout in the ’90s and the closing of quite a few fledgling breweries.

Those that survived, however, became stronger, and are the foundation of a new golden age of brewing in America with new, exciting brewers joining the ranks each year. Three breweries right here in the Midwest are releasing specialty brews to commemorate 10 years of brewing, and a fourth is still going stronger than ever after nearly a quarter century of making some of the best beers in the world.

Two Brothers has been releasing a specialty brew just about every month to celebrate their big one-zero, including Victors MemoriAle Altbier, Cane and Ebel, Hop Juice, and the soon-to-be-in-stores Heliocentric Bragot. But their “official” release to mark their 10th anniversary is a beer called simply 10, a cherry lambic, which you may see reviewed here in the near future.

Founders up in Grand Rapids recently brought out Deca, a barley wine (although I love this brewery, I hate that term) in honor of their 10th. Distribution has slowly been seeping outward from Michigan into Indiana and soon will make it to Illinois and perhaps beyond. Go out this weekend and see if you can scare up a bottle.

Munster, Indiana’s Three Floyds has released Fantabulous Resplendence X, a beer that’s been described by other reviewers as an “oat wine,” to commemorate 10 years of in-your-face craft brewing. I haven’t cracked my bottle yet, but you can bet your sweet (sweaty?) ass that I’ll review it for you. If I feel like it.

And then there’s this brewery up near Kalamazoo, Michigan. Bell’s has been in business far longer than 10 years (22, to be exact), but they’re still finding ways to celebrate great craft beer. Batch 8000, decribed by those in the know as a 9 percent ABV wheat beer with orange peel and coriander, is due to be released in early August. Gentledorks, start your beer engines.

And those are just the ones a guy living in his parents’ basement heard about. Craft brewers aren’t always the best PR people, so there very well may be some celebratory releases out there that we haven’t ferreted out yet. So let us know if you’ve seen or heard anything from any other Midwest beer producers. And stay glued to to read reviews of these exciting brews as we get our grubby little mitts on them.

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

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