THE PLANET SERIES IS BACK!
So, a little about the Planet Series from Bell’s Brewery. It’s a series of beers whose name was inspired by the music of Gustav Holst. I don’t know anything about the music, but my buddy who was a performance major kind of nerded out about it. Anyways, the planet series has 7 beers in the lineup (No Earth… nor Pluto for you die-hard fans). I personally have only had a few bottles of the Mars and Neptune, but am extremely excited for trying them all on this run through.
The beer: Mars is a double IPA. It is copper to red in color. Nice hop profile to it, but far from overwhelming. I personally got some citrus and pine notes to it. I can’t comment on the aroma as much as I’d like, as my allergies are killing me. This is dangerously smooth for the 10.1% ABV is carries.
As with some a lot of double IPA’s I’ve tried, the extra malts in the brewing definitely balances the bitterness of the amount of hops in this beer. According to the Bell’s website, there was 3.4 lbs of hops added to each barrel. You’d think that it’d be incredibly bitter, however, the malts needed to hit that 10.1% ABV has definitely mellowed it out. I personally don’t go for doubles too often because that bitterness is what makes me love IPAs.
The brewery: Bell’s is located in Kalamazoo, MI. They remodeled the inside and added a ton of indoor seating somewhat recently (Last year, maybe?). Every time I go down I-94 I try to stop in for lunch or a few brewskis. They have a nice beer garden outside, with some tables and lounging chairs to enjoy on a nice day. I’d recommend maybe some more seating outdoors for the busy summer days so it’s not so hard to find a seat sometimes. They have a great menu available as far as food goes. The store that’s attached has packaged beer, apparel, and a small selection of home brew supplies.
Find it, drink it. Solid 4.5/5
Dark Horse is located just South of downtown Marshall, MI. it’s a small brewpub with Mug Club mugs hanging above the bar. Random: they have a table that’s also a fish tank… it’s actually pretty sweet. The food is great and the beers can be hit or miss for me personally, but they’re definitely one of the favorites here in Michigan. Dark Horse Brewing Co. definitely makes some interesting beer sometimes. Some good, some bad. Double Crooked Tree is great, for example.
So, their Amber Ale. The name itself is pretty non-threatening. On the label it actually says Belgian Amber Ale, but I couldn’t find that one. It’s you’re traditional amber ale, but brewed with a “Almost Belgian” strain of yeast. It definitely gives you some of those flavors you’d get with a traditional Belgian Ale. I found these quite delicious and drank 3 before I realized it. Definitely an easy drinker (if you like Belgians). 5.5% ABV with 16 IBUs makes this one you can crush for a while.
“From the dawn of time, humans have looked to the sky for answers. Space Station Middle Finger replies to all from its eternal orbit.”
That’s a quote from the 3 Floyds website. I honestly love this brewery. Unfortunately, it’s not available where I live, so I have to take a road trip (and buy in bulk) anytime I want some. It’s worth it, by the way.
The brewery is located in Munster, IN. It’s a short jaunt off the highway and is located in an industrial park. You definitely have to be looking for it to find it. Every time I’ve stopped in, it’s be a cool atmosphere with great beers flowing. If the crowd size is the sole factor in how good it is, then this place is amazing. It’s always been busy when I’ve stopped in, and in the summer, I’ve waited in lines to get beer to-go. The only downside is the selections they have packaged to go are somewhat erratic at times. You wont always find that ONE beer you’re looking for, but I’ve never had a bad one. Seriously, it’s worth the time to stop in if you’re in the area.
So, Space Station Middle Finger. I honestly had never heard of this beer before I stopped in, and the name alone made me grab a 6-pack (I’ve also had a beer from them called The Big Tiddy Assassin… gotta love the odd names) . It’s an American Pale Ale. There’s enough hop character to know it’s there, but obviously less than IPAs. The IBU’s clock in at 50, which is actually a little high for your standard American Pale. However, this is an easy drinker for sure. This falls in the perfect ABV range for me: 6%. It’s high enough to feel it after a few, but not too high so you wanna tap out after 3 beers. Again, it’s a super easy drinking beer and I could easily kill all 6 in a sitting.
I love 3 Floyds. (I guess I’m a bit of a fanboy)
Tonight I’m going to pop open a bottle of 2017 KBS by Founders Brewing. Founders is one of those breweries that make a few phenomenal beers. The rest? It’s hard to find anything bad to say about them, really. Everything they make is pretty solid. I have had a couple odd ones they’ve put on in the tap room, but everything that gets packaged is a solid bet. Founders is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s also one of the “top beer cities” in the US. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a brewery there.
So, onto the beer. The “Highly Acclaimed” Kentucky Breakfast Stout. This one is a once a year release, and cellars very well. I know a number of people that save a few bottles each year and then do a vertical tasting. I’m not that patient. I actually am a huge fan of this beer, and I try to grab a few bottles each year.
This is brewed with coffee and chocolate, then aged in bourbon barrels. You definitely get the bourbon and some chocolate in the nose when you first open it. This beer is super smooth, with some lightly roasted and chocolate notes up front, and a distinct, but not overpowering bourbon flavored finish. The ABV is 11.8%, and you can wholly start feeling it your second or third bottle in.
What’s better than cracking a great beer at noon on a lazy Sunday? (Answer: Cracking one at 10)
I’m currently just relaxing at home and decided to have a cold one. So I dug this bad boy out of the fridge. Latitude 42 makes some great stuff. My personal favorite is a coconut stout that goes by the name of Sweet Lou. Unfortunately they don’t can that.
So, I’m sitting here, drinking a nice Double IPA. 8.4% ABV. It has an aggressive finish, but some nice malt flavors in the middle to balance that out. The hop character definitely falls on the Pine/Floral side of things. It’s remarkably smooth for what it is. I can’t drink too many of these in a row, however.
So according to the Brewer’s Association, Yuengling is the #1 craft beer (by volume) in the United States. I was honestly surprised to read this. A few others made more sense (Sam Adams at #2, Sierra Nevada at #3 for example) Here in Michigan, where Yuengling isn’t sold, people are always asking people to bring back a case when they travel East. I’ve personally never understood the fascination with the beer. I’ve tried it a few times. It just doesn’t live up to the hype people place on it. I haven’t had all their brews available, so maybe there’s a gem in there with some of the others.
However, I suppose my opinion is just one in contrast to the sea of people that drink Yuengling. Oh well.
So I decided to crack a can of a beer I picked up on my trip to Chicago. In case some of you didn’t know, some beers are only distributed in certain states/areas. I live in Michigan where there is a ton of craft beer, but so much more of it is available elsewhere! Odell is located in Colorado, near New Belgium’s brewery, so I hear. I’ve also been told you used to not be able to find their beer East of the Mississippi. I’m glad they came to Chi-Town.
Enter: Tree Shaker – Imperial Peach IPA
I personally haven’t had a single beer from Odell Brewing, and this one caught my eye. An Imperial Peach IPA?!? It was definitely something I had never had before. I’m a little stuffy today, but I personally don’t get a ton of peach in the aroma. I do get a touch of sweetness in the taste, however. It doesn’t taste like those artificial/overpowering peach flavors you get in some teas. The hops add a little citrus notes to it, which blend together splendidly with the sweetness of the peaches. You do get a bit of a bitter finish, but not like you’d expect from an IPA. This one could be dangerous. Just from the taste, you wouldn’t think you’re drinking an 8% ABV beer. I’m very pleased with this one!
I hope Odell makes all their beer this good (as well as comes to Michigan!)
5/5 ALL DAY.