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9 Stars

 

Loaded Dice Brewery is testing the waters with an innovation that Michigan craft breweries are often too scared to even consider – to go sampler packs. The brewery named their to go sampler packs Dice Dice Babies, which is a play on words from Vanilla Ice’s infamous “Ice Ice Baby” and the brewery’s gambling theme. To date, the only craft brewery I’ve seen play with this to go sample pack idea is North Center Brewing Company with 2020’s version of their Flight Before Christmas.

Loaded Dice’s sample pack consisted of four beers each in an 8 oz can for $15 before taxes and tip. The Facebook post advertising the sampler pack stated: “Have you been waiting to try some of our new beers, but, maybe you may have commitment issues? We have the solution for you.” I vibed with this statement not because I have commitment issues, but because Loaded Dice Brewery is turning over beers quickly, and I don’t get over there as much as I should.

Photo Credit – Loaded Dice Brewery

Jef Smith, Loaded Dice Brewery’s co-owner and head brewer, told me that he’s always trying to do different and fun things for his beer and brewery. He noticed that customers were waiting to try a variety of beers when they came in and found this to be the solution.

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In total, 35 four-packs were created for the first run of the Dice Dice Babies to go sample pack. Fifteen of them were reserved for the Tales of Ale: Virtual Beer Tasting with Loaded Dice Brewery through the Troy Public Library that happened on July 21. Participants were able to order and pick up their flight that Jef then went over on Zoom. Jef said he enjoyed the event and is looking forward to similar events in the future.

As for the beer, three of them were collaboration beers and one was Jef’s own. Here’s a breakdown of each beer in the order I enjoyed them along with Jef’s take and my tasting notes.

¡Una Vez!

Mexican Lager with Lime Zest and Sea Salt | 4.6% | 18 IBU | 4 SRM*

“You know the part of the sip of a margarita before you get to the tequila? That’s this beer,” is how Jef described ¡Una Vez!. “Some people get more lime and others get more salt.”

I noted more of the lime and thought his description of the beer was exact. I almost braced for the tequila on my first sip only to remember that it was not going to be present. ¡Una Vez! was one of the best Mexican lagers I’ve ever had.

*SRM = Standard Reference Method and is the measurement for beer color. Jef said he includes it on the can as part of his Open Source Brewery approach and as a talking point.

Sunken Houseboats

Rye Wheat Ale | 5.1% | 24 IBU | 5 SRM

Research was done on this collaboration beer between Loaded Dice Brewery (US) and Lot 10 Brewing Company (Canada). Jef said he wanted there to be a connection between the breweries and decided on the Detroit River. According to Jef’s research, the Purple Gang would take booze from Canada onto houseboats that they would then sink in the Detroit River. Divers would retrieve the booze and bring it over to Detroit during Prohibition.

Loved the name and the research on Sunken Houseboats! I picked up more of the rye and spiced notes that came from it on the backend of the beer than the hop profile and citrus notes that Jef said would be on the front end. Overall, I thought this beer would be excellent in the fall at a tailgate or bonfire.

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Trotter is Having a Very Good Day

India Pale Lager | 7.2% | 34 IBU | 5 SRM

Jef and Jeremy at Copper Hop Brewing Co in St Clair Shores each brewed a version of Trotter is Having a Very Good Day together at their breweries. Both used hominy, which is coarse corn used to make grits. Jef noted that using hominy pushed both brewers out of their comfort zones. Loaded Dice used blue corn and Copper Hop used yellow.

I enjoyed this beer while talking to Jef about Dice Dice Babies. He asked me right then and there what I thought of the beer. I said I liked it and thought it was a good summer beer. He chuckled and said, “Yeah, and it’s 7%.” I also noted the mouthfeel and he said that’s the hominy coming into play.

Exploding Pelota

Creamsicle Milkshake IPA | 7.2% | 44 IBU | 5 SRM

North Channel Brewing Co out of Manistee, MI was the collaborating brewery with this beer. Jef said that Exploding Pelota is sold out due to its success in the summer time.

I loved this Milkshake IPA. It wasn’t in your face with the hops because it was in your face with how sweet and creamy it was. It was very tasty and went down quick, especially with only 8 oz available to me. It was a creamsicle in beer form.

When I went to pick up my four pack, there were 2 four packs remaining in the cooler. Jef said he anticipated they would be gone soon. He also said he was proud of the product he’s come up with and that there may be more Dice Dice Babies to go sample packs in the future.

I hope there are at both Loaded Dice Brewery and other breweries. Just like ordering a flight at a brewery, I had fun trying each one. The only differences were I was at home and could enjoy them at my own pace. Hats off to Jef and Loaded Dice Brewery for (hopefully) starting a new trend in craft beer!

Cheers!


Disclaimer: Ed purchased a pack of Dice Dice Babies for this review. He appreciates Jef’s time, knowledge, and humor that contributed to this review.

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By Ed Norton

Edwin "Ed" Norton was first introduced to craft beer when his designated fraternity Big Brother Vince asked him if he knew anything about the topic. Ed admitted his ignorance and the rest is history as Ed and Vince would split six-packs of craft beers each week during Ed's probationary status. Ed is now a craft beer enthusiast who is always on the lookout for a beer he has not tried when bottle shopping or drinking at breweries and bars. In addition to drinking beer, this livelong Michigan resident enjoys a bunch of hobbies that he doubts you really care about, other than drinking beer and sounding off about it.

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