July was another month of drinking at home for the Better on Draft team. A few of us ventured out to breweries across the state and Great Lakes region. COVID-19 was still a threat, so people have had to change old habits if they wanted to dine in a restaurant or have a drink at a bar or brewery.
The podcast crew is continuing to record via Zoom and will be featuring a few national breweries in the coming months. Writers are feverishly writing up all types of content, so check out the blogs to see what we’ve been up to.
July’s favorite beers from the Better on Draft team are below with a snippet from each person about their favorite.
Presque Ale – Blackrocks Brewery (Marquette) ~ Dani
“I’m by no means a boat person and am absolutely not a camping person. Plant me in a chair, though, in view of a body of water and I do just fine. Blackrocks Brewery‘s Presque Ale is the kind of beer that is for sipping lakeside, and, later on, fireside. It’s clean, refreshing, and definitely session-worthy. That’s what being lakeside or fireside is all about, isn’t it? The slight hop bitterness is balanced by a smooth finish and leaves me wanting more every time.”
Lemon Shandy – Blue Skies Brewery (Onstead) ~ Ed
“On a recent trip around Jackson, Michigan, I flew into a winery and discovered it was also a brewery! Whenever I go to a new brewery, I always like to get a flight. Mostly, it’s to see what the brewery is all about by tasting a handful of their offerings. Lately, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, I’ve been trying to find a solid beer to take home and enjoy again. I enjoyed my flight (pun intended) at Blue Skies Brewery’s Onstead location and took home a growler of the Lemon Shandy because it was the perfect summer brew to enjoy. Refreshing and crisp with a lingering lemony taste, I enjoyed it on many hot summer July nights.”
Ease Your Storm – City Built Brewing Company (Grand Rapids) + Drafting Table Brewing Company (Wixom) ~ Wendy
“I’m probably breaking the rules here, but I couldn’t decide which Ease Your Storm beer I liked better. Ease Your Storm was a collaboration between City Built Brewing Company and Drafting Table Brewing Company. It was a good excuse to make a road trip to get both beers.
The City Built version of the Milkshake IPA was bursting with a magnificent blackberry flavor that was so refreshing on a hot summer night. I had to buy an extra 4-pack to share. I’m only just realizing that I enjoy Milkshake IPAs and I thought the mouthfeel on this one was amazing. Not too thick, but enough to let me know what style I was drinking.
Not to be outdone, Drafting Table rocked the mango version of the collaboration. It was not quite as thick as the City Built version. It was equally enjoyable on a hot summer night. The hops were much more evident in this one and complimented the mango perfectly. I’d drink either one again in a heartbeat. As an added plus, the artwork on the cans is gorgeous!!”
Slang Du Jour – Raspberry Cobbler – Drekker Brewing Company (Fargo, ND) ~ Rob
“Drekker Brewing Company‘s 4.6% fruited sour hits on all of the spices and flavors one would expect from a cobbler: cinnamon, vanilla, raspberry, even a buttery crust. From something called “Sour á la Mode” there’s a tartness one would expect from raspberries, but not sour like some might be led to think. A great beer courtesy of Tavour, and I wish I got more!”
Barrel-Aged Imperial Amish Krack – Hoplore Brewing Company (Leesburg, IN) ~ Weasel
“When rolling along the historic brick-paved streets of Leesburg, Indiana, you will discover the Old Leesburg Mill just over the railroad tracks along Old State Road. The mill opened in 1905 to grind grain for animal feed. Since then the building has served a variety of purposes including the original grain mill, a coffee shop, a five and dime, a bakery, and, for the past three years, as HopLore Brewing Co. As co-owner Stefan King shared on a Kosciusko County blog, ‘We ultimately fell in love with the mill due to its history and set up. We felt that it was almost coming full circle from a feed mill in the early nineteen hundreds to a brewery today again utilizing grains.’
While our visit was during current social distancing rules, the reduced amount of indoor seating helped to accentuate the original wood floors, rustic beam framing, and industrial feel of the mill with many of the now whitewashed chutes, chases, hoppers, and grain equipment serving as the character décor and partitions.
Barrel-Aged Imperial Amish Krack is billed as a doughnut stout that earned a relaxing 14-month vacation in Apple Brandy barrels. During its rest period, the bold, deeply roasted and sweet malt stout gathered notes of cinnamon, apple sweetness, and earthiness of the oaken staves. When the magic of the malt’s sweet profile pairs with the spice and the fruit tones, this bold Imperial Stout conveys the faint taste of a freshly baked, still warm cinnamon roll or apple fritter. Often found as an annual limited bottle release, we were delighted to discover Barrel-Aged Amish Krack on tap during our July visit.
I could easily write a series of articles about our wonderful experience with the staff, the fabulous food we enjoyed, and all of my wanderings around the building. If you find yourself a reasonable distance from Leesburg, Indiana, I encourage you to visit. Your trip will be worth every moment of that travel. The Old Leesburg Mill that once was a staple of the community has been transformed into a regional gem that is the award-winning HopLore Brewing Co.”
Peach Please – Snowbelt Brewing (Gaylord) ~ Bill
“As I continue on what has become my ‘2020 American Peach Beer Tour,’ I discovered Peach Please, a light and refreshing Kölsch made with real peaches from Snowbelt Brewing Co in Gaylord. According to their menu, it is one of the original eight beers they brewed. The peach was definitely there on the nose, but a little more subtle in flavor; apparent, but not super sweet like one might expect. Sessionable at 5% ABV, it has a bit of body but is not super heavy. Glad I stopped in to try it, and even happier that I brought home a few crowlers. Cheers to peaches!”