All Day IPA

Maker: Founders, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Style: Session IPA

ABV: 4.7%

Note: No photo due to phone camera failure.

Appearance: Medium gold with a big foamy head.

Nose: Mild floral hops.

Palate: Spicy hops with a sweet malt background. Bitter, but not obnoxious.

Finish: Mild but with plenty of hoppy bitterness.

Parting words: As always, Founders delivers. All Day IPA delivers plenty of hoppy IPA punch at a low ABV for “all day” enjoyment. This beer has become my go-to beer for parties, lunches at home or having beer drinking friends over. It’s available on tap, in bottles and even in a 15 pack of cans (my preference). It’s also available at just about every party store, grocery store and gas station in these parts. For simple hoppy drinking, All Day IPA can’t be beat. Highly recommended.

Grand Circus IPA

Make: Atwater, Detroit, Michigan, USAwpid-20150622_193214.jpg

Style: Session IPA

ABV: 4.5%

Appearance: Dark copper with a big sudsy head.

Nose: Very sweet malt, citric hops

Palate: Medium bodied. Hops, balanced by malty sweetness. Hops are present but not overwhelming. Bitterness on the back end.

Finish: Bitterness intensifies and lingers.

This is a part of Atwater’s series of beers named for places around Detroit. The name may sound strange but any clowns one may encounter in Grand Circus Park are purely coincidental. Grand Circus is a semi-circular park in Downtown Detroit that was created as a part of a planned (then abandoned) city-wide network of hub and spoke style roads. In 1865 George Armstrong Custer delivered a eulogy for Abraham Lincoln there and now the park is home to the Russell Alger Fountain, which was designed by Henry Bacon with the statue sculpted by Daniel French, who both did the same for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The park is adjacent to many of downtown’s most important buildings including the David Whitney Building, David Broderick Tower, Central United Methodist Church, The Detroit Opera House and Comerica Park.

Grand Circus the beer is billed as a session beer and it fits that bill. It’s a porch sippin’, food accompanyin’ beer. I got a pack of twelve cans of this for a party so that there would be something hoppy there that everybody could enjoy. It was moderately popular. If you’re a hop head, this probably won’t satisfy your lust, but I liked it, even more since it’s available in cans. Grand Circus IPA is recommended.

Mosaic Promise

Maker: Founders, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USAwpid-2014-12-22-17.31.24.jpg.jpeg

Style: IPA

ABV: 5.5%

Purchased for $10/6 pack

Notes: Brewed with a single malt (Golden Promise) and a single hop (Mosaic). Limited distrubion (Michigan, Wisconsin and the Chicago and NYC metro areas).

Appearance: Translucent orange with a delicate lacy head.

Nose: Big spicy hops with a bit of funk of indeterminate origin.

Palate: Spicy hops and a huge grapefruit flavor.

Finish: Big dry and bitter. Like having your oral cavity stuffed full of hops.

Parting words: Brewed to support the ArtPrize art competition in Grand Rapids, the beautiful image on the label is from a stained glass piece created by Matt and Elizabeth Kolenda that won the competition in 2013.

This is a beer I’m sure most hop heads will love. It’s crisp and refreshing with hops out the wazoo. It’s a solid but one-dimensional effort. I understand that they were going for something simple but for $10 a six pack, I expect more complexity. The proceeds  go to a good cause so maybe that can be factored in when deciding if it’s worth buying. Mosaic Promise is mildly recommended.


Maker: Greenbush, Sawyer, Michigan, USAwpid-20140908_191327.jpg

Style: Black IPA

ABV: 7.6%

Purchased for $11 for a 6 pack.

Appearance: Dark coffee, lacy, light colored head.

Nose: Grapefruit, lavender, coriander, toasted brown bread.

Palate: Sweet and spicy. Black pepper, coffee, hint of chipotle.

Finish: Mildly sweet and more dry hoppy spice. Black cherry, then a bit roasty bitterness.

Parting words: I’ll admit to being a man who got sick of IPAs. The IPA madness seems to have died down about so I came out of my hiding place to buy myself a pack of Anger.

Anger makes me happy. It has lots of hoppy IPA aggression but it is perfectly balanced by toasty and subtly sweet flavors. It goes ok with food, but some of the subtlety is lost. This is an IPA I can drink (a lot) and enjoy. Anger is recommended.

Au revoir et bon jour!!

In lieu of a whiskey review this Friday night, I offer up to you a review of a Michigan micro-brew sold only at my local Meijer store. Cheers!


Detroit was home to the longest running state fair in the United States. The state fair grounds are located just a few blocks from my house. When the boys were little, we always walked to the fair and trudged home at night, exhausted. But alas, a series of economic downturns in the last 10 years left all government budgets pared to the bone. The Michigan State Fair was a casualty. So the grounds sat empty for several years, many plans have been (and continue to be–it’s a large parcel) floated for land use. One that got a lot of attention was for auto racing. Why not, in Motown? I’ll tell you why not. It’s extremely noisy for what is otherwise a stable, quiet residential area. Thankfully, that idea went bye-bye.

The northern-most section of land is now developed. It is a new strip mall with a great big, beautiful Meijer…

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The Wanderer Session India Pale Ale

Maker: North Peak, Traverse City, Michigan, USA

Style: India Pale Ale

ABV: 4.2%

Appearance: Golden brown with a foamy head. An odd cloud hangs over the top half of the beer as I drink it.

Nose: Floral but slightly fruity. Wildflowers, fresh pineapple, peppered mango.

On the palate: Medium bodied and complex. Hops are the biggest flavor component here, naturally, but there are fruit and malt flavors here too. Dried wildflowers, orange peel, breadfruit.

Finish: Malty and hoppy. Lingers for a pretty long time.

Parting words: Against my better judgment, I bought yet another North Peak beer to review, based on the recommendation of another blogger. I’m glad I did. This is a fine, well-made IPA with more than just bitterness going on. The lightly fruity undertones of the Wanderer take it beyond the realms of the workaday session IPAs. I was very pleasantly surprised with this one. Maybe there is hope for North Peak yet. The Wanderer is recommended.

Evil Genius IPA-style Mead

Maker: B.Nektar, Ferndale, Michigan, USA

Style: Hopped mead

Vintage: 2012

ABV: 6%

Appearance: Chablis-colored, effervescent.

Nose: Whipped wildflower honey spread, paper white narcissus, dried flowers.

On the palate: Floral and slightly sweet. The bitterness of the honey and the bitterness dovetail into a very weird, but delicious and even refreshing taste.

Finish: Sweet honey at first, then a long, hoppy, floral bitterness.

Parting words: I’ll gladly admit that I am one of the contras when it comes to the hops-madness that the beer world still seems to be in the grips of. Part of it is just my

nature, but another part of it is a love for rich, malty, toasty porters and stouts and fruity, sweet wheat beers. I came into Evil Genius as a skeptic.

But this is a very good mead and as far as I know a unique product. Hops and honey seem like they were born for each other after a few sips. Granted, there isn’t much complexity here, but it’s so weirdly refreshing it doesn’t even matter. B.Nektar’s Evil Genius IPA-style mead is recommended.

Oak Aged Hatter

Maker: New Holland, Holland, Michigan, USA

Style: Barrel-aged IPA

Vintage: 2011

ABV: 5.1%

Appearance: Burnt orange with a creamy head.

Nose: Vanilla whipped topping, hops, bergamot, hops.

On the palate: Medium-bodied and creamy. Orange toffee, key lime pie, lemon chiffon pie, lemon thyme.

Finish: Vanilla, bitter hops, sweetness balanced with pleasant hoppy bitterness.

Parting Words: In another sign of how out of touch I am with my own generation, I’m not a huge IPA fan. In general, I find adding metric tons of hops to beer to be obnoxious. Some of the hop bombs that garner praise these days, I find undrinkable. I do like Mad Hatter, though, so I had high expectations for this beer.

It did not disappoint. The time in “Kentucky Oak” (not a bourbon or rye barrel, apparently. Corn or wheat whiskey maybe?) has turned a very good IPA into a symphonic masterpiece. The barrel notes are a sweet, creamy counterpoint to the citric, bitter hops. No matter how many times I have gone back to this one, I taste something else. Something good. Oak-Aged Hatter is highly recommended.


Maker: Shorts, Bellaire, Michigan, USA

Style: IPA

ABV: 6.55%

Appearance: Slightly hazy copper.

Nose: Effervescent, fruity, floral.

On the palate: full-bodied, very bitter and hoppy. Lemon pepper, hay, urn with dead flowers in a drained pool.

Finish:  Floral and bitter moving to just straight up bitterness

Parting words: It says a lot about the hop-mania the nation is in the grip of that this hop-monster is considered by some to be between an IPA and a Pale Ale. I taste very little in this beer other than hops, and I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of IPAs. But this  grew on me after a while, I must admit. It reminds me a lot of Two-hearted ale, but with a more aggressive edge. ControversALE gets a recommendation, if only because I know others will love this one.