Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hopcat, Harmony Brewing, and the B.O.B. host Beer City Bourbon Barrel Challenge

Written by  Dan VanderKooi
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 Hopcat, Harmony Brewing, and the B.O.B. host Beer City Bourbon Barrel Challenge

While previous Beer City collaborations have found me travelling to a dozen or more breweries in one week, this current challenge brought multiple breweries to single convenient locations over several weeks. This time the theme was bourbon barrel-aged beers, with numerous breweries offering up their best barrel-aged releases for the challenge. Harmony Brewing Company hosted the first week, with Hopcat, and the B.O.B.’s Brewery hosting subsequent weeks.
The first week at Harmony featured their own Grote Pier Double IPA alongside offerings from Jaden James, Cellar Brewing, and Hudsonville’s White Flame and Pike 51 Brewing Co. Also of note was the Batch 100 Barrel Aged Wheat Wine from The Mitten Brewing Co. Although not part of the challenge, barrel-aged ciders from The People Cider Co. are also available and are worth checking out. If you’ve not been to Harmony in a while, I suggest you be sure to stop in and check out their new lunch menu featuring some excellent sandwiches. Harmony also recently placed in the top 5 in the recent best pizza in Michigan competition.

Second week was at Hopcat and preceded their Wood & Wild Fest with 5 Woodford Reserve barrel-aged beers which included the Pike 51 Temporary Saint Quad and White Flame Kentucky Kiss Scotch ale also tapped the previous week at Harmony. New contenders were Hopcat’s own Bourbon Barrel Fornicator, a maple dopplebock, as well as Brewery Vivant’s Devastation, a barrel-aged take on their Trebuchet double IPA, and Perrin’s not to be missed Malted Milk Ball Imperial Porter. Devastation was the first of the 5 beers at Hopcat to sell out!

The third and final week of the challenge took place at the newly expanded B.O.B.’s Brewery. To really top things off the B.O.B. offered not one but three different barrel-aged offerings of their own beers, along with previous contenders from White Flame and the Scottish Schilling from Jaden James. Also debuting was a barrel-aged Quad from the Hideout. The B.O.B.’s own offerings included two Imperial Stouts, one aged in Woodford Reserve barrels, the other in Journeyman Barrels, and my favorite, a 1-year old aged Barley Wine. The chef was also offering up Bourbon Barrel Brisket along with the brand-new food menu. If you’ve not been to the brewery recently, I encourage you to stop in and check out all of the improvements!

Dan VanderKooi

Dan VanderKooi

Dan VK has been following the Michigan Craft Beer scene since before Oberon has been available in 6-packs. Besides making the rounds at all the local craft breweries and beer bars, Dan also supports the local music scene, reads crime fiction, and enjoys playing volleyball with his wife and friends.