Wednesday, November 07, 2012

"Thank You, BEER" Brewer's Challenge

Written by  Dan Miller
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On October 13th, the Grand Rapids Public Museum officially opened a fabulous and unique exhibit called “Thank You, BEER”. Mostly focusing on Michigan brewing, especially the Grand Rapids area, “Thank You, BEER” is collection of items and stories that show just how much beer has done for the West Michigan area. Even to those already knowing a lot of the history of beer in this area will be pleasantly surprised as to what this exhibit has to offer.
This exhibit, which runs through the end of December, also includes several events that help bring it to life. Details of each can be found on the museum’s website. The first of these events which took place on October 19th & 20th was the Brewer’s Challenge. Guests could attend the private event and taste about 17 different Michigan beers, eight of which were brewed specifically for this event. Of those eight, the five receiving the most votes will go on to be part of an elegantly designed beer paring dinner from Chef Hans Dokl. Tickets are still available for the November 17th dinner.

As for the Brewer’s Challenge, it was a great way to experience the great talent behind so many Michigan craft beers. The eight competing breweries were New Holland Brewing Co., Michigan Beer Cellar, Atwater Brewing Co., Jaden James, White Flame, Brewery Vivant, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. and The Hideout. The first five listed were the winners with New Holland being the overall winner with their High Five Ale made with five Michigan ingredients: apples, blueberries, wheat, hops and spruce.

Along with the beer tasting, attendees also had their choice between four different great meals that went great with beer: beer brats, pulled pork, chicken kabobs and wiener schnitzel. With plenty of good beer at hand and a full belly, one could easily enjoy taking in the exhibit on all three floors while enjoying live music from B-Side Growlers.

Whether it is one of the remaining beer schools or the beer dinner (check availability – tickets are going fast) or simply checking out the exhibit itself, be sure to get there before it’s over. If you love beer and you love Grand Rapids or even one or the other, you’ll be fascinated by what you’ll see.

Lastly, we all owe a huge thank you for “Thank You, BEER” to guest curator, Steve Smith (Hopcat’s Certified Beer Geek) and museum curator, Alex Forist for putting so much in to making this a fantastic exhibit. Have fun!