Monday, March 7, 2011

I Make a Mean Pepper Steak on Wednesday Night

It's Thursday.  It's cold, snowing, the sun is beneath a blanket of clouds and that can only mean one thing.  It's time for pepper steak.  Okay, so that could mean a lot of things but pepper steak sounds good and I have all the fixings here at the homestead.  Pepper steak is one of those meals that I don't have very often.  Maybe once or twice a decade.  But it's good, it's cheap, and if you pair it with the right beer, you are on the road to happiness.  Here is what you will need to start.

This is about 2 lbs of flank steak.  I like flank because of the texture and taste.  It has a lot of beefy goodness that different cuts of beef hide with the richness of the fat.  As you can see, flank is pretty lean.  However, if you are a fan of New York strip, use it.  You want to use filet with this dish, go ahead.  The major reason I bought the flank today was that it was on sale.  I forgot to tell you, flank is not the cheapest cut.  It is the "in" cut of beef these days and you will pay for it.  For these 2 lbs I paid about $7 and that was on sale.  The basic point I am trying to make is that it doesn't really matter what cut of beef you want to use.  Use porterhouse if you want.  Just find a nice steak and buy it.  One of the most important things that you will want to do with pepper steak is marinate the beef.  The ingredients are pretty plain so a little extra bite in the meat will just help the dish along.  Use whatever marinade you like.  If you have read previous posts, you'll know that I am a fan of making my own marinades and rubs.  Not that a commercial rub or marinade doesn't taste good, it's a matter of cost.  I refuse to shell out $5 for a 8oz bottle of stuff that I already have at home.  Most rubs and marinades are extremely salt based.  So, if you look at the cost of salt and the few other ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, you are further ahead to make your own.  That way you can put in exactly what you want.  If you are not a salt lover, reduce the sodium and add herbs.  You see what I am getting at.  It takes about 2 minutes longer to make your own rub or marinade as it would using something pre-packaged.

All you will need to mariante your meat is a 1 gallon Ziploc bag.

Throw the meat in the sack.  I added the following for my marinade:
1/2 cup of worcestshire
2 heaping TB of brown sugar
2 cloves of minced garlic
3/4 cup of white wine (I used a moscato)

There it is.  Marinade is going to do 2 things for your meat or fish.  1. Give it flavor.  2. Tenderize.  Most marinades consist of salt and sugars and possibly some form of citrus or acidic based liquid.  These componets help break down the hard tissue of the meat while giving it flavor.  There definitely is something to be said about marinating the meat too long.  A good rule of thumb is no less than 2 hours and no more than 12.  If you leave your meat in the marinade for 3-4 days, you will end up with a gnarly piece of something that used to be edible.  Trust me, no more than 12.  There is only so much flavor and spice the meat can take and then it is just causing harm.  Throw this in the fridge and move on.

Beer.  Yes, this IS a beer blog.  I am reviewing two beer today on the blog.  First up:  Little Kings.  An eastern United States beer, Little Kings hails from Wilkes-Barre, PA.  You might have seen these cute little devils in the store before.  LK comes in a 7oz 8pack form.  They are just tiny little fellas.  The brew is cream ale, a top fermented American style beer that resembles the German Kolsch.  The cream ale is a thirst quencher.  Cream ales are meant to be drank in large quantities (due to their low alcholic content) and their neutral taste.  A dying art, the cream ale survives in few markets today.  Schoenling, the maker of Little Kings, as well as Genesee Brewing company (Rochester, NY) are the major marketers of cream ale in the United States.  The 7 oz bottles kind of bother me.  I am a beer dinker and when I go for that first beer of the day after a long hot day at work, I can drink 7oz's in a New York minute.  I like my beer to come in the standard 12 oz's or higher.  I think these bottles could be a lot of fun if used at a party or you bought a few buckets of these on ice at a bar, but to just take the 7oz's home to drink really bothers me.  The taste is decent.  I can see how this beer could be drank in large quantities on hot summer day.  It has low alchohol content so you won't wind up in the weeds after a few hours.  Personally, it is a little too sweet for my taste.  By sweet, I don't mean it has been brewed with maple syrup sweet, but the malt content is just a little too high for me.  Then again, I am a fan of the IPA's
  A king with his Little King.

Great for a theme party......but.....get rid of the little bottles.

Destroying the King! 

Back to the pepper steak for a minute.  While downing a few Little Kings, I went ahead with prepping the vegetables.  A lot of diners and family style restaurants will prepare their version of peppersteak with simply green bell peppers.  I decided to use a trio of bell's that give the dish a little color.  The reason?  I had them on hand and they looked like they might go bad in the next few days.  Green peppers are much cheaper than the red, yellow and orange variety and really have the same exact taste as the greens.  However, you will pay dearly for the different colored peppers at the market.  You can usually pick green bell's up for 99cents/lb or less and the others are usually around the $4/lb mark.  A huge difference in price when we are just talking about color.  I suggest going to the local farm market and buying the peppers there.  Of course, when you live in Michigan, the growing season is only so long.  However, peppers can be processed and frozen and hold up pretty well if you want to take the time to do that.

Three peppers and 2 onions.  There it is.  You may want to use only 1 onion, but I like onions so I am using two.

Thin strips is what you want.

Nice thick slices of onion.

Drizzle a little olove oil into the mix.  You don't need a lot.  Because the peppers are thinly sliced, you aren't going to cook them very long.  They need a small coating of oil so they don't stick to the pan.  Maybe 2-3 TB of oil.

If you like, add some other veggies to your mix as well.  I am purest when it comes to pepper steak, but I do occasionally add a can or two of mushrooms.

You can use fresh mushrooms if you like.  Thinly sliced portabellas go great with this dish, but this is what I had on hand and I am going to use the canned.

That is it for prep work.  There is not a whole bunch to pepper steak.  Now that you have finished all the hard work in the kitchen, relax and enjoy a beer.

My second review today will be of the Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA.  I, like a lot of people, jumped on the Sam Adams bandwagon years ago because it was a very reasonably priced brew for the big taste that you got.  For some reason or other, I jumped off that wagon years ago and really haven't had any Sammy A stuff in awhile.  I saw it in the store and had never tried it so I thought why not give it a review?

It's scary sometimes buying a beer that you have never had before because you obviously are buying it to enjoy it.  However, when you want to expand your horizons and go outside the box a bit, it can be dissappointing.  I have bought my share of 6 packs of odd brews over the years and have been inspired as well as deeply dissatsified.  That is the chance you take when you go out of your comfort zone.  It's easy to get stuck in the beer rut and buy the same old song and dance.  You get used to it.  You know what to expect and I can understand the thought of going with what you know.  If you never reach outside that comfort zone you will never know what the world of beer is all about.  There are miraculous things being done with beer these days.  Some of them might make you want to vomit.  You will find that if you keep trying and experimenting, you will find barley and hop heaven.  If that isn't a reason to branch out, I don't know what is.

I'm going to hop off my soapbox now.

Look at the deep color of this brew.  Not the best picture in the world, but I think you get the gist.  When people think IPA, they usually think pasty looking beer.  Look at this though!  It looks like an amber or even a heavily malted Bock.  This is IPA that is really not IPA and I love it.  SA has taken the concept of the hop and realized that just because the bottle says IPA, it doesn't mean that that is all you should taste.  The Latitude 48 brings a lot of sweet maltiness to it that you won't find in a lot of IPA style brews.  There is definitely a lot of added hops to it.  It hits your pallatte like a freight train with the initail bitterness, however there is something more.  It finishes with the sweet malt and caramel tones and doesn't leave you with that bitter IPA taste.  It's good.  Because of this, it leaves you very full after a few and you feel like you've had a meal instead of a beer.  I think this would be a great beer to have with beef, pizza, fowl or fish.  However, realize that if you are going to have more than 2 of these, you might be too full for your supper.  Definitely not a beer to be consumed in mass quantities but would complement a meat laden meal very well.  I expect to have one with my pepper steak tonight.

Ummmmmm, yummy!   The earrings?  Please note that I don't walk around with 1 inch hoops dangling from my ears.  This was done as kind of a joke.  I had my ears pierced years and years ago and wondered if I could still wear them.   Well, I can.  I used to think it made me look cool when I was 21, however, at 36 it makes me look like a balding and fat pirate.  Not quite the look I am going for.

Okay, so there are no more posts on the pepper steak.  Reason being, I ruined it.

Here are a few things that are sure to ruin your pepper steak.

1.  Over cook the steak
2.  Over cook the vegetables

I did both.  So, what I ended up with are pieces of leather mixed with gooey bits of peppers.  Not appetizing at all.  I was mad.  I ended up throwing the whole dish out.

The beer was great.  The pepper steak-not so much.  This kind of thing happens every once in awhile to all cooks.  Sorry for no final pictures of the dish, but you would not find it very pleasing.  

And it's Classic Day at the Blog

One of the great things about beer is that there seems to be a never ending selection available to suit everyone's tastes.  There is beer brewed with fruit, beer brewed with tomato, beer brewed from sorghum.  You've got wheat beer, light beer, beer with tons of alcohol, beer with no alcohol at all.  It comes in a can, it comes in bottles, even in plastic.  There are lots of choices out there for us beer lovers who know what we want or want to try something different.

For people that just dabble in beer or who are not sure what their likings are, I have chose to review two classic brews that I don't think you can go wrong with.  To make it more interesting, I have chosen these two classics at different ends of the spectrum.  Today we are going to delve into Miller High Life and Guinness.

Miller High Life:  The Champagne of Beers!  I can hear the jeers coming through my screen from all the beer snobs out there.  To them I say phooey!  The fact that some folks think that their beer has to have a high price tag on it to be considered "good" are treading in a sea of retardedness.  Real beer drinkers know that it makes no difference if your 6 pack costs $4 or $20.  If you like it, then you like it.  Deciding what beer to buy at the local party store also depends on your mood, the time of year, etc-not just how much money you have in your wallet.

High Life brings back a lot of good memories for me.  As a child, it was the beer that I would shuttle to my father and neighbors on a bright blue skied July afternoon.  My dad drank it, his dad drank it, and I'm sure his dad's dad drank it as well.  There is something to be said about longevity.  High Life was introduced in 1903 and has had a remarkable run even winning gold at the 2002 World Beer Cup in the category of American Style Lager.

High Life is a great everyday beer.  When your buddy drops by while you are out mowing the grass, it's a beautiful thing to bring out a couple bottles of High Life and discuss if the Tigers have a chance to win the pennant.  Call me sentimental, but sitting on the porch in the heat of the afternoon with a glistening High Life bottle is Americana at it's best.

Like any beer, High Life does have it's quirks.  It's high carbonation can be a turn off to some.  The bubbles are in there to mirror the "champagne" qualities.  High Life is best served extremely cold.  It's taste will vary greatly depending on the temp.  I've had High Life that has been chilled in a semi cool fridge and thought it disgusting.  If the option is available, the best way to drink it is after it's been chilled with ice.  A galvanized tub full of ice and High Life will be a welcome addition to any summer day.  If ice isn't an option, set the temp to your beer fridge a little cooler than usual.  You will thank me for this.  

 Forgive the Hamm's glass.

Guinness.  I used to hate this brew.  I detested all it stood for and everything about it.  People would ramble on and on about how good Guinness was.  To me it tasted and looked like outhouse drippings.  This is a time in my life where quantity was much more important than quality.  The beers that I drank around this time consisted of Blatz, Milwaukee's Best and assorted 40 ouncer's of malt liquor.  It took me years to really sit down and give this one a try.  When I finally did, I saw a light.

I would be lying if I said that this is the end all be all beer.  I do like it.  I like it in small doses.  I like it at a certain time of the year.  For those occasions, nothing else will do.

The inky blackness of Guinness provides you with a very smooth tasting stout-perfect for extended discussions and cricket tournaments at the local pub.  For people who have never tried Guinness before, don't let the look of it fool you into believing you are about to drink a glass full of motor oil.  It's smooth.  It is surprisingly refreshing.  It's not a beer I would grab on a 90 degree day after I mowed the lawn, but it is semi thirst quenching.  For a stout, that is a pretty interesting thing.

The thing I enjoy about Guinness the most is the complex flavors.  Slightly acidic, hints of the dark malt lends to an almost coffee taste.  It pairs well with food.  I would recommend almost any sort of meal with this beer.  Pizza, burgers, wings all go great and compliment each other nicely.  Guinness can also be used as an ingredient in a lot of recipes.  I have used it in place of stocks for soups and stews.  Use it as a marinade for red meat and you won't be disappointed.  My wife makes a chocolate Guinness cupcake that is out of this world.  And while we are on the subject of desserts, Guinness is one of the few beers out there that actually lends flavor while eating your dessert.

Again with the Hamm's glass.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Another Winner from Bell's

Bell's Brewery never ceases to delight.  Batch 10,000 Ale is one in a long string of beers from Bell's that has simply amazed me with the taste.  Let me get the caveats out of the way:  You will NOT like this beer if....

1.  Your favorite beer in the world is Bud Light and cannot stand the taste of anything else.
2.  You think spending a lot of money on beer is a waste.

This beer is pricey!  I dropped $16 on the 6 pack.  I love good beer and will shell out the money for quality, but $16/6pack is steep even for me.  It's a good thing I had just won $25 on a scratch off lottery ticket or I might not have chosen this one.  Since the money was easy come, I thought it might as well be easy go.

Here is my take on beer and food.  If you are not willing to take the risk to try something you have never had before, you will end up regretting it later.  Food and beer are gifts that should be treated as such.  In the land of plenty, quantity is overtaking quality by storm.  I will never understand people when they rave on and on about an $8 all you can eat buffet.  When you ask them if the food was good they will usually say it was "alright" or "so-so" but it was all you can eat! 

Believe me, I remember the days of my youth taking up collections from the guys and handing a wad of singles to my sister while saying, "Get us as much as you can for whatever we have here!"  Thankfully those days are long gone.  I'm not saying that the cheaper beers aren't any good.  I'm saying that you should drink what you like, but realize there is more out there than your standard go to beer.  That being said, on with the rating of Batch 10,000.

This beer pours like a meal.  I left my 6 pack out in the back of my truck to get icy cold and it poured into my pint glass like gravy.  Partially from the cold, partially because there is a lot going on in this beer.

    The inky black color of this ale might confuse you as you pour it into your glass.  When I poured my first one, I was actually disappointed.  I thought, "Here comes another heavy and dark beer that I just paid too much for and that I am not going to like."  How wrong I was. 

There is definitely some high malt and caramel tones to this but the overall feel is like you are drinking an ale.  It goes down clean.  It doesn't linger in the back of your throat like cough medicine.  It is fresh, hoppy, and quite refreshing.  It's almost like pouring a glass of coffee stout into a pilsner.  The flavors really compliment each other and you find yourself reaching for another bottle.  This is a definitely something you want to enjoy in moderation though.  The reason-the alcohol!  My God this beer kicks you in the nuts and comes back for seconds.  At almost 10% ABV, you need to watch it with this one.  Don't think you can do the 6 pack and move on to something different.  If you do a 6 pack of this in one sitting, the only thing you will be moving on to is a bed.  High octane stuff but with a lot of flavor.  You don't taste the alcohol like you do in some potent stuff.  It is an after thought.  It is the warm feeling in your tummy and the slight buzzing in your dome that you feel.

All in all this is a beer I might get a 6 pack of once a year.  It is too pricey for me.  I get that the ABV is high but getting drunk from drinking beer is not the conclusion I am looking for.  I would suggest trying this at a restaurant if they have bottles.  You will still pay out the ass for it, but at least you won't get soaked for the total price of a 6-pack.

The goal of this blog is to expand the readers horizons.  There will be times that you get burned when you buy something out of your comfort zone.  Believe me, I have been pissed numerous times when imbibing on a new style that just doesn't float my boat.  The important thing to remember is that drinking good beer should be an enjoyable experience.  If you get the right kind and pair it with the right food, it can border on mystical.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Pulled Pork and Beer

It's been a while since I have posted something on the blog with food.  Today, since I have the day off, I have decided to let you all see what we are having for dinner tonight.  Pulled pork sandwiches! 

You might be disinterested, you may feel as though this is nothing special to post about.  My friends, unless you have have some of my pork, you have no idea what you are missing.

Pulled pork is about the easiest recipe that you can think of.  Depending on how much you want to make, it can feed a crowd, or a few grateful individuals.  Here is what you will need.

4-5 lb bone in pork butt
6 oz can of pineapple juice
BBQ sauce

Start out with the pig.

4-5 lbs bone in.  This is pork butt or shoulder.  It is usually pretty cheap simply because of it's toughness.  This is NOT a piece of meat you throw on the grill and try and consume.  This is VERY tough chewy stuff.  The only way to make this cut palletable is to cook it SLOW.  Either by smoking or baking at a low temp for a very long time.  Believe me, it is well worth the time to do this.  Most cuts of meat are priced not on their taste but on their tenderness.  Round steak, for instance is super cheap while tenderloin is pricey.  It has nothing to do with how well this cut is going to taste, just on how long you have to prepare it for it tasting good.  If you have the time, please check out some of the so called cheap cuts.  If prepared the correct way, you will not be sorry. 

You have to put a rub on this pork.  Even though the market is flooded with premade rubs for beef, pork, poultry, etc, don't be fooled.  These rubs that you buy at the store can be made at your own home for a fraction of the cost.  A pre-made rub you would buy at the local grocery will cost you at least $4 for a 8-12oz shaker.  90% of what is in that shaker is salt.  Don't be fooled into buying them. They may say they are true Carolina rubs or Memphis style rubs.  All they are is a shaker full of salt and not much more.  Make your own and save $4.

My rub below consists of few ingredients.  They are:
Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Brown Sugar
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper

That's it, that's all.  2 parts brown sugar to 1 part salt.  Add in your garlic powder and black pepper to taste.

Here is what it looks like all stirred up.  I like a sweet rub myself.  If you are more into salt or heat, use what you want.  The rub is all about personal choice.  Now rub the pig.

 Rub it all over.  Get in the crevices and cracks.  Don't be shy with it.  Pork butt is a dull tasting piece of meat.  A lot of the flavor you get from this recipe is from what you add.  It may look like a lot but remember you are cooking a 5 lb piece of meat.  There is a lot of flesh to soak up the salt, sugar, seasonings, etc.  Pour it on!
Since this is going to cook for so long, I like to add a little liquid to the mix.  I use pineapple juice.  You don't need a lot.  I use an 8oz can.  Again, you can use whatever you want to for flavor.  I have used red and white wine, beer, stock, etc.  I prefer pineapple juice.  It lends to the breakdown of the tissue and provides a nice sweet flavor to the meat.  No more than 12 oz's or you'll end up with soup.  Special note:   WHATEVER YOU DO, MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT PUT BBQ SAUCE ON THIS MEAT AS IT COOKS!  If you do this, you will get BBQ flavored soup.  No one wants that.  Sauce is a condiment and should be used sparingly.  You want to taste the flavor of pork and spices, not just sauce.

Once the pig is covered with rub, it is ready for the oven.  Preheat your oven for 225degrees.  Put the rubbed piece of meat in a cast iron dutch oven or roasting pan and cover it.  Walk away.

As I stated, shoulder is tough.  The only way to break down those fibers is to hammer the hell out of it with a mallet or cook it slow and a low.  You will not believe how tender this piece of pork is when it is done.

Depending on how much you have, I usually cook my pork at 225 degrees for about 10 hours.  That's right, 10 hours.  It is so low a temp you can walk away from the stove and you are not going to worry about it burning or getting tough.  This took me all of 10 minutes to prepare.  Time for a beer.

I went within my comfort zone today.  IPA.  This is Sacred Cow IPA from Arbor Brewing in Ypsilanti, MI.  I never thought that something good would come out of someplace so close to Ann Arbor but I've got to admit, this is one tasty IPA.  Take a look at the color.  In my opinion, this is what an IPA should look like.

Doesn't that look good?  With an IPA, there is a fine line with me.  I don't want the beer to be so skunky hoppy that it chokes me as I drink, but I don't want a watered down, light tasting, 88 calorie bunch of nonsense either.  Meet me in the middle and I am a happy man.  This is exactly what this IPA does.  Good color, hint of malt, nice brash taste of hops.  It quenches my thirst.  It makes me long for another.  There are also hints of a fresh herb taste.  It's hard to describe, but if you have ever had the Fat Tire IPA, you will know what I mean.  It's good beer.  If I went to a bar and this was on tap, I would be hitting this plenty.  It goes great with the pulled pork, and I think it would be a compliment to any bar menu out there.  It is pricey.  At $10/6pack, you can do better for the money.  However,  it is getting increasingly more difficult to find micro brew that is under the $10 range.  My suggestion is to savor this fella and to find yourself a cheaper "everyday" beer.  This is some serious good tasting brew folks.  Go out and get a 6 pack at your nearest party store.  If they don't carry it, request that they do.  As far as an IPA goes, I would give this beer 4.5 out of 5 stars. 


Here is the pig.  10 hours of roasting.

Like butta.

Toss this meat with your favorite BBQ and serve on a bun.  I like pickles on top of mine.  This pig is served with tater salad and slaw.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


If you are ever looking for a good English pale ale check out Boddingtons.  These pint cans of pub ale goodness are available most everywhere since InBev bought it back a few years.  I have only seen these packaged in 4 pint cans with the distinct yellow and black can making it hard to miss.  

I am a fan of draft beer.  There is nothing that makes my heart race with joy as a bartender filling a glass pint full of suds from a tap.  Truly a wonderful thing.  If you want a tap taste in a can, Boddingtons does a great job with this beauty installing a DRAUGHTFLOW widget into each can.  When you pop the top, the widget releases the carbonation and gives the beer a great head.  Word to the wise, make sure you have your glass at the ready for pouring as this can will start to overflow quickly. 

Good taste to this beer.  A slight bitterness lends to the drinkability but doesn't overpower you.  It's almost like drinking a glass of iced tea.  Very low in alcohol content, 3.5ABV, Boddingtons allows for long nights of darts and snooker with friends without getting too snookered.  It's pure English ale at it's best.  I've never seen this on tap at any bar, but consdering the area that I live, that isn't surprising.  The one caveat with this brew is the price.  At almost $8 for 4 pint cans, it is a little pricey, especially if you are going for long bouts of drinking.  I would imagine the price on tap would be better if you can find it, but I'm not holding my breath for my area.  As far as pairing this with food, any pub food would be grand with this.  It's thirst quenching abilities will truly come in handy with the wings, red meat, and salty snacks found in most bars.

Beer tastes better in bibs!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hell Hath No Fury

Part of the enjoyment I get out of beer are the wide varieties and styles that this drink offers.  However, I am guilty of getting into a rut.  Most beer drinkers have their favorites.  If you read my blog, you are probably guessing that I am a fan of the lighter style IPA's and wheat beers.  It is very easy to go into your local beer store and see that familiar 6 pack and just put in in the cart.  I am going out of my comfort zone today.

While out running errands I decided to stop into the local market to see if there were any new brews that tickled my fancy.  I always stop in the Michigan beer section first.  Michigan produces some awesome beer and the new brewers are popping up like crazy.  While glancing around the cooler the phrase Hell Hath No Fury made me stop.  It was a Bell's product.  Picking up a bottle from the pack I read that this was a Belgian Dubbel style ale, meaning this was going to be some strong stuff.  This ale tops out at 7.7% ABV.  Nothing like a barley wine but some pretty tuff stuff.  I usually don't get into the high alcohol beers because they can really put the hurt on you fast and often have a strong alcohol flavor to them.  If I am looking to taste the alcohol, I will kick back a shot or two of Jack.

This is some serious stuff.  Dark as hell!  Usually when you are buying an ale with this description you don't expect this.  However, Bell's has done a great job with HHNF.  Very subtle coffee and chocolate notes but with a clean finish.  It has a lot of a porter/stout smell and look but Bell's has done a great job with finishing this beer off clean-almost oily.  I don't get a lot of lingering flavors after a drink.  For a man that loves the lighter fare, I can see myself drinking this on occasion.  It's different, it warms you, it feels like a meal-or at least part of one.  I see this as a great after dinner beer.  Finish off your supper with one of these and I don't think you'll be disappointed.  It's got the warming feel of a port wine or a brandy but doesn't linger too long.

This is not a beer that you will enjoy in long bouts of drinking.  Too heavy, too much alcohol, too much too much!  This is a great brew to order with a dinner out.  Order a cheese plate for dessert with this beer and you will be a happy man.  You will definitely want something rich with this beer.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I'm Pissed Off!  The reason?  The beer that I bought yesterday is truly not what I wanted. 

Getting back to all things beer, I thought that this post would be dedicated to the drink that so many of us love.  Sorry this has to be ranting and raving, but that is all I can do at this point.

Trying to shop for beer in Michigan can be difficult.  I truly believe that buying from the state of Michigan whenever we can is a good thing.  Whether that is produce or a vehicle, I think that keeping it local is great for the Michigan economy.  Depending on where you live in Michigan, your local beer store might stock nothing but Budweiser and Miller or, if you have the benefit of living in the Traverse City area, you are exposed to a great number of local micro-brews.  I picked up a 6 pack of Mt. Pleasant Brewing Company Iron Horse IPA.

IPA is one of my favorite styles of beers.  The bitterness and thirst quenching qualities of IPA is the reason I love it so much.  It goes great with all the food that I love, it usually has a lower alcohol content so that you can have a few pints without feeling the need to call a cab, etc.  After my first taste of Iron Horse I knew that something had gone wrong.

Listen, I love hops!  I love bitter beer.  But when I buy an IPA I expect it to be an IPA and not the double and triple hopped beers that a lot of the breweries are doing nowadays.  If I wanted to buy that sort of thing I would have bought it.  I wanted nothing more than a decent IPA and what I got was a super dose of hops. 

Call me a complainer, call me a whiner....However, when I have to plug my nose to have a sip of beer I knew that I went wrong somewhere.  There is nothing but bitterness from this brew.  No flowery aroma, no hint of pine, no citrus notes.  Bitterness.  Bitterness to the point that it makes your stomach hurt just drinking it. 

I know there is a market out there for this type of beer.  A lot of people are leaning towards the hoppiness and want the most bitter tasting concoction they can get their hands on.  That's fine, just market your beer to what you are brewing.  It's like buying a Miller High Life and tasting a wine cooler.  It's like buying a bottle of Gentlemen Jack and having it taste like gin.  It's not what I wanted.

I don't buy beer to get drunk.  If a good drunk was all that I was after I would buy a 30 pack of Natural Lite Ice and go to town.  I buy my beer because I want to taste it.  I buy it because I want to savor every flavor that comes from the bottle.  If I am in the mood for stout, I buy a stout.  If I want to go after the taste of Porter, I buy a Porter.  Just because the flavor of the day in beer has become hopped up IPA's doesn't mean I want to drink that.  Tell me what I am about to buy and let me make my own decision.  The letters I P A doesn't give anyone the right for anyone to dump in as many hops as they want and still get to call it an IPA. 

If you are a fan of very hoppy brews, Iron Horse IPA from Mt. Pleasant Brewing Company will fit your bill.  If you are looking for a true IPA, steer clear.  Drink this brew with very rich savory foods.  I am thinking a meat laden pizza, eggs, hearty cheese, or rich cuts of beef. 

I'm choking on hops here!  Someone please give me a glass of water!