Posted by: marcmwm | October 3, 2008

Beer O’Clock — Michigan State

Benz is back!!!

Went in tonight after golf and went a little crazy, mostly with a bunch of bombers I’ve never heard of.

New since the flood, they have a meat and cheese counter. I don’t know much about either, but I can’t wait to experiment. I picked up some Stonewall Kitchen Spicy Tomato Salsa and some Louisiana Peppa chips and am sweating on my keyboard. I’ll try to put out the fire with an Anchor Small.

The selection isn’t there yet, but give it time. This is the first day after a 500-year flood.

I went a little crazy, just picking stuff off shelves that I’ve never heard of. Of course, I picked up some standbys, Guinness Extra Stout and Red Stripe and Anchor Small and some Rogue.

Here are a couple experiments:

Entire Butt English Porter

It’s a 4.80 ABV English Porter brewed by Salopian Brewing Company Ltd.

The original English term for porter, “Entire Butt,” means essentially “the whole barrel.” This translates into American English as “everything but the kitchen sink.” It’s made with 14 different malts and 3 hop varieties to achieve the effect of a blend of ales. So, hang on tight. 

Salopian is one of England’s great new small breweries, with a rapidly growing reputation and a pile of awards garnered in a very short time.

I’ll let you know on this one. I’m not cracking it open tonight.

The Alstrom Brothers who run Beeradvocate give it an A+, which is “world class,” according to their ratings scale.

Todd writes, “Welcome to the last beer of your life. You could, without a doubt, have this beer on your death bed and feel like you actually lived a full-life.”

Sloeber Ale

It’s a Belgian Strong Ale with a 7.50 ABV. One 11.2 ounce bottle was $3.29, so it’s expensive.

Sloeber is the Flemish name for an epicure, somebody who likes the good things in life in a somewhat naughty way.  With 7.5 ABV, it’s good with meals, I read.

The blond ales were the first defense of the Belgian brewers against the emergence of the Pilsner beer in the early 20th century: more flavor, more aroma and higher in alcohol.

Sloeber rates a “B” on 23 reviews at Beeradvocate.

DogFood11 writes, “Notes: Eh . . . I paid a pretty penny for this 11oz offering and I would never pay that again. It runs up against the price per value calculation and loses. Decent beer, but not for the price. Next.”

This pick this week is Two Hearted Ale, from Kalamazoo own Bell’s Brewery, Inc. This is a Joe Wagner recommendation. I suggested it to my Hawkeye friend and co-worker Greg, who’s up in Michigan right now enjoying East Lansing. (We’re chartering up in the morning. I’d rather drive, but I’m outranked here.)

Joe said the Two Hearted is brewed only in the fall and winter and after three or four you won’t care what the temperature is. (It’s got a rocking 7.0 ABV.)

Bell’s is a relatively new brewery, sold its first beer in 1985, but it has a growing repuation. I know you could buy a lot of their brands at Benz. Maybe they’ll be back.

Bell’s has the Eccentric Cafe:

The Eccentric Cafe:

On June 11, 1993, Bell’s Brewery, Inc. became the first Michigan brewery to serve beer by the glass to the public. The Eccentric Cafe offers customers a chance to taste many of our well known beers, as well as small batch brews that are not distributed outside of the pub. Visitors enjoy its warm atmosphere and spacious beer garden. The Eccentric also features interesting food, an extensive collection of art and ephemera, and live music Thursday through Saturday. The Eccentric’s entertainment schedule is on the web,, or call 269-382-2332.

Here’s what Bell’s writes about Two Hearted: “India Pale Ale style well suited for Hemingway-esque trips to the Upper Peninsula. American malts and enormous hop additions give this beer a crisp finish and incredible floral hop aroma.”

It’s big on Beeradvocate, rating an “A” even in the face of 1,244 reviews, which is outstanding.

Ruckzuck writes: “Incredible! I now see why my DC friend buys this stuff all the time. Bell’s: COME TO GEORGIA! Can’t recommend this enough if you’re a fan of American IPA’s. Delicious, balanced, and completely drinkable. I have 3 left and will be savoring each. This is one of the most standout beers I’ve had in a while.”

I told Greg he should give it a try, but I don’t think he strays very far from the macros.



  1. Affirmation, baby!

    You’re going to be a little over an hour’s drive from the Bell’s brewery. I would assume your work schedule will not include a detour to K’Zoo. But, I would hope you could find a party store on your way to the airport and pick up a sixer.

    What’s a party store? Glad you asked. Having been exiled in Michigan for 8 years I grew quite familiar with them. They’re similar to what we Iowans call convenience stores less the gas.

    I spent the longest week of my life one day in East Lansing. I still have nightmares of Plaxico Burress scoring touchdowns on us. It was the only game I ever went to at Spartan Stadium. My experience at the Breslin Center wasn’t much better.
    Finally, a couple of beer-related links you should be aware of…

    Does the Gazette allow beer in the news room?

    Why you won’t be finding Two Hearted at Benz (or any other Iowa retailer)…

  2. First link — Will so be buying one of those.

    Second link — Calling my congressman. But I’m sort of resigned to the idea of driving to Madison for the Arrogant Bastard and Ruination, probably stopping in East Dubuque for Old Rasputin, which I’m out of right now.

    Maybe I can pull off a trip to a party store. We’re landing two hours before the game. I get to drive to the stadium.

    Ferentz refers to that game, Joe, as the “Jurassic Park” game. MSU was so much bigger and stronger. That was my first official game on the beat in 1999. I started that season covering ISU, but I only missed the Northern Illinois game.

    A lot of people, Gerry Dinardo and Kirk Herbstreit, have picked the upset tomorrow. I didn’t but they did. They probably know more than I do, right?

  3. It’s tough to win on the road in the Big Ten. I was surprised to see the opening line move towards Iowa as the week progressed. I tend to think people’s money is a lot smarter than the so-called “experts” on TV.

    I would expect MSU to come at Stanzi with a lot of different looks. You have to make him beat you. Put 8 in the box, drop the ends back into coverage, etc. He’s still very young and learning to play at this level. You have to figure Greene will be asked to carry the load again. If Iowa wants to win, they can’t get down big early as they just don’t have the offense to chase you. And, Greene, has to play the whole game. As physical as he is, I shudder to think how effective he could be in the 4th qtr after banging into people all day if he can keep his legs (and head) about him. Hopefully I can catch some of the game on TV tomorrow in between yard work and hanging out with my kids.

    If by “Jurassic Park” he means were were the goat lowered into the cage, he’s pretty accurate. As bad as that game was in ’99, we actually had a pretty fun time. We were the only Iowa fans in a sea of green and I was pretty well inebriated. I brought a flask of Crown Royal into the game, thinking I could mix it with 7-Up to pace myself. As the game progressed, the ratio changed. We got more boisterous and started cheering very loudly when Iowa would make a first down. Then it became whenever they got positive yardage. Fortunately, we weren’t obnoxious and the fans around us knew we were just having fun and seemed to enjoy it too.

    I wasn’t sure I’d ever be willing to go see the Hawks play in the state of Michigan again. But, in 2002, we decided to head over to Ann Arbor. I’ve never seen 100k people so quiet. That was almost as much fun as Iowa v. Michigan in ’85.

  4. Yeah, definitely the goats and the MSU players, Burress specifically, were giants.

    Yes, 2002 Michigan, I remember them singing the fight song in the end zone. The “MICHIGAN” in the end was blotted out by Hawkeyes. It was more “M—IGAN.”

  5. The Eccentric Cafe is an interesting little stop in Kazoo. My only beef is that Bell’s only has a handful of their beers on tap there (as they’ve gotten bigger, the brewing operation has moved elsewhere–the cafe is part of the original brewery).

    I imagine Benz should have a least a few offerings form Bell’s. John’s in Iowa City usually carries four or five options. Two Hearted is good, but they also make a great stout (one year, they made half a dozen variations).

    Bell’s must have stirred things up in Michigan, as the state now has a large number of mircos and brewpubs. Check out Dirty Bastard from Grand Rapids’ Founders Brewery–I’ve seen that on the shelves in Iowa.

  6. I spent many evenings in Founders. I always liked their Breakfast Stout. It didn’t have that overly roasted taste like a lot of stouts and porters I’ve come across.

  7. Joe, took your advice and bought a 12 pack of Two Hearted at a “party” store across from the airport.

    Drank two at 15,000 feet and felt like I had my legs kicked out from under me.

  8. I told you it was good.

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