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.

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 no fracking way

Barley, hops, yeast, and water. These four ingredients all play a pivotal if not essential roles in the beverage we all know and love as beer. Of the four, water may be the most often overlooked and taken for granted. While each ingredient plays a key role in the brewing process, any good brewmaster will tell you that a great beer is nothing without good water as a foundation to build upon. Michigan would certainly not be the great beer State that it is without being blessed with the abundance of great drinking water that our Great Lakes provide.

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The sun came out early and decided to stay out all afternoon for this past weekend’s Beerfest at the Ballpark much to the welcoming of the thousands of attendees of the sold out festival. The event was put together in conjunction with I’m a Beer Hound’s own Paul Starr and the Cooley Law School Stadium in downtown Lansing, home of the Lansing Lugnuts. Over 30 breweries were spread out over 4 zones; with 2 zones being outside the entrance to the stadium and 2 zones inside the concourse.

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Pigeon Hill Brewing Company opened recently in downtown Muskegon to full capacity with visitors from all over West Michigan and beyond anxious to check out what the newest downtown brewery has to offer. Members of the sold-out Pigeon Hill Club got the first peak; and also by the breweries second weekend of opening were even given an opportunity to fill the limited edition Grolsch-style resealable deluxe growlers included with membership.
Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Brewing the Beer Hound Brown

 beer hound brown

The Beer Hound Brown will be ready for release at Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply very soon; stay tuned for at I’m a Beer Hound for details. The brew session took place recently with Gravel Bottom assistant brewer Brett Langschied along with representatives from the Muskegon Ottawa Brewers including award-winning homebrewer Russ Smith whose take on the recipe was chosen among several MOB contributions to be up-scaled for production at the Ada brewery.


I made the rounds in Muskegon again this year checking out Oberon wherever to be found as fresh as can be for the week following this year’s release. Buffalo Wild Wings once again tapped Oberon at midnight laying claim as one if not the first in town for those willing to stay up late on the Sunday preceding the wide release. Handsome Henry’s was close on their heels for a tapping early the next day.

Founders Brewing Co. promoted this year’s KBS release with a full week long celebration. Similar to last year, the bottle release was spread throughout the week with pre-ticketed online sales; However, the draft release party for the pub was saved up for an end of the week release party. Something new for this year, prior to the tapping 15 local restaurants and pubs received the privilege of being the first to each receive one keg of KBS to be tapped at various times throughout the week.

Muskegon’s Unruly Brewing chose St. Patrick’s Day Weekend as a release party for their first ever barrel-aged beers. The all-day celebration included Irish-themed bands, food, and an impressive 12 taps including hard ciders from Vander Mill. The brewery opened early at 10 AM as the 3rd annual Muskegon St. Patrick’s Day Parade was preparing it’s morning trek down nearby Clay Avenue in plain view of the Russell Block building which Unruly Brewing and coffee house Drip Drop Drink call home.

The release of Morningwood Stout has become quite a tradition at Grand Haven’s Odd Side Ales. Every Black Friday, the brewery has opened the doors early, encouraging patrons attend in their PJs to celebrate a morning of breakfast and beer. This year’s release party was no exception albeit some exciting changes have been occurring behind the scenes in regards to the 2013 release.
Thursday, March 06, 2014

Recap of 2014 Winter Beer Festival

This year’s Winter Beer Festival at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park was another one for the record books. A record number of breweries, a record number of beers, and of course, once again selling out in a record time of just a few hours. For an epic drinking excursion of this magnitude, a degree of pre-fest sustenance is desirable, and I found mine to be had at Brewery Vivant’s Brewer’s Big Breakfast. Menu items ranging from Chicken & Waffles, PB&J Crepe Cake, or signature Duck Nachos were paired up with Monk-Mosa’s (OJ & Farmhand,) plus all of Vivant’s speciality beer fest beers including the Love Shadow barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout made for a great head start for the big event.

Coinciding with the same weekend as Perrin’s 1-Year anniversary Backyard Beer Bash, Michigan Irish Music Festival at Muskegon’s Heritage Landing brought Perrin into town for an exclusive beer tasting featuring one of the very first tappings of the new barrel aged Malted Milk Ball Imperial Porter. I attended the final day of this year’s 3-day festival and enjoyed the variety including food, music, and beer with an emphasis on both local and Irish.
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