Thursday, March 06, 2014

Inside the Odd Side: 2013 Morningwood Stout Release

Written by  Dan VanderKooi
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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.
Odd Side Ales in the past year has expanded beyond the pub into a production and bottling facility to allow for increasing demand for their small batch beer. I made a special trip to the new facility to get a peek behind the scenes for this year’s release. Many mainstays have already been bottled and available in 6-packs at better beer stores all around, including such popular releases as the Mayan Mocha Stout, Citra Pale Ale, and seasonal release, the Beanflicker coffee blonde. A typical bottling run at the production facility is 800 cases of beer for a two-man operation, which entails an early start and long day for those involved.

Being a special release, this year’s Morningwood Stout was a small run of only 120 cases which are available (while supplies last) only at the pub. Being a smaller release, employees were still up early but in good mood as the atmosphere was very relaxed being a much smaller run than a typical bottling day. Due to being run on the new bottling line for the first time ever, this year’s release is available in 4-packs of 12 ounce bottles as opposed to the hand-bottled previous year’s “bombers”. Also, this year’s batch was aged longer and in Heaven’s Hill barrels boosting the ABV up to 9% which should accommodate the better extended aging of the beer as popular among many.

For this year’s release party, Them 2 Guys provided music while a packed pub enjoyed their breakfast and beer. I had an opportunity to try the 2011 and 2012 batches of Morningwood Stout for comparison purposes with this year’s batch. I can say this year’s batch is certainly another winner! I also tried the excellent “Grandma’s Pie” collaboration beer with Vander Mill cidery and grabbed a 4-pack another newly available bottle release Firefly, a papaya and habanero pale ale, to go. 2013 Morningwood Stout is expected to sell-out fast so check with the brewery about availability before stopping in and keep an eye out for a keg-tapping near you!

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.