Beer, Beer, & Better Beer | HopCat

Beer, Beer, & Better Beer

HopCat's Parent Company named West Michigan's Sustainable Business of the Year
By Troy Reimink, BarFly/HopCat Webmaster | November 1, 2017
Sustainability

BarFly Ventures -- which operates the HopCat restaurant family as well as Stella's Lounge, Grand Rapids Brewing Company and the Waldron Public House in Grand Rapids -- has been named Sustainable Business of the Year by the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.

In presenting the honor, WMSBF noted the ongoing waste-reduction efforts at all BarFly restaurants, where we train our employees to separate refuse by what is compostable and recyclable, allowing us to divert about 90 percent of material that would otherwise end up in landfills.

The forum also cited the fact that HopCat is often the first business in its market to open with a goal of zero waste. “All of its food waste, spent grain, take-out containers, straws, disposable cups, and paper waste is currently composted as new soil for local farmers, 3,870 cubic yards in 2017.” HopCat’s partnerships with local sustainability nonprofits in each market we enter also was a factor in the honor, according to a release on the WMSBF website.

Autumn Sands, BarFly’s Sustainability Manager, said in a statement: “We are honored by the recognition and so grateful to be a part of the Forum, surrounded by the growing number of business and community leaders working tirelessly to make a positive impact within our community.”

The WMSBF awards Sustainable Business of the Year based on a vote by among its members and affiliated organizations. BarFly’s team accepted the honor last week at the Triple Bottom Line Bash last week in Grand Rapids.

Click here to read more about BarFly’s sustainability efforts. 

[Photo courtesy of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum] 

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Here's why your beer glass is shaped that way
By Troy Reimink, BarFly/HopCat Webmaster | October 26, 2017
Glasses

If you’re a relative newcomer to craft beer, you might have wondered why some kinds of beers come in “normal”-looking pint glasses, and others are…different. Snifters. Tulips. Mini snifters. Flutes. Vases. And so forth.

 Our beer menus contain an infographic which type of beer is served in each different glass. But our servers will occasionally get confused looks when a sour or extra-hoppy beer is delivered in a tulip.  We’re not passing judgement on you in any sense by implying that you should drink out of a fancy-looking chalice or goblet. It’s just that not every beer belongs in the same container. 

The knowledgeable people at CraftBeer.com have put together a set of graphics that offer a useful primer in glassware for the craft beer drinker. [Click here to read.]

A few takeaways: 

- The shape of the glass is important for the containment of foam and concentration of the various aromas and flavors that vary by the style of beer.

- Ideally, the only craft beer you should be drinking out of a “regular” pint glass – a.k.a. a Nonic pint – is something dark (a stout or porter) or something bitter and hoppy (pale ale or IPA).

- The tulip is great anything tart, sour, hoppy or fruity – it signals a bold flavor, pretty much.

- If your glass is cold, something is wrong. Beer glasses of any shape should be stored at room temperature. Anything colder will negatively impact the flavor – no matter what the bartender pulling mass-produced beer into a frosted mug tells you.

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Unicorn beers to try at HopCat Kzoo's Wood & Wild Fest
Craig Stage, HopCat Kalamazoo Beer Program Manager | October 19, 2017
Wood & Wild, Barrel-Aged

As we continue the countdown to our Wood & Wild Festival -- taking place Oct. 22 at every HopCat location -- we're checking in with our expert beer managers for suggestions about beers to try at each of our restaurants. Here, HopCat Kalamazoo's Craig Stage suggests a few "unicorns" (beers so epic and legendary they defy comprehension) that will be featured at Wood & Wild - HCKZ:

Greyline Brewing Co. - Shugga Milk:
At under 10% it isn't the world's strongest Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Stout, but sometimes that's in your best interest. Silky vanilla, chocolate, a full body from a dose of oats, and some bourbony vanilla goodness, and you've got a new favorite beer.

Odd Side Ales - Sweet Potato Souffle Rye Ale:
This bad boy won Gold at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival. Picture eating a nice, cinnamony pumpkin bisque with a dusting of nutmeg and a nice hint of rye. Top it off with a big ol' dollop of whipped cream. Now make that a beer.

One Well Brewing - Bourbon Barrel Aged Wizard Potion:
One of Kalamazoo's brightest breweries is in the house! Clocking in at 12%, Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Wizard Potion has everything we love about barrel-aged beers; a touch of booze, plenty of chocolate, some vanilla, some coffee…I’m in heaven.

Brewery Vivant - Escoffier:
Originally released in 2012 as a collaboration with New Belgium Brewing, expect everything you love about sour beer - some sharp tartness that tapers and dries away, with plenty of funk, some citrus, and fruit flavor.

Clown Shoes Beer - Bluegrass Billionaire:
Life in liquid form. A monster 12.5% Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Barleywine, Bluegrass Billionaire has dark fruit, brown sugar, vanilla, and a healthy dose of bourbon to cover your mouth like eating a little spoonful of molasses.

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