1 Jan: The Mitten Beer Quest Begins in Grand Rapids with Founders and HopCat
For some reason it seemed fitting that the first beer of the year be a Breakfast Stout from Founders. Maybe it was because the Mitten Beer Quest was official born there, maybe it was because it was breakfast. Regardless, a proper pour in a proper glass in front of the wood stove was the best way to begin the year.
It was also the perfect brewery to begin the Quest. It was with minimal planning that we began, a habit I was not to follow. I also quickly learned that eating and drinking as much as we did at both Founders and HopCat that night was going to bring this adventure to a quick, grinding halt. I realized on 2 January that if I had any chance of succeeding, it was going to require more restraint and less hangover.
This trip to Founders was strangely reserved. The place was a bit quiet as I am sure the vast majority of people were home sleeping off New Year’s Eve parties. It left us KBS, and way too many other beers to dive into. The holiday lights were still on and the four of us made our way through quite the list which included: Lizard of Koz, Nitro Oatmeal Stout, Double Trouble, Exfiltration IPA and Werewolf Lazer Circus. My very first Founders Mug Club Mug went home with me that night much to the glee of my nerd girl’s heart.
HopCat remains one of my favorite places in Grand Rapids. There are so many memories of being surrounded by my Army Reserve friends up in the loft on Drill weekends. It is now a tradition with our friends to end up here when it is late and eventually we will be graced with Ben and his celery antics. I’m slowly learning to wean myself from the tap list, ever so lovely, and venture into making choices from the extensive bottle list on the back of the beer menu. As my beer knowledge becomes more sophisticated, I appreciate being able to extend my palate.