National Beer Lover's Day

Friday, September 7th, is National Beer Lover’s Day.  What beer do you drink on this day? Since I don’t know your favorite beer except for what sells the best, I will give you my favorite beer items.  National Beer Lover’s Day cannot be pinpointed as to its origin.  We do know that beer has been being made for a very long time, beer has changed considerably over time, and that beer is as popular as it ever has been in time.  George Washington wrote down a beer recipe that you can view, in his own handwriting, on the web.  William Penn, the famous Quaker and founder of America, had a brewery in the colony of Pennsylvania.  So, there were definitely beer lovers amongst the founders of this nation.  And it was beer loving German immigrants that brought their brewing history with them to America that got the beer industry moving.

I have developed a good relationship with beer over time and have had amazing experiences trying and tasting new beer items.  It comes with the job.  One of the fun parts of beer is they all have a story.  The families that have started successful breweries have a rich history of beer making.  Also, beer is food.  It is made from grains, water, yeast, and hops.  Sometimes we forget that beer starts with farming, that all important foundation industry.

My first favorite beer choice is Jaw Jacker from Arcadia brewing in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  I really like this beer for its drinkability and its ability to pair with many foods.  I also love pumpkin pie, which is probably why this beer is on my top 10 list.  Even though there is no pumpkin in the Jaw Jacker recipe, one could only hope.  If you get a chance to go to Arcadia’s brewery in Kalamazoo, you will be doing yourself a food favor.  I go there just for the sides.  Arcadia’s smoked meats are probably the best smoked meats I’ve tasted.  The sides that go with the smoked meats are spot on and the Jaw Jacker pairs very well with them.  You owe it to yourself to experience Arcadia Brewery.  You will be happy you went and you will end up repeating your visits to this outstanding establishment. Available in Michigan stores.

The second beer on my favorite beer list is SeaQuench from Dogfish Head Brewery.  Sea is in the name because it has sea salt as an ingredient.  Quench because it is very satisfying at quenching your thirst.  Crisp flavors of black limes and sea salt make this beer tasty.  Voted best low cal beer by Men’s Health for the second year in a row.  It has 140 calories, 9 carbs, with 4.9% ABV.  This beer pairs with anything seafood. Available in all Family Fare stores.

Next is Dirty Bastard from Founders, located in Beer City USA.  This is a scotch ale style beer from our friends at Founders Brewing.  Seven imported malts make up the backbone of the scotch ale.  It has a malty richness and a finish of smoke and peat.  All this is finished with a great hop application.  This beer is not for the faint of heart.  It is a great cheese pairing beer as well.  The ABV is 8.5% and boasts 50 IBUs.  Speaking of a great atmosphere, you need to also visit their brew pub in Grand Rapids.  They have a chili made with this beer that is served in a bread bowl.  If you have this for lunch, you won’t need dinner that day. Available in all Family Fare stores.

I would be remiss if I didn’t put Soft Parade on my favorite’s list.  Soft Parade is one of Joe Short’s original beer items that he made.  Four types of real fruit, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry make up the personality of this easy drinking beer.  Joe refers to this beer as a beer with fruit and not a fruit beer.  Joe had just made one of his first batches of this beer and was driving to Boyne City when song, “Soft Parade” came on the radio; hence the moniker for this beer.  I first tried this beer at the Villager Pub in Charlevoix and paired it with their famous ribs.  It was a great combination of fruit and pork. Available in Michigan stores.

Last for this blog of my favorite beer would be Blue Moon from Boulder, Colorado.  One of my first experiences with beer that wasn’t a Miller High Life.  By the way, I still love Miller High Life today, but that is a different story.  Blue Moon is a Belgian style wit bier. This beer is made with Valencia orange peel and coriander.  When people tasted this beer in the ball park they said this beer only comes around once in a blue moon.  Thus the transition to the new name of this beer.  The orange slice served with the beer came about because many beer items were being served with lemons.  Wishing to be a little different, this beer was recommended to have orange instead of lemon wedged on the glass.  The sweetness pairs great with this beer’s slight tart finish.  This beer is in our ad this week in a 15pk can.  A great beer at a great deal. In this weeks ad in Michigan and available at a great price everyday in all Family Fare stores.

Greg Vanoverloop Beer Wine Spirits Category Manager
Greg VanOverloop, Beer & Wine Specialist
  • Started in the Grocery business bagging at D&W in 1975.  Worked at D&W for 30 years in various departments.
  • Worked at SpartanNash for 11 years.  Currently the Category Manager for Wine/Beer/Spirits for SpartanNash East.
  • Have been a category manager since 1990 and a category manager of beer  since 1997.  CM of wine and spirits since 2007.
  • Have travelled extensively which provided the opportunity to taste many foods and beverages from Hong Kong to Caribbean, from California to Maine.
  • Love to cook, grill, and bake, snow ski, sail, and read books.    Best baked item – a bourbon pecan pie with rum crust.  Best grilled item – salmon with blueberry onion wine sauce and goat cheese.  Best cooked item – Squash Apple soup with bourbon.  Best ski slope – Go Devil at Keystone.  Best book – Wonder.
  • 1 wife, 3 children, 7.3 grandchildren.