ROCKFORD, Mich. — MittenBrew.com and Rockford Brewing Company are teaming up for a release party Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the new oatmeal raisin craft brew called “Grandma’s Cookies.

On Feb. 7, the Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival will once again take over downtown. Over 50 breweries will be represented at the festival and four music stages will be rocking with great music throughout the day.

Breweries come from near and far each year for this event. Local breweries at this year’s festival include Workshop Brewery, Stormcloud and The Filling Station. Other favorite breweries from throughout the state will also be there, including Blackrocks, Odd Side, Griffin Claw and Arcadia Ales. Many breweries are also participating in the rare and local hop beer tour.

And this year’s music lineup has something for everyone, with each band bringing its own unique flair. The Chardon Polka Band will be playing, and they aren’t your average polka band. And if polka isn’t your thing, you can try your hand at dancing to the African rhythm of Afro Zuma, based out of Grand Rapids. Then there’s Black Jake and The Carnies, who add a carnival flair to their already unique sound. You’ll also find The Mainstays, Blake Elliott & The Robinson Affair, Turbo Suit and Mike Maines & The Branches on stage throughout the day.

In between beer stops and musical performers, you’ll also find the legendary Silent Disco, the return of the Homebrewer’s Challenge, and various local food trucks.

This winter festival is usually a one-day event. This year’s festival, however, can easily be turned into a weekend-long event. If you’re looking to get a head start on the festival weekend, there will be a Brewer’s Social at Jolly Pumpkin Friday evening.

This evening of “beer, food and fun” will feature Younce Guitar Duo and Miriam Pico, a pint of beer and an amazing dinner. The menu features sriracha mayo artisan pizzas, a slider station with hickory smoked pulled pork with jalepeno slaw, a sausage station that includes beer braised sauerkraut and many other mouth-watering options.

And to replenish after the festivities, a Recovery Brunch is being held at Blue Tractor Sunday morning. There will be specials on Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas as well as a delectable “recovery” menu.

For full festival information, and to purchase tickets, please visit microbrewandmusic.com. You can also follow the Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival on Facebook for all the latest festival updates.

perrin brewing

COMSTOCK PARK — Perrin Brewing Co. and Colorado’s Oskar Blues Brewery have announced Cornlaboration, a collaboration lager between the two breweries.

The lager is currently on tap at the Perrin taproom.

The 5.8% ABV beer features a combination of corn, Full Pint malt, German hops and Denmark lager yeast. A fresh bready flavor is followed by a light-bodied corn finish.

The beer is presently only available on tap. It will also be distributed on throughout Michigan, with a possible re-brew taking place this winter on Oskar Blues’ system for wider distribution.

The Beverage Tasting Institute has awarded Marquette-based Ore Dock Brewing Company two gold medal ratings at its 2014 World Beer Championships. Both Reclamation IPA and Saison scored 93 out of a possible 100 points in their respective style categories.

The Championships take place annually with seven different tasting sessions per year.

Reclamation is referred to as a “mid-coast IPA” by the brewery. “It’s not as hop-forward as its west coast counterparts, nor is it as malty as what you often find out east,” says brewmaster Nick VanCourt.

Saison, on the other hand, has a complexity that is enhanced by bottle conditioning of the beer, ultimately allowing for an experience of the style of ale in its truest form.

“To medal with both of the recipes that truly represent our vision of the craft beer world here at Ore Dock is an awesome accomplishment,” says VanCourt. “We strive to create ales bursting with complexity while focusing on a calculated balance of beer’s big four ingredients.  The end result, we hope, is a highly drinkable product.”

HOLLAND — New Holland Brewing Company more than doubled its retail space for merchandise, beer, spirits and re-purposed bourbon barrel furniture when it opened its new store, Sidecar, on Dec. 8.

Located at 72 E. 8th Street in downtown Holland, adjacent to the New Holland Brewing pub, the 1,600-square-foot Sidecar also will feature a tasting room, which is expected to open in late December. The motto for the store is “Stop and Taste,” and customers have already been pleasantly surprised with the setup.

“They can’t believe how much stuff we have,” said Heidi Lont, director of merchandise for Sidecar.

Sidecar will be open seven days a week, Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

On Saturday,  crisp, chilly weather didn’t keep fans away from Grand Rapids Brewing Co.’s 2nd Anniversary Party.

The line of people stretched down Ionia Avenue nearing HopCat before the 11 a.m. opening, with many rushing toward the back bar to buy the limited run of bottling for the brewery’s Polish Eagle and the Philanthropist.

The bourbon barrel aged imperial porter and barleywine barrels went for $15 each, with just 150 bottles available of each. Staff expected the bottles to last well into the afternoon, however many of the first patrons in the door took liberty and bought the maximum of two bottles of each.

Also on tap were last year’s Philanthropist and an amped-up version of the brewery’s Rosalynn Bliss Blonde called Empress Bliss.

A full taproom also took advantage of a $15 brunch buffet and a $2 Bloody Mary bar.

GRAND RAPIDS — HopCat hosted its Wood and Wild Fest on Friday, featuring 38 rare sour and wood-aged draft beers for guests.

Select bottles were also available, including 2007 Arcadia Ales Shipwrecked Porter, 2009 Founders Brewing Co. KBS, 2009 Great Divide Brewing Co. Old Ruffian and 2010 Struise Tsjeeses Reserva.

Traverse City Beer Week came to a close over the weekend, and the 7 Monks Twelve Tap Taco Takeover highlighted the best the week had to offer.

The event featured 12 Short’s brews paired with four new and adventurous tacos. The menu offered suggested pairings for each taco, but participants were able to explore on their own.

The taco menu included a Classic Thanksgiving Taco and a Crawfish and Chorizo Stuffed Taco. The Classic Thanksgiving Taco was stuffed with turkey and sweet potato casserole and topped with a cranberry ginger chutney in a fried flour tortilla. This taco paired nicely with Short’s Paterfamilias, a cider/beer blend.

The Crawfish and Chorizo Taco took things in a different direction with crawfish and chorizo stuffed into a taco along with mustard greens and haystack onions. This “gumbo-esque” taco paired well with Hellacious Rock.

7 Monks hosted a variety of events throughout the week, each highlighting the originality of this region’s beer. The Taco Takeover did this, while also showcasing the area’s creativity with food. Where else can you get a Thanksgiving taco?