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Old 11-25-2009, 05:28 PM   #1
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Default Blue Cow Cafe, Big Rapids MI

Ok, so I had heard from the brewmaster at Jamesport Brewing (Tom) in Ludington, that he heard there was a brewpub in Big Rapids. That was this summer. He thought it might have been The Gate bowling alley and bar and grill, but it just never seemed to be a good fit in my mind.

Well, last time I went to siciliano's Market in Grand Rapids for ingredients, the owner mentioned that twice someone had stopped in to get supplies for a brewpub in Big Rapids. I mentioned the Gate and he said he didn't think so. Well, I knew that the Blue Cow had a real good beer selection, and did monthly beer tastings on site. I have no idea why I never thought about them before, but it suddenly struck me as the perfect fit. The owner of the LHBS did say that he heard they were using 5 gallon corneys and putting the beer on tap. Basically it was a homebrew setup with a retail outlet.

So, this past weekend I talked the wife into going to lunch with me at the Blue Cow. After not seeing the beer listed on their menu, I asked the waitress about it and she said yes, they do have their own beer. An IPA and an Ale.

Ok, so I ask what kind of Ale and she said she didn't know. I got a sample glass to taste and it was high alcohol and high hops. I thought she got me the IPA by mistake, but she said that was the ale. Six Strung Strung Ale. (That's what I heard anyway.)

There was confusion, but I ordered a glass of the IPA anyway, and it was pretty much what I'd expect from an IPA. Just a bit tart to my toungue, but not bad. Otherwise a solid representation. Then a manager came out with 2 samples and compared the color to my IPA. Sure enough, the IPA was the IPA, so the taps weren't mixed. I asked about the Ale and she said it was a Strong Ale Ah.... So that explains.

Anyway, the two beers were pretty solid examples of their styles. They weren't that dissimilar in my mind. I would have expected their two beers to be much more different from each other. Like a wheat and an IPA, or something like that. Two beers that would please two very different types of drinkers.

But no matter. The beer was not bad, and perhaps in the future there will be more variety, or perhaps the tap will rotate. Due to the confusion over the name, I ended up getting a glass of the strong ale on the house.

So if you are ever in Big Rapids and are curious, check out the Blue Cow's line of "homebrew". You may have to ask for it. Gunslinger IPA and Six String Strong Ale.

I'd love to check out the brewing over there and help out or just see what their process is like.

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Old 11-25-2009, 06:42 PM   #2
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thanks for the tip. Ill look em up next time im through that way.

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Old 11-25-2009, 06:43 PM   #3
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btw, what is your opinion of Siciliano's Market? I have never taken the time to stop in. Just wondering if I should make a point of it.

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Old 11-30-2009, 12:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by geneullerysmith View Post
btw, what is your opinion of Siciliano's Market? I have never taken the time to stop in. Just wondering if I should make a point of it.
IMO Siciliano's Market is an excellent Supply shop. They have nearly everything you could want for brewing or winemaking. Even some cheese stuff.

On top of that, they carry a huge selection of beer and wine, and smoking paraphernalia. The people there have been helpful for me.

In the spring they host a Homebrewers day, which is like an appreciation party and conference in one. They have guest speakers (this year was Randy Mosher, author, and the Brewmaster from New Holland, who spoke about water, plus a couple of other speakers), and cook out, and play games, and have door prizes and a homebrew contest.

Really, just a top-notch LHBS IMO.
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:47 PM   #5
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Also, there is another LHBS in Lakeview, which is closer to me, but I have not been in it yet. I hear it's a pretty good store, but I didn't know about it until recently. I'm planning on checking it out was soon as time allows.

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Old 11-30-2009, 01:04 PM   #6
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well that seals it... im going to make a point of stopping in there at some point. Its just a bit far from Traverse to make a trip for only that, i guess i will stop in to Founders as well and make a day of it ;-)

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Old 01-27-2010, 06:09 AM   #7
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I stopped there the other day, they now have a Cream ale which is wonderful and a Bourbon Stout, which I thought was a little off but I think they said they were having problems with that one coming from the basement. Just thought I'd pass it along

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Old 02-12-2010, 05:13 AM   #8
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I stopped in there tonight and the IPA was out. But the Old Ale was very good and the Bourbon Stout was good too. I prefer whiskey in my stout compared to bourbon but it was still very good, and I would recommend it. Growlers were a very good price and it was a great place overall. I am going to head back to check out their IPA in a couple of weeks. Also they are getting a bus trip together for the Fifth 3rd Ballpark beer show. I can't think of the name of it at the moment but it is coming up.

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Old 02-15-2010, 02:48 PM   #9
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I stopped in there tonight and the IPA was out. But the Old Ale was very good and the Bourbon Stout was good too. I prefer whiskey in my stout compared to bourbon but it was still very good, and I would recommend it. Growlers were a very good price and it was a great place overall. I am going to head back to check out their IPA in a couple of weeks. Also they are getting a bus trip together for the Fifth 3rd Ballpark beer show. I can't think of the name of it at the moment but it is coming up.
I haven't been back since last time. I probably should get over there soon and have a beer.

The beer show is probably the Michigan Brewer's Guild Winter Beer Festival. I probably won't be going. We'll see. The price is a bit pricey compared to some others I've been to. It's a good time, no doubt, but unless a friend is going and can talk me into it, I'll probably skip it this time.
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