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B.O.B.’s Brewery T

by Kelly Quintanilla |

HE B.O.B. IS BEST KNOWN for its nightlife and range of culinary options, but the beer selection at the in-house brewery may be one of Grand Rapids’ best-kept secrets.

In the lower lair of the B.O.B., a unique selection of

beers is crafted within the confines of the Monkey Bar, a chic lounge with Asian-inspired décor. In addition to the three core beers – Platinum Blonde, Full On IPA and Afterglow Amber – a rotating list of specialty and seasonal selections are produced in a brewing room in the lower level and served exclusively at Monkey Bar. Head brewer John Svoboda is the brewery’s sole em-

ployee, and has focused on fine-tuning the core beers and introducing new recipes since he was hired by the B.O.B. in 2007. “I brew beers that are not too far off but are still fun,”

says Svoboda, who previously worked as a brewer at Grand Rapids Brewing Company. “I want to show people that there are a lot of interesting things you can do with beer.” Seasonals include a traditional Oktoberfest and

Celestial Stout, made with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and chocolate. Specialty brews such as Mango Chipotle Ale and Papaya Peach Ginger are purposefully crafted to complement the global tapas served at the Monkey Bar. Svoboda says he plans to work even more closely with

Monkey Bar executive chef Alan Riehl to hone the chef/ brewer pairings in 2011. “We’re going to have more creative culinary events

The B.O.B.’s Chocolate Stout. PHOTO: DAVID CARSON

throughout the year,” Svoboda says, citing regular beer din- ners, educational events and brew-and-views as possibilities. The next event is a four-course Winter Warmer Beer

Dinner, featuring pairings like smoked duck breast with a smoked IPA and tiramisu cheesecake with Tiramisu Stout

– an oatmeal stout with milk, sugar, hazelnuts, espresso, chocolate and vanilla beans. Although some of the brews are rich and the Monkey Bar has an opulent feel, you’d be wrong to assume the beers are

overpriced. The mug club membership is a steal, after the lifetime membership fee of $25. Mug club members can then score $1 beers during Thursday mug club nights and $2 select draft beers at all Gilmore restaurants. The Monkey Bar is open Wednesday through Saturday, and is located in the lower level of the B.O.B. at 20 Monroe Ave. NW in Grand Rapids,, (616) 356-2000. n

BEER OF THE MONTH: Dark Horse’s Scotty Karate


HIS NINJA OF A SCOTCH ale goes down smooth, sneaking up on the unsuspecting imbiber with its 9.75% ABV and rendering any attempts at resistance futile.

This dark amber-brown beer was conceived during the

annual Great Taste of the Midwest in August 2005, when Dark Horse brought along entertainment in the form of an eccentric musician by the name of Scotty Karate. Regular patrons had seen the one-man band play regularly in the brewery’s Marshall taproom, but no one at the Madison, Wisc., festival was familiar with the name. “Our board read ‘Featuring Scotty Karate’ and everyone

kept asking for one,” says Aaron Morse, Dark Horse owner and lead brewer. “So we ran with it and made a beer.” Due to the namesake, it



IBU: 24.9

ABV: 9.75% Cost: $4/pint


The 2ND ANNUAL TRAVERSE CITY WINTER MICROBREW & MUSIC FESTIVAL will take place Feb. 11-12 in the city’s Old Town district. Tickets include beer samples, five 7 oz. pours and live shows by Michigan bands including MY DEAR DISCO, DELILAH DEWYLDE AND THE LOST BOYS and STEPPIN’ IN IT.

SCHMOHZ has brought back KISS MY SCOTTISH ARSE, a Scotch ale crafted with five specialty malts and highland yeast, giving the 8.85% ABV beer smoky undertones and a rich, thick body.


After the WINTER BEER FEST at FIFTH THIRD BALL PARK, convince your DD to bring you to FOUNDERS for the OFFICIAL AFTER PARTY, featuring music by Chicago’s LOWDOWN BRASS BAND. The party starts at 9:30 p.m., and cover is $5.

The second series of RIGHT BRAIN BREWERY’S PINTWOOD DERBY begins Feb. 16. This five-week racing series is the grown-up ver- sion of the Cub Scouts’ Pinewood Derby, with beer discounts and the opportunity for participants to win prizes. Visit rightbrain- for registration info and rules.

made sense for the beer to be brewed as a Scotch ale, or a “wee heavy,” characterized by complex malt flavors and a high alcohol content. Dark Horse’s version is made with a smoked cherry hardwood malt, giving the beer a smoki- er, slightly sweeter flavor than the Scottish ales traditionally made with peat malts. “It’s big, chewy and very

malt-forward like all of our brews,” Morse said. “It’s a heavy, punch-in-the-face Scotch ale.” Grab a pint at Dark Horse Brewing Co. or a bottle at your

favorite retailer including Wacky Willy’s Party Store, which is attached to the brewery and owned by Morse’s parents. The brew is available Sept. 1 through March 1, and Dark Horse is located at 511 S. Kalamazoo Ave. in Marshall, (269) 781-9940, n


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