Disclaimer: You’re about to read a review of a beer by someone that does not typically reach for or enjoy them. Proceed at your own risk.

Listen, I know what you’re thinking.

I’m not a beer person. In fact, I didn’t start drinking beverages with carbonation until I was 19, and I still don’t enjoy it. However two of my four room mates mostly only drink beer, preferably dark and strong. So from time to time, I’m persuaded to try something new and, to my surprise, delicious.

And if I’m going to have a beer it has to be flavored. My friend Sam, a lover of all things Michigan craft beer, says that what I need is “a good dessert beer.” I’ve tried to get around it, but I almost never finish a plain dark beer. Once it took me four hours to finish off a New Holland Poet.

Then why review a beer? It’s nearly “Beer Week” in Grand Rapids, Michigan- otherwise known as beer city USA. So I present to you my newest favorite, Jake’s Vanilla Bean Porter from Paw Paw. Brewed in the wild of Paw Paw MI, this probably isn’t your grandpa’s favorite beer.

I found this puppy (Ha-ha, get it? dog puns) as a single in a Family Fare in Allendale, MI. I don’t believe they’re available at every Family Fare store, though, as I’ve tried to find it in another one a few miles away from the original location I found it at and alas. It was less than two dollars.


Whats not to love about this beer? It’s adorned with America’s favorite dog, the yellow lab. I have a yellow lab myself at home in the north so I was attracted to the label immediately. The beer is chocolaty and malty (stay with me here, I’m trying to use beer drinker lingo) with a strong vanilla flavor after finish. YES, I said CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA BEER. This is as “girly” and delicious as it gets.

If you’re into lighter beers, you probably wont be into Jake’s. Also, at 6.3%, its a little bit higher than the average craft beer, which is pretty awesome too. This is a rich beer, and I don’t suggest having many at once. Unless that’s your thing. In that case, do your thing.

Another beer not featured here but I think deserves a mention is the Vanilla Java Porter by Atwater. This one is dark and yummy too, but instead of chocolate, it has a strong black coffee flavor paired with a toasty vanilla, almost like a golden-marshmallow-coffee-beer. This porter has the qualifications for a perfect breakfast beer. Don’t act like you’ve never been there.

I would consider these two porters similar to each other, so if you’ve tried one and enjoy it, be sure to try the other. The Vanilla Java Porter is available in more locations around Michigan as well.



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