Hopp Diva's Blog


Lots of Good Tastes on Sunday Funday! September 16, 2019

Filed under: Brewery To Try,Diva's Brew-ha,Hopp Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 9:44 pm

My wedding anniversary was on September 10 and because it was during the week Forrest had no intention of going out to dinner.  I mean who goes out on a “school night”, right?  I know he is a funny guy!  Well, I decided that if I had to wait we would not be going to anyplace we had been before and besides he promised me more adventures this year.

I did some google stalking about a town I had heard a great deal about but had not really ever stopped in.  The town was  South Haven.  Although it was past Labor Day there was still quite a bit of activity.  I made a list of Vineyards I wanted to try out, a few places to eat and of course some breweries.

Our first stop was at a really nice vineyard with a beautiful tasting room.  The Vineyard was called Cogdal, .  The woman who help us was great!  Very knowledgeable as well as very customer service oriented.  She was no pushy and listened to what I enjoyed in a wine and it’s hard to find a good dry red wine in Michigan.

Our next stop that we enjoyed was right in the heart of South Haven called Warner Vineyard Tasting Room, .  Here the tasting was a bit different because Forrest and I were given the choice to get the flight of wine and go outside to sit and enjoy.  I really liked that unique part of the tasting.

Of course we can’t just try wines because Forrest is more of a beer guy and I knew his fun meter was about done for.  We found a place to have a bite to eat that was on a boat and decided where we would go next.  There was a brewery right down from the Warner tasting room but we were far from impressed.  We had to ask if they had their own brewed beer!  Seriously????  They didn’t encourage their beers or try to sell them at all.  Forrest did try a couple but they were lacking.  However we did find another brewery that has only been around for a few months and it was FABULOUS!!  The guys working were not only knowledgeable but interesting to talk to about their beers.  The brewery is called Harbor Light, They have a huge beer list, some light snacks and they make their own orange soda!

This brewery was a great find for us and we highly recommend you visiting it when you get the chance.  I found at least 6 beers that I sooooo want to make some donuts and beer marshmallows out of.

So all in all our Sunday Funday adventures were pretty solid.  So until next time……

Stays connected.

Hopp Diva


White Flame Does Not Flame Out September 8, 2019

Filed under: Brewery To Try,Diva's Brew-ha,Hopp Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 10:16 pm
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This past weekend was one filled with soccer games (4 in all) and trying out a new brewery.  We were in Hudsonville Michigan. Our last game on Saturday was at 8:00pm and much to my husbands surprise there was a brewery just across the street.

We had not heard of White Flame Brewery ( 5234 36th Ave, Hudsonville, MI)  and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the beer.  I called ahead to the brewery before the game was finished and told them the time we would arrive and ordered two different sandwiches, The Guido and The Billy Club.  We arrived in time for my husband to order his flight just before our sandwiches were delivered.

Forrest tried a flight of 5 different beers.  As usual I am not going to tell you all the flavors he tried because as you know with breweries they don’t always have the same thing on tap when we were there versus when you can make it.  The flavors had some very unique names such as “Kentucky Kiss”.  Just hearing the name would not suggest the beer was a Barrel Aged Scotch Ale.  This is normally not a beer Forrest would try because we have a guy in our brew group who continues to try and replicate this and well let’s just say it’s not too tasty.   Forrest  turn to me and said after he took his first sip “this is what a Scotch Ale should taste like”.  Needless to say I was not a fan which is probably not a big surprise but hey, he was happy.  He felt the beers had good mouth feel and the flavor profile was spot on.

How was the food you might be wondering????  My sandwich was pretty good (Billy Club) and I liked the pretzel bun it was served on.  I think my only issue was the Ranch Dressing that was on the sandwich.  I know I am probably the only person on the planet that is not a fan of Ranch.  Forrest commented that his Guido was sufficiently spicy although there was a bit too much Italian Dressing for his taste.  He loved the potato chips that came with our sandwiches.  The homemade chips were seasoned with rosemary and garlic.  You also get a choice between a regular dill pickle and a spicy dill pickle.

If you are in the Hudsonville Michigan area, be sure to look up White Flame Brewery.

Stay Connected

Hopp Diva


A Must Have March 22, 2019

Some of you know that I have had to do some extreme downsizing in the past year and I have had to get rid of lots of “stuff”.  This includes lots of kitchen items that I love and use occasionally but because of space restrictions I had to let go of a few things (ok, a lot of things).  One item that I kept was my baked donut pan.  I had about 3 but decided to keep just the one pan.  I use this pan a great deal especially when my Littles are staying with me.  The youngest Little is dairy intolerant so getting donuts at the store is not usually an option.  So by using my baked donut pan the Littles as well as the adults can enjoy fresh donuts!

My first suggestion to you is to not purchase the baked donut mixes.  They are quite costly and most of the ingredients in my recipe you will have in your pantry/cupboard.  The fun part about using my recipe is that you can use what ever flavor of beer  you have on hand and not just restricted to a banana beer which some recipes call for.  I have also made gluten-free donuts using my recipe by substituting gluten-free flour for the all-purpose and using gluten-free beer.  The spices you had can change the flavor how you want it to be.  You can even make chocolate donuts by using cocoa powder in place of some of your flour.  The creations are endless!

There are lots of donut pans out there but I like the one in the picture the best because it’s deep.

Enjoy!!!! And drop me a line to let me know what types of donuts you have created.

Hopp Diva

Recipe for donuts can be found on the website under breakfast as well as desserts.


New Brewery Find March 18, 2019

I can’t believe that we are already into the middle of March.  Again I ask, where does the time go?  For me this month has been  all-consuming about rice crispy treats.   I have been trying  to develop a recipe for beer marshmallow rice crispy treats and for the most part it has been an epic fail!  So when Forrest asked if I wanted to go with him to return some equipment I jumped on the invitation.   I figured I had two choices if I said no, one was to continue to bail water from our flooding issues or go back to the store yet again to purchase more crispy cereal and the ladies at the check out are starting to take notice.

We had to go into GR and didn’t get a very early start so while I waited in the truck for the returns to be handled I checked for breweries in the area.  I found one that just sounded unique and clever, it is called Kitzingen Brewery, http://www.kitzingen-brewery.com/.  The description stated the brewery featured German style beer and food.  Since we had taken a trip and had walked on the edge of Germany I thought this might be a good pick for us.  Forrest was able to try some German beer but most of it was Kolsh  so I thought this might give him an opportunity to try some different styles ( we did learn on the trip that different areas of Germany produced their own style of beer and it there was a distinctive difference).

Kitzingen Brewery is located in a small strip mall.  The moment we walked in we were at first thinking we walked into the wrong place.  It didn’t have the “brewery” feel.  It was more like a local pub where there were lots of regulars who had stopped in for a pint.  Our server was new but  quite helpful with the beer selections.  As you can see in the picture the flight came in little mason jars with handles – a first for us.  The story behind the brewery is a good read so check out the web site that I gave you a link to.  A veteran who had been in Germany is who started the brewery.

When it came to ordering food our server again was quite knowledgeable and gave us a good recommendation.  I am not a big fan of sauerkraut so I had my German brat without and Forrest had his with the sauerkraut .  The homemade brats were fantastic and our server told us they were made locally.  The beer was pretty good overall.  Forrest didn’t have a real favorite but he did try a triple IPA and thought it was pretty solid.

Kitinzen Brewery was a place I would go back to  and try some of their bigger/bolder beers.  Plus they were so nice I wanted to bring them some marshmallows!






February Beer Finds February 27, 2019

I think the older I get the harder it is for me to wrap my mind around how quickly the months pass!  I try to reflect back to see what I have accomplished in the few weeks the months offer me.  Although February has flown by for me (as has most months) I did discover a few very interesting beers to cook with.

Morning Nightcap by Arcadia Ales, http://arcadiaales.com/, has been a fun beer to not only make marshmallows but also the beer cake that I make so often (you can find the recipe under the dessert tab on my web site ).   The Chocolate Cheesecake Milk Shake Stout by Rochester Mills Brewery, http://www.beercos.com/our-story/production-brewery/, was the beer I used to make part of the Vanilla Porter cupcake with Chocolate Cheesecake Milk Stout filling topped with the salted caramel Vanilla Porter butter cream frosting.  The cupcakes were time consuming but ohhhhhh boy were they delish!!!!  You can find that recipe under the dessert tab also.   A truly unique beer, Milk Shake IPA also from Rochester Mills,  was a big favorite of my husband Forrest.  I used the Milk Shake IPA to make marshmallows and they were a huge hit with everyone who tried them.  The beer offered a wonderful little bite on the back side of the marshmallow taste.  I didn’t have to dry hop the marshmallows very much to achieve the taste I wanted.  Another great beer I found for making cupcakes, marshmallows and even soaking pears in was from Brewery Vivant, https://www.breweryvivant.com/   A Bourbon Barrel Aged Quadruple Ale called Wizard Burial Ground   was so much fun to play with.  I soaked some pears in the beer for a few weeks and then made a delicious almond tart where I topped it with my soaked pears.  Talk about tantalizing your taste buds!!

Forrest and I have been to Brewery Vivant   in Grand Rapids Michigan a few times.  They are known for their sour beers, which Forrest is not a fan of but they do have other beers that are pretty solid.  One of my favorite things to get at Brewery Vivant is their  Duck Confit Nachos.  Holy Batman are they awesome!

I have to say that Forrest didn’t suffer too badly from all of my finds this month.  There are a couple of other beers that were ok for drinking but I didn’t feel they were worthy of creating anything with them.

I will post the Almond Tart Recipe that I made with the soaked pears soon but if you now have a bug you want to make them right after you read the blog post you can find the recipe on this web site    https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/almond-tarts-recipe   

The only things I changed with the recipe is to not put the raspberries on top or the icing.  I felt the pears were a great touch and  I did not want to take away from that flavor combined with almond flavor. Too much sweet from the icing pulls the flavor combination away.

I have high hopes for March.  Lots of recipes as well as beers to sample.

Thanks for reading!




A Quick Escape To Arizona February 16, 2019

Filed under: Hopp Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 1:01 pm
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First it was The Polar Vortex and then it was The Ice Age that we survived so I thought it was time to do a quick long weekend escape!  Probably not high on Forrest’s bucket list but I felt it really deemed a necessity after the extreme weather and his very long 60 plus hour work weeks. So  I found a couple of plane tickets to Arizona (where our son and daughter in law recently moved to), gave him the dates, packed our bags and drug him to the air port.

To keep Forrest from being bored we had a list of projects we told our son we would help him with.  Also on the list was finding a brewery, which are popping up like crazy around Phoenix and the rest of Arizona.  A place my son really wanted to check out was a brewery called Arizona Wilderness Brewing which is located in Gilbert Arizona.

Gilbert is about an hour from where we were staying.  So one day after our son was able to get out of work we decided to head out to The Wilderness Brewery for a late lunch.  The place was really quaint and they took the wilderness theme to heart.  The beer flights were brought out on logs.  There was a huge outdoor gas fireplace where people could sit outside all year around and enjoy a beer.  The decor was also rustic.  Forrest and my son each got a flight of 5 different styles of beer so they could try lots between the two of them.  I could list some of the beers but unless you are able to get there in the next week or so the flavors will probably change.  Both Forrest and my son felt all the beers they tried were “pretty solid”.  Forrest is a big hop fan so his taste buds were satisfied, the stouts and porters were also quite tasty (remember I only taste I don’t drink).  My son really likes sour beers so he too was happy.

Now onto the food!  I had pork belly sliders on homemade pretzel buns.  The belly was made to perfection and the buns really tasted like pretzels not bread.  There was just enough flavor with spices to round everything out.  Arizona Wilderness served a beer cheese on the side that actually tasted like something other than a plastic cheese dip, it was divine!  We were even dipping fries in it.  I believe they called it a wort cheese dip.  My son and daughter in law had burgers that looked and tasted really good.  Forrest had fries topped with pulled pork and the wort cheese dip.  Not exactly my cup of tea for a meal (too much going on and I don’t like to mess with my fries especially when they are truffle fries) but he loved it and said the pulled pork was done perfectly and he too loved the wort cheese dip.

If you are in Gilbert Arizona I would definitely recommend this brewery.  There are lots more things we want to try on the menu as well as try more of the beer. I have attached a link for the web site so you can check it out and learn more about how the brewery was started as well as read about the brewers.  They were not there the day we were so I didn’t get to talk with them.  I also had brought some of my beer marshmallows with me (the weather was cool enough for me to bring them to Arizona) and wanted to share some with the guys.  Our server was excellent.  Although the place was really hopping he took the time to answer any questions we had about the beers and was very knowledgeable which is always a huge plus.

Forrest and my son even got a 4 pack to go and a 40 of a sour .  One of things we found interesting is the cost of filling a growler, even your own was more expensive than  to purchase a 4 pack of beer. that was a first for us.  But as a side note this brewery did give very generous pours for their flights.




Until next time!


Survival of The Polar Vortex February 8, 2019

Filed under: Hopp Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 4:33 pm

In the Mitten we have heard the terms The Big Storm of 1978, Snowrmageddon and now the Polar Vortex (but they forgot to name the ice storm we have had for the last 3 days so I will call it “Ice Apocalypse” …..you are welcome weather people).  The Mitten was basically shut down for almost a week from the Polar Vortex which definitely was a first for Forrest and me.  Global warming?  I have no clue but in other huge snow storms in which the weather people always said this is ” the worst storm ever”  we all seemed to get out and about.

Anyway, being stuck in the house for almost 2 weeks without a lot of other human contact besides Forrest I was bored beyond believe.  The first week of the Polar Vortex I made the Hearty Stew, which is on the website, and a pot pie.  Going into the kitchen create new recipes is always an option but that also meant I had to have the ingredients for what ever I wanted to create.  Beer is basically  a staple in our house so that was not an issue, but other ingredients were.

What I ended up doing was taking 2 recipes that I had not tried yet and creating one  recipe where I had everything I needed and WOW were they delish!  I made Vanilla Porter cupcakes with Chocolate Cheesecake Stout filling topped with caramel Vanilla Porter butter cream frosting.  The name is a mouthful right?

I was so excited  about the cupcakes and the need for human contact that I invited a couple of my neighbor taste testers to come over and well the rest is history as are the cupcakes!  Sorry no pics but hopefully you can envision them in your mind as you read the title of them 🙂  I am not sure if I will try the original recipe but I know that I want to make more of the ones  I came up with because I found an area I want to tweak.

Check out the dessert tab on my site for the recipe.

Thanks for hanging out


Ahhhh so many beers to try………….


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