Warm Up to These Michigan Fireside Beers

The winter season is upon us and with that comes hand-crafted beers made right here in Michigan. Whether you’re warming up after a day in the snow, enjoying a hearty meal or relaxing by the fire, these seasonal brews make the perfect selection to warm you up from the inside out! So, ward off the winter blues with these brews from The Michigan Brewers Guild.

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51 NORTH BREWING 
Snowbank Ale (8% ABV | 22 IBUs). Thick, dark and rich, this chocolate rye winter warmer will pull you out of the snowbank. Roasty, chocolaty malt flavors and spicy rye team up with an alcohol warmth.

ATWATER BREWING 
Winter Bock (7.4 % ABV | 25 IBUs). Historically traced to the 14th century and the Northern German town of Eisbeck, the popularity of these lagers spread via the commercial and defensive confederations of the region. Bocks range from the deep gold of Mai Bocks to the more traditional copper and brown. The aromas and flavors tend to be malty and lightly roasty, with only enough hop character to clear the finish. Brewed with respect to the season, Winter Bock boasts the body and deep malt flavors matched with a warming, but well blended hint of alcohol. Extended aging reduces the sharpness and acidity typically apparent in strong ales. 

Bells-Winter_White-AleBELL’S BREWERY 
Winter White (5% ABV | 21 IBUs). Taking its cues from Belgian-style white ales, Winter White offers a lighter yet abundantly flavorful alternative to the traditional heavy winter warmers. Fermented with a Belgian ale yeast, this blend of barley & wheat malts yields a mixture of clove and fruity aromas, all without the use of any spices. Deliberately brewed to retain a cloudy appearance, Winter White is a beer for embracing winter.

CHEBOYGAN BREWING 
Winter Marzen (7.0% ABV |14.6 IBUs). Brewed with 100% German Malt and Noble German Hops, this Lager is smooth and creamy with a pronounced malt character, similar to Oktoberfest Marzen, yet stronger to help fend off the bitter cold of winter.

FORT STREET BREWING 
Snowplowed (5.75 % ABV | 13 IBUs). A loose interpretation of a Finnish Sahti-style, this unique ale is crafted with oats, rye and juniper berries delivering a complex, toasty malt character, with a refreshing tang. It’s as refreshing to adults as the words “snow day” are to a kid! Available in early January. 

GRIZZLY PEAK 
Edwyn’s Warm-up Ale (7.5% ABV). An American strong ale, perfect for winter. Brilliant dark amber in color, the aromas of peanut brittle and raisin rye toast, with a dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tangy, honeyed citrus and peppery finish. The name Grizzly Peak alone just exudes rustic Michigan, and this beer is waiting be enjoyed as you warm up beside a fieldstone fireplace with a good book or a good friend.

new-holland-cabin-fever-6KUHNHENN BREWING 
Metry’s Winter Lager (7.2% ABV). This strong, European-style lager originally began as a guest brew-on-premise batch that has since become a favorite of the winter lineup. The light, sweet grainy aroma is balanced nicely by spicy Noble hops. These characters follow through into the flavor, with great balance and a clean finish. A hint of alcohol heat reminds you of the beer’s strength.

NEW HOLLAND BREWING 
Cabin Fever Brown Ale (6.5 ABV | 25 IBUs). A toasty, smooth drinking brown ale and a hearty companion for long, mind-bending winters.  Its rye, roast and raisin notes play off a subtle caramel sweetness and culminate in a dry finish.

NORTH PEAK BEER CO 
Burly Belgo IPA (6.5% ABV | 65 IBUs). Inhabiting the furthest reaches of the snow-covered hills and forests of the Northern Michigan backwoods is a burly beast that stands nearly as tall as the giant hardwood trees among which it lives. Known as the third-yeti or Abominable Snowman, the human-like creature is believed to be a descendent pf Sasquatch, otherwise known as Bigfoot. This strong hoppy IPA is brewed in honor of this mythical creature.

Furry Black IPA (7.2% ABV | 72 IBUs). The hoppy character of this winter beer is sure to warm you up on even the coldest Michigan nights. Furry gets its smooth flavor by using roasted wheat instead of barley, along with locally-grown hops from Old Mission Peninsula. Furry gets its name from the legend of the fur-bearing trout which are said survive in the extreme cold northern waters throughout the winter months.

RIGHT BRAIN BREWERY 
Fire Starter Chipotle Porter (5.9% ABV | 23 IBUs). Chocolaty and smoky with a spicy kick to keep you warm through the winter months. Brewed with real chipotle peppers.

SnowDazedROCHESTER MILLS   
Snow Dazed (10.5% ABV | 58 IBUs). This is a rich, malty winter warmer that does just that, warms you from the inside out. Using nearly double the malt of Rochester Mills’ regular beers, and a mild dose of hops to balance the sweetness just a little, this seasonal beer is definitely one to savor.  It is a BIG beer, but it goes down smooth.  Be sure to get some before it’s gone until next Winter!

ROCKFORD BREWING 
Shanty Warmer (10% ABV | 65 IBUs). This is Russian Imperial Stout is an intensely rich stout with a big, bold flavor! Expect layers of deep malt complexity like molasses, bittersweet chocolate and dark caramel with hints of prune, licorice and raisin.

WALLDORFF BREWPUB & BISTRO 
Winter Kolsch (5.35% ABV | 30 IBUs). This very light German beer ferments at a cooler, lower temperature and takes about two weeks longer to make then standard ales. It offers high carbonation for a nice, crisp refreshing taste on cold winter nights.

MI Beer

Photo via Michigan Brewers Guild

Of course, there are countless other beers to be enjoyed during the winter season, beside the fire. The best is the one in your hand—and hopefully, that’s locally crafted here in Michigan!

The Michigan Brewers Guild was formed in 1997 and held its first festival in July 1998. Today, the Guild hosts four festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan craft beer produced by its nearly 150 member breweries. Michigan ranks #5 in the nation for the number of craft breweries – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State”. 

Five Reasons to Bundle Up for a Round of Golf on Top of Frozen Lake Huron

Grab your flannel, fleece and golf clubs… Yes, you read it right! You don’t have to leave the Midwest this winter to enjoy a mind-blowing round of golf. St. Ignace Visitors Bureau shares five reasons you can’t miss the one-of-a-kind U.P. Ice Golf Scramble.

Photo Courtesy of The St. Ignace News

Dying to get back on the links for a round of golf? Want to keep your swing in shape but don’t have the budget to search for warm weather? The U.P. Ice Golf Scramble, Feb. 27-28, will reunite you with your favorite pastime – complete with five St. Ignace twists.

1. The Next Best Thing to Fireflies
Remember the fun of chasing fireflies on a summer night? Combine that memory teeing off after sunset and you’ve got the Glow Ball Challenge. Participants will spend Friday evening trying to land their glow-in-the-dark ball closest to the pin for special bragging rights and the chance to win an exclusive tour of the Mackinac Bridge towers. They’ll also enjoy beer tasting and live music. Definitely more fun than fireflies.

2. Our Greens are White
Forget about those pesky sand traps. Let St. Ignace introduce you to a new course and a new twist on your favorite pastime. Anyone can say they shot the back nine, but how many of your friends can say they played on 12 plus inches of Great Lakes ice?

Ice Golf Scramble 13. A Fun and Level Playing Field
Literally and figuratively – this outing offers a level playing field. Literally – because the lake surface is as level as Mother Nature can make it. Figuratively, because we’ve constructed an event that places the emphasis on fun. Saturday’s outing is a two-person, best-ball scramble, which is our way of saying that even if you’ve never golfed in your life, partner up and take a swing at a winter adventure. No handicaps. No pros. Just fun.

Ice Golf Scramble 4. Go to the Extreme
Golf is traditionally a quiet, relaxed sport. But in this age of amped-up activities, bucket lists, and thrill-seeking, what could be more extreme than playing through atop 20 fathoms of icy cold waters? St. Ignace has a long history of using the frozen Great Lakes as a playground – from snowmobiling to pond hockey championships – but if you haven’t golfed Huron, you haven’t taken full advantage of the state’s winter wonderland,

5. Fashion turns to Flannel and Fleece
Ice golfers can forget about the preppy polo shirt or the golf knickers. Pack your thermal underwear, your fleece and anything else that can provide layers of warmth. Make sure you have a touk (a knitted winter hat) or a Stormy Kromer (a stylish wool cap made in the Upper Peninsula) and remember your sun glasses because St. Ignace is known for beautiful winter sunshine!

What could be more thrilling! Are you brave enough to golf on a frozen Great Lake? Learn more and register for the U.P. Ice Golf Scramble at www.stignace.com or call (800) 338-6660.

Six Unbelievable Close-Up Snowflakes That Reveal the Magic of Winter

When the first flakes start to fall, we look forward to hitting the slopes, making snow angels and revving the engines of our snowmobiles. Fresh snow gives us the chance to head outside and take in the magic of winter. 

So, the next time you’re out enjoying a snow day, grab your camera and get up-close with what makes Pure Michigan a winter wonderland – snowflakes! Photographer Joshua Nowicki shares his tips for photographing these one-of-a-kind beauties. 

dsc_2412 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

As the snow accumulates over the winter months, it is easy to lose appreciation for the beauty of winter.  As the snow builds layer after layer, I find it therapeutic to take a closer look and enjoy the wonders of a single snowflake.

A little over a year ago, I received gift of a +1, +2, +4 set of close-up macro filters to use on a lens for my camera.  It was snowing that day, and almost immediately, I was outside trying to take photos of snowflakes.  I searched for snowflakes lying on leaves, pine needles, windshields anywhere I could find them isolated or on a dark background.  I was spending a lot of time searching for individual snowflakes and not much time taking photos.  So, I decided that I needed to find a better way to capture my subject.  I tried a variety of different materials to catch snowflakes on, and found that I had the best luck using an old blue stocking cap.  The snowflakes land at angles propped up by the frayed fibers of the stocking cap, and this provides a little separation from the rest of the material.

The macro filters gave me a closer view of the snow than I had ever seen before; but I wanted to get closer.  I was using the macro filters on an 18-55mm lens, and then, I switched to trying them on a 55-200mm lens.  This worked reasonably well, but I felt like I was getting too much distortion in the images that I took.  So, I kept searching for another way.  I could not justify the cost of a macro lens, therefore I kept experimenting.  I finally decided upon using electrical tape to attach one lens backward in front of another lens.  My favorite combination is currently a 55-200mm lens with a 50mm lens.  For lighting the snowflakes, I use an external camera flash and flashlight.  It is not a beautiful set up, but it is an effective one.

The level of magnification that this has allowed me has been astounding.  Details that I never thought I would be able to see in person, I could now photograph.  I have been amazed by the variety of shapes of snowflakes and dazzled by the intricate and delicate detail of each individual snowflake.  As the weather and temperature change, the shapes and sizes of the snowflakes also change.  Two of my favorite snowflake shapes are sectored plates and stellar dendrites.

Every time it snows, I find myself running outside to see what the snowflakes look like. Frequently, I have had to explain to neighbors and people passing by why I am sitting in the snow taking close up photos of my stocking cap.  Many of them chuckled until I showed them the photos I was taking. The next time it snows, before you grab your shovel, take a moment to sit in the snow with a camera or magnifying glass and enjoy one of the true marvels of winter. See their beauty below.

dsc_3080 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_3063 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_2820 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_2270 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_0291 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

What’s your favorite way to spend a snow day? Share your photos enjoying the snow using #PureMichiganSnowDay on Twitter and Instagram or visit michigan.org/snowday.

Joshua_NowickiJoshua Nowicki is a St. Joseph, Michigan based photographer specializing in landscape, nature, architecture, and food photography.  His photos can be viewed online on Facebook or his website