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”. 

Seven Michigan Destinations That Earned Travel Bragging Rights in 2014

There’s no doubt that Pure Michigan is home to a number of diverse, unique and remarkably beautiful locations. In 2014, a number of Michigan cities were recognized as must-visit destinations. If you’re making plans to travel in 2015, keep these seven locales on your radar. 

Michigan Theater with Couple2

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor
Last year, Ann Arbor ranked second on Livability’s  list of top 10 college towns. The ranking was determined by factors including high quality of life, cost of living and walkability. Livability gave Ann Arbor the nod for its bustling tree-lined streets, independent restaurants and bookstores, numerous bars, parks and museums, and of course the University of Michigan’s distinct presence.

Detroit
With die-hard Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons fans, it’s hard to ignore the fact that sports are serious business in the Motor City. So much so that USA Today Travel named Detroit as #1 in its 10 Best Cities for Sports. Game day in Detroit is an experience like no other. Check out these suggestions for game day excitement around the city.

Photo by Instagram user @loosecanonphotography.

Photo by Instagram user @loosecanonphotography.

Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast
Early last year, the West Michigan city earned the #1 spot on Lonely Planet’s List of Top U.S. Destinations to Visit in 2014. Grand Rapids’ art scene including the international art competition ArtPrize, award-winning craft breweries, attractions like Frederick Meijer Gardens and stunning beaches along Lake Michigan’s 300 mile Gold coast, the west-side city has something to offer a great variety of tastes and interests. Here are a few more reasons why Grand Rapids earned their bragging rights from Lonely Planet.

Holland
Impulcity shows that small town America is alive and well with their list of 19 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America, and Holland, MI proudly claimed the number two spot. Holland boasts breathtaking sights rarely seen, such as swinging windmills and fields of tulips in full bloom. After a stroll down Lake Michigan’s summertime shore, a stop at Holland’s historic lighthouse and a visit to New Holland Brewing Company, it’s easy to see why Holland is a popular place to stop and smell the tulips.

Houghton
Small, but mighty with an estimated population of 7,700 residents, Houghton, MI in the Keweenaw Peninsula was named among the Best Places to Live in the U.S. by Outside Magazine. Factors like number of outfitters, miles of trails, and number of bike shops, plus considerations like unemployment rates and median incomes helped determine Houghton’s place on this list for outdoor enthusiasts.

Photo by Instagram user @theoriginaljwin overlooking Houghton.

Photo by Instagram user @theoriginaljwin overlooking Houghton.

Located about as far north as you can get in the Upper Peninsula, there’s plenty of adventure to be had all year long.There are more than 28 miles of world-class cross country ski trails along the outskirts of town, while nearby Mount Bohemia claims the best ungroomed powder east of the Rocky Mountains, with an annual average of 273 inches and 900 feet of vertical. In the summertime, residents and visitors enjoy boating,  fishing, surfing, and kiting on Lake Superior, as well as mountain-biking on the trails at Copper Harbor. Don’t forget to try the Upper Peninsula’s delicacy at Roy’s Pasties in downtown Houghton!

Saugatuck 
One of Lake Michigan’s prime beach towns, Saugatuck earned the title of Best Summer Weekend Escape by USA Today and the number 3 spot on Coastal Living’s 2014 list of American’s Happiest Seaside Towns. Less than four hours from Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee, the town’s laid-back vibe attracts visitors looking for a place to unplug, relax and enjoy the simple things. Stroll the boardwalk, admire 200-foot sand dunes or enjoy an old-fashioned soda at  the Saugatuck Drug Store. Throw in opportunities for a great round of golf, fishing or winery tours, and you have one unforgettable lakeside getaway.

Traverse City
It was a big year for Traverse City! The northern Michigan city took home accolades from at least six travel publications. Most recently, TC was listed as one of TripAdvisor’s 10 Choice Destinations on the Rise for 2015. If that’s not reason enough to plan a visit, Michigan’s cherry capital also earned bragging rights from Travel + Leisure (America’s Most Scenic Waterside Drives – Leelanau Peninsula, America’s 20 Most Romantic Towns), Family Fun Magazine (Top 10 National Parks for Families – Sleeping Bear Dunes) and The Weather Channel (World’s 50 Clearest Waters – Torch Lake).

There are so many other Michigan cities that have received accolades of their own. For more information on popular Pure Michigan destinations visit, michigan.org/hotspots.

Knock the Snow from Your Boots with Unique Winter Events in Ann Arbor

From January through March, there are a number of special events in the Ann Arbor area perfect for a wintry weekend getaway! No need to hibernate this year. Check out these exciting opportunities.

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week (January 18-23)

Bar

John Steinbeck wrote, “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” Winter can be very sweet on its own, especially when you can explore Ann Arbor’s overabundance of foodie goodness during Restaurant Week! This celebration of dining includes 45 restaurants featuring one-price menus — $15 for lunch and $28 for dinner — or save even more with two-for-one specials at select restaurants! The newest restaurant to join the ranks is the delicious Mezzevino .  While you’re there, be sure to ask for a small bowl of the crispy chickpeas!

U-M Ice Carving Extravaganza (January 23-25)

Join us for a weekend of chainsaws, ice picks and flame throwers! Stand back while the University of Michigan Ice Carving team members display their talents and masterpieces along Main Street with custom designs inspired by the city, its shops and restaurants, and more!

38th Annual Folk Festival (January 30-31)

Wait! This isn’t your parents’ folk music … Or maybe it is! The appealing element of folk music, and it’s a philosophy so perfectly embodied by the festival, is that there are as many styles as there are artists! Join us for the two-night event and show your support for one of the top music clubs in the world — The Ark — celebrating 50 years of presenting, preserving and encouraging folk, roots and ethnic music and related arts. This year’s festival features Amos Lee, Ani DiFranco, Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell. Get ready to find your folk!

Michigan Theater with Couple2

53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival (March 24-29)

Visit Ann Arbor and the historic Michigan Theater to experience the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America. Internationally recognized as a premiere forum for independent filmmakers and artists, the Ann Arbor Film Festival engages audiences with remarkable cinematic experiences. The six-day festival presents 40 programs with more than 180 films from over 20 countries of all lengths and genres, including experimental, animation, documentary, fiction, and performance-based works.

FoolMoon and FestiFools (April 10-April 12)

FestiFools

Night time revelry and larger-than-life puppets make up this weekend of foolish amusement.  Friday night kicks things off with FoolMoon— an after dark extravaganza of lightshows, music and a delicious event-inspired microbrew from our friends at Grizzly Peak. On Sunday, watch as magnificent and bizarre human-powered papier-mache puppets amble along Main Street to the sound of beating drums, brassy horns, and the cheers of our Foolish friends! Go from being a spectator to participant by building your creations and joining in the fun!

What is your favorite thing to do in the Ann Arbor area?