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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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”.