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”. 

See What’s on Tap for Kalamazoo Beer Week

Now in its fifth year, Kalamazoo Beer Week supports the craft beer experience in the Kalamazoo area through special tastings, dinners and interactive events. As we get ready for the event to kick off  Saturday, January 10th, take a look at what’s on tap and make your plans to attend. 

Boatyard Brewing Co.'s label artwork was on display during Art Hops at the Epic Center in downtown Kalamazoo.

Boatyard Brewing Co.’s label artwork was on display during Art Hops at the Epic Center.

Kalamazoo Beer Week, initiated and organized by Kalamazoo-based Imperial Beverage and tourism entity Discover Kalamazoo, will return for its fifth year tomorrow, January 10, and last until the 17th. Dubbed KBW by repeat participants, the weeklong series of events features more than 200 events and nearly 50 Michigan and out-of-state breweries, craft beer activities and educational events at bars, restaurants, and gourmet retail locations.

A couple of breweries will host beer dinner’s, and one of last year’s favorites, the Dark Horse “Anti-Beer Dinner” will be back again. The “Anti-Beer Dinner” is a spoof on the idea of a fancy beer dinner. For $15 a person, Dark Horse will serve a flight of Dark Horse Beer and a pint of Dark Horse beer, as well as food to pair with each beer. Don’t miss out on Hot Pockets, Ramen Noodles, Pop Tarts and this year, they’ve hinted at a Jello-O mold!

Arbor Brewing Co. offered a sour tasting with the brewer at Old Burdick's in downtown Kalamazoo.

Arbor Brewing Co. offered a sour tasting in downtown Kalamazoo.

A new event this year, Kalamazoo’s Boatyard Brewing and PEDAL (Bike Shop) are celebrating the relationship between craft beer and cycling with Fat Tire Bike Drag Racing!  Pedal will have fat bikes on hand for you to ride. Bring your helmet or your cheering voice as the races should be fun to watch.

A few other things new to KBW this year:

Rails to Ales
On Amtrak’s Wolverine or Blue lines, Kalamazoo Beer Week goers can travel between Chicago and Kalamazoo for 20% off.

The Kalamazoo Beer: A cross between a bear and deer…so you get a "beer!"

The Kalamazoo Beer: A cross between a bear and deer…so you get a “beer!”

Untappd Badge
If you are already a craft beer lover, you know about the great social media site “Untappd”.  Unlock your KBW Badge by checking into two or more KBW locations.

Hotel Packages 
Local hoteliers have put together packages for visitors.  Most include late check out, gift bags, or entries to events.

Stay up-to-date on KBW events throughout the week by following @KzooBeerWeek on Twitter! For a full list of events, visit the KBW website.

Have you attended Kalamazoo Beer Week in the past? What was your favorite event? 

Give the Gift of Michigan Craft Beer and Brewery Related Swag

Do you have a craft brew enthusiast on your shopping list? Today, our guest blogger from the Michigan Brewers Guild shares a few ideas for spreading holiday cheer with Michigan craft beer.

Photo via Michigan Brewers Guild

Photo via Michigan Brewers Guild

Chances are you have a craft beer lover (or two) on your holiday shopping list. This year, give the gift of Michigan beer, while also supporting locally-owned businesses and the state’s overall agricultural industry.

Stop in your local microbrewery or brewpub and pick up a growler, four- or six-pack of a seasonal brew and build your own gift basket with a selection of brewery swag like stickers, buttons, t-shirts, home décor, bottle openers, gift cards and other unique stocking stuffers. A membership in the pub’s “mug club” would also be a nice offering.

Many retail outlets around the state also feature Michigan-made brews, including 12-bottle variety packs or build-your-own-six-pack options which provide a more personal touch to your gift giving.

BEERGEARMichigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast Memberships also make great gifts, providing a year of benefits like pre-sale dates for the four official festivals and one hour early admission to each, dollar-off pint options at participating breweries, special brewery tours and an official Enthusiast t-shirt — all for just $45. Shop online at MiBeer.com for a variety of logoed items from the Michigan Brewers Guild. You’ll find everything from apparel, backpacks, tote bags, drinkware, eyewear, flags, license plates, beach balls, bottle openers, patches, pins, stickers, tin tackers, umbrellas and more.

A handful of books dedicated to Michigan beer can also be found to enhance a gift pack, including the Beervangelist’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Philosophy of Food & Drink by New Holland Brewing Company’s Beervangelist Fred Bueltmann; Art in Fermented Form: A Manifesto by New Holland Brewing Company’s Brett VanderKamp; Ann Arbor Beer: A Hoppy History of Tree Town Brewing by David Bardallis; and Michigan’s Best Beer Guide by Kevin Revolinski.

At Meijer, look for a 2015 calendar focused on a dozen Michigan breweries or head over to the Pure Michigan store for one of their logoed 15-ounce beer mugs. For video fans, DVDs of the inaugural season of the Great American Brew Trail featuring Amy Sherman as well as The Michigan Beer Film from Rhino Media are also great gifts.

Pure Michigan Boomba

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 140 member breweries. The Guild exists to unify the community of brewers, to increase the sale of Michigan Craft Beer, to contribute culturally and economically throughout the state, and to monitor and assure a healthy brewing industry.

By working collaboratively with proponents of craft beer, we strive to achieve a 10% share of all beer sold in Michigan by producing world-class events, increasing public awareness, educating consumers, and encouraging responsible consumption. Michigan ranks #5 in the nation for the number of craft breweries – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State”.

Dianna Stampfler is the president of Promote Michigan and is the publicist for the Michigan Brewers Guild.