Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Warm up with Winter Beers…Made in Michigan

The winter season is upon us – and with that comes hand-crafted beers made right here in Michigan. Whether pairing with your holiday meal, warming up after a day in the snow or giving as a gift for someone special on your holiday list, Michigan brews make the perfect selection.

Trappist monks in Belgium have been brewing big, delicious, malty ales since the 11th century. Most brew Dubbels and Tripels which are made with candi sugar and very robust yeast to withstand the higher gravity. Tripels are bigger, drier and lighter in color while Dubbels are darker, sweeter, and a bit milder.
• Phat Abbot Belgian-Style Dubbel: is a deep mahogany abbey-style ale made with Trappist yeast and dark Belgian candi sugar for a traditional, malty Trappist character. Rich and complex with flavors of toffee, caramel, dried fruits, and subtle woodsy notes. Spicy hops and medium carbonation balance the sweetness for a very drinkable ale. Available late February.
• Phat Abbot Belgian-Style Tripel: A deep golden abbey-style ale made with Trappist yeast and light Belgian candi sugar for a traditional, malty Trappist character. Rich and complex with flavors of toasted bread, tropical fruits, and candied oranges. Spicy hops and medium carbonation balance the sweetness for a very drinkable ale.
• Espresso Love Breakfast Stout: This decadent brew combines our creamy, hand-crafted oatmeal stout with fresh-ground, dark-roast, cold-brewed coffee for a bold coffee flavor without the bitter acids. The result is a rich yet delicate brew with a great espresso flavor, soft earthy notes, and hints of dark chocolate. A great beer is more than just the sum of its parts but even the best beers are only as good as the ingredients that go into them. That’s why we use 100% fair trade coffee locally roasted and ground to order by our friends at the Ugly Mug small batch artisan roastery. Available throughout Michigan January through April.

• Big Dick’s Olde Ale: Somewhat of a cousin to Barleywine, this is a classic English-style olde ale. Sweet and full-bodied malt flavors are complemented by a fragrant but mild hop bitterness. Sweet, bready malt aromas combine with rich flavors of dark fruit, brown sugar, caramel and sweet nuts. This is not only a BIG beer, it is a well-endowed ale!
• Cereal Killer Barleywine: Brewed in the traditional English style of barleywines, this beer is an explosion of full-bodied, malty goodness. Huge syrupy, flavors flow over caramel, toffee, molasses and toasty notes. All of these rich malt flavors are balanced out nicely by just the right amount of citrus-like hoppy bitterness.
• Imperial Stout: A limited release seasonal offering, this is a big, boldly-flavored beer fit for royalty. True to style, this beer is full-bodied and warming, with a creamy texture. Boasting rich, roasty aromas and flavors of roasted coffee, black currants, plums and bittersweet cocoa, this beer certainly packs a punch.
• Nut Brown Ale: This fall/winter seasonal is an easy-drinking medium-bodied English-style brown ales. Six varieties of premium malted barley provide the beer with a deep, mahogany color and a rich flavor. Hints of cocoa, dates, freshly-baked biscuits, and toasted almonds come to the forefront, while the malty, sweet finish is balanced by a smooth bitterness, subtle fruitiness and mild hop aroma.
• Shipwreck Porter: Nothing like 10-year-old Bourbon to add dimension to this beer. This Baltic-style porter has a robust, roasted malt emphasis that is nicely balanced by a slightly herbal hop bitterness. Aged for six months in 10-year-old Kentucky Bourbon oak barrels, this beer is a tasty and tasteful combination of brilliant flavors. Bourbon adds notes of Earth, vanilla, brown sugar and spice, while the barrels contribute mild, oaky tones. Cocoa and coffee notes co-mingle with toasty, malty flavors and a lingering alcohol warmth.

• Blueberry Vanilla Cream Ale (5%): This is beautiful beer to finish out the summer. A nice, refreshing cream ale. This beer is brewed with 100% Michigan grown Blueberries, pure vanilla (including beans from Mexico and Uganda), and some lavender. This beer is well balanced and not overpowering in any of it's flavors. It is light with a tart, fruity character. It is hazy from the yeast and has a slight purplish hue. The hops are very subtle.
• Elzar's Spice Weasel Explosion (5.7%): Elzar is a 4 armed Neptunian chef that is the show Futurama's homage to the celebrity chef Emeril. In stead of him doing his usual “Bam!” with his “Essence”, they use a “Spice Weasel” to spread his spices. This beer is an interpretation of what might happen to a beer should a “Spice Weasel” explode. There are 16 different herbs and spices in this beer. This is a traditional spicy Christmas ale, with maple, nutty, and roasty hints and a complex melange of spicy flavors. There is a distinct bitterness presence also.
• Apple Streudel Tripel (9%): This is what Santa drinks when he gets back from delivering toys all Christmas Eve. This beer is tart and quite reminiscent of apple strudel. The apple and the pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, allspice) are all present. It is not bitter and is very smooth with a spicy sweetness. It is quite strong at 9% abv. The Belgian yeast we used imparts hints of bubblegum, clove, and banana.

On tap in the near future:
• IPL- India Pale Lager: Imagine if Germany was India's colonial power in stead of England, what would happen to the beer styles today. My interpretation is a stronger, hoppier pilsner. Not only is it hoppier, but hoppier with traditional European hops for a nice spicy zing. This beer runs in at about 6% abv.

• Black Magic: A big and pitch-black Russian Imperial Stout, offering high alcohol content, with a strong roast/coffee flavor.
• Chocolate Schwartz: A Chocolate flavored dark lager at 5.0%.
• Winter Warmer: A rich, malty ale with a slight warming effect, at 7.8%.

• Excalibur Barley Wine: Big, complex and thick, this beer is a meal in a glass. It warms on the way down and for quite a while afterwards. This beer undergoes three yeast fermentations and spending over 120 days in the fermenter. When you are in an adventurous mood, try this international classic.
• Copper Shield Bitter Harvest Barley Wine: This beer is produced at the lower end of the barley wine scale. It is fermented to a very drinkable level unlike heavier Barley Wines. It has a generous dose of hops added to an International Bittering Level of 103.
• Jul Ol (pronounced Yule Ole) Norwegian Spiced Christmas Ale: This spiced ale makes for great sipping. Jul Ol is brewed in the tradition of an Norwegian dark ale. It is spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. This ale is only available in December and January.

• Porter: Pours silky black with a creamy tan head. The nose is sweet, with a strong chocolate and caramel malt presence. No absence of hops gives Founders robust Porter the full flavor you deserve and expect. The mouthfeel is full and luxurious…cozy like velvet. It’s a lover, not a fighter.
• Imperial Stout: Brewed with 10 varieties of malted barley, this stout is smooth as silk, yet complex and rich in body. Serve this guy at cellar temperature. Put another log on the fire and sit back and enjoy the friendship of this ultimate winter warmer.
• Double Trouble Imperial IPA: Brewed to turn your world upside down. This is a well-balanced imperial IPA hopped with a combination of Summit, Simcoe and Amarillo. Hops have got you coming and going. Pungent aromatics up front, paired with a malt-balanced backbone and a smooth, bitter finish make this a delicacy in a glass.
• Breakfast Stout: The coffee lovers consummate beer. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, Sumatra and Kona coffee. This stout has an intense fresh roasted java nose topped with a cinnamon colored frothy head that goes on forever.

Founders will release a new beer in its Specialty Series called Nemesis. The beer is already creating a stir amongst beer enthusiasts. There are only a handful of people within Founders Brewing who actually know what the beer is – it has been kept very quiet. This is an extremely limited release and is only available once a year. The idea is to create something that is extraordinary, interesting and unique. Every year the beer style with change. Nemesis was scheduled to be released in December, but in keeping with Founders tradition, we felt the final product will be better if it aged a bit longer. It will be released when we feel it is ready.

The name Grizzly Peak alone just exudes rustic Michigan, and these beers are waiting be enjoyed as you warm up beside a fieldstone fireplace with a good book or a good friend.

• White Christmas White Ale: A strong version of Belgian White Ale, with the same fruity, crisp wheat and spicy character, plus a bit of warming alcohol.
• Strang Wullie: A wee-heavy style Scottish Ale with lots of toasted and caramel malt and rich molasses-like flavors.
• Yakima Biere: A Belgian ale with American hops.
• Uber-Marzen (also known as the Dopptoberfest or Lost Pants Lager): Featuring double the amount of malt and hops, with a cold fermentation followed by two months of cold aging to give this beer a clean and crisp flavor, with rich malt and warming alcohol.
• Edwyn’s Warm-up Ale: An American strong ale, perfect for winter.
• Draconus: A Strong Belgian Dark Ale with big fruit, yeast, caramel malt and alcohol character.

• Oil Rigger Imperial Stout: This one clocks in at an ABV of 10.5%. Simply brewed to be smooth and dry, but sweet and strong. It'll sneak up on you! The Oil Rigger release party is Saturday, January 16. That day we will be pouring OR all day, and have it available in 22oz bottles, while supplies last. We will also be holding The Official HopCat Crack Fry Eating Contest, as well as hosting the only Michigan appearance of Black Diamond - The world's only African American Neil Diamond Tribute singer. Events start at Noon.
• Bumbles Bounce Porter: Chocolate and caramel malts with a little cinnamon and allspice. A great winter blend at 6.9% ABV. This is appropriately named after the Abominable Snowman and is scheduled for a late December, early January Release.
• Black Scratch Fever Double IPA: Made with Chinook, Simcoe & Amarillo hops. This Black Double I.P.A. has a great caramel flavor with a smooth dark roast finish complimented by citrus & pine hops. A good winter warmer at 7.9% ABV. This one is a collaboration brew between the HopCat brew team and The PussyCat Beer Guild, a group of like minded women that meet at HopCat monthly to discuss all things beer. This is their first group brew, and we are very, very excited to showcase their collective talents. This is scheduled for a December 13 release.

• Noel de Calabaza: Deep mahogany and malty, layered hops and hints of fruit and spice. The perfect accompaniment for all times of good cheer! Released early December 2009.
• Maracaibo Especial: A rich brown ale inspired by the enigmatic monastic brews of Belgium, and the mysterious mist shrouded jungles of the tropics. Brewed with real cacao and spiced with cinnamon and sweet orange peel for a sensual delight. A brew to be sipped, savored and enjoyed! Released December 2009
• Madrugada Obscura: This Belgian inspired stout, dark as a moonless night, brimming of roasted malt and bitter hops, will keep you good company in all places, be they of light or of dark. Released January 2010

• Snowplowed: A very unique ale made with oats, rye, and juniper berries and its 6.5% ABV. It's as refreshing to adults as the words "snow day" are to a kid! Available in early January.
• Kilt Tilter: A Strong Scotch Ale with a hint of smoke.
• Tart Cherry Porter: Our award winning fruit beer available in December.
• Oak Aged Tart Cherry Porter: Same great beer but aged on French Oak for bourbon and vanilla character. Bottles only – limited supply.
• Foreign Extra Stout: A rich, stout with flavors of chocolate and coffee.
• Winter Wonderland Warmer: An Old Ale brewed with local ingredients – served hot after mulled with a spice blend.
• C-Monster: A hearty barleywine-style ale brewed with the ‘C’ hops and a monstrous ABV. A warmer for sure, this small batch will go fast.
• Oatmeal Crème Stout: A Loading Dock beer brewed with Craig and Jerry from and tapped at the launch party for their new beer resource website; Check back at for the date, yet to be determined.

For Mug Club members only - “Anniversary Ale”: A Robust Porter, the base beer for the Tart Cherry Porter, prior to finishing and conditioning.

• Telewhacker: An American brown ale hopped like an IPA, named in honor of Telemark skiers everywhere!
• Special C-A Czech style Dunkel: Malty with a spicy Saaz hop finish.
• Carvana: Brewmaster Steve Berthels' ever-changing birthday ale. Always hoppy, always high gravity, always released in February and available at the Michigan Winter Beer Festival.
• 1/10th of a Mountain Tele Lager: A lighter alternative after a day on the slopes.
• Karhu: A hugely hoppy alternative to 1/10th of a Mountain Tele Lager, after a day on the slopes.
• German Dunkel: A classic dark German lager
• Liverator: Our award-winning German style Doppelbock.
• TrippelWeizenbock: Our award-winning wheat lager.

• Holiday Hand-Crafted Beer Sampler Tool Box (12 Assorted Beers): Includes a selection of Motor City Pale Ale, Motown Lager (Pre-Prohibition Bohemian Style Lager), Ghettoblaster (English Style Mild Ale), Nut Brown Ale, Honey Porter, 120W-90 IPA (an American Style IPA) and 90W-40 Double Pale Ale (an American Style Double Pale Ale).

• Cabin Fever Brown Ale: .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.
• Pilgrim’s Dole Wheatwine: A barleywine-style ale made with fifty percent wheat malt. Pilgrim’s Dole blends warming and slightly sweet flavors with a unique carmelized character. Excellent accent to nutty dishes, fruit crisps or crème brulee.
• The Poet Oatmeal Stout: Served all year round, The Poet is a beautiful beer for the winter. Its roasty tones have hints of chocolate and coffee, while oat flakes provide a soft mouth feel and lush creaminess to its body.
• Seasonal 12 pack: Six different beers, 2 bottles of each. Available at retailers across the State, it’s the perfect gift, whether you’re headed to a dinner party or a family gathering. Cabin Fever Brown Ale, Ichabod Pumpkin Ale, Mad Hatter IPA, Full Circle Kolsch, Sundog Amber Ale and The Poet Oatmeal Stout.

• Belgian Golden Strong: Light in body and color, we brew this ale with orange blossom honey and light Belgian candi sugar. A complex beer with significant fruity and spicy characteristics.
• Imperial IPA: A beer fit for anyone with a palate daring enough to give it a try. Hops, hops, and more hops. Loads of Simcoe, Cluster, and Amarillo are added during the kettle boil and even more of the same are dry hopped in the fermenter. If you are into hops, then this is a must-try.
• Chocolate Stout: ‘Tis the season for holiday beers, so we brewed something very special just for the occasion. Deeply roasted malts, dark brown sugar, vanilla bean, and lots of cocoa nibs all help make this beer a chocolate fan’s dream.
• Wee Heavy: A traditional Scottish ale of the strong variety. Rich and malty, the overall hop profile is subdued to allow the malt sweetness to really shine.
• Oatmeal Stout: Deeply-roasted malts contribute chocolate and coffee notes to this full-bodied ale. A silky-smooth texture from the flaked oats we add makes this a wonderful beer to drink after an all-day bout with the snow shovel.
• Winter Warmer: This high-octane ale sports a deep copper hue and all the spices you would find in a slice of apple pie. The fine Belgian yeast we use imparts flavors reminiscent of apple and plum. A big high-alcohol delight brewed to keep you warm during the long, cold winter months.

• Portage Street Porter: A medium-dark ale with noticeable caramel and chocolate notes both in its aroma and flavor.
• Vanilla Porter: Brewmaster Dan's original porter with a touch of vanilla.
Coming in January, the 4th release in the "Whole Lotta Hops" series of beers, featuring a distinctive IPA.
• Brown Ale: A rich, malty beer perfect for taking the chill out of the air. The use of Victory and Brown malts lend a roasted, nutty flavor profile to this winter favorite.
• Imperial Stout: This big seasonal beer is full of roasted malt flavor and aroma. Full-bodied, black in color, and high in alcohol content, Imperial Stout is sure to be a popular pint during the cold winter months. On tap December 23, 2009.
• Double IPA: This bigger version of our IPA is packed full of Cascade hops to satisfy every hophead's thirst for alpha acids. On tap January 2010.

• Vanilla Nutmeg Oatmeal Stout: A dark, rich stout with notes of vanilla and nutmeg. A great winter warmer.

• Mad Tom's Porter: Deep and dark, malty with chocolate undertones, blended to a mildly biting roastiness. Smooth and warming, with a nice medium mouth feel. Available now.
• Zingiberene Ale: A light malt based ale using ginger rather than hops as the preservative. Dare to get unhopped and try the energizing elixir. Available now.
• Miracle Off 28th Street: Miracle is a paradigm of the finest malts and complex hop blends to build the superlative winter ale for mature tastes. Brewed as an Olde Ale exhibiting the seasoned character of our brew house staff! Enjoy the “Miracle” with family and friends in front of hearth and home. On tap in December.
• Kiss My Scottish Arse: In the spirit of Chas’ Great Uncle McGlean, this Great Ale will not only lift your kilt, but raise ye spirit to an attitude of mighty altitude. Presented with the best of malts, grains and the select hops, it will not be for the faint of pint raisers. Bring your bonnie lass and hold on! This beer will be released at the 2010 Michigan Winter Beer Festival on Saturday, February 27 in Grand Rapids.

All Available on tap in the pub, across the state and in bottles at your local retailer.

• Cup A Joe (coffee creme stout): The perfect morning night capper. Deep aromas of malt, sweet espresso and roasted cocoa. Flavor is robust with big malt character covered with cream and coffee. It’s a favorite coffee stout, rated World Class and a top beer on the planet by
• Über Goober (oatmeal stout fermented on fresh peanuts): A prominent chocolate nuttiness on the nose with a big, chewy, full flavor on the palate. Creamy oatmeal fused with peanut puree compliments rich caramel and roasted malts.
• S'more Stout (as in, what you make around the campfire): Graham Crackers, marshmallows and chocolate combine to add a unique flavor to this latest experimental stout. Some serve it with a lit marshmallow thrown in to add another dimension. Over six pounds of marshmallows in every keg.
• Mystery Stout: Imperial Oatmeal Stout with cocoa and molasses. It possesses rare flavor combinations which can overload even the most experienced beer connoisseur. Capture every bit of its warmth and wisdom, as it will demand all of your attention.
• Uncle Steve's Irish Stout (classic Irish stout): Classic Irish Stout with a full bodied creamy finished. This is one of the few beers that we brew to style. Available at the pub on a traditional nitrogen line.
• Peanut Butter and Jelly Stout: After multiple people tried blending Über Goober and Soft parade we did it for you creating PB&J.
• The Liberator: Double IPA featuring a Huma base with added tones of Nicie Spicie, Hangin Frank and Stellar Ale. A powerful beer celebrating Joe Shorts Birthday.
• Good Humans: Double Brown featuring an exclusive new malt from Briess Malt and Ingredients.

Not to mention Shorts will be rolling out 5 new experimental beers in December. Some are top secret, but two are Plum Rye Bock and Pistachio Cream Ale.

• Tart Cherry Cinnamon Wheat: A wheat ale infused with Michigan tart cherries then aged with cinnamon to give you a nice holiday beer. A great beer to enjoy with sugar cookies and pie. 5.5% ABV
• Mocha Mint Porter: A nice brown porter steeped with a heavy amount of chocolate coffee and bruised fresh mint. This beer always makes me thirst for some dark chocolate or maybe just another one. 5.8% ABV
• White Fir Pale Ale: Pale ale bittered with a small amount of Columbus hops. 15 pounds of actual white fir tips are also used in this Colonial American style ale to give it a unique flavor yet making a very drinkable pale. This is a good one just to drink by the fire or with friends. 5.4% ABV 28 IBU’s.
• Walldorff Winter Warmer: This ale is now a year old (aged with American oak) barley wine known by the locals as SOFA KINGDOM BARLEY WINE. This big beer is very malty yet hoppy. Best enjoyed from a brandy snifter while sitting down. 11.5% ABV 85 IBU's

At the pub there will also some rotating seasonals like CANDY SNATCHER PUMKIN ALE and KENNY'S DOWNTOWN BROWN that you will have to stop by and check out.

Sample hundreds of hand-crafted Michigan beers – including seasonal brews – at the 2010 Winter Beer Festival, February 27 at Fifth-Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, just north of Grand Rapids.

The Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the Michigan brewing community; to increase sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness and consumer education; and to monitor and assure a healthy beer industry within the state. For more information, including a list of Michigan microbreweries, log on to

1 comment:

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