Craft beer enthusiasts are passionate about Michigan brews…and February is the perfect time to fall in love with rich, chocolately and fruity beers. As you head out with your sweetheart this year for Valentine’s Day, consider ordering up a pint of one of these deliciously romantic Michigan made libations.
ARBOR BREWING COMPANY, ANN ARBOR
Espresso Love is made with cold-brewed locally roasted coffee and oatmeal for a smooth and creamy texture and rich coffee and chocolate flavor without the coffee bitterness. Espresso Love is currently available around the state from February through May, on draft – in limited qualities. Also look for Milestone Cask Porter – a rich, dark, complex, full-bodied porter with hints of dark chocolate, raisins, black licorice, and currents on the palate, and a smoky, sour finish.
ARCADIA ALES, BATTLE CREEK
The award-winning Cocoa Loco Triple Chocolate Stout gets its rich flavor from Simpson Chocolate, Weyerman Chocolate and Crisp Chocolate malts. The addition of lactose lends the beer a creamy quality- not unlike a milkshake- while the Blackstrap Molasses adds rich, burnt, syrupy flavors. Flavors of baker’s chocolate and espresso dominate, while rich malty flavors and a subtle kiss of hops add nice balance, making this a truly one-of-a-kind BIG beer.
ATWATER BREWING, DETROIT
Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale – Craft Beer Lovers and chocoholics unite! This newest offering hits the taps, just in time for Valentine’s Day to compliment the Vanilla Java Porter. A decadent ale that ends with a Dark Chocolate Kiss! Vanilla Java Porter is the featured beer for Valentine’s Day. Vanilla and coffee with chocolate malt is sure to please during anyone’s Valentine’s dinner. Combine this with the sweet taste of a Michigan Cherry salad and the night is almost complete! Or, try Cherry Stout featuring juicy red Michigan grown Montmorency cherries.
BAD BEAR BREWERY (located in Sleeping Bear Winery), ALBION
Honey Wheat – a classic wheat beer with the nuances of Michigan Honey, Orange Peel, and Spices. It was originally developed as a gift by Brewmaster Red Tackett for the love of his life! She inspired him to make a beer that a non-beer-drinking woman would enjoy. And the love affair continues…
BELL’S BREWERY, KALAMAZOO
Two Hearted Ale is a 100% Centennial hop IPA, grapefruit & pine aromas, solid malt balance. Bursting with hop aromas ranging from pine resins to grapefruit notes, Two Hearted Ale remains one of the defining American-style India Pale Ales. The Cherry Stout is rich and smooth, matching malty dark chocolate flavors with the tartness of 100% Montmorency cherries grown in Michigan’s Traverse City region.
BLUE TRACTOR BREWERY, ANN ARBOR
The award winning Schakolad Weizen is a wheat beer made with real chocolate from our neighbors at the Schakolad Chocolate Factory. Also, Chocolate Covered Cherry Stout is a rich stout brewed with chocolate and cherries, purchased from Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor, Michigan!
BREWERY VIVANT, GRAND RAPIDS
Kludde is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, brewed with star anise, green raisins and dark Belgian candi-sugars, and is best enjoyed under cover of night. This mythological beast is dark, complex, and a big 8.5% ABV. Now available for the first time in cans at finer retailers everywhere. Embrace the darkness!
DRAGONMEAD MICROBREWERY, WARREN
Redwing Raspberry Wheat Beer is a light wheat beer brewed with natural Raspberry extract and puree. This beer starts with a subtle sweetness and moderate tartness, and finishes with a palate-cleansing raspberry flavor that will leave you begging for more. Honey Porter is a porter with a difference. Dark in color but light in taste. Twenty-five pounds of honey and dark chocolate wheat malt are used to give this beer a refreshingly smooth taste. Give this beer a try even if you don't like dark beers. Or, try Willy's Oompa-Loompa Chocolate Stout. Little more can be said about this beer than these two words: Chocolate and Stout. This brew fills the palate with slightly sweet, super chocolate, malty flavor.
FORT STREET BREWERY, LINCOLN PARK
Celebrating its 7th birthday on Valentine's Day, and like every other year, they'll spend a week celebrating it, February 13-17. Among other things, expect the release of at least eight new beers – including 7x7 (made with 7 grains and 7 hop varieties), Spite (a 450 IBU IPA), Super Hoppy Sake (a 200 IBU sake) and Of Course I Love You, Now Get Naked! (a chocolate raspberry stout).
FOUNDERS BREWING COMPANY, GRAND RAPIDS
Curmudgeon's Better Half is the latest release in Founders “Backstage Series,” available February 13. Curmudgeon’s Better Half is a re-branding of the beer formerly known as Kaiser’s Curmudgeon, which has only been served at Founders’ taproom and in extremely limited draft distribution. Curmudgeon is an old ale brewed with molasses and aged on oak; it becomes Better Half after aging—for 254 days—in bourbon barrels that have more recently been aging Michigan maple syrup. As a result, Curmudgeon’s Better Half is a bit sweeter than her miserly counterpart. Appropriately, the beer label depicts her holding a pitcher of syrup for the Curmudgeon’s breakfast, and is released at the perfect time of year for you to buy one for the Better Half in your life. Also check out Founders Porter, described as “Dark, Rich and Sexy,” this beer pours silk black with a creamy tan head. The nose is sweet with a strong chocolate and caramel malt presence and no absence of hops gives this beer the full flavor you deserve and expect…it’s cozy like velvet. This 2010 World Beer Cup silver medalist is described as “a lover, not a fighter.”
GREENBUSH BREWING, SAWYER
As February is Harbor Country’s “Chocolate Month” Greenbush is participating in its own, special little way. On February 18, Chocolate takes over Greenbush, with three special experimental chocolate beers, chocolate themed food and chocolate drizzled bacon. The beers include: Cracker Chocolate Stout – with white chocolate, honey graham crackers and a few other treats for a whole different kind of breakfast stout; Hechizo Dolor – a mix of cinnamon, dark malts, and a lot of Terra Spice red cocoa powder, creates a beer that emulates a Mexican hot chocolate, in the best possible way (making you all warm and fuzzy, just like a good Valentine should); and The Velvet Valentine – an English brown, best described as smooth, velvety, with just a hint of chocolate in the background.
HARMONY BREWING, GRAND RAPIDS
Aphrodisiale - A honey chocolate porter with 8% alcohol. Brewed with honey and cocoa nibs, this porter is the perfect Valentine’s date beer!
JOLLY PUMPKIN, DEXTER / ANN ARBOR / TRAVERSE CITY
iO Saison is the latest release to capture the hearts of art and artisan beer lovers alike. Drawn in by the historic elegance of the label design and then held tight by the rapture of flavors, it will be released in limited quantities, appropriately just in time for Valentine’s Day. iO Saison is brewed in a lovely fashion, with rose hips, rose petals and hibiscus. Yet, don’t be easily deceived by her looks, for like love – she can be oh so dangerous.
JOLLY PUMPKIN, NORTH PEAK BEER & RIGHT BRAIN BREWERY, TRAVERSE CITY
A collaborative labor of love, the Passion Brew special Valentine’s beer is crafted to benefit local food banks. Each brewery is using the same recipe to create a Warm Winter Brown Ale. This year, the style is more diverse – resulting in dark Belgian style ales with 5.2% ABV and brewed with roasted wheat malt for a robust, well-rounded character. Also brewed into the mix: Old Mission Chinook hops and US Saaz, while three kinds of crystal malt give a hint of candy sugar. Participating breweries will start offering this “Brew with Benefits” on tap Friday, February 10 and it will also be prominently featured that evening at the 3rd Annual Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.
LIBERTY STREET BREWING COMPANY, PLYMOUTH
Don’t miss the release of Red Velvet on Valentine’s Day, based on the delicious chocolate cake with the rich, red color. Also try Chocolate Covered Cherry, a tap blended mix of our chocolaty Liberty One Porter and Cherry Hard Cider. A very limited release of our award winning Tart Cherry Porter will also be available.
NEW HOLLAND BREWING COMPANY, HOLLAND
The Poet is a romantic offering for Valentine’s Day. This beer reveals a rich, smooth malt character enveloped in tones of roast and chocolate. A soft mouth-feel brings luxurious flavors and a soothing aroma. The Poet is as versatile as it is delicious – the perfect accent to any chocolate dessert.
NORTH PEAK BEER, TRAVERSE CITY
Darkangel Cherry Porter is the antithesis of Archangel – the concept that it simply describes the dark side of you that succumbs to temptation. It is your shadow side that insists on not being connected to the light. Darkangel is robust and dry with a finishing touch of tart cherry. The roast barley quickly gives way to subtle chocolate malt and rich Crystal 30. Chinook and Centennial hops put forth a sharp clean bitterness that is followed by a medium-malt body balance with Challenger hops, ending with a smooth-dry, tart finish and strong Galena nose. It is brewed on Old Mission Peninsula, incorporating locally-grown hops.
REDWOOD LODGE, FLINT
Chocolate, Cherry, Vanilla Porter. Organic cocoa nibs, dried Michigan cherries and bourbon-soaked vanilla beans are added to the traditional Brown Porter, for this sweet Valentine’s beer. Available in Cask Ale only.
ROCHESTER MILLS BEER CO, ROCHESTER
Paint Creek Porter is a robust beer that features a rich, velvety chocolate malt flavor that will compliment any chocolate dessert.
SAUGATUCK BREWING, SAUGATUCK
Vanilla Nutmeg Oatmeal Stout is brewed with fresh ground nutmeg and pure vanilla extract. The vanilla, nutmeg, and oatmeal flavors play off of each other to make this a very surprisingly drinkable beer…perfect for sharing with your sweetie.
SHORT’S BREWING COMPANY, BELLAIRE
Aorta Ale - Originally a part of our Imperial Beer Series, this is the first time that we have brewed and bottled this epic Imperial Red Ale since the inaugural release of the series in 2007. Aside it being a delicious ruby red masterpiece of luscious caramel and toasted malts, balanced with tons of classic American cascade hops, this beer was also a tribute to a good friend and avid Short's supporter who had open heart surgery back in 2006. An active member of "Team Huma" cycling and overall outdoor enthusiast, we nearly lost someone close to us who seemed incredibly healthy, and the last person we would have expected to require something as serious as this. Aorta Ale should be a reminder to all humans who occupy the earth. It represents the beauty and awesome power of the human body and mind, and their abilities. Aorta Ale is also a symbol of life and goodness. It’s a beverage for the people around us who enhance our lives and add value to it. Appropriately released in February, Aorta Ale is the perfect way to honor and thank those who love us, and show them that they are loved in return. "Modest Essential Benevolence of Humanity"
WALLDORFF BREWPUB, HASTINGS
This year, serving up Cobain’s Double Dark IPA – a Gold Medal winner and Best of Show at the 2010 World Expo of Beer – this beer is a nicely balanced black IPA for the hop-head love birds. Java Brown is a nice winter-time treat combining coffee and beer. A malty, brown ale infused with Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Coffee, this local winter favorite pairs greatly with chocolate desserts on Valentine’s Day!
The MBG board oversees the organization’s administrative and promotional affairs, including four annual public events: Winter Beer Festival in February in Grand Rapids, Summer Beer Festival in July in Ypsilanti, UP Fall Beer Festival in September in Marquette, and Detroit Fall Beer Festival in Detroit in October, as well as its annual Winter Conference in January. Currently, the Guild represents 92 member breweries – the highest number since the organizations inception in 1998.
Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #5 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”
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 breweries, log on to www.MiBeer.com.