Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Michigan Breweries: The Winter Seasonal Beers

Written by  Jim Brown
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Michigan Breweries | The Winter Seasonal Beers

As the days get shorter and the temperatures start to plummet, there is no mistake that Winter is here. Although the season does not start officially until the Winter Solstice, December 22 this year, ask any Michigander and they will tell you Winter starts much earlier. While all people know the bad that Winter brings... snow, school closings, bad roads, etc we need to focus on the good. The good that I am referring to is Winter Beer!

Michigan Breweries - The Winter Seasonal BeersThe original tradition of “Winter Warmers” started in Jolly Old England and were designed to celebrate the festive feeling of the season. Traditionally there were two types of beers to signify the Winter holidays. The first approach to this style was an enhanced version of a brewery’s flagship beer, by enhanced I mean more alcohol. The alcoholic warmth goes well with the colder temperatures. The second approach to the style would be to brew a medium bodied ale, and add spices. These spices could be the traditional spices used in the fare of the season, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger for example.

While some traditional examples of these style exist in Michigan, the majority follow the creative route Michigan brewers take when tackling any style. Todd “Toddsy” Parker at Copper Canyon Brewery in Southfield has brewed two offerings this year Figgy Pud’n, with figs and spices, and an Apple Strudel Tripel. His previous Winter delights included a snickerdoodle and also a gingerbread cookie beer. Kuhnhenn Brewing in Warren embraces the cold with Metry’s Winter Lager, a bourbon barrel aged Barleywine, Winter Wonder Lager, a bourbon barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout and the ever popular Raspberry Eisbock. Detroit warms up with the Winter Bock offered by Atwater Brewing Company. At Dark Horse Brewing in Marshall they welcome the season with 4 Elf, a spiced dark ale, and a series of five holiday The brewing team at Bell’s release Christmas Ale which is made with 100% Michigan grown barley and some Michigan grown hops. Along with Christmas Ale, Bell’s also releases Eccentric Ale and Winter White. Other Michigan Winter seasonals to look for include Arcadia XV and 15, North Peak Blitzen Festivus Ale, and New Holland Cabin Fever.