Jim Brown

Jim Brown

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Beer for the Season: Saison

New Holland Brewing Company Golden Cap Saison Ale

As the temperatures start to rise, as the grass and trees get greener, we as beer drinkers often look to lighter styles to quench our thirst. A perfect example of this type of brew is Saison. The name its self is originally French for season and summer is the season we are talking about. These beers originally were brewed in the Wallonia region in Southern Belgium which was predominately French speaking. These lower alcohol pale ales were designed for the farm workers for drinking during the harvest season.

Imperial Stouts: Kuhnhenn Brewing Company Solar Eclipse & Big Rock Chophouse Flying Buffalo Imperial Stout

In today’s beer lingo, the words big and flavorful have taken a back seat to terms like intense, extreme, and the often used “imperial”. For over 250 years, one style, Russian Imperial Stout, has been living up to and often exceeding those descriptors. This big and dark beer started life in English breweries and evolved into a style that would allow it to survive the trip to Russia and the Baltic States. Early attempts to ship beer from England resulted in the receipt of spoiled beer by the Imperial Court of Russia. To deliver a drinkable product, brewers increased the amount of both alcohol and hops in the brew, both ingredients acted as preservatives. The recipients of this big rich brew were delighted to say the least. The isolationist tariffs that the Russian Government imposed in the 1820s applied to all imports, except stout. Now that is a testament to the love for this intense brew.

A Few Beers to Look Out For at 2012 Winter Beer Festival

The sold out Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Festival is just days away and the excitement is building. There will be 61 breweries showcasing over 450 beers and the festival layout has been expanded to accommodate the increased number of beer enthusiasts. This festival will be the largest single day event the Guild produces. Many of the beers that I picked to preview will only be available at the Festival. I have selected the following beers based on brewer/owner recommendations, personal intrigue, or the fact they just sounded cool. Some of these will be released at special times so check the event program and plan your attack.

New Holland Brewing Company - El Mole Ocho

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I will share some insight into the history of the holiday, the history of chocolate and discuss some of Michigan’s of chocolate brews.

Saugatuck Pier Cove Porter

The once almost extinct style of Porter is alive and well in the State of Michigan. For the unfamiliar, Porter is a rich, malty, dark, and often roasted brew. This style evolved in England and became a favorite of the street and river porters of the city. Although the origin is somewhat cloudy and open to debate, it appears that porter evolved from the Brown Ales common in that day. Porter ushered in the industrial revolution and was the first beer to be made on a mass production basis. Porter gave birth to stout porter which eventually became known as stout and shortly after, porter fell out of favor. The style was later revived by American and English Micro-brewers and is quite common today.

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!