Tuesday, February 21, 2012

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

Written by  Jim Brown
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

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.
A Few Beers to Look Out For at 2012 Winter Beer FestivalFrom Konrad Connor, Brewer at Redwood Lodge in Flint comes In Yer Rye. This will be one of many barrel aged offerings at the Festival and this Old Ale spends 16 months in a Heaven Hill Rye Barrel. This is the first beer use for the barrel so expect intense rye and oak flavors. Another brewery featuring barrel aged beers is the Livery from Benton Harborwho will be bringing three special barrel aged offerings. As per Steve Berthel, Owner of the Livery, the Cherry Bomb is a sour Doppelbock with tart cherries, cocoa nibs, French white oak chips, and chilis. Many of these cold weather offerings have higher alcohol content and the alcohol in Cherry Bomb is a boozy 10.5% by volume.

From Southeast Michigan, Brewer Erik Harms of Warren’s Dragonmead has a couple of Festival specialties for this event. Jason’s IPA is a big American IPA featuring 3 additions of Columbus hops. Also available will be Sin Eater. This brew is a Belgian Style Dark Ale, a rich beer with notes of caramel, raisins and dark fruit. This is reminiscent of what the Monks of years past would have consumed to help them survive long winters. Southfield’s Copper Canyon Brewery will be bringing their Melange Des Fleurs (mix of flowers). Todd ‘Toddsy” Parker describes this as a 6.7% alcohol Saison with a mixture of 12 flowers, Szechuan peppercorns, black peppercorns and coriander.

Vander Mill of Spring Lake has recently received their brewing license and the Winter Festival will be the debut of their malt based products. Chapman’s Golden Strong Ale is a Belgian Strong Ale with the addition of 20% fresh presses apple cider. Paul Vander Heide, Vander Mill Owner, the cider adds alcohol to this 8.5% beverage but also adds a dryness that makes this very approachable. Also from the local area, Bra Buster Bock is Schmohz of Grand Rapids 6.5 % traditional bock effort. A customer of Schmohz will attest to this beer’s natural breast enhancement qualities based on a testimony given by Chas Thompson, Brewer at Schmohz.

Tri City Brewing of Bay City and Michigan Brewing of Webberville will be bringing special versions of flagship beers. Kevin Peil, Owner at Tri City will be featuring Dragon Slayer, an eight month, oak aged version of their Giant Slayer Imperial Stout. Joe Stelmark of Michigan Brewing will be bringing Big Stout, a 7.5 % alcohol version of their Superior Stout. Big Stout features a full body with creamy mouth feel and deep roasted chocolate and coffee flavors.

An article of Michigan Specialty beers would not be complete with out a mention of Short’s Brewing. The Bellaire based brewery will be bringing Wintertime Fun Ale. Jon “Woj” Wojtowicz describes this as an English Strong Ale brewed with milk chocolate, marshmallows, cinnamon, and peppermint. Wintertime Fun comes in at 8.5% alcohol.