The fall is a beautiful time in Michigan. Some of the benefits are color-changing trees, cooler weather, football season and craft beer. Cons of fall: none. Now that we’ve discussed how great fall is, we’ll dive deeper into the most important part: beer.
Show Me the Money
With a new documentary on Michigan beer set to launch September 14, all eyes are on breweries that mix ingenuity with flavor. There’s no doubt Michigan is one of the best brewery states in the US and the growth will continue for years to come. The friendly competition across breweries means big business—the beer industry has put over $2,000,000,000 back into the Michigan economy. With big money on the line, breweries are coming up with more delicious and interesting fall beers than ever before.
What are new trends? Flavors include pumpkin, nutmeg, coffee and Oktoberfest beer. Like wine, the beer market typically goes darker for the fall and winter. As the weather gets cooler, the fresh fruits of summer tend to be faded out for a more robust and hearty drink, complementary to the food this season. Here’s what’s on tap!
I’m not going to lie; this brewery is my favorite and anytime I visit with friends, it becomes their favorite as well. Their BeerAdvocate rating is a world-class- dominating 98 of 100, better than any brewery in the state. They have the quirkiest of beers on tap each season, and I’m delightfully surprised with new flavors like Key Lime Pie and Strawberry Short’s Cake. My favorite beer, however, is Bellaire Brown, which is thankfully on their annual list. It’s a great beer with a nutty and smooth flavor no matter the time of year. Really, if you have never been to Short’s, it’s worth the scenic trip and you’ll be boasting about it like I do. Short’s is also featuring this fall:
Autumn Ale– an extra- special bitter, available through November
Noble Chaos– an Oktoberfest, and one of my favorites
Kind Ale– a harvest ale, available mid-October
Evil Urges– a dark Belgian ale with chocolate and molasses, coming early November
Bludgeon Yer Eye– a serious black IPA, coming mid-November
Captain Fantasy– a hoppy saison brewed with pears for those fruit enjoyers, coming mid-November
Gingersnap– a dark English ale with cinnamon, molasses and ginger
(Bonus, show up at the pub to try Funkin’ Punkin—tastes like pie!)
One of my favorite parts about Short’s Brewery is that you don’t have to visit Bellaire, MI to enjoy their beer. They have tap takeovers all across the state, setting records in the meantime. I think I’ll be planning a trip to Short’s this fall.
Founders Brewing Co. has made their name as one of the best breweries in the nation. They are having a grand opening (again) on September 19 to showcase their new construction. Their beer story is something like the American dream– starting out near-bankrupt to reshape and produce some of the best beers in the nation. No longer scared of chained doors, they’re making big money thanks to a private donor’s help. Here’s their fall lineup of beers that really drink like a meal:
Harvest Ale– a limited release golden hop delight
Red’s Rye PA– creamy Belgian caramel malt with Amarillo flavor—a must-have!
Breakfast Stout– chocolaty coffee and cinnamon beer. A strong contender for the best rated beer
Backwoods Bastard– a smokin’ scotch flavor in a bottle for the seriously bold drinker
Distributed across 18 states, Bell’s is probably best known for Oberon, a fresh orange summer beer. Their Hopslam beer is also some of the most sought-after beer in the nation. Additionally, it’s not rare to see Two Hearted Ale in every grocery store and bar around. In a small Michigan survey, Bell’s won best brewery by a landslide. Here’s what’s ringing in for fall:
Best Brown Ale– a delicious nutty brown
Cherry Stout– a complex brew tasting like Michigan cherry and chocolate coffee
Hell Hath No Fury…Ale– a strong dark ale tasting like fig, raisin and molasses
Java Stout– a refreshing dark roast with a thick finish and malt flavor
The Oracle DIPA– an American double IPA with an orange glow and fruity finish
Octoberfest– always a solid choice, with a subtle caramel malt and nuttiness
If you’re interested in making some of Bell’s at home, they offer a starter kit for their Pumpkin Spice Porter! I’ll…uh…be right back folks.
This is a company who believes we should stop what we are doing and taste a good brew. It makes sense considering their beer rating is 91 of 100 points.
Blueberry Cider – fresh tasting with an infused fruit—the only cider to make this list.
The Poet– an oatmeal and coffee stout available year-round. This is one of my best friend’s favorite beers for a reason: it’s drinkable from start to finish without getting tired. My favorite part about this beer is the dark caramel smell.
Oak-Aged Hatter– vanilla, oak-aged and hoppy
Ichabod– a fall pumpkin ale, mixing hops with caramel and cinnamon stirring the pumpkin pot.
Detroit Beer Co.
As a young beer drinker (but still legal), I flocked to Detroit Beer Co. because of the Sanders Chocolate Stout. It’s now a retired beer, but Detroit + Sanders + beer = heaven. Now that I’ve had more time to explore the city, I’ve found this to be the best gem of Detroit. The staff is hospitable and genuinely wants to make you happy. I’d recommend this gem to anyone and everyone. Here’s what’s on tap:
Detroit Dwarf– a red lager that is woodsy with notes of caramel
Percolator Coffee Stout– a heavy beer that tastes like fresh-roasted coffee
Detroit Hefeweizen– a lighter beer with notes of banana
Broadway Light– despite being a light beer, it’s full of curves–. It’s mellow and ambitious
Willie’s Kilt Scotch Ale– nutty, oaky and a strong aftertaste of scotch. This is the boom-diggity right here (and that’s not just because I’m Scottish). I hope they keep this a while.
Detroit Beer Co. is having their 10- year anniversary party on September 20 and 21 with $2 beers all day. They’ll have food specials and live music with raffles and giveaways.
Michigan is the great beer state, and that’s not changing any time soon. Each brewery is expecting wide margins of growth for the end of 2013 and more pop-ups are already in place. Beer clearly isn’t made with just suds and hops; it’s produced with heart, soul, and a lot of mixed ingredients. Get ready for a full season ahead of us, folks! If you have a real hankering for great beer like I do, look no further than the 5th Annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival in Eastern Market on October 25. It’s a great time to try out 400 craft beers from over 50 breweries.
What’s your favorite fall beer?