Fall is, for many beer-lovers, the most wonderful time of the year.
The northern hemisphere is a world of changing colors and nippy winds laced with an almost palpable nostalgia. Gone are the pale, citrus-y notes of summer; taking their place are the rich, dark hues of fall ales, comforting pumpkin brews and the freshest hops of the year just harvested. It's time to don jeans and a fleecy sweatshirt, throw on a scarf to fight the wind and traipse over the crunchy, fallen leaves to your local pub or microbrewery to take advantage of the delicious bounty of this fleeting season.
If you're in Michigan, you're in luck! Michigan ranks fifth in the nation in number of breweries and eighth in craft breweries according to a Brewers Association report last year. Grand Rapids even pulled off the title as Beer City USA 2013. Blessed with millions of gallons of fresh water and hundreds of enterprising brewers, Michigan is both home and mecca for legions of beer enthusiasts.
In the spirit of Live Love Michigan, we want to encourage you to reinvigorate both your taste buds and your community. As temperatures drop, take solace among friends and have a Michigan-made pint at one of the hundreds of local establishments sprinkled around the Mitten.
Here are five local fall beers (and a cider) to watch for before they're gone:
1) Greenbush (Sawyer, MI) -- DoomSlayer: A "delightful brown ale" with a hit of straight maple sap. You know you're curious.
2) Founders (Grand Rapids, MI) -- Harvest Ale: An ale to celebrate the hop harvest, with juicy citrus notes that fade into undertones of toasted malt—an apt analogy for the changing seasons, right in your glass.
3) New Holland Brewing Co. (Holland, MI) -- Ichabod Pumpkin Ale: Expertly combined malted barley and real pumpkin don't belie its real beer status; this ale pairs well both with roasted fall dishes and your favorite fall dessert.
4) Eagle Monk Pub and Brewery (Lansing, MI) -- Red Eye Rye: For those who want to foray into the spicier world of rye beer, Eagle Monk's signature brew might be just the ticket. Still hoppy, with an autumnal edge.
5) Kuhnhenn Brewing Company (Warren, MI) -- Dark Heathen Triple Bock: Yep, triple. Watch out: this big beer's smooth, sweet malty molasses body and dark fruit notes hide its 12.5% ABV well.
6) J.K.'s Scrumpy (Flushing, MI) -- Orchard Gate Gold Hard Cider: This cider is smooth, organic, sweet without being sickly, and tastes like real apple juice. While an excellent beer alternative for the gluten-free folks out there, it's actually just plain good in its own right.
So many brewers to support, so many fall brews to try. Make the most of the numbered fall days and get sipping! (Be sure to love Michigan unrestrainedly, but drink Michigan responsibly.)
What are some of your favorite Michigan fall brews?
Also, don't forget to check out The Michigan Beer Film!