We love shopping local this season, and there’s nothing like the gift of beer! Check out some wintery recommendations from our local brewers, offering an awesome paring for your holiday gathering, or unique gift for the microbrewery aficionado in your life.
And, if a tasty Southwest Michigan brew just isn’t enough, we’ve got a great recipe from Round Barn for a beer-y dessert sure to float your boat!
Simon Rusk, the owner and head brewer of the Benton Harbor brewery, shared his two favorites for gatherings and gifts.
"When I drink beers with family around the holidays I usually bring "big" beers. I want the beer to be memorable, so that means a beer with huge flavors and high AVB%. We have a number of beers on draft (and available for take out in growlers, howlers, or prowlers) that meet those requirements, but my two favorites right now are Bourbon Barrel Aged Trippel Weizenbock, and Big Bottom.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Trippel Weizenbock was just awarded a Gold Medal from RateBeer at the "Ratebeer Best" awards ceremony in the "Wheat" category. It currently stands as the #1 Weizen Bock in the world and #161 in the world on their overall "Top Beers" list! The 2016 vintage clocks in at a whopping 16% ABV after spending 11 months in Four Roses Bourbon barrels. While imparting deep notes of oak and warming bourbon, the barrel aging only enhances the rich character of this massive malt bill. We find an earthy roasted note, coupled with clove, toffee, caramel, vanilla and hints of dark fruit. A medley of wheat dancing over bourbon and wet oak. A sipper worthy of sharing around the yule log.
Big Bottom was inspired by our love of Russian Imperial Stouts and driven by the experimental firkins that we tap on Friday evenings, this beer packs in all the flavor! Espresso blend from Uncommon Coffee Roasters, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean, Organic Maple Syrup, Fair Trade Cocoa Nibs from TCHO Chocolate Company (Ghana), and whole cinnamon sticks! An incredibly full flavored beer, you taste each of the additions which combine beautify with big and fudgy imperial stout that make up that base of the beer."
Simon Rusk, Owner and Head Brewer of the Livery
Christian Cook, the head brewer of the downtown St. Joseph brewpub, offered his establishment's best seasonal beverage. Enjoy it there, or take it with you in their "crowlers".
"Silver Harbor Brewing's best holiday beer is our milk stout Moo-dy Michigan Blues. Brewed with nutmeg and vanilla beans, this beer shines with holiday flavors as well as notes of milk chocolate. The addition of oats, lactose, and being served on nitro make this ale have a creamy texture and a balanced sweetness. It’s the most wonderful time of the year to come to Silver Harbor and try this beer!"
Christian Cook, head brewer at Silver Harbor Brewing
Jay and Steve filled us in on the new Benton Harbor brewery's best beers for the holidays, which are easily packaged in howlers and growlers for gifts, too!
"Hairy Jack, our English-Style Oatmeal Stout, is the perfect beer for this holiday season. This malt-driven beer has baker’s chocolate on the nose with a touch of roastiness. Oats provide a smooth-textured mouthfeel while dark malts create a bittersweet finish. At only 5.1%, you'll be able to crush a few of these while waiting on the winter months.
Gypsy Witch, our Dark Wit, is another beer to get you through the holiday season. A unique take on a traditionally summer-style, this beer blends ginger, cloves and coriander with our Wit yeast and dark roasted malts to bring you the perfect winter beer to sip on."
Jay Fettig (owner) and Steve Distasio (brewer) from North Pier Brewing Company
When you ask for holiday fun, Round Barn's empire in Baroda delivers!
Thanks for drinking local responsibly!