Category Archives: Craft Beer News

Beers for a Michigan Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to share with others and enjoy time with family and friends.  Michiganders have much to be thankful for, and with over 200 breweries, there are many great beers to celebrate the holiday with.  Here are a few recommendations on a few of my favorite Michigan beers for you to enjoy throughout the day:


Founders Breakfast Stout– Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so on Thanksgiving Day, why not treat yourself to this iconic breakfast beer?  Brewed with copious amounts of chocolate, coffee and flaked oats, it’s the perfect way to start your day.  Simply replace your morning cup of coffee with one of these tasty brews, and start prepping your turkey so it’s in the oven well before the Lions game starts.

1475679500323Speaking of the Lions game, kickoff is still a few hours away  and you’ll want to pace yourself.  Perrin No Problems is a session IPA that delivers great hop flavor at a modest 4.5% abv. You’ll have “No Problems” crushing a few of these whether you’re tailgating in The D, or watching from home.  The can even matches the Lions uniforms! Let’s hope we all hear “Gridiron Heroes” early and often.  GO LIONS!!!


Now it’s time for the big Thanksgiving feast, and there are a many great beers that will pair well with your turkey and all the fixings.  Brewery Vivant Farmhand is a French style farmhouse ale that is not overly bitter or sweet.  It’s crisp and on the lighter side, with a nice effervescent mouthfeel that will enhance your meal without filling you up.


If you’re more into the stuffing and gravy or simply prefer something a bit more malty, Saugatuck Bonfire Brown Ale is one of my favorite brown ales that I highly recommend. It has a light to medium body with a bready malt backbone, with a nutty hint of maple and a slightly smoky finish reminiscent of great times around the bonfire.  This beer has won several prestigious awards, including the Gold Medal for American Brown Ales in the 2014 World Beer Cup and Best in Show at the 2013 World Expo of Beer.

scotty-karateAfter the main course and the traditional cat nap on the sofa while watching more football, it’s time for dessert.  If you’re having pumpkin pie, Dark Horse Scotty Karate is a nice match.  The rich malty caramel flavors are a nice complement to the roasted pumpkin and brown sugar in the pumpkin pie, and at 9.75% abv, you can savor this well after the pie is finished.


ad_bottling_final-absolution-shieldFor fruit pies such as apple or cherry, Dragonmead Total Absolution is the perfect match.  This Belgian-style Trippel ale yields hints of banana and clove from the Belgian yeast and a slight sweetness from the Belgian candi sugar it is brewed with.  These flavors along with a  high carbonation level provide a nice effervescent complement to  the fruit flavors in the pie.  This brew is dangerously drinkable at 10% abv.


dm2016_bottlemuMy personal dessert of choice is Pecan Pie, and one of my favorite styles of beer is a bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout.  New Holland Dragons Milk is one of the few selections that is readily available on store shelves, and is an ideal  choice here.  Dark roasted malt flavor with hints of dark fruits, vanilla and oak emerge with a nice boozy bourbon finish that warm the insides and will take your pecan pie experience to another level.  If you’re fortunate to find any Dragon’s Milk Reserve, the Coffee Chocolate and Rum Barrel Coconut variants will also pair well with this decadent dessert.  What can I say, I like big beers and I cannot lie…

raggedyass-2683webLast but not least, you’ll need a good Michigan beer to wash down those leftovers leading up to the big game on Saturday vs. Ohio.  Griffin Claw Norm’s Raggedy Ass IPA is one of my favorite local selections that I highly recommend.  Fresh hoppy aroma followed by a burst of tropical fruit and citrus balanced by a slightly sweet malt backbone and a pleasant creamy mouthfeel.  A delightful beer to wash down that turkey sandwich that tastes even better when accompanied by a rendition of Hail to the Victors!


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


33 Beers to sample at the 2015 MBG Detroit Fall Beer Festival

12036890_10156126848440080_2341572054347847204_nThe 2015 Michigan Brewers Guild Detroit Fall Beer Festival has arrived and JR, Uncle Pete, and Dougout from and our Beer Nuts Podcast will be there along with thousands of other beer enthusiasts who treasure the best beers the Mitten State has to offer.  We’ve compiled a list of 33 beers that we hope to try at the festival, and listed them by location.  We’ve attempted to cover a variety of beer styles, but admittedly the list may be skewed towards some of our favorites including barrel-aged brews, stouts and porters, interesting fruit and herb combinations, and hop bombs.   We’ve also tried to avoid beers that  are readily available, with very few exceptions.  Of course, anyone can do the same by downloading the program and creating your own custom wish list.  We’ve selected 33 beers here as a wish list, acknowledging that not all beers will be available and that it would be challenging to sample all of these.

If you are a Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast Member, you are allowed to enter the festival one hour prior to the general public.  It’s an investment that I find to be a bargain and will ensure that you get to try some of the more coveted beers that may not last long.   And make sure you don’t miss the traditional Welcome Toast, firkin tapping, and Michigan Beer Fight Song, which will take place at 7:00 pm on Friday and 3:20 pm on Saturday.

Hope to see you at Eastern Market this weekend.  Cheers to Michigan Beers!!!


  • Batch Brewing: Dicksmasher– Imperial Stout. NOTE: If you don’t like dark beers, substitute a Phugget IPA!
  • Greenbush: Tropicanabush– American Tripel with Orange
  • The Livery: Maillot Rouge– Sour Barrel Aged Bier de Garde with raspberries
  • Royal Oak Brewery: Roller of Big Cigars– Porter with Chili Peppers
  • Saugatuck: Lord Stanley 3 in 6 Stout- brewed with ingredients poured into the batch from the Stanley Cup!
  • Witch’s Hat: Dragon Water– Bourbon Barrel aged Imperial Stout/Barleywine blend


  • Brewery Ferment: Cowboy Killer – Stout with Vanilla Whiskey Tobacco
  • Perrin: No Rules– Vietnamese Porter
  • Short’s: Michigantuan– Michigan Cherry Double IPA
  • Tapistry: Chocola Java Stout– Belgian Chocolate and cold-brewed Kona and Sumatra


  • Bell’s: Traverse City Cherry Third Coast Old Ale – Barley wine aged with tart MI cherries in whiskey barrels.
  • Falling Down: Zen Panda– Green Tea IPA
  • Railtown: Citra Warrior– Imperial IPA
  • Thumbcoast: Paddlin’ Porter– Coconut Porter


  • Bastone: Black Jalapeño– Belgian Dark Strong with Jalapeño
  • Bitter Old Fecker Rustic Ales: Fresh Hop Strutter – BBA Double IPA
  • Founders: Backwoods Bastard– Barrel Aged Scotch Ale
  • Griffin Claw: Apridisiac– Apricot Sour Ale
  • Grizzly Peak: Bois Du Nord– Wood Aged Biere D’ Garde
  • North Peak: Hoodoo– MI wet hopped IPA
  • Odd Side Ales: Rum Dankster– Rum Barrel Aged IPA
  • Pigeon Hill: Your Mom on French Toast– Russian Imperial Stout
  • River Rouge: Mango Explosion– Fruit Wheat Ale
  • Unity Vibration: Triple Goddess Bourbon Peach


  • Blackrocks: Nice Berries– Imperial Saison with Blackberries
  • Dark Horse: Cocoa Bourbon Nibbler– Chocolate Cream Stout
  • Rochester Mills: Vanilla Eisbock
  • Rockford: Erdbier– Weissbier with Michigan strawberries
  • Schmohz: English Toffee ESB
  • Stormcloud: Silver & Gin– Gin Barrel Aged Saison


  • Dragonmead: Sin Eater– Belgian Style Dark Strong Ale
  • Kuhnhenn: Bourbon Barrel 4th Dementia Olde Ale– BBA American Strong Ale
  • New Holland: Galabier– Barrel Aged Belgian Dark Trippel



33 Beers to sample at the 2015 MBG Summer Beer Festival

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 7.09.13 PMThe 2015 Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival is here
with over 100 breweries and 900+ Michigan beers available to enjoy.  MichiganBeerGuy will be there along with thousands of other beer enthusiasts who treasure the best beers the Mitten State has to offer.  I’ve compiled a list of 33 beers that I hope to try at the festival, and listed them by location.  I’ve attempted to cover a variety of beer styles, but admittedly the list may be skewed towards some of my favorites including barrel-aged brews, stouts and porters, interesting fruit and herb combinations, and hop bombs.   I’ve also tried to avoid beers that I’ve already tried or are readily available, with very few exceptions.  Of course, anyone can do the same by downloading the program and creating your own custom wish list.  I’ve listed 33 beers here as a wish list, acknowledging that not all beers will be available when I seek them out and that it would be challenging to sample all of these.   But after whittling down my initial list, I couldn’t find any more worthy of chopping.  Each of these has piqued my interest, so we’ll go with 33.

If you are a Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast Member, you are allowed to enter the festival one hour prior to the general public.  It’s an investment that I find to be a bargain and will ensure that you get to try some of the more coveted beers that may not last long.   And make sure you don’t miss the traditional Welcome Toast, firkin tapping, and Michigan Beer Fight Song, which will take place at 7:00 pm on Friday and 3:30 pm on Saturday.

Enough banter, on to the list.  Cheers to Michigan Beers!!!

Tent 1:

  • Bell’s Wildberry Rye- BA Rye Pale Ale with berries and champagne yeast
  • Block Mo Shugga Creme Brûlée Coffee Stout
  • Eternity Brewing Deep Fried Twinkie Ale
  • Greenbush- 31 ice cream flavors, take your pick!
  • The Livery Half Truth- BBA Black Rye IPA
  • Territorial BC Cereal City Champagne Berliner Weisse
  • Thumbcoast Ravenscraig Cherry Vanilla Porter

Tent 2:

  • Batch Brewing Better Together- Scotch Ale/Imperial Stout hybrid
  • Brewery Terra Firma Little Italy Honey Basil Ale
  • Final Gravity Uranus on Fire Amber infused with roasted jalapeño peppers
  • Old Mill Blue Balls Blueberry Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
  • Sleepwalker Rum Barrel Aged Fenner Maple Wheat

Tent 3:

  • Grand Rapids BC Philanthropist Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
  • Grand River Brewery Bourbon Maple Bacon Porter
  • Gravel Bottom Front Porch Guava IPA
  • Unity Vibration The Elder Wand Blackberry Elderberry Kombucha Beer
  • Witch’s Hat DragonTrax- Bourbon Barrel Night Fury w/ peanut butter, cocoa nibs, coconut and vanilla beans

Tent 4:

  • Blue Tractor BC Cuke Silver Cucumber Witbier
  • Brewery Ferment Passion & Pain Imperial Hefeweizen with passion fruit and scorpion peppers
  • Griffin Claw Tutti Frutti Brett Beer with fruit
  • The Mitten BC Batch 500 Triple IPA
  • Odd Side Ales Rum Dankster Rum-aged IPA
  • Paw Paw BC BBA King James Scotch Ale
  • Rockford BC Hot Chuck- Ghost Pepper DIPA

By the River:

  • Dark Horse Cocoa Bourbon Nibbler Cream Stout
  • Kuhnhenn Cherry Oude Bruin Flemish Brown Ale with cherries
  • Pike 51 BC Jeff’s Birthday Barleywine BBA English Barleywine
  • Short’s Key Lime Pie
  • Stormcloud Gin Barrel Aged Starbelly Saison
  • Tapistry Quadrophonic Belgian Quad featuring light and dark Belgian candi sugar

Back Forty:

  • Jolly Pumpkin Fist Full of Limes Saison with lime & salt aged in tequila barrels
  • Schmohz BC Peppercorn Pilsner
  • White Flame Breakfast Blend golden coffee ale

The Ypsilanti weather forecast looks quite favorable for both Friday and Saturday, with a high in the ’80’s and partly sunny skies.  Be sure and drink lots of water and eat some food.  Treat the festival like a marathon and not a sprint, it will be much more fun if you pace yourself.  And above all, please don’t drink and drive.

Enjoy the festival!

2015 2nd Annual Mitten Madness Brackets

Congratulations Harmony Brewing Co., 2015 Mitten Madness Champions!


April 5 update: Congrats to Original Gravity and Harmony Brewing for advancing to this year’s Mitten Madness Finals!


March 30 update: Congrats to Mitten BC, Original Gravity, Harmony BC, and especially Brewery Terra Firma for reaching the Final Four!  Go Sparty!

The Final Four!
The Final Four!

March 28 update: Congrats to the Elite Eight, Liberty Street, Brewery Terra Firma, Harmony BC, Dragonmead, Stormcloud, Mitten BC, Original Gravity, and Mountain Town.

In today’s action, Stormcloud faces Mitten BC, and Original Gravity tangles with Mountain Town.  Join the Michigan Beer Guy crew tonight at 51 North and experience Mitten Madness with us!


March 23 update: We’re down to the Sweet 16, and each brewery that has advanced to this point has earned an automatic bid in next year’s Mitten Madness brackets. In a rematch of last year’s finals, Brewery Terra Firma (Michigan State) upset 51 North (Virginia), ending their bid to repeat as Mitten Madness Champions. Congrats to the breweries who are still alive, see updated brackets below. Catch all the tournament games at your local Michigan breweries and Drink Local!

Updated March 23
Updated March 23

It’s that time of year again, March Madness has arrived!  The 2nd Annual Mitten Madness is back here at, and the brackets are now set.  68 Michigan breweries have made the field, check the brackets to see who qualified and what teams the breweries have been randomly assigned to. Congratulations to last year’s Champions, 51 North, who will look to defend their title with Virginia. Last year’s runner-up, Brewery Terra Firma drew the home state Michigan State Spartans, and Mitten BC drew undefeated Kentucky. There were over 30 breweries in the hat who did not make the random field, apologies to those who we were not able to include. There are simply more brewers than available spots on the brackets.

This year, a growler of 51 North Imperial Tangerine Wheat was quaffed by the committee during selection Sunday as names were randomly drawn from a hat to fill the field.  Breweries who made it to the Sweet Sixteen last year receive automatic bids (see list below).  Remaining breweries were selected randomly from Michigan’s Best Beer Guide by Kevin Revolinski, with priority to breweries that we interact with on Twitter. All seeding is completely random, this is all for amusement only and no breweries are given preferential treatment with bracket placement.  We’ll make sure and visit the breweries that make the Final Four sometime during the next year and review their beers.  We’ll visit the winning brewery during next year’s tournament, and provide some swag for the staff at their tasting room.

51northlogoOn that note, please join us at the home of last year’s Champions, 51 North,  to enjoy beer and basketball on the weekend of March 28-29 where we’ll have a few special surprises in store. Stay in touch with us on Twitter for details, and a chance to win a sweet MichiganBeerGuy Belgian-style tulip beer glass. To top it off, 51 North is featuring $2.50 Lake Orion Light and Paint Creek Tangerine Wheat brews along with a special $5 food menu during all March Madness games!

Good luck to all our Michigan brewery friends, check back on Sunday, March 15 when the brackets are released to find out who made the field and what NCAA team to cheer for.  Cheers for Michigan Beers!

Breweries receiving automatic bids from last year’s Mitten Madness Sweet 16:

51 North, Brewery Terra Firma, Brewery Ferment, Round Barn, Frankenmuth, Detroit BC, Short’s, Big Buck, Bell’s, Latitude 42, The Livery, Mitten BC, Mackinaw BC, Motor City BC, Schmohz, Original Gravity

Join us at 51 North and win a MBG tulip glass!


The Michigan Beer Guy crew will be catching the Arizona-Wisconsin game at 51 North on Saturday night, March 28 at their tap room in Lake Orion. We’ll be honoring last year’s Mitten Madness winning brewery, tipoff is scheduled for 6:08 pm. Please join us for a pint or two and a chance to win a tulip glass. We’ve also got glasses for the 51 North taproom staff as a reward for winning last year’s Mitten Madness contest. Details will be announced on our Twitter feed at 6:00 pm on Saturday just prior to tipoff of the Arizona-Wisconsin game. 51 North is located at 51 N Broadway St. in Lake Orion. The tap room offers $2.50 Lake Orion Light and Tangerine Wheat drafts and $5 food specials during all March Madness games!

Win this glass!
Join us at 51 North on Saturday and WIN THIS GLASS!

Beer Education classes on tap in SE Michigan

Tap handles

Interest in beer and home brewing has skyrocketed as craft beer sales enjoy unprecedented growth in Michigan and beyond. Today’s beer drinkers have more choices than ever, and are exposed to a wide array of beer styles and taste profiles. New breweries, beer bars, and retailers are opening throughout the state to keep up with demand, creating new opportunities and stimulating enthusiasm throughout the craft beer community. Consumers have more beer questions than ever, and employers are looking to educate servers and salespeople.

Annette May and her husband Mike Bardallis are here to help. They are both Certified Cicerones® and BJCP judges. Annette was the first woman to achieve Cicerone® Certification in 2008, and manages the beer department at Merchant’s Fine Wine in Dearborn. Mike started out as an avid home brewer and is now a professional brewer with Grizzly Peak in Ann Arbor. He has home-brewed over 400 batches to date.

11046483_1591281681088002_5005906606944462351_nAnnette and Mike have teamed up to offer KNOW BEER Beer Education classes in Southeast Michigan.

KNOW BEER provides education on beer styles, service, brewing, and appreciation, with a focus on preparing students for Cicerone® certification.  Among the courses currently offered are Certifications in Craft Beer, Basics of Beer, Beer Styles, Off-Flavors, Short Pour Draft, and Beer Camp for amateur home brewers.  A Beer and Food Pairing course is currently being developed and will be offered later this year.

I recently enrolled in the Beer Styles course, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  We studied nearly all BJCP beer styles, including history of German, British, Belgian, and American styles, and gained valuable insight on relevant topics and available resources to study and prepare for the Cicerone® exam.  Fellow students included a professional brewer, distributor sales manager, server, and a few home brewers.  Not everyone in the class was preparing for the Cicerone® exam, several students were simply interested in learning about beer styles and enhancing their appreciation of beer.  This is one course where everyone enjoys their homework assignments!

I have also attended the Off-Flavor course where participants taste tainted samples and identify the most common flaws that occur in commercial beers and home brews.  Annette explains what causes each of the off-flavors and how to prevent them from proliferating.

KNOW BEER courses are highly recommended for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of beer and/or home brewing;   from industry professionals preparing for the Cicerone exam to craft beer enthusiasts who simply want to KNOW BEER.

For more details or to register for courses, visit

Six Michigan Breweries Recognized as Top Brewers in the World

rbbest-2015Congratulations to B. Nektar Meadery, Bell’s Brewery, Dark Horse Brewing Co., Founders Brewing Co., Odd Side Ales, and Schramm’s Mead.  These brewers from the Mitten state have been recognized by on their annual Top 100 Brewers In The World list. Bell’s Brewery cracked the Top Ten at #6.

This elite list of the world’s finest brewers were selected among over 19,000 breweries from around the globe.  The criteria is based on reviews taken last year on

Cheers to Michigan Beers!

30 Beers to sample at the 2014 Detroit Fall Beer Festival


The day has arrived, the Michigan Brewers Guild Detroit Fall Beer Festival is one of my favorite days of the year! I have perused the beer list and have compiled a list of 30 beers that I will be seeking this afternoon at Eastern Market. With so many beers to choose from, I have tried to come up with a list that covers several different beer styles and appeals to my personal tastes. I tend to favor stouts and porters, and I’m especially fond of barrel aged beers and Imperial IPAs. But I’ve also found that if you try enough beers in each style, you’ll find some real gems by keeping an open mind and thinking outside the box.

Enough banter, the entire list can be downloaded here.
Here is my personal recommended list, listed by tent:

51 North Brewing Co.- Pecan Turtle Triffel- Pecan, chocolate, caramel
Bell’s- Quince Third Coast Old Ale aged in Traverse City Whisky barrels
Frankenmuth Brewery- Christmas Town Ale
Greenbush- BA Cabra Perdida Blueberry Imperial Cream Stout
Griffin Claw-Undertow- Black Currant Saison

Right Brain- Broken Nose Wet Hopped Double IPA
The Livery- Divine Paradox- Double Black IPA
Saugatuck- Serrano Pepper Ale
Thumbcoast- Apricot Wheat

Chelsea Alehouse Brewery- Hillwalker Scotch Ale- Bourbon Barrel Aged
Gonzo’s Biggdogg Brewing Co.- Brandy Barrel Aged Dunnie the Bounder Scotch Ale
Rockford Brewing Co.- 2014 Cascade Harvest Ale Michigan Wet/Fresh Hop Ale
Short’s- Anniversary Ale ’06 Part II (Grapefruit) Double IPA
Tapistry- Habenero Porter English Robust Porter with habanero goodness
Unruly- Revel Rouser West Coast IPA

B. Nektar- Mexican Chocolate Porter- porter with chocolate, cinnamon and chilies
Brewery Ferment- Torched Corpse Scorpion Pepper Stout
Cotton Brewing Co.- Maple Bacon Porter
Our Brewing Co.- Tobacconist porter
Perrin- Redwood Imperial Red
Stormcloud- The Early Buddha Gets the Worm- Tequila barrel aged Imperial IPA
Wolverine State- Czech Pilsner- 100% Czech Saaz hops

Brewery Vivant- Wizard Burial Underground- Sneak Peek! Bourbon Barrel Aged Quadrupel
Dark Horse- Bourbon Barrel Plead the 5th
Grizzly Peak- Shank’d It! Berliner Weiss
Latitude 42- Citra Harvest Ale- Citra Fresh Hop Pale Ale
Odd Side Ales- Mayan Mocha Stout
Witch’s Hat- Bourbon Barrel Night Fury with Vanilla Bean- Imperial Stout

Dragonmead- Armageddon Grand Cru
Kuhnhenn- Michigan Mud- Chocolate-Vanilla Imperial Cream Stout (firkin)

To everyone attending, please be safe, have a DD or take a cab and stay hydrated. Cheers to Michigan Beer!