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New Brews Are Springing Up in Michigan

by Lisa Diggs

March not only marks the return of greenery and baseball, in many cases it also harkens in the release of some of Michigan’s most popular and unique brews. You’ll notice an influx of wheat and fruit in most of these offerings that are meant to make our minds dream of summer. Here are a few fresh thirst quenchers to seek out on tap or in markets across the state in early spring.

Arcadia Ales
(Battle Creek)
Whitsun Ale (6.2% ABV) has begun to appear around the state. The company has been making this unfiltered wheat beer, enhanced with Michigan honey, since 1997. It’s spiced with orange peel and coriander and small amounts of three hop varieties to pleasantly counter-balance the sweetness.

Atwater Brewery (Detroit)
While it may not make use of a fruit commonly found in Michigan, Whango Mango Wheat (4.9% ABV) has become a very popular Detroit beverage. This beer might be as recognizable by its packaging, which features a surfer dude with a paddleboard in front of the city’s skyline, as it is for its flavor. Yet a distinctly original flavor it is. The inclusion of real mango adds a fruity sweetness to both the taste and aroma.
Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo)
Perhaps the most highly anticipated sign of spring in the local craft beer world is the return of Oberon Ale (5.8% ABV). The refreshing pale wheat ale, will become available March 27. The release party in Kalamazoo is almost as delightful as the brew itself. Made with only 4 ingredients, and without the use of any spices or fruit, Oberon is the color and scent of the sunny afternoons we long for post-winter. Add a slice of orange to enhance your enjoyment.
Dark Horse Brewing Company (Marshall)
Dark Horse seems to enjoy naming their beers as much as they do making and drinking them. Their spring offerings are no exceptions. First up, Rain in Blood (5.5% ABV), which, believe it or not, is a tribute to the heavy metal band, Slayer. In keeping with the name, it’s a pale ale that is brewed with fresh blood oranges and blood orange juice which is hand-squeezed at the brewery. In April, look for a brew with even nuttier nomenclature--Smells Like a Safety Meeting (8.5%). It’s an India Pale Ale is with lots of hops aroma and flavor.
Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids)
Early spring is an exciting time at Founders. The entire city of Grand Rapids, (and now even Detroit with the second location) will be celebrating the return of the highly-touted Kentucky Breakfast Stout (11.2% ABV). The bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout with hints of coffee and chocolate, has made its way onto several top beer-ranking lists around the world. If that wasn’t enough, a perennial lighter favorite, PC Pils (5.5% ABV), will be back on store shelves too. It’s a crisp Pilsner that will provide cool refreshment on those warmer days to come.
Perrin Brewing Company (Comstock Park)
Fruity libations begin to take center stage this time of year, and one of them, Grapefruit IPA (5% ABV) has quickly become one of Michigan's best answers to the age old question, “what does one drink after mowing the lawn?” It’s very aromatic with citrus and tropical fruits, as well as the delicate grapefruit flavor that adds some tartness.
Short’s Brewing Company (Bellaire)
With these tumultuous times, it’s nice to see the controversy of something simply restricted to the name. ControversiALE (6.6%) makes its appearance in March. The American IPA was originally brewed for the City Park Grill in Petoskey. Earthy, citrus and pine-laced aromas arise from the combination of large amounts of toasted grains and Simcoe hops. Short’s likens the flavor to toasted sourdough covered with a zesty grapefruit hop marmalade. While it is an IPA, the brewers liken it to a pale ale. Short’s also likes to have fun with specialty beers throughout the spring and summer so hop on over to the brewery or check online periodically to see what else is brewing.
Witch’s Hat Brewing Company (South Lyon)
Beer and baseball just seem to go together. In no way is that more evident than with the annual release of Voice of the Turtle (4.5% ABV) on Tigers Opening Day in Detroit. Named in honor of Ernie Harwell, Voice of the Turtle is a light and crisp Czech-Style Pilsner with a fresh aroma of cantaloupe and citrus.
Stop by your local craft brewer or any of the above to see what else is on tap for spring. 

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