Autumn brews from Traverse City, Petoskey & Frankfort hit Northern Michigan’s center stage for craft beers. Gray skies, bright leaves and ubiquitous wood smoke awaken our essential appetite for the brew season. The delicate saisons, citrusy hefeweizens and light summer lagers are put away with the flip-flops. It’s boot weather and time to embrace the impending darkness with stouts, porters, bottle-fermented Belgians and nutty brown ales. The Northwest Michigan proliferation of craft breweries means there are more artisan suds than ever. As Northern Michigan fall peaks, look for short-run seasonal brews like pumpkin ales, Oktoberfests and smoked beers in taprooms and behind local Northern Michigan bars. While you’re finding your way through these tasty autumn ephemera, we’ve added to the homework with a list of delicious mainstays that pair well with cool afternoons and crockpots.
Manitou Amber Ale Brewery Terra Firma, 2959 Hartman Rd., Traverse City
Burnt sugar, big malt body and resonant hop flavor derived from whole cone hops make Manitou Amber a perfect October pint. Mild bitterness and great balance to encourage session sipping.
Liverpool Porter ?The Filling Station Microbrewery, 642 Railroad Pl., Traverse City
A rowdier rendition of Filling Station’s London Porter, Liverpool picks up muscle from a trio of British malts and finishes with a pleasantly bitter hop bite.
Morning Fog Mochajava Stout Petoskey Brewing Company, 1844 M-119 (Harbor-Petoskey Rd.), Petoskey
Dark and delicious, Morning Fog flashes cocoa and fresh ground coffee notes but remains lithe and dangerously smooth on the palate with the addition of a nitrogen tap. Good for breakfast or anytime.
Northern Hawk Owl? Right Brain Brewery, 225 East 16th Street, Traverse City
A democratic cool weather brew to please geeks and neophytes, Northern Hawk Owl has deep caramel nuttiness, crisp mouthfeel and a lightly hoppy, malty persistent finish that demands a second pint.
B., Sirius Belgian Dubbel Stormcloud Brewing Company, 303 Main Street, Frankfort
Get your monastic guzzle on with Stormcloud’s intense Belgian brown ale, showing dark fruit tones, and malty caramel smoothness. At 8% alcohol, three pints will have you tripping over your vestments.