Northern Michigan Dark Beers: November gales seem to blow in a deep metabolic yearning for dark beer. No more daffy dockside chug-a-lugs, it’s time to get serious. Brewed in a troubling array of poundable permutations from classic stouts to black IPA’s, our local dark beers are thick, cerebral, cocoa-sewn quilts of malty comfort wholly deserving of your winter attentions. While paler ales at all levels are generally a platform for the many nuances of noble hops, black beers draw their raison d’etre from roasted malts which bring with them a universe of dark, bitter flavors like coffee, chocolate, burnt sugar, dried fruit and smoke. In most cases dark beers have a creamier texture and viscosity, particularly when drawn with nitrogen, and finish anywhere along a spectrum beginning at dry and bitter and ending at smooth and sweet. 

Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire

13512 Peninsula Drive, Traverse City (Old Mission), 231.223.4333

A dark farmhouse-style ale with overtones of dried fruit, cocoa and coffee bean. Bam noire finishes with a slight but refreshing sourness.

North Peak Furry Black IPA

400 W. Front Street, Traverse City, 231.941.7325

Locally grown centennial hops lend a bright, bitter note to the richness of roast wheat malt making this a dangerously quaffable dark IPA.

Right Brain Brewery CEO Stout

225 E. Sixteenth Street, Traverse City 231.944.1239

Great Northern Roasting Company custom chars Brazilian beans for this super-smooth coffee stout with pronounced chocolate notes. Drink with breakfast, braises or brownies.

Short’s Brewing Company The Chocolate Wheat

121 N. Bridge Street, Bellaire 231.533.6622

Chocolate and wheat malts conspire to create this palate-coating porter with caramel, coffee and cocoa character. Perfect for stews and Saturday sessions.

Filling Station Bentley Oatmeal Stout

642 Railroad Place, Traverse City 231.946.8168

A thick dark love child of domestic pale malt and oatmeal married with British Goldings and Cluster hops. Creamy mouth feel thanks to the oats and a slight sweetness from high final gravity.

This article and additional photos are also available in the November issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine. Subscribe now!