Ah the holidays.
That lovely, low stress time of year filled with pressure to decorate your house perfectly (and keep it clean in case anyone “drops by”). Bake cookies and make homemade candies perfect for gift giving to all your neighbors, co-workers, the postman and your kids’ teachers. The time you shop with a smile on your face and plastic burning a hole in your hand.
Then the relatives show up.
Yeah, low stress.
No wonder “the holidays” for most bars equals “score.”
One of the things we read a lot about during this time is “Christmas (or winter) beers”. When I posed the question, “What would be your favorite sixer of Holiday Brews?” to a few select of my Michigan-based, beer-type colleagues, I got one very good one in return from Annette May, the Certified Cicerone and manager at Merchants of Fine Wine in Dearborn.
She asked me if they had to be actual Christmas Beers or something you might like to receive for a holiday gift.
Good one, really because “Christmas Beers” many times include brews that are spiced, or otherwise not as palatable to those of us who prefer the bitter bite of hops or the clean finish of lagers. But a well-brewed beer with spices can be good, if everything is integrated nicely and you don’t feel like someone has shaken the contents of your grandma’s spice cabinet into your glass.
Before I tell you MY ideal Michigan based sixer I’ll share Annette’s. Here is a look at what she’d love to receive, or more accurately, what is in her Christmas Beer Fridge:
- Jolly Pumpkin Noel De Calabaza
- North Peak Blitzen
- Her husband Mike’s Winter Ginger strong ale (home brew)
- Bell’s Two Hearted
- Saugatuck Neapolitan Stout
- Great Lakes Christmas Ale (relax I know this one is from our neighbor to the South. I told her she could have one non-Michigan brew)
Matt Greff, owner and founder of Arbor Brewing in The Deuce with yours truly would suggest:
- Founders’ Red Rye
- Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale
- McGilligan’s IPA from The Livery
- Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja
- New Holland’s The Poet Oatmeal Stout
OK. Cracks knuckles. I am ready for the Wench’s Holiday Sixer. I’ve given this a lot of thought. At least twenty minutes.
- New Holland Dragon’s Milk. Because a better milk stout does not exist in the universe.
- Kuhnhenn’s Imperial Crème Brule Java Stout. Because as odd and over done as this sounds it is, in a word, perfect.
- Detroit Brewing’s Saunders Chocolate Stout. Because it’s better than the Brooklyn Brewing version by half and again.
- Arcadia’s Jaw Jacker. Because one needs a pumpkin pie beer to go with all that chocolate above.
- Grizzly Peak’s White Christmas White Ale. Because this is one delicious blend of spice and yeast, in a classic Belgian Wit style.
- Because this is my column and I am allowed to do this: Wolverine State Brewing Company’s Gulo Gulo hopped up IPA
Go forth and drink the bounty that is the Michigan spectrum of amazing craft brews. Hurry, before your in-laws show up!