6.5% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Pours a fairly opaque orangish amber color with frothy white head.
Aroma: An assertive bouquet of floral, pine, and citrus hop smells.
Taste: Bitter, hop-forward notes matching the aroma, caramel and toasted malt flavors, bitter and slightly dry finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, lively carbonation due to bottle conditioning.

Perhaps more than any other beer, Crooked Tree IPA established Dark Horse’s reputation for brewing solid beers and has served as a deserving flagship around which the Marshall brewery has built a portfolio of outstanding beverages. It’s a delight for hopheads, exhibiting a rich array of fruity, piney and even spicey hop aromas and bitterness profiles, all balanced on a caramel and sweet malt backbone yet fairly easy to drink and, most importantly, satisfying.

7.3% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Black with a thin tan lacing.
Aroma: Black licorice and caramel.
Taste: Lots of black licorice flavor; some vanilla and caramel notes. Rye on the backend.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with very light carbonation.

New Holland’s Four Witches brew is a great example of a black saison — it features flavorful, earthy notes that hide the booziness well. Black licorice dominates the palate of this brew, but it’s enjoyable considering the slight vanilla and caramel notes that follow it. It’s not the most drinkable beer, but I wouldn’t expect any beer with black licorice to be. All in all, it’s definitely a night cap type of beer, and one I’ll enjoy again.

5.2% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Slightly hazy straw-gold in color, quickly fading white head.
Aroma: Mild, smell of sweet bread, with hints of floral.
Taste: Malty and sweet, a bit grainy, with just enough grassy, spicy hoppiness to balance the biscuity finish.
Mouthfeel: Light bodied, smooth and somewhat crisp, moderately carbonated.

As Michiganders are blessed with so many lakes and beaches to enjoy in the summer, so we are also blessed with a great number of drinkable seasonal beers to take with on us on our weekend getaways. Oval Beach Blonde Ale is a recommended addition to your summer excursions, at least where bottles are not a problem, for its light, sweet, and easy-drinking flavors. A good choice when you feel like switching things up from Bell’s Oberon or other wheat  brews.

5.8% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Black. A very small head that quickly disappears, leaving a thin lacing.
Aroma: Chocolate and vanilla, with a bit of coffee.
Taste: Chocolate, with a hint of coffee, stands at the forefront, to be met by vanilla.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied; a bit watery to start.

Round Barn Brewery’s Cocoa Stout is a pleasant chocolate stout that’s pretty easy to drink. In addition to the chocolate, there’s a bit of a coffee flavor at the forefront, but one of the most recognizable flavors is vanilla, which comes through halfway through each sip. While there’s nothing extraordinary about this brew, it’s a great example of the style, and is a stout that’s relaxing to drink.

5.25% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Murky dark reddish-brown, low carbonation.
Aroma:  Sweet caramel tones, slight roastiness.
Taste: Refreshingly balanced. A little roasty. I got a bit afraid when I first caught the caramel, but found complete balance when I took a full drink of it. All the flavors are subtle and work together to create a classic amber ale taste (without the sweetness that sometimes turns me off).
Mouthfeel: Water-like feel with very little carbonation.

I have to say this is a well-balanced amber ale, though it lacks some in flavor. I’m OK with that because the roast characteristics play well on the tongue, and I’d rather not be left with that sweet aftertaste. This is an amber that joins my list — perfect for any time of year.

8% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Free flowing carbonation. Although the head vanished quickly, a thin layer was left and swirled atop due to the fluent carbonation. Ligh yellow in color, not quite clear.
Aroma: Could immediately smell ginger from about four feet away. Initial wiff was ginger with sour notes.
Taste: Holy ginger, Batman. There is an earthiness to the ginger, but the overall sweetness prevails. Initially sweet ginger forward, it quickly trails to a bitter aftertaste. It does have some tea-like qualities, but I wish I had my malts.
Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, thin bodied. Reminiscent of a champagne.

I found the bitter aftertaste very surprising and strong. It was a duo of bitterness — once from the ginger, then from the hops. I suspect the quick-hitting bitterness is a result of this brew having no malts (malts might have brought some much-needed balance). This one, in fact, might be an IPA-lover’s dream spice beer. Ginger Kombucha has a champagne-like quality, especially with the overall ABV. I like ginger, though this, in addition to the bitterness, was a bit over the top for me.

5.2% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Hazy gold with a lively, full white head.
Aroma: An earthy cocktail of pale malt aroma with some herbal hoppy smells and hints of sweet honey.
Taste: Biscuity, bready and a bit metallic to begin, with a moderately bitter, dry finish.
Mouthfeel: Light-medium bodied, smooth, well carbonated from bottle conditioning.

If you’re thinking of a beer in the mold of Sierra Nevada or Founders, forget it. Bell’s Pale Ale charted its own course years ago and offers an easy drinking but substantial balance of bready pale malt and floral, spicy hop bitterness. Not one of Bell’s most celebrated beers, but there’s a reason it’s a venerable mainstay in Michigan’s largest brewer’s portfolio.

5.2% ABV, Bottle
Appearance: Hazy gold with a lively, full white head.
Aroma: An earthy cocktail of pale malt aroma with some herbal hoppy smells and hints of sweet honey.
Taste: Biscuity, bready and a bit metallic to begin, with a moderately bitter, dry finish.
Mouthfeel: Light-medium bodied, smooth, well carbonated from bottle conditioning.
If you’re thinking of a beer in the mold of Sierra Nevada or Founders, forget it. Bell’s Pale Ale charted its own course years ago and offers an easy drinking but substantial balance of bready pale malt and floral, spicy hop bitterness. Not one of Bell’s most celebrated beers, but there’s a reason it’s a venerable mainstay in Michigan’s largest brewer’s portfolio.


Home     About     News     Services     Contact Us



Sign Up To Get The Latest Brews