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For a complete recap of the fifth annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival, click hereTo view part one of our favorite beers from the fifth annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival, click here.

Brewery Ferment 45th Parallale: Brewery Ferment is a fairly young operation based out of Traverse City. One of their flagship brews, the 45th Parallale is light, crisp and slightly hoppy, This American Pale Ale has a nice, earthy hop up front, with a slightly sweet citrusy aftertaste. A nice, drinkable beer that could be enjoyed again and again.

Kuhnhenn Kürbis Sour Imperial Pumpkin Ale: Available only during the Michigan Brewers Guild Beer Enthusiast hour (take note, those on the fence about becoming Enthusiast members), this brew created with the second runnings of All Hallows Ale stood out as the most interesting beer of the festival. Advertised as 12.25% ABV, it was light bodied enough to sip like it was less than half that. The spices – including nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon – dominated the nose, but upon tasting faded into a well balanced blend of sour tartness and honey sweetness. The overall effect reminded of mulled wine.

Short’s Bourbon Hammer Jack: An outstanding and quite boozy barrel aged offering by Short’s. This is a strong winter scotch ale with sweet notes and malty body. Very thick palate and very bourbony upfront with the aroma. This high ABV brew clocks in at around 9%. Although it’s typically a pub exclusive, there is no doubt this one will warm your bones during the fall and winter.

Arbor Harvest Ale: This barrel aged, dry-hopped IPA delivered the full piney fragrance of fresh, locally grown Chinook hops along with a palate-pleasing balance of spicy bitterness and mildly toasted malt flavors. An impressive exemplar of what’s possible through the rapidly developing Michigan-grown hop scene.

The Livery FramBam Wild Ale: Barrel aged with raspberries, this tart delight stood out even from The Livery’s other solid offerings, which included several barrel aged brews. FramBam melded the raspberry fruitiness with oaky and bitter notes for a surprisingly dry and satisfying finish.

Odd Side Ales Bean Flicker Blonde: The draft version of this modified blonde was just as tasty as the bottle version. Coffee aroma dominates the nose and the consistency is smooth with a surprising clean body. This brew blends the best of both worlds with its light mouthfeel and stout qualities. For those who don’t like heavy stouts but appreciate the look and aroma, this one’s for you.

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Plead the 5th Imperial Stout: OK, nothing new here obviously. But is there anything wrong with sticking to an old stand-by? BBPt5 is one of if not the best bourbon-barrel stouts around. Smooth, dark, creamy and strong. In a time where everything is being thrown into a barrel, Dark Horse is still showing how it’s supposed to be done. Damn-near perfection.

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Compiled by Erik Hart, Mike D’Orazio and David Bardallis.

COMSTOCK PARK — Preparations are under way for the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival at Fifth-Third Ballpark, just outside of Grand Rapids. And, like many of our readers, we’re anticipating some great beer.

We’ve looked over the beer list and we’ve selected our top five beers to try, and top five breweries to visit this year.

Top five beers to try

A record number of beers (625, to be exact) will be available to try at this year’s festival, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the lineup.

1) Bell’s Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout — Bell’s bourbon-aged beers are always good, but combine a cherry stout with some more booze? It can’t get much better than that.

2) Brewery Vivant Helen Wine Barrel Sour Ale — Vivant is widely known throughout the state for brewing some great beers. And that doesn’t stop with its sours — in fact, Vivant’s sour ales are some of the best around. Being such a limited brew, Helen won’t last long.

3) Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock — BeerAdvocate ranks this as a 98, and with chocolate, raspberry and caramel notes, Raspberry Eisenbock will certainly impress. And the fact that it holds a captivating 13.5% ABV only adds to its anticipation.

4) New Holland Rum Barrel Aged Dragon’s Milk — New Holland’s signature stout gets a rum treatment that should make for a rich, tasty, boozy drink that’s perfect for those cold temperatures.

5) Dark Horse Brewing Co. — While we didn’t mention a specific beer to try, you should definitely make it to one of Dark Horse’s four tables during the festival. At least once. Or twice. You’ve probably heard of Plead the 5th? Well, that’s just the beginning.

Top five breweries worth checking out

There are 19 new breweries showcasing beer at the Winter Beer Fest this year. While no new brewery can match the tap list of a Bell’s or Dark Horse, new breweries bring something different to the table, and no doubt will be popular with attendees.

1) Pike 51 Brewing Company — In my recent visit to the new Hudsonville brewery, I was overly impressed with its beer. Former HopCat brewmaster Jeff Williams heads up a lineup of flavorful beer that will keep you coming back for more. Beers served: The Kush IPA; Sabotage Milk Stout with Coffee; Sinister Kid Imperial Porter; Weizenbock; Knight’s on Mastadons Imperial Brown Ale with Coffee; Batch 51 Rye Wine; Mojo Hand Single Hop Black IPA; Cherry Triple.

2) Greenbush Brewing Company — Greenbush and Dark Horse always seem to battle with which brewery can bring the most beer for each festival. This year, Greenbush is bringing a whopping 48 taps to the festival, many of which are barrel aged. On my list? Chai Life and Bourbon Barrel Vanderbush. Beers served: Too many to mention.

3) The Livery — Being that many brews are aged and brewed months before festivals, this may very well be the last chance you get to experience Steve Berthel’s influence at Benton Harbor’s top brewery. With three barrel aged brews being served, and a few other brews that sound quite tasty, The Livery is definitely on my list. Beers served: McGillan’s American IPA; Basket Case Imperial Chocolate, Rye, Oat, Milk Stout; Agent 99 Belgian Quad; SMaSH Summit American IPA; Double Paw Double IPA; Barrel Aged 33 1/3 Lager; Barrel Aged Verchousity Dark Trippel; Barrel Aged Bastard Cousin Stout.

4) Founders Brewing Co. — Founders always brings an A-list lineup to the Winter Beer Fest, and this year is no exception. Serving up all of its Backstage Series beers, in addition to some regular staples, Founders is a brewery you have to hit at least once. Chances are all of the Backstage Series beers will be timed releases, so keep an eye out, especially for when KBS and CBS is tapped. Beers served: Centennial IPA; All Day IPA; Red’s Rye PA; Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale; Porter; Spite Pepper Ale; Frangelic Mountain Brown; KBS Barrel Aged Imperial Stout; Blushing Monk Belgian Raspberry Ale; CBS Maple Barrel Aged Imperial Stout; Curmudgeon’s Better Half; Bolt Cutter Barley Wine.

5) Short’s and Bell’s — Let’s be honest, there’s no way I could limit this list to five. Two of the best breweries in the state — if not the country — again showcase some extraordinary beers. Bell’s brings out its Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000, probably one of the best beers I’ve ever had. Short’s, on the other hand, has a plethora of seasonal one-offs, including its Gingersnap English Brown Ale. Beers served: Too many to mention.

General Information

This year the Guild has changed the way beer tokens work, ever so slightly. A total of 39 beers are worth two or three tokens instead of the standard one token per pour. You can read more, and see the full beer list, at mbgmash.com. You can also download the festival program.

The Mash website also has information on bus schedules and hotel information.

This year’s festival sold out in a record 13 hours. Don’t have tickets for this year? Several local breweries and bars are participating in GR Beer Week, and will have events going on throughout and leading up to the weekend. Check out the GR Beer Week Facebook page for a full event listing.

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Alex Brown contributed to this article.

COMSTOCK PARK — Preparations are under way for the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival at Fifth-Third Ballpark, just outside of Grand Rapids. And, like many of our readers, we’re anticipating some great beer.
We’ve looked over the beer list and we’ve selected our top five beers to try, and top five breweries to visit this year.

Top five beers to try

A record number of beers (625, to be exact) will be available to try at this year’s festival, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the lineup.
1) Bell’s Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout — Bell’s bourbon-aged beers are always good, but combine a cherry stout with some more booze? It can’t get much better than that.
2) Brewery Vivant Helen Wine Barrel Sour Ale — Vivant is widely known throughout the state for brewing some great beers. And that doesn’t stop with its sours — in fact, Vivant’s sour ales are some of the best around. Being such a limited brew, Helen won’t last long.
3) Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock — BeerAdvocate ranks this as a 98, and with chocolate, raspberry and caramel notes, Raspberry Eisenbock will certainly impress. And the fact that it holds a captivating 13.5% ABV only adds to its anticipation.
4) New Holland Rum Barrel Aged Dragon’s Milk — New Holland’s signature stout gets a rum treatment that should make for a rich, tasty, boozy drink that’s perfect for those cold temperatures.
5) Dark Horse Brewing Co. — While we didn’t mention a specific beer to try, you should definitely make it to one of Dark Horse’s four tables during the festival. At least once. Or twice. You’ve probably heard of Plead the 5th? Well, that’s just the beginning.

Top five breweries worth checking out

There are 19 new breweries showcasing beer at the Winter Beer Fest this year. While no new brewery can match the tap list of a Bell’s or Dark Horse, new breweries bring something different to the table, and no doubt will be popular with attendees.
1) Pike 51 Brewing Company — In my recent visit to the new Hudsonville brewery, I was overly impressed with its beer. Former HopCat brewmaster Jeff Williams heads up a lineup of flavorful beer that will keep you coming back for more. Beers served: The Kush IPA; Sabotage Milk Stout with Coffee; Sinister Kid Imperial Porter; Weizenbock; Knight’s on Mastadons Imperial Brown Ale with Coffee; Batch 51 Rye Wine; Mojo Hand Single Hop Black IPA; Cherry Triple.
2) Greenbush Brewing Company — Greenbush and Dark Horse always seem to battle with which brewery can bring the most beer for each festival. This year, Greenbush is bringing a whopping 48 taps to the festival, many of which are barrel aged. On my list? Chai Life and Bourbon Barrel Vanderbush. Beers served: Too many to mention.
3) The Livery — Being that many brews are aged and brewed months before festivals, this may very well be the last chance you get to experience Steve Berthel’s influence at Benton Harbor’s top brewery. With three barrel aged brews being served, and a few other brews that sound quite tasty, The Livery is definitely on my list. Beers served: McGillan’s American IPA; Basket Case Imperial Chocolate, Rye, Oat, Milk Stout; Agent 99 Belgian Quad; SMaSH Summit American IPA; Double Paw Double IPA; Barrel Aged 33 1/3 Lager; Barrel Aged Verchousity Dark Trippel; Barrel Aged Bastard Cousin Stout.
4) Founders Brewing Co. — Founders always brings an A-list lineup to the Winter Beer Fest, and this year is no exception. Serving up all of its Backstage Series beers, in addition to some regular staples, Founders is a brewery you have to hit at least once. Chances are all of the Backstage Series beers will be timed releases, so keep an eye out, especially for when KBS and CBS is tapped. Beers served: Centennial IPA; All Day IPA; Red’s Rye PA; Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale; Porter; Spite Pepper Ale; Frangelic Mountain Brown; KBS Barrel Aged Imperial Stout; Blushing Monk Belgian Raspberry Ale; CBS Maple Barrel Aged Imperial Stout; Curmudgeon’s Better Half; Bolt Cutter Barley Wine.
5) Short’s and Bell’s — Let’s be honest, there’s no way I could limit this list to five. Two of the best breweries in the state — if not the country — again showcase some extraordinary beers. Bell’s brings out its Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000, probably one of the best beers I’ve ever had. Short’s, on the other hand, has a plethora of seasonal one-offs, including its Gingersnap English Brown Ale. Beers served: Too many to mention.

General Information

This year the Guild has changed the way beer tokens work, ever so slightly. A total of 39 beers are worth two or three tokens instead of the standard one token per pour. You can read more, and see the full beer list, at mbgmash.com. You can also download the festival program.
The Mash website also has information on bus schedules and hotel information.
This year’s festival sold out in a record 13 hours. Don’t have tickets for this year? Several local breweries and bars are participating in GR Beer Week, and will have events going on throughout and leading up to the weekend. Check out the GR Beer Week Facebook page for a full event listing.
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Alex Brown contributed to this article.

6% ABV, Draft

Appearance: Reddish-orange with a medium head.
Aroma: Pretty bitter.
Taste: Hoppy, but smooth. Not overpowering for an IPA — only slightly bitter.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with decent carbonation.

The Livery’s Bier Munro is a great beginner IPA — it has a slight bitterness that introduces you to one of the main components of the style. There’s some sweetness present , possibly caramel or roasted malt, but overall this is just a great standard brew.

5.25% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Cloudy caramel color with a medium head.
Aroma: Sour with some sweet caramel.
Taste: Some sour fruit up front, leading to a dry, somewhat caramel and grainy, finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied; high carbonation.

Zymurgical Eruption — a collaboration between Brewery Vivant, The Livery and Arbor Brewing Co. — is in a word, sourlicious. The beer, originally released in July, is brewed and aged entirely in sour oak barrels at The Livery, using Vivant’s house strain and bottle harvestings of several sour offerings from Arbor Brewing Co. The brew is bottled by Arbor Brewing Co. and The Corner Brewery. The beer features all the complexities of a Belgian ale, with the greatness and surprise of sour and wild ales. It contains some sour fruit up front, and leads to a dryer finish with caramel and grain. All in all this is one of my favorite sours, and it represents all three breweries extremely well.