Tag Archives: Michigan

Celis White

Michigan Brewing Co.
Webberville, MI
Celis White

The pour is a shower of effervescence – carbonation streams up the glass, helping to inflate a delicate but full inch of cloud-white head. Those fine bubbles stay busy keeping the head settled at a half inch.

The clarity is good though the color is surprisingly light. (N.B. I didn’t pour the full bottle so any sediment in the bottle is still in there). It is a very fine straw gold, even champagne colored brew.

The nose is pleasantly surprising. Despite what seems to be a thin-looking brew, the aroma is much more interesting. Powdery bubble gum, along with lemon zest and coriander mix with slightly under-ripe banana flambé (which comes through as a sweet caramelized odor).

The mouthfeel is very good, if a bit on the thin side. However, spice gives way to more sweetness that couples nicely with the lemon zest. As the beer gets a bit warmer, the bubble gum and coriander emerges a bit more.

If I’m going to have a white or wheat beer, this is the way I like it.

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Mackinac Pale Ale

Michigan Brewing Co.
Webberville, MI
Mackinac Pale Ale

The Mackinac pours with a dense and frothy white head that puffs up to a good inch or so. It sits atop golden-copper body with wonderful clarity and swift, fine carbonation that keeps that head inflated. Touches of marmalade orange color sit at the edges of the glass.

The aroma is full of orange zest and cinnamon toast, providing a nice complement of bittersweet smells.

The mouthfeel is very good but not great. It is smooth at first as that froth washes down, but quickly turns into a peppery tart hop character. Certainly, orange zest is present, and it gives a nice synergy with the orange marmalade color. The brew finishes a bit weakly, but, all in all, is a very refreshing English-style pale ale.

Atwater Dirty Blonde

Atwater Block Brewery
Detroit, MI
Dirty Blonde Ale

Trying out a stemmed wine glass for the first time, I tried to pour this beer a bit heavy to puff up a head, but managed to elicit only a thin white layer which was quick to settle. I’ll chalk that up to glassware.

The color is straw gold, slightly hazy, with a heavy yellow base and a veneer of orange. The carbonation is very fine, running up the center of the globular glass in pearl strands.

The nose has coriander, a touch of banana, and some orange zest.

The initial sip yields a wisp of wheat then a touch of a thin cereal body, but it all quickly disappears into a tart squirt of lemon. The finish isn’t altogether unpleasant, however what legs the waifish citrus flavor has barely manages to limp to the finish.

The end of the pour provides a bit more haze and a few bits of yeast to add a bit to bolster the body of this beer but, on the whole, this brew is a fairly innocuous choice. Certainly, it’s not offensive, and you could drink several, but you’d get bored. I do however love the young woman’s Tigers tramp-stamp on the label.

This brewery is around the corner from where I stayed for one of the best weddings I’ve ever attended, so believe me, I want to like it, but these brews are lacking something to really make them stand out.

Atwater Vanilla Java Porter

Atwater Block Brewery
Detroit, MI
Vanilla Java Porter

This is a not-quite-opaque beer, some deep chocolate color flashes at the sides of the glass when held to the light. A light tan head settles quickly to a frothy blanket across the top, and effervescence seems fine from what can be seen looking down into dark brew.

Atwater Vanilla Java Porter

The nose certainly gives off a strong vanilla aroma, a bit like cookie dough, with a slight astringent, burnt coffee smack at the back. Also present is some almond and what seems to be a very sweet maltiness.

The mouthfeel is interesting, starting off a bit thin, with very little carbonation, then puffing up a bit before relaxing into some more severe flavors.

Initially, coffee flavor fills the mouth like steam, giving the idea of coffee without assaulting the taste buds. What follows is a slight hint of vanilla, which is rapidly dispersed by some deep cherry notes – almost like Maraschino. The end of the swallow yields some alcohol warmth, but it is a bit overly-sweet like rich plum jam, or pureed prune. I’ve never had pureed prune, but I can imagine.

It’s not a fantastic example of a porter; there is very little roasted malt character here. The vanilla and coffee idea is a decent one for a breakfast beer, let’s say, but it needs to be toned down a bit. Both flavors flex their muscles a bit too much. A brew like this should be velvety smooth.

It’s more daring than most, so kudos for that, but it’s a bit syrupy for my liking. It seems that ABB brews with real beans (coffee and vanilla), so maybe both are just a bit too powerful to use in such quantities.

Don’t serve this too cold or, if you do, let it warm a bit before enjoying it and it should mellow a bit.

Michigan Nut Brown Ale

Michigan Brewing Co.
Webberville, MI
Nut Brown Ale

This brew from the North Coast pours with a slow-rising tan head that stays active and tumbles inward lacing the glass with a full web. The clarity is good, and the beer boasts a really nice cola-brown that is slightly plum red with just a faint touch of gold. So far, it looks promising.
The nose has a hazelnut and caramel sweetness that gets the palate going and seems to hint a mix of chocolate maltiness and some welterweight bittering hops. If the beer follows this nose, it should be nicely balanced, if a bit sweet. After letting the beer sit for a minute, mix of gingerbread and clove aromas seems to sit in that sweetness and may serve to tart up what threatens to be a bit of a saccharine swallow.
The beer is sweet, but not cloying, and coats the mouth fully. There are some cocoa notes, and maybe a tiny bit of honey, but it is definitely bready, and is less crisp gingerbread and more toasted whole grain bread.
The hops are really subtle, in a great way, and provide a refreshing finish, like a piece of fruit at the end of a meal. That’s not to say this beer is fruity. There is a slight stickiness to the beer, but the biscuit qualities are adequately roasty and malty – necessary for a good brown ale – and prevent this beer from seeming like a lager.

Enjoy this one anytime; it is not a filling brew – like most brown ales (think Newkie) – and is full but isn’t so complex that you’ll be chewing through it at every sip.