As a resident of Beer City, it’s nearly impossible to go out and justify drinking $3 national brand pints when, for a dollar more, I can enjoy a delicious craft beer and get a buzz at the same time. I tried out three new breweries and scoured the menus of several of my all-time favorites in search of the best wintertime brews. The ten craft beers you have before you will warm you up in no time on your next evening date night, whether that means treating yourself to a new brewery close to where you live or staying in with your fireplace roaring and trying out a newly distributed beer, like Big Lake’s Leroy Brown.
Rosalynn Bliss Mango Blonde: Grand Rapids Brewing Co., Grand Rapids
This beer is sweet and packs a punch, just like Grand Rapids’ new mayor. At only 5.2%, a pint is perfect for a lunch break or as part of an evening brewery tour. Four packs are available for purchase exclusively at the brewery.
Lefty’s: White Flame Brewing Co., Hudsonville
This stout takes the cake! It’s easy to sip and smooth, smooth, smooth. Named in honor of Left Hand Brewing in Colorado and the owner’s left handedness, it’s available on tap or in growlers. With a small town feel and the friendliest of staff, it’s not difficult to see why mug club members make this brewery their evening haunt.
The Liberator: Short’s Brewing, Bellaire
The Liberator is made using twice as many hops as the more well-known Huma Lupa Licious from Short’s. Drink up with this delicious and citrusy IPA. Available in singles and six packs from distributors and for a limited time from the brewery.
Any flavor of Hard Cider: Vander Mill, Spring Lake
Alright, it isn’t a craft beer, but its sweetness makes it a must for anyone who prefers alcoholic beverages that go against the grain. Pick up a four pack in Hard Apple, Blue Gold, Ginger Peach, or Totally Roasted.
Vanilla Porter: Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing, Kalamazoo
This porter goes down smoother than your dance moves at that house party. What house party? You remember. Yeah, that one. Purchase it to-go from the brewery or stop in to enjoy it on tap. I recommend snacking on the mushroom and tomato bruschetta as well, and you can’t go wrong with their spent grain pizza either.
Torchon: Tri-City Brewing, Bay City
The Torchon is a Belgian pale ale, and it’s fairly light at only 5.5% ABV. You’ll enjoy its soft flavor and hoppy smell. Buy it as a single or in a six pack or stop into Tri-City Brewing to fill a growler.
Ghettoblaster: Motor City Brewing Works, Detroit
This beer caught my interest with its name. It’s an English brown ale, and I was surprised by its crisp flavor. You’ll want to drink more than one, and so will your friends, so it’s best to buy it in large quantities, like the 24 pack or keg. You can also satisfy your curiosity with a six pack.
Leroy Brown: Big Lake Brewing, Holland
Need an excuse to relax and wind down? Look no further than this English brown ale, brewed with love in the strip mall brewery in Holland. (Parking is never a problem.) They say that it’s made using caramel and chocolate; I say it’s a mash up between forest trolls and old-school jazz. And lucky you, they’ve just begun distributing four packs outside of Holland!
North Third Stout: Blackrocks Brewery, Marquette
Do you perk up when someone mentions chocolate? If so, then you’ll enjoy this rich and chocolaty limited edition winter stout. It’s the perfect beverage to sip and savor with your weekend crowd. Look for it as singles or in a six pack.
Angry Mayor IPA: Lansing Brewing Co., Lansing
One of Lansing Brewing Company’s mainstays, this IPA is strong and spicy. The parking situation can get a little hairy, but it’s worth it to enjoy this satisfyingly hoppy brew. It’s available in a crowler or growler, but is best enjoyed on tap with one of the kitchen’s unique creations, like their wonton nachos.
Do you have a favorite watering hole that I didn’t hit? Leave a comment below!