LANSING, Mich—Craft beer enthusiasts are passionate about Michigan brews…and February is the perfect time to fall in love with rich, chocolaty and fruity beers. As you head out with your sweetheart this year for Valentine’s Day, consider ordering up a pint of one of these deliciously romantic Michigan made libations recommended by the Michigan Brewers Guild.
ARBOR BREWING COMPANY, Ann Arbor
Espresso Love (7.5%ABV | 15 IBUs). Oatmeal and 20 pounds of fresh roasted 100% fair-trade coffee, from the nearby Ugly Mug Café Brewed, contribute to a mildly chalky espresso character balanced by a rich, sweet creamy maltiness. The coffee finish dissolves into chocolate, with a slight roasty bitterness. Pairs well with desserts, especially dark chocolate, raspberries, and cheesecake.
ARCADIA ALES, Battle Creek
Cocoa Loco Triple Chocolate Stout (7% ABV | 39 IBUs). This award-winning beer gets its rich flavor from Simpson Chocolate, Weyerman Chocolate and Crisp Chocolate malts. The addition of lactose lends the beer a creamy quality- not unlike a milkshake- while the Blackstrap Molasses adds rich, burnt, syrupy flavors. Flavors of baker’s chocolate and espresso dominate, while rich malty flavors and a subtle kiss of hops add nice balance, making this a truly one-of-a-kind BIG beer.
BELL’S BREWERY, Galesburg / Kalamazoo
Smitten Golden Rye Ale (6.0% ABV | 42 IBUs). This spring seasonal offers rustic flavors from rye malt combined with citrusy, resinous hop aroma from Pacific Northwest varieties to create a crisp, refreshing take on the classic pale ale.
BREWERY TERRA FIRMA, Traverse City
Ancho Chili Dutch Double Chocolate Porter (5.3% ABV). There’s a special magic that happens between chilies and chocolate that was first utilized in ancient Latin America and still weaves its spell today. Ancho Chili Dutch Double Chocolate Porter showcases the perfect balance of chili flavor and warmth combined with dark chocolate. This is not a hot pepper beer – the warmth from the chilies builds slowly, enhancing the character of the beer without becoming dominant. Far from being a novelty beer, the richness of chocolate malts and Dutch cocoa combined with the deep, smoky flavor imparted by whole Ancho chilies while the beer is conditioning will keep them coming back for more.
ETERNITY BREWING, Howell
Imperial Cocoa Cherry (9% ABV | 80 IBUs). This robust imperial stout is like chocolate covered cherries in a glass, complete with a kiss of cherry sweetness—like a loving embrace. This beer will pair well with all of your Valentine’s Day desserts.
FOUNDERS BREWING COMPANY, Grand Rapids
Founders Porter (6.5% ABV | 45 IBUs). Described as “Dark, Rich and Sexy,” this beer pours silk black with a creamy tan head. The nose is sweet with a strong chocolate and caramel malt presence and no absence of hops gives this beer the full flavor you deserve and expect…it’s cozy like velvet. This 2010 World Beer Cup silver medalist is described as “a lover, not a fighter.”
Lion Heart (6.8% ABV | 36 IBUs). Forget the box of chocolates, let your lover’s sweet tooth indulge in the Lion Heart, an amorous robust porter made even more sensual with the addition of raspberry puree and cacao nibs. Luscious chocolate notes balance against the coffee and roast malt profile with accents of fruity tartness from the raspberry.
Susie Q (4.9% ABV | 16 IBUs). What’s better than a bouquet of flowers for your craft beer sweetheart? A bouquet of flavor from Susie Q, a cream ale brewed with hibiscus and rose hips. Soft smelling as a rose and light as a sunny day, Susie Q exhibits light malt sweetness which transitions to delicate citrus and floral flavors of the rose and hibiscus.
HARMONY BREWING, Grand Rapids
Winter Nights (8% ABV) – the toasted aroma, smooth maltiness and slight chocolate and coffee notes give this winter warmer the tools to keep you and your loved one warm on a cold winter night!
JOLLY PUMPKIN, Dexter / Ann Arbor / Detroit / Traverse City
iO Saison (6.8% ABV). Part of the Baudelaire series, this beer will capture the hearts of art and artisan beer lovers alike. Drawn in by the historic elegance of the label design and then held tight by the rapture of flavors, it will be released in limited quantities. iO Saison is brewed in a lovely fashion, with rose hips, rose petals and hibiscus. Yet, don’t be easily deceived by her looks, for like love – she can be oh so dangerous. Available in late February.
LAKE CHARLEVOIX BREWING COMPANY, Charlevoix
Love Fuel (3% ABV | 6 IBUs). This raspberry Berlinerweiss looks like pink lemonade and smells like a fresh combination of fruit and German yeast with a tasty, bubbly flavor.
MOUNTAIN TOWN STATION, Mount Pleasant
Doctor Love (8% ABV | 18 IBUs). This imperial red ale with ale brewed with eight different invigorating herbs and a touch of flavor hops.
Love Potion #8 (7.5% ABV | 32 IBUs). This double chocolate stout is brewed with four different invigorating herbs, to get the blood flowing.
Sacred Gruit (5.8% ABV | 4 IBUs). The flagship gruit brewed with 3 different herbs that stimulate the mind, create euphoria and enhance sexual drive. For a little added fun, try the Peach Gruit, with peace juice added.
Chocolate Vibrant Stout (9% ABV). This imperial stout is full of flavor from chocolate, with aphrodisiacal herbs added for her pleasure.
NEWAYGO BREWING CO., Newaygo
Sweetheart Stout (5.8% ABV | 35 IBUs). This oatmeal stout is blended in three steps, with pureed raspberries.
NEW HOLLAND BREWING COMPANY, Holland
The Poet (5.2% ABV | 37 IBUs). This is a romantic offering for Valentine’s Day. This beer reveals a rich, smooth malt character enveloped in tones of roast and chocolate. A soft mouth-feel brings luxurious flavors and a soothing aroma. The Poet is as versatile as it is delicious – the perfect accent to any chocolate dessert.
NORTH PEAK BEER, Dexter / Detroit
Dubious Black Chocolate Stout (5.3% ABV | 50 IBUs). Sporting its “giant man-eating beaver” icon, this beer pays homage to Northern Michigan’s Beaver Island. This beer has the perfect combination of chocolate with roast and black malts, resulting in a smooth and rich beer. Judicious use of hops brings out a complex, yet subtle bittering, finished off with a big Goldings nose. This swirl of aroma, flavor and body is underscored by the rich, dark chocolate that is added at the end of the boil.
OUR BREWING COMPANY, Holland
Shot Through the Heart (9.5% ABV | 30 IBUs). This imperial porter is aged on cacao nibs, giving it a big, smooth, malty sweetness, with notes of dark chocolate, dried fruit and caramel.
ROCHESTER MILLS BEER CO., Rochester / Auburn Hills
Milkshake Stout (5.3% ABV | 20 IBUs). The combination of four different malts, along with a low hop level creates a deep dark beer featuring rich, roasted, malt flavors. The addition of lactose (milk sugar) adds complexity, body, and a residual sweetness lending a smooth creamy texture to this full-flavored brew. Once a seasonal offering in the pub, now prominently featured in state-wide distribution due to popular demand.
Paint Creek Porter (6.0% ABV | 21 IBUs). This pub-only offering is a robust beer that features a rich, velvety chocolate malt flavor that will compliment any chocolate dessert.
ROCKFORD BREWING, Rockford
Hoplust IPA (7.1% ABV | 70 IBUs). A profoundly hoppy hand-crafted American IPA, with a proprietary blend of six different hop varieties for a unique flavor experience. An intense bouquet of fresh hops will greet you on the nose, followed by the bursting tropical, citrus and piney flavors on your palette. The approach to this IPA is to focus more toward satisfying the craving for hop flavor than bitterness.
SHORTS BREWING, Bellaire
Hot Loins. A beer brewed with aphrodisiacs: Pomegranate, vanilla, honey and the most powerful aphrodisiac of all time – Tongat Ali – aka long jack.
Love Knife (6.7% ABV – 45 IBU) is a brownish red Belgian ale that explodes with aromas of strawberry, banana, and nectarine. Malt sweetness is quite low, allowing for the fruit flavors to be apparent throughout the beer.
Of course, there are countless other beers to LOVE…and the best is the one in your hand. Hopefully, that’s locally-crafted here in Michigan!