Michigan Winter Beers Blend Spice & Everything Nice

By: Karen Dybis | January 8, 2021

A bottle of maple barrel-aged Frangelic Mountain Brown from Founders. Photo courtesy of Founders Brewing Co.

Craft beer has become a Michigan favorite with so many breweries coming up with creative flavors that highlight life in the Mitten State. That is why Michigan winter beers are so popular with people across the state and Midwest, highlighting the warm spices and unique parts of life where the cold seems to stretch out and demand a brew or two. 

These Michigan winter beers include spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Others take on warmer tones with a boost of coffee or espresso. There also are beers that highlight sweet ingredients in the brewing such as maple syrup, all giving that wintertime flair to a cold beer. Whatever the ingredient, these beers offer a taste that is special to the season and one more reason to celebrate with family and friends.

Founders Brewing Co.

Founders Brewing Co. recently added a maple barrel-aged Frangelic Mountain Brown as the sixteenth release in the taproom Mothership Series and the first release of 2021. It describes the beer as one that “pushes the coffee/beer envelope” by having a new twist to start off a new year. 

Founders highlighted the sweet and nutty coffee notes of Frangelic Mountain Brown to new limits, it says, adding the brew to bourbon barrels that previously housed maple syrup. This resulted in added complexity for an already sophisticated brown ale.

“Brown ales aren’t usually considered a flashy beer style, but this one certainly has some flair,” said Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki. “In fact, it’s pretty jam-packed with amazing flavors like hazelnut, coffee, maple, oak and bourbon; all perfectly balanced into a solid brown ale base.”

Here are some other crafty brews that have given winter-themed flavors a fresh look for 2021 and beyond.

Dragonmead Brewery

These Dragonmead beers are packed with flavor and have legions of fans as a result. One that is not to be missed is its Norwegian Christmas ale known as the “Jul Øl.” It is a 5.8 % spiced Christmas ale, so it has a kick. Dragonmead produces a number of top-notch beers, so it is a brewery to keep stocked in your fridge all year long.

Ascension Beer

If you haven’t tried this Novi brewer’s offerings, then you’re missing out on great, local beers. One of its most creative names and beers that is perfect for 2021 is the Quarantine & Chill – a golden lager that it describes as “lightly hopped and easy to drink.” It is a beer that anyone who is 21 and up would be willing to use to toast to the end of 2020 and its many changes. 

Bell’s Brewery

This longtime Michigan beer company has earned its place in every home and every beer fridge. One favorite to try is its Bright White Ale, formerly known as Winter White. Bell’s describes its Bright White Ale as a stylish and refreshing wheat ale that is fermented with Belgian ale yeast, a blend of barley and wheat malts. That gives it a taste that is a mix of clove and fruity aromas.

Griffin Claw

Michigan winter beers are a favorite to make at this Birmingham brewery, and its winter ale called “3 Scrooges” is sold out across the state. Its Cin to Win also has been popular, an unfiltered, semi-dry hard cider made with Vietnamese cinnamon and hand-cut bourbon vanilla beans. Griffin Claw added a whiskey called Three Scrooges as well to its offerings that has orange peel, cloves and honey as its main flavors, making it a great companion to its beers and hard ciders for any holiday gathering.

The Royal Oak Brewery

The Royal Oak Brewery always keeps plenty of award-winning house brews on tap, and this season you can enjoy their 90 Shilling Scotch Ale. They are currently making use of heated igloos on its patio to accommodate guests. Make a reservation by calling them at 248-544-1141.

New Holland Brewing

For more than 20 years, New Holland Brewing has been providing Michiganders with inspired brews and spirits. The roasty, brown Cabin Fever ale has a hearty finish perfect for any winter night. You can find information on all of their beers, including the popular Dragon’s Milk, on their beer calendar page.

Remember to drink responsibly and plan ahead with a designated driver or take advantage of one of these local designated driving services.