|Literally the perfect beer for a day|
on a Michigan river.
While I’m “lost” there’s always plenty to look at—lots of trees, abandoned farmhouses and dilapidated barns, deer grazing in the fields, small streams and the occasional undeveloped lake.
If I drive around those roads long enough I’ll come to one of the wooden pylon bridges that cross over the Little Manistee and because I’m in an unhurried state, I get out of my truck to look at the river. If I’m lucky I’ll see a fly fisherman working his way upstream or a trout holding steady in the current.
It’s my decidedly humble opinion that the Little Manistee is one of the Lower Peninsula’s most delightful rivers. It rises just east of Luther and winds fifty-five miles through the hardwood forests of Lake, Mason and Manistee counties before emptying into Manistee Lake. When I was young my uncle had a cabin a few miles outside of Luther and I have wonderful memories of fishing for browns and brookies in the pond formed by the old logging mill dam that was built back in the 1800’s.
Many years later my brother-in-law and I went skinny dipping in one the Little Manistee’s icy cold pools after a day of drinking Stroh’s at my father’s cabin near Irons. The swim was quite refreshing, but the memory of that experience is tempered by the fact that a few days later I got a bad case of poison ivy in the sensitive regions below my waist.
Last Saturday Barb and I kayaked the stretch of the Little Manistee between Fox Bridge and Bear Track Campground with friends John and Pam Matson. Kayaking the Little Manistee is definitely a challenge. Because John and Pam have kayaked this part of the river over twenty times, they are very adept at maneuvering the twists, turns, obstructions and eddies while enjoying a beer. I, however, quickly found out that I wasn’t.
Ten minutes into our excursion I cracked open a 16 ounce can of Two Hearted and the first two sips tasted wonderful. While I was taking the third sip the current pushed my kayak sideways against a submerged log and the remainder of that world class IPA ended up with me in the river. Fortunately I was able to retrieve my paddle, my flip flops and the empty beer can.
My ego was slightly bruised, but a bruised ego is a relatively small price to pay for another Little Manistee memory.
New and Returning Beer
- New Holland Ichabod, $1.79/12oz - "Ichabod combines malted barley and real pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg in a delicious and inviting brew. After dinner, try it with your favorite desserts" (source).
- Alaskan Pumpkin Porter, $1.59/12oz - "A native plant of North America, pumpkins were first used in beer in colonial America as a substitute for hard-to-find malt, and none other than the father of our country George Washington had a highly touted recipe. This imperial porter pumpkin beer combines the robust, full-bodied style of a porter with a, frankly, crazy amount of pumpkin" (source).
- Bell's Best Brown, $1.69/12oz - "A smooth, toasty brown ale, Best Brown Ale is a mainstay in our fall & winter lineup. With hints of caramel and cocoa, the malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops" (source).
- Shorts Autumn Ale, $1.99/12oz - "Autumn Ale is a true-to-style London Extra Special Bitter (ESB). It has a medium body, amber color, and full flavor. This beer exhibits a wonderful balance of malty sweetness and floral hop bitterness. The result is an ideal bridge between malty and hoppy beer styles. Autumn Ale is a silver medal winner from the 2006 Great American Beer Festival" (source).
- Cheboygan Oktoberfest, $1.89/12oz - "The beer, created by the brewery’s operation manager and brewmaster Tim Perry, who was inspired by the 1976 Späten Oktoberfest bier from Munich, Germany, is orange in hue with a pronounced malt presence" (source).
- Shorts Vintage Premium Lager, $1.49/12oz - "Short’s Vintage Premium Lager is the perfect replica of today’s mainstream American Pale Lagers, complete with a wort that’s 50% blended rice syrup and hot water. A small amount of 2 row malted barley contributes to its bright yellow color and delicate malt flavors. Crystal clear and boldly effervescent, this beer has yeast aromas that lead into flavors of lightly toasted white bread with a very low residual sweetness. The super light body aids in the ultimate refreshment providing a thirst quenching finish that’s super crisp and clean" (source).
- Smuttynose Bouncy House IPA, $1.69/12oz - "What is Bouncy House? It’s the next step in our quest to brew the perfect low-alcohol, high-flavor, hoppy American ale. We learned a few things from brewing ParadoX earlier this year, like lowering the alcohol content and avoiding the terms "session" and "IPA." When you taste Bouncy House, you’ll taste a modest malt bill of North American 2-row, British pale ale malt, C-60 and Aromatic malt mashed for a refreshingly light body that leaves plenty of spotlight for a melange of Warrior, Calypso, El Dorado and Citra hops" (source).
- Leinenkugel UberOktoberfest, $2.99/12oz - "A bolder, toastier take on an Oktoberfestbier that can only be described as “Über.” With a tawny orange hue, toasted malts and spicy hops, our Big Eddy Über-Oktoberfest is then dry-hopped for added hop complexity" (source).
- Sam Adams Fat Jack, $7.19/22oz - "This rich and luscious brew indulges in flavor with over 28Ibs of pumpkin per barrel, for a full bodied sweetness and deep russet color. Classic pumpkin pie spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice ignite a warmth and spark that’s deepened by an undercurrent of roasty smoked malts. The result is a delectable brew full of enveloping layers of flavor and spice. At Samuel Adams we love experimenting. This series of limited edition brews represents some of our favorite small batch creations" (source).
- Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin, $1.69/12oz - "A perennial favorite at our Brewery Halloween party, this reddish amber ale is perfect for fall. Real pumpkin adds a full body and sweetness, while deep roasted malts lend a toasty finish to this subtly spiced brew" (source).
- Left Hand Oktoberfest, $2.09/12oz - "This beer is available each autumn in celebration of the great Bavarian festival season. Brewed in late spring and cellared throughout the summer, our Oktoberfest is produced through traditional methods as it has been for centuries in Germany, This copper-hued lager owes its rich malt flavor to a generous combination of select Vienna and Munich malts. Cool, open-fermentation develops a subtle elegance and drinkability suited to any festive occasion" (source).
- Big Sky Slow Elk, $1.69/12oz - "Malty and creamy, and very smooth. Very Drinkable and a quite well made. "Slow Elk" is the nickname for a cow, which are sometimes mistaken for Elk?" (source).
- Erdinger Oktoberfest, $1.99/12oz - "Erdinger is brewed all-naturally, using traditional bottle-fermentation, never pasteurized" (source).
- Crazy Mountain Boohai Red Ale, $1.79/12oz - "We bring in the hops for this brew from New Zealand, where locals use the term “Boohai” to describe being thoroughly lost in a remote or non-existant place far from civilization. To us, that sounded like a pretty good place to be. These unique hops present a noticeable aroma of blackberries, Sauvignon Blanc grapes and pine which come together nicely with a complex blend of Belgian malts to make a deep, yet sublimely pleasant beer" (source).
- Crazy Mountain Hookiebob IPA, $4.99/22oz - "In the 1960s, before Vail Village was paved and closed to vehicles, "hookiebobbing" referred to those committed fools who, while on skis, grabbed onto the bumper of passing cars to tow them up to the lifts. Our IPA is a Colorado approach to the American take of an English classic. Three aggressive yet floral American hops and one hop from Down Under team together to make a bright, citrusy and floral India Pale Ale. A deep caramel malt helps to balance the bitterness of the hops and lets the complex hop bill shine" (source).
- Crazy Mountain Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, $4.49/22oz - "When our brewmaster was first learning to brew beer, he mentioned to his instructor that he hoped his batch would turn out close to the way it was supposed to taste. The instructor told him, "Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades." Our American ESB showcases a complex maltiness and unique hop character. Chinook and Amarillo hops coupled with 5 different types of malt make this beer one-of-a-kind" (source).
- Crazy Mountain Old Soul Belgian Strong Ale, $4.489/22oz - "Our version of a Belgian Strong Golden Ale. A healthy amount of wheat gives this beer a very smooth mouthfeel that is accompanied by a fruity yeast character. Dark Belgian Candy is added to the boil which contributes to this beer’s light body and complex flavor. European hops team up with Juniper berries added late in the boil to offer a soft, subtle spiciness" (source).
- Fort Collins Oktoberfest, $2.39/12oz - "Our Oktoberfest was brewed as a tribute to one of our most cherished recipes using old world German techniques and ingredients. A single decoction mash unleashes the complexity and depth of the Vienna, Munich and Caramel malts that create this beer’s distinct aroma and flavor. German noble hops balance this rich and malty lager with a delicate herbal and spicy bouquet of aromas" (source).
- William Tell Hard Cider, $8.59/22oz - "This premium hard cider was handcrafted from apple juice and natural flavors for a refreshingly elegant taste" (source).
- William Tell Pinot Grigio Hard Cider, $8.59/22oz - "Our signature cider is a unique blend of freshly fermented Hard Apple Cider and premium California Pinot Grigio. We start with fresh juice from five types of apples and ferment it in three lots, each with different yeast to add flavor complexity. Then comes the creative touch: we add 15% of our Pinot Grigio and then Frost Ferment the blend to concentrate the fresh apple and wine character and enhance the flavors. If Frost Fermentation doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because we invented this technique to create our Pinot Grigio cider" (source).
- Sietsemas Lemongrass Hard Cider, $16.49/22oz - "For those with a taste for brightness. A bold blend of refreshing local Lemon Grass combined with our the crisp apple zest taste of our cider creates a unique taste of citrusy, zesty, sweet fruitiness" (source).
Picture of the Week | People's Cider Co.
Sampling the People's Cider at Fulton St. Farmers Market