Jan. 1

DETROIT NEWS: Michigan's winter brews

Thursday, January 1, 2009 Melody Baetens: Glass Acts Without a doubt, winter is in full effect. On the upside, however, Michigan brewers are rolling out their fabulous winter beers. This year, Rochester Mills Beer Co., Dragonmead in Warren and Woodward Avenue Brewers in Ferndale offer barley wine, which is fermented, like, forevercompared to other beers. Dragonmead -- a non-smoking bar -- offers Excalibur barley wine, which undergoes three yeast fermentations over the course of four months. The WAB's X Ale Barley Wine is aged for two years. The Rochester Mills Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine is aged in bourbon barrels for several months. It is very strong on flavor and alcohol content. If stout is your poison, this is your season. A lot of local stouts have a coffee flavor this year. Ann Arbor Brewing offers up Espresso Love Breakfast Stout, an oatmeal stout blended with cold 100-percent fair-trade coffee. It'll only be available through April. Marshall Michigan's Dark Horse Brewery brews half a dozen stouts with flavors like vanilla, hazelnut, coffee and windmill cookie. On Michigan's left coast, the New Holland Brewing Co. presents Poet, a chocolaty oatmeal stout that is 6.5-percent alcohol by volume. In Detroit, Atwater Block Brewery uses Michigan's own Montmorency red tart cherries for its Cherry Stout. The Detroit Beer Co.'s Black Magic is a dark Russian stout that will knock you off your bar stool if you have too many. If you like variety, stop in Motor City Brewing Works in Detroit and pick up a Holiday Hand-Crafted Beer Sample Tool Box, which features Motown Lager, Ghettoblaster, Nut Brown Ale and 90W-40 Double Pale Ale, to name a few. You can reach Melody Baetens at (313) 222-2402 or mbaetens@detnews.com http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090101/OPINION03/901010302

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