Harvest Brews

Blending seasonal flavors like nutmeg, cloves and allspice, Michigan’s craft beers taste like autumn.

Jaw Jacker (Arcadia Ales, Battle Creek). Using only the finest malted barley and a touch of wheat, Jaw-Jacker pours a brilliant orange-amber color. Although no pumpkins are actually used, a blend of nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon work with the malty flavors to create a bold taste reminiscent of pumpkin pie. A light hop note balances out the beer nicely (arcadiaales.com).

VooDoo Vator (Atwater Brewery, Detroit). The malty character in this Dopplebock comes from two caramel malts along with Munich malt, which blend to create the smoothest, high-gravity beer. Deep brownish-black in color, this beer is sweet to the taste (atwaterbeer.com). 

iStock photo of golden maple leafRocktoberfest (Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak). Named for Brewmaster Rockne van Meter, this is Bastone’s most popular seasonal and a World Beer Champion. The Oktoberfest-style lager is light copper in color and showcases toasty caramel flavors (bastone.net).

Octoberfest (Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo). Crafted as a flavorful session beer, this brew spends a full six weeks maturing and displays a light caramel malt note, without too much sweetness (bellsbeer.com). 

Oktoberfest (Cheboygan Brewing Company, Cheboygan). Created after the 1976 Spaten Oktoberfest bier from Munich, this orange brew has a pronounced malt presence derived from the large amount of German maltz (cheboyganbrewingcompany.com).

Harvest Ale (Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids). Brewed with fresh-from-the-yard wet hops, this liquid dream pours a brilliantly clear, gold-straw color. Your first sip rewards you with a burst of fresh citrus, then finishes to introduce toasted malt undertones (foundersbrewing.com). 

Pumpkin Spice (Great Baraboo, Clinton Twp). With pumpkin in the mash and boil, this beer also incorporates traditional fall flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and molasses, which all lend a medium-body orange hue and pie aftertaste (greatbaraboo.com).

Punkin Pie Ale (Liberty Street Brewing Company, Plymouth). The caramel sweetness and bready character of this malty ale mingling with traditional harvest spices make this taste like pie in a glass. Try it at the pub with Guernsey’s French Vanilla ice cream (libertystreetbeer.com).

Hooligan Pumpkin Beer
Hooligan: North Peak Beer, Traverse City. Named after the legendary Devil’s Night character.

Hooligan (North Peak Beer, Traverse City). Named after the legendary Devil’s Night character, this seasonal favorite is brewed with a load of real pumpkin, fresh spices and local hops (northpeakbeer.net).

Funkin Punkin (Short’s Brewing, Bellaire). Brewed with real pumpkin and spice, this seasonal beer boasts a light brown color and the classic aromatics of pumpkin pie, roasted squash and caramel sweetness. The mouthfeel is medium plus a slight fizzy carbonation, with a dry and spicy finish (shortsbrewing.com).

Many of these brews will be available for sampling at the U.P. Fall Beer Festival, Sept. 8 in Marquette, and the Detroit Fall Beer Festival, Oct. 27 at Eastern Market in Detroit (MiBeer.com).

Tai Alexander is a West Michigan-based freelance writer for Michigan BLUE Magazine.

If vino is more to your liking, spice up the fall season with these harvest sips: 

Chateau Grand Traverse
Courtesy Chateau Grand Traverse

Witches Brew (Leelanau Cellars, Omena). A blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and other natural spices make this a seasonal favorite. Perfect for entertaining, this wine explodes with intense flavors when served warm and is perfect for sitting around the campfire with friends on a chilly fall evening (leelanaucellars.com). 

Spiced Cherry Wine (Chateau Grand Traverse, Traverse City). This wine is a holiday tradition, made from Traverse City Cherry Wine and enhanced with flavors of cinnamon, clove, orange and lemon peel. The resulting wine is a classic “Gluhwein” or mulled wine. Enjoy it warm or with soda water or ginger ale, for a lighter, sparkling taste (cgtwines.com). 

For more about Michigan’s growing wine industry, visit MichiganWines.com. 

Octoberfest Recipe

Celebrate at home with this Bavarian-inspired pizza featuring Arcadia Brewing Company’s Jaw Jacker with brats, mustard, caramelized onions and apples

September 22 through Oct. 7 marks the world’s largest fair — Oktoberfest in Munich — and beer is no small part of the tradition. Celebrate at home with this Bavarian-inspired pizza featuring Arcadia Brewing Company’s Jaw Jacker with brats, mustard, caramelized onions and apples (michbeerblog.net). 

Jaw Jacker Pizza

Jaw Jacker Pizza
YIELDS: Four 12-inch pizzas (each serves 3-4)

1 tablespoon butter
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced in ¼-inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
¾ cup of Arcadia’s Jaw Jacker
2 or 3 fresh bratwursts
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 Founder’s Pale Ale pizza crust
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 425°. Melt butter in skillet, add apple slices and sauté over medium heat until they begin to soften, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Heat oil in a different skillet. Add sliced onions and sauté over low heat about 15 minutes until softened and beginning to brown. Add ¼ cup beer and increase heat. Cook until onions are deep golden and beer has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove onions from skillet and set aside.

Prick bratwursts with a fork and add to same skillet with ½ cup beer. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove lid and cook until browned and the beer has evaporated, about 2 more minutes. Remove from pan and cut into ¼-inch slices. Roll out pizza dough on lightly floured surface into a 9-inch round. Brush pizza with mustard. Sprinkle with mozzarella, then onions. Top with apple slices and bratwurst. Sprinkle with thyme. Bake until cheese melts and crust is crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.

*Try pairing it with hearty Founders Pale Ale Crust: “The beer adds a great yeasty taste,” says Michigan Beer Blog’s Laura Porter. Find this recipe online at mibluemag.com, and other seasonal recipes at michbeerblog.net.

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