There is something personally satisfying about eaing seasonally. Stocking our pantries and kitchens with fruits, veggies, and meats specific to the time of year is a great way to minimize the cost of transporting food, encourage local growers, and promote creative, ever-changing plates of deliciousness to share with family and friends. And with the explosion of Michigan craft beer these past few years, it is much easier to be a seasonal beer drinker and still remain faithful to the local products fermented in our community.
East Lansing is home to a number of fantastic beer bars that regularly rotate their Michigan brews to encourage such a drinking experience. As a home brewer and self-identified connoisseur of beer and beer styles, I readily admit that my evolution of beer appreciation has taken me on a journey from one style and one flavor to an ever-changing assortment of hoppy and malty treats. Pairing these seasonal beers with classic fall and early winter dishes can bring out the flavor of the food and enhance an adventurous night out at one of East Lansing’s many dining venues.
A recent trip to HopCat reminded me of this unique gift to Michiganders. I perused the beer menu to see the regular 20 standards they keep stocked all year with another 80 beers that might pair well with fast approaching winter weather and all that comes with it. The first fall taste of a great pumpkin spiced ale or a full-bodied porter evokes the feeling of a warm fireplace or favorite wool sweater during the first snowfall of the year.
There is something exciting about seeing a new beer on the menu that corresponds to the time of year. Thanksgiving generally marks the beginning of stout season for many of our Michigan breweries, with the transition from brown and red late fall beers into heavy black ales and smoky, coffee and chocolate flavored brews that pour like molasses and give you an impression of something hearty.
The next time you pop into your favorite local establishment, I encourage you to consider ordering something recently added to the menu, rather than an old standby. Much like our seasonal foods, some of these brews are made in limited batches and need to be enjoyed before they disappear with the colors on the trees. See seasonal beers as an opportunity to celebrate the changing Michigan weather and landscape. Enjoy a new pour and stay warm this winter.
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