The Soft Parade: Michigan brew has fruity notes with rye backbone
Fruit has crept into nearly every style of beer, from light lagers to bourbon-aged stouts. The tinkering nature of craft brewers looking to push the experimental envelope is the likely source of this burgeoning interest. Infusing the sweet, sour or tart character found in fruit is bound to deliver a personality that the master brewer can't resist.
Traditional fruit beer is brewed throughout the world, though Belgium is recognized as one of the largest producers. The most popular is called kriek, which is Flemish for "cherry." Classic kriek has a distinct red hue, and the taste is on the sweeter side.
In the U.S. market, fruit beers tend to be very complex, and the best are a challenge to create. The intensity of flavor fluctuates greatly, but the base style should be apparent and always harmonize with the fruit of choice. These brews make excellent dessert beers and even better floats when poured over ice cream.
Local brewers have collaborated with Michigan's fruit growers to harvest some of the best specialty beers in the market today. Cerise by Founders Brewing and Archangel from North Peak both hit the mark with cherry infused offerings. Dark Horse Brewery churns out Tres Blueberry Stout which makes a great winter treat.
Short's Brewery takes a blended approach, a pureeing of raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries to create a ruby red elixir known as The Soft Parade. This rye ale boasts a robust berry aroma, and a slight earthy tartness balanced by sweet bready malts.
When seeking a Fruitopia experience Bellaire is never too far away.
Nate Parsons is a contributor to AnnArbor.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.