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Left to right: Mango Cream Ale, Anniversary Ale, Dark Roots Blonde Ale, and Poor­house Porter. Col­legian | Julia Mullins

Mango Cream. Anniversary Ale. Dark Roots Blonde Ale. Poor­house Porter. For a small-town beer stop, Hillsdale Brewing Company boasts a variety of unique flavors.

The Hillsdale Brewing Company tra­di­tionally has had at least one fruit-based beer on tap. In the past, these beers had the fruit itself as the primary flavor that carries the brew. But this is not nec­es­sarily the case with their most recent cre­ation: Mango Cream.

This ale goes down easy by not empha­sizing the mango more than it ought to. The result is a more nuanced, sweet flavor that dances on your tongue. Many are turned off by fruit beers because their sweetness is often over-the-top. The Mango Cream Ale is far from this, however, and would be the perfect choice for a cream ale fan who wants just more than a hint of fruit.

Roy Finch, the owner of Hillsdale Brewing Company and the man behind all their brews, has been brewing beer for about five years now.

“We thought mango would be good,” Finch said. “I just wish we would have used more of it.”

Finch said he had hoped the ale would have been a bit stronger, but fig­uring out how much fresh fruit to include is the most dif­ficult part of brewing fruit-based beers.

In honor of its one year anniversary in January, the Hillsdale Brewing Company put out their Anniversary Ale. Although it made its debut in the middle of Michigan’s brutal winter, the crisp citrus flavor and amber colors of the Anniversary Brew will place you in the middle of summer.

The brew goes down smooth and its floral flavors leave a bit of an after­taste. The Amarillo hops and Michigan Chinook hops are the driving factor behind the fla­voring and aroma of the Anniversary Ale, making it the ideal choice to help Hills­dalians get through this rough winter and remind them that warmer days are coming.

Finch said the Anniversary Ale cel­e­brates more than just  hitting the one-year mark with their business. It is also called “Grallo,” a com­bi­nation of the first two letters of the names of each of his children, who often make cameo appear­ances at the Brewery.

Finch pri­or­i­tized the flavor as much as the sen­ti­mental aspect.

“We like Armarillo hops so I thought another pale ale would be good,” Finch said. “I was right.”

The Dark Roots Blonde Ale’s sharp floral taste is rem­i­niscent of Michigan winters: it’s an acquired taste. The sharp floral flavor hits your tongue almost imme­di­ately, most likely due to the late addition of Mt. Hood hops during the brewing process. The flavor hangs around well beyond the initial touch of the tongue.

“I like blonde ales, but a lot are too fruity in my opinion,” Finch said. “So I went for a simple straight up blonde.”

The mul­titude of flavors com­min­gling is a perfect choice for those who appre­ciate hops and have a palate that is willing to explore.

To those who prefer ales or lagers, the Poor­house Porter, named after the Will Car­leton Poor­house, will seem heavy. Though it is not as heavy as a stout, the brew is very filling. And it should be: it’s filled with a com­bi­nation of chocolate and roasted malts, com­pli­mented by Northern Brewer and Fuggle hops, an amal­ga­mation that will sit on your tongue and demand you acknowledge its exis­tence.

As the party con­tinues on your palate, the Poor­house Porter goes down incredibly smooth, leaving hints of coffee and chocolate. The flavor of the Poor­house Porter is better than most porters found in stores and is a perfect beer to enjoy on a cold day near a warm fire.

“In a market crammed full of IPAs you should always have some dark options,” Finch said. “There is a great presence of chocolate and roasted barley. I’m really happy how this turned out.”