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.”