Brian Confer; IStock
Make this the St. Patrick's Day you sip some new styles. Jamesport's brewer Tom Buchanan cooks up worthy suds, including a big silky nitro stout, a malty German Weizenbock and the Ludington locals' pick, the golden, hoppy India Pale Ale.
What are some of your winter seasonals?
Dortmunder Lager. It started out as our flagship beer when we opened. We can't make beer fast enough in summer, so we can't lager - that is, store - beer that time of year. So it comes on during the quiet season. And the Weizenbock: German wheat bock beer.
Your favorite way to drink beer in the winter?
We also have a smoky porter; I like to blend it 50/50 with our nitro stout - it's better than a trip to the Dairy Queen and more fun than a lava lamp. The nitrogenous stout carries all beer to the top and then it cascades down to the bottom of the glass. It's gorgeous, and it goes well with chocolate desserts, like our chocolate mousse cake or tiramisu. (Tip: All JPC desserts are available in wee portions for just a taste.)
I hear the ladies love your Mocha Java Porter.
It's coffee from Guatemala, cocoas from France and honey from Scottville, all infused in a beautifully sexy porter. I was serving it at a wine tasting with chocolate fondue, and by the end of the night women who claimed they were non-beer drinkers were walking around with pints of this big porter.
Who's at the bar?
In the winter the locals do take their pub back. We also see snowshoers and cross-country skiers, and I'm always surprised at the number of people who winter camp and come out from their tents in the Nordhouse Dunes.
What eats go great with your brews?
We have one of the best shepherds pies I've ever had - it pairs up so well with the English Mild. The beef tenderloin salad and the ESB are a pairing made in heaven …
Find Jamesport Brewing Co. at 410 James Street, Ludington, 231-845-2522, jamesportbrewingco.com.
Emily Betz Tyra is associate editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.
Note: This article was first published in January 2008 and was updated for the web February 2008.