Food & Drink

Dive in to the Polar Beer Club


Metro Times' Royal Oak Beer Fest series has a reputation for bringing together beer lovers and great brews without the pretentious atmosphere of other local beer festivals. There's live music, dancing, and food, and the event even benefits a local charity. This time around, Polar Beer Club, something of a winter beer fest, promises to bring 100 local, regional, craft, and imported beers, including 30 you've probably never tried before. It all takes place on Saturday, Jan. 17 at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. Below we've highlighted just a few rare, unique, and brand-new beers you can expect to find this time around at Polar Beer Club.

Two Fisted Old Ale - MIP Brewing

This brew is returning from its days being made by King Brewing Co. Back then, it was the brewery's big hitter, an ever-popular brew. Fans of Two Fisted can expect the original dark amber, full-bodied flavor that's packed with tons of alcohol. Rich, malty, and smooth, it's aged for three months to remove any bitterness. Suffice it to say, you'll be pleased to be sipping on this.

Slow Ride Session IPA - New Belgium Brewing Co.

New Belgium is already known for putting out solid beers like Fat Tire and Snapshot, and Slow Ride is no exception to their brand of delicious brews. This session IPA employs seven varieties of hops, including Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin. The flavors and aroma match with tropical notes of melon, peach, lime, and grapefruit, and the beer pours a beautiful gold with a fluffy, white foam head. At 4.5 percent ABV, you can drink this beer all afternoon, but it is a little bitter – 40 IBUs to be exact.

Old Brown Dog Ale- Smuttynose Brewing Co.

Expect a rich, malty flavor with a balanced hop finish from this award-winning American brown ale. At 6.7 percent ABV and 29.5 IBUs, it's as strong in flavor as it is in bitterness, and it's been called a classic example of an American brown ale. Fans of English brown ales will find Old Brown Dog to be more hop-forward and fuller in body.

Dragon's Milk Reserve with Raspberries - New Holland Brewing Co.

Just released in December 2014, this imperial stout is brand-new to the scene. It's aged in house bourbon barrels and has "undergone some raspberry treatment" to earn its moniker. It's a limited release, so it's special that it's making an appearance at Polar Beer Club. You might want to spend more than one ticket on a sip of this. It's 11 percent ABV, though, so watch out.

Red Nose ESB - Bell's Brewery

For those who don't consider themselves beer connoisseurs, ESB stands for Extra Special Bitter, but don't let that name scare you. Red Nose is an English-style, bitter, dark beer that pours a pretty deep amber color. This Polar Beer Club offering is also something a little special because it's not bottled or widely distributed. In fact, it's more of a specialty item that doesn't usually get much farther than the brewery's taproom. While they don't consider it a seasonal beer, Bell's usually makes it every year around this time. Snatch a few samples on Saturday, otherwise you'll have to drive all the way to Kalamazoo for a taste.

Edward's Portly Brown Ale - Witch's Hat Brewing Co.

This will be the first time Witch's Hat Brewing has made an appearance at the Royal Oak Beer Fest series, making its offerings all the more special. This brown ale, named after a most beloved English springer spaniel, is malty with a surprising hop presence. Other Witch's Hat offerings will include Train Hopper IPA and double IPA Big Doedish.

Polar Beer Fest takes place at the Royal Oak Farmers Market Jan. 17 at 316 E. 11 Mile Rd., Royal Oak on Jan. 17. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; 6:30 p.m. for VIP; tickets are $45 for general admission and $65 for VIP. Check for more info.

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