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A cold front moved in, bringing with it a bracing wind from the north. I needed something deep, dark and elemental to ward off this too-early blast of wintery weather.
Reaching deep into the fridge, I pull out a bottle of Night Tripper, an imperial stout from New Holland Brewing Co. This 2015 vintage weighs in at a hefty 11.3 percent.
It pours bible black with a deep tan head that looks good enough to dive into, which I do.
On the label we are told the beer is made with “an abundance of roasted malts.” Oh, yeah! I can tell this would be a nice beer to set aside for a year or three. I think its natural port-like quality would evolve into something truly amazing with time. But it’s pretty good right now, too. Dark chocolate, coffee, tobacco, dark fruit – layers of dark flavors march across the palate like they own it and the sticky liquid seals your lips so you can’t complain about the jackbooted thugs dominating the inside of your mouth.
What I couldn’t figure was the pop-eyed jester on the label. What does it mean? There was something vaguely familiar about this imp of the perverse. Is that comedian Jackie Mason at a weird angle and in a jester hat? Why would a Michigan craft brewery pay tribute to a comedian from Sheboygan, Wisconsin?
Or am I just night tripping?
Obviously, I needed to lighten things up, and I knew just where to go – Lakefront Cherry Lager. I just happened to have some in the magical fridge.
The label simply says it’s a lager brewed with Wisconsin cherries. I went to the Lakefront website to see if they would narrow down the cherry origin, but, no, they do not reveal the source of cherries for this very tasty fruit lager. It doesn’t seem tart enough to be a Door County Montmorency cherry, but I could be wrong. The tartness could be tamed by malty goodness.
Perhaps Lakefront should display its cherriness so we wouldn’t be left to speculate.
Lakefront sells it as a spring seasonal. Don’t quite get the connection to spring. Summer makes more sense. Fall is even better. Winter would be good, too. Any season, this is a bright and cheery cherry lager.