Being a lifelong Michigander, I’ve always known that maple syrup was a top crop of the state, but I never knew when it was peak season. Last month, when I was picking up a random item at my local hardware shop, I noticed the sign outside read “We have maple syrup supplies!” After chatting with a few of the store workers and doing a bit of research on my own, I realized that March is the prime time for making maple syrup in Michigan.

In order to celebrate this wonderful harvest and production season, I decided to enjoy two beers made with maple syrup. The first was Maple Rumble from Bier Distillery in the Goodbye, Winter! Beer Fest. The second was Maple Brown from Big Boiler Brewing out of Lowell, MI. I had picked up the Maple Brown on a return trip from Grand Rapids via the scenic M-21 instead the usual I-96. Both M-21 and Lowell were changes of pace.

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Upon first glance at the Big Boiler tap list, I noticed several beers of their own and then a handful of guest taps. When visiting a brewery, I want their beer, so I sampled a few and picked the Maple Brown to go. The taster of Maple Brown was a nice introduction to the beer and I couldn’t wait to get home and crack open the 16 oz can to explore what this beer was.

After pouring the beer out into a glass, I noticed it had a slight foam head. The nose of this beer was sweet and nutty which pervaded into the sip and hung around until the back end. It was an extremely smooth brown ale and was brewed with maple syrup and roasted pecans, which worked well with the food pairing I had that night – pancakes! Washing down the pancakes with this beer tasted like I had poured the beer all over my pancakes. It could have been easily mistaken for the beer-form of maple syrup yet I was looking for a little more from the pecans.

Besides enjoying during breakfast or dinner, this Brown Ale would be the perfect companion during the fall and winter months or during the colder spring days and around the campfire in the summer time.

I cannot wait to return to Lowell to get more of the Maple Brown and check out the rest of Big Boiler’s beers. I also noticed that Lowell’s Painted Turtle Hard Cider was one of the guest taps. It is great to see neighboring establishments partner up like this to support each other!



Ed Norton

Edwin "Ed" Norton was first introduced to craft beer when his designated fraternity Big Brother Vince asked him if he knew anything about the topic. Ed admitted his ignorance and the rest is history as Ed and Vince would split six-packs of craft beers each week during Ed's probationary status. Ed is now a craft beer enthusiast who is always on the lookout for a beer he has not tried when bottle shopping or drinking at breweries and bars. In addition to drinking beer, this livelong Michigan resident enjoys a bunch of hobbies that he doubts you really care about, other than drinking beer and sounding off about it.


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