North Peak

NORTH PEAK BREWERY

“The building housing North Peak Brewing Company was Straub’s third and final building. Straub Brothers and Amiotte “Big Daylight Candy Factory” is a handsome imposing brick edifice of three floors and a basement. It was constructed with 400,000 bricks and 250,000 feet of lumber, erected and supplied with the latest and most approved machinery devices for the manufacturing of all kinds of candies. It compared favorably on a scale with the largest and most successful establishments of its kind.”

http://www.northpeakbeer.com/nb/index

Year-Round/Seasonal:

ARCHANGEL: 79 Points

More like backup angel

More like backup angel

This Wheat Ale is released in Spring in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Archangel is a light wheat ale brewed with Michigan cherries from the Traverse City area Crisp with a refreshing tartness, it’s the perfect beer for sunny days and beaches.”

My Description: This is a rather soft offering from North Peak, just because it’s Summer doesn’t mean you can cheapen up the beer. It begins with a very weak, off-white colored head that fades to a ring leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is rather faint with soft wheat malt notes along with hints of bread and yeast esters. Archangel is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile starts with a wheat malt backbone holding up faint notes of cherries and bananas. Earthy undertones and a touch of tart add character but not enough to delight the senses. The aftertaste is minimally bitter and does refresh somewhat. Overall, this is an easy drinking Summer beer that showcases soft flavor notes. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with soft cheeses, fruit salads, or grilled hotdogs.

ABV: 5%  Color: Golden Bronze  Sweetness: 1.5/10  Bitterness: 2/10

BURLY: 93 Points

You know you like it burly

You know you like it burly

This Belgian IPA is a seasonal release in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “The February seasonal in North Peak’s line of hand-crafted microbrews, pays tribute to the third-yeti or Abominable Snowman, the human-like creature is believed to be a direct descendent of Sasquatch, otherwise known as Bigfoot. Its story is well known around the world in different mythologies, folk tales and legends, dating back hundreds of years. Yet, its existence remains one of the big mysteries – or some may say debates – of the modern day. Considered one of the most debated creatures, its history runs as deep as its footprints in the Northern Michigan backwoods.”

My Description: I’m glad I spotted this Yeti. It begins with a weak, white colored head, that fades quick but holds on the whole way leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is inviting with notes of tropical fruits, peppery spice, citrus hops, and a touch of pine hops. Burly is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is rather tasty and grows on you. Yeast phenols take center stage but don’t necessarily dominate, hop flavors come through as well. Notes of pepper spice pairs cleanly with tropical hop notes such as papaya. A hint of sweetness is apparent throughout as well as pine hop notes. The aftertaste is moderately high in bitterness with lingering tropical notes. This is nicely crafted beer that is enjoyable and refreshing. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled shrimp, a spicy vegetable stew, or grilled asparagus.

ABV: 6.5%  Color: Hazy Orange/Honey  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 6/10

DAUNTLESS: 64 Points

Horrible

Horrible

This Märzen is released seasonally in late Summer in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: N/A

My Description: It begins with a weak head that fades quick to nothing leaving behind no lacing. The aroma is nothing special with notes of pale malts, spicy hops, and some bread. Dauntless is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile just tastes of low quality craftsmanship. It almost feels like a sweeter version of Budweiser with a hint of apple juice. There are notes of caramel malt, a hint of hops, and a finish with lingering toffee notes but they are generally soft. The body feels too thin and there is no depth, it is best saved for the bar when wanting something to chug. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with grilled sausage, baked ham, or a Hawaiian pizza.

ABV: 5.8%  Color: Golden Caramel  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 2/10

DIABOLICAL: 80 Points

Nothing Special

Nothing Special

This IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “An aggressively hopped IPA, with a nice caramel sweetness. This brew features multiple hop additions (including local Cascade, Chinook & Willamette) which provide an abundance of flavor & aroma. Citrus, pine, mint, and floral notes can’t be missed while enjoying this North Peak flagship beer.”

My Description: North Peak has created the quintessential average IPA; it is not exactly smooth, the flavor profile is mediocre, and overall it is not memorable. It begins with a large, white colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of pine hops, citrus hops, and a hint of caramel malt. Diabolical is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor notes in this beer don’t blend cleanly together. Notes of caramel malt seem to battle the pine hops notes instead of working harmoniously together, plus the overall presence of this beer seems amateur. An additional note of citrus hops makes an appearance from time to time but it doesn’t necessarily add any pleasure to drinking this beer. It’s not a horrible IPA but I wouldn’t buy it again. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with burgers, deep dish pizza, or blue cheese.

ABV: 6.66%  Color: Orange  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 6/10

HOOLIGAN: 81 Points

Unbalanced

Unbalanced

This Pumpkin Ale is released seasonally in October in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “North Peak Hoodoo MidWest Wet Hop IPA is brewed with fresh from the farm Michigan hops for exceptional flavor. Hoodoo is hops from start to finish with a little malt in the middle.”

My Description: It begins with a large, off-white colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a noticeable amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant with notes of cloves, pumpkins, malt, cinnamon, and a hint of tart. Hooligan is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is unbalanced in that the pine and citrus hops completely dominate the other flavors making them faint at best. Those notes would consist of faint spice notes and a hint of pumpkin. While I enjoy a bitter beer, I would like a pumpkin beer to have a bit more flavor and depth than just big hop notes. None-the-less it is still a pleasant and enjoyable beer but nothing special in the Autumn seasonal department. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled sausage, spicy dishes, or baked squash.

ABV: 5.5%  Color: Golden/Orange  Sweetness: 1.5/10  Bitterness: 5.5/10

MIGHTY: 78 Points

more like average foot soldier

more like average foot soldier

This Fruit beer is released seasonally in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Mighty Melon Ale is a not too hazy, mostly clear, sessionable ale with aromas of watermelon, berry and guava. This exceptionally drinkable beer is the perfect balance of malts, melons, and hops. Melon and tropical fruit notes run rampant. Gently hopped with Vanguard, crystal and Michigan Chinook. Enjoy refreshingly.”

My Description: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It begins with a weak, white colored head that fades rather quickly leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is faint but you can detect light fruit notes, wheat malt, and a touch of berry. Mighty is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dryer finish. The faintness continues in the flavor profile. There is a tropical fruit presence throughout accompanied by notes of watermelon, berries, earthy hops, and a hint of sweetness but none of these flavors are bright or inviting. The aftertaste is minimally bitter bringing a nice balance to this brew. Overall, this beer isn’t too bad but the flavors are just too faint for a beer called Mighty. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with coconut shrimp, grilled veggie skewers, or blue cheese.

ABV: 4.8%  Color: Golden  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 2/10

SINUOUS: 79 Points

Unbalanced

Unbalanced

This Irish/English Amber Ale is available seasonally in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “North Peak Sinuous is a unique Celtic Ale. Refreshing, clean and crisp with a subtle roast note and malty finish. Brewed in Traverse City, MI on the Old Mission Peninsula using incorporating local hops.”

My Description: I love a super hoppy beer, but this is just too much for this style. Even though it is called a Hoppy Celtic Ale, it doesn’t necessarily have to be too bitter, it could have just had a big hop taste and kept the bitterness in check. It begins with a decent, light beige colored head with a good retention level that leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant and on the sweeter side with notes of caramel malt, citrus hops, and a touch of bread. Sinuous is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is almost drowned out by the moderately high bitter aftertaste but you can detect notes of caramel malt, floral hops, a touch of citrus, and grain. This beer is decent enough but is way more bitter forward than needs to be. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with mushroom burgers, beef stew, or soft cheeses.

ABV: 5.5%  Color: Reddish/Brown  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 6/10

SIREN: 76 Points

A quiet siren

A quiet siren

This Amber Ale is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “North Peak Siren Amber Ale isn’t your beginners amber, it’s much more complex. The hops selected for Siren balance and compliment the malt character. It is smooth, well-balanced and has a rich amber hue.”

My Description: This is a simple and straight forward Amber Ale, there is hardly any depth and caramel malt is really the only flavor. It begins with decent sized, light beige colored head that fades but holds for most of the way leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is fairly dull with notes of caramel malt and a hint of citrus hops. Siren is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is sweet upfront with notes of caramel malt and a hint of light fruits. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with lingering malt notes. This ale is smooth but offers little in the way of enjoyment, more of a chugger. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with baked ham, creamy cheeses, or apple pie.

ABV: 5%  Color: Amber  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

VICIOUS: 84 Points

More calm than vicious

More calm than vicious

This American Wheat Ale is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Beware of beer. There, we warned you. The frothy head, and pungent, piney dryhopped scent (from Cascade and Amarillo hops) should alert you to the brew’s imminent attack on your senses. Next, Cascade, Perle and Willamette hops will batter your palette with bitter ferocity. Finally, Pale, Crystal (30 and 75) and wheat malts converge in a cloudy, thick body and give you a smooth kiss of sweet death – and leave you howling for more!

My Description: The only thing vicious about this beer is its blunt approach to the flavors. It pours a decent sized, off-white colored head that lasts the whole way leaving behind spotty lacing. The aroma is overall faint but notes do come through such as tropical hops, light sweet fruit notes, and a touch of floral hops. Vicious is medium bodied with a lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile showcases a subtle wheat malt backbone holding up notes of citrus hops, straw, bread, grapefruit, and a touch of caramel malt sweetness. This transitions into an aftertaste that is moderately bitter, which is a somewhat sharp but nothing too bad. Overall, I feel this beer is worth trying but it isn’t as smooth as it could have been and the flavor combinations do not excite. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with mushroom burgers, grilled jerk chicken, or a heavy salad.

ABV: 6.7% Color: Orange/Copper Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 4.5/10

WANDERER: 78 Points

Keep Wandering

Keep Wandering

This Session IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “North Peak Wanderer is a Session IPA. The combination of full hop flavor and lower alcohol gives Wanderer a wonderful drinkability. It has a light, clean and refreshing body, and is hopped with Centennial, Citra and Simcoe hops giving Wanderer a citrus and pine finish.”

My Description: This ale just feels like it wasn’t made with the freshest ingredients. It begins with a good sized, off-white colored head with an excellent retention level and a decent amount of lacing. The aroma is interesting with notes of grains, caramel malt, and an overall earthy presence. Wanderer is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile could use some work; it is sharp and slightly unbalanced. Grain notes set the foundation along with notes of bready malt, pine hops, and a hint of citrus hops. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and lingers for some time. Overall, this is more of a chugging beer than one to enjoy. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled chicken, fried shrimp salads, or a soft pretzel.

ABV: 4.2%  Color: Golden Orange  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 4.5/10