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Winter Skies Begets a Pale Sunrise

a close up of a glass of beer on a table

    Winter gray skies have set in, greeting us each morning with a Pale Sunrise. As the seasons come and go in Michigan, they inspire artisans, writers, and brewers alike. Finding a love for the winter season, and also always one for controversy and risk-taking, the Grand River Brewery Assistant Brewer, Caleb, crafted the recipe for the Pale Sunrise White Stout years ago. Now ready to bring it back in a larger batch, Caleb is ever so excited to re-release this beer, as it was his very first solo recipe with GRB.

    The Assistant Brewer Caleb has one of the most inspiring and interesting stories at Grand River Brewery. Caleb started out as a regular at GRB, favoring the Small Town Brown, until eventually he started working with us before eventually volunteering in the brewery on canning and cleaning days. This opened the door for further opportunities, and eventually after a lot of hard work and educational investment, Caleb went from working as the cellarman to the pub brewer to where he is today, Assistant Brewer. Watching Caleb work is an experience all of its own; he seems to get hypnotized by the beer making process. With a very scholarly approach to recipe crafting, Caleb is always expanding his own knowledge on brewing and beer. Michigan is the perfect place for him to do that, and he says he loves the scenery and culture.

    At Grand River Brewery we always seek a balance between tradition and novelty. With certain brews like the Oktoberfest, the brewers recognize the importance of tradition and sticking to the tried and true ways. That’s not their only approach though, and some brews they craft are highly non-traditional. The White Stout is a type of beer that receives some flak from other brewers who say it’s gimmicky, that if you want to make a stout just make a stout! Caleb recognizes that tradition is only half of the brewing coin, and on the other side is fun. And sometimes fun means making something unique and just out there.

    A White Stout is made by brewing a blonde ale and adding oats to it to give it a thicker mouthfeel, more creamy like a stout, plus coffee, cocoa nibs, and vanilla. Normally, the coffee and cocoa nibs would darken the color of the beer, but with a Pale Stout they are added into the fermenter when the brewing is done. The colder temperature allows for the flavor to be absorbed without the color. The Pale Sunrise also has a lightly malted barley and is made with Michigan hops, giving it a delightfully creamy yet balanced flavor. 

    The mastermind behind the Pale Sunrise says that although a White Stout shares many characteristics in terms of flavor and mouthfeel to a traditional stout, doing a blind taste test, you would still be able to tell the difference due to the lack of roasted malt in the white stout. Traditional dark stouts have a high content of roasted malt, giving them that toasted flavor along with the usual chocolate, coffee, and vanilla tastes. But still, if someone were to place the Pale Sunrise in front of you without telling you it’s a white stout, you would very much expect it to taste like an ale just from looking at it. This is quite a fun trick of the senses, and makes this brew all around unique.

    Now available at all locations, the Pale Sunrise White Stout is ready to carry you through those many gray sky days we have ahead of us.