Sanders Bumpy Cake ale has soft, sweet side

Dawn Riffenburg
The Detroit News

As it turns out, cake + beer make a delightful pair.

Old Nation Brewing Company releases its Sanders Bumpy Cake Ale in its Willamston pub on Thursday, Oct. 27. (Expect bottle and draft specials, live music, Sanders chocolate and, of course, bumpy cake.)

Old Nation's Bumpy Cake Ale is released at the Williamston pub on Oct. 27, 2016.

Those who attended last weekend's Detroit Fall Beer Festival got a sneak preview of the much-anticipated new brew. It's delicious, and I'm not usually a fan of darker beers. But it drinks lighter than its color and style name -- Double Brown Ale -- would indicate, and the sweetness is there but not overpowering. It's a very balanced brew that would, yes, pair nicely with a slice of decadent chocolate cake.

It's calcium sulfite that makes the difference, brewer Travis Fritts said. "It gives it a softness, and a little bit of bitterness, a little bit of sweet chocolate, but not too much."

This limited-edition beer brewed with cocoa and vanilla is Old Nation's second mash-up with Sanders, having produced a stout a few years ago, which the brewery released "every now and again" from 2008-2013, Fritts said. They picked up production again last year, he said.

The Bumpy Cake uses a brown ale base with less roasted malts, which gives it less astringency in the beer and supports a creaminess, Fritts said. It also supports a creaminess that rounds out the extremely balanced ale.

The brown ale recipe uses oats to create a softer mouth feel with a slickness to it, which creates a pleasant drinkability. The chocolate and creamy notes come through quite nicely in the ale; you swear you can taste the white buttercream layer.

If you're a Bumpy Cake devotee or just someone who likes good beer, it may be worth a trip to Williamston (about 20 miles east of Lansing).

Or you can scout it out locally soon. Bumpy Cake Ale will be distributed to select retailers in the Metro Detroit and Lansing areas this month, with another release planned on Dec. 1 with statewide distribution.

Some Metro Detroit retailers include Holiday Market locations and 8 Degrees Plato in Ferndale and Detroit.