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Fest newcomer Albion Malleable puts twist on saisons, sours

Tom Gromak
The Detroit News

If you’re thirsty on arrival at the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival, you’re in luck: Your first few stops include festival stalwart Brewery Vivant and summer fest newcomer Albion Malleable Brewing Co.

The latter is just over a year old, opening in May of 2018 and having made its festival debut at the winter event in Grand Rapids. This is the first summer event for owners Ben Wade and Charles Moreau.

The brewery’s line-up is focused on Belgians – saisons, sours – but it’s got a real thirst-quencher in “Skin in the Game,” a kettle sour brewed with limes and junipers. Wade said he was going for a sort of gin-and-tonic flavor, but without being too heavy on the gin or the alcohol. What he got was a crisp, light, refreshing gose with lime up front then just a hint of juniper in the finish. It delighted us, as temps hovered near the 90s for the opening.

“On a hot day like today, I really like Skin in the Game. It’s a great refresher,” Wade said. “We zested a case of limes. Then we used juniper berries both in the boil, and we added limes and juniper in the secondary.”

Albion Malleable Brewing Company's lineup of taps is focused on twists on Belgian ales.

Also on tap is one of the brewery’s standards, “Proper Villains,” a dry-hopped saison with Citra and Chinook hops. The Chinook adds piney notes. The Citra gives it a notable citrus boost.

Wade said no beers were specially brewed for the fest, but that Albion held back some of its summer specials to make sure festival-goers could try them.

“We use all Belgian yeast strains. We do twists on traditional Belgian styles, and old American styles, and several saisons. We usually have two, three, four saisons at a time on tap,” Wade said, including an IPA and a double red IPA that’s popular in the Albion brewpub.

To find Albion Malleable Brewing, look fast. It’s right by the river right after entering the festival gates.