Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Michigan Brewing Big League Brew | Michigan Brewing Company

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
16 Ratings

Brewed by:
Michigan Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-01-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 16 |  Reviews: 16
Photo of nortmand
4.13/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden orange with a half finger lingering head.

Caramel malts and blood orange hop smells in the nose.

Nice hop flavor profile up front. Citrus and sweet, biscuity malt interplay. Leaves a light hop bitterness.

Medium bodied, with a subtle carbonation. A decent session brew.

 291 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
2.15/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Somewhat muddy copper in color. No real head to speak of. Aroma of fruit and some sweet malt. Flavor leaves a lot to be desired-soapy and solvent like. Slight harsh bitterness. The fruitiness of the aroma is present as well though quite unpleasant. Body is below average-the negative points of the flavor really detract from the whole package. Not a pleasant experience for me at all. This seems to be a contract brew for the Helmar Brewing Comany. I would be embarrased to put my name on this if I was Michigan Brewing.

 520 characters

Photo of thelagerheads
3.26/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

There is sediment floating in this brew and it reminds me of a burnt apple cider and yet I still somehow like it well enough. Maybe it's the Walter Johnson beer cap on this bottle or the other three decorated with Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Mickey Cochrane. Or it could simply be that my Detroit Tigers are finally the best team in baseball again and I barely have the wherewithal and resources to buy something stocked with a little more punch than a sock full of polluted rainwater like Budweiser or Coors. Plus I saw in the beer cooler today at the local grocery a case of Budweiser with the Tigers logo plastered over it and thought that some class operation like Bell's should be brewing for them instead. It should also be brewed in the bleacher seats at Tiger Stadium in a monstrous vat and a fountain should run down and slowly curl through a canal towards where homeplate used to be and then suddenly drop off and under into a mass reservoir under the city. And when the Tigers win the World Series they could ride gondolas under there and sail off somewhere to where civilization could begin anew. Yip yip.

 1,125 characters

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.32/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nothing to write home about. Pours out to a hazy dark auburn color with a small head of foam that quickly bubbled away. Some minor notes of lace. Aromas of peanuts and malt, with some hops and roasted notes. Taste is fair, and quite simple; mild malt, some smooth hops, a touch of earthy sweetness, grain. Not very complex, but enjoyable nonetheless. Mouthfeel was bland and boring. Drinkability is ok. Maybe once in awhile...

 426 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
3.18/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Darkover for the hookup. Pours clear amber-brown with a medium light beige head that lasts pretty well. Aroma of caramel and earthy hops. Medium body with grassy hops flavor and some malt flavoring. The finish is hoppy and the bitterness lingers awhile. Overall this is kind of a one-note beer but it’s okay.

 319 characters

Photo of mntlover
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice darker amber with a thumb sized beige head that does leave some nice lace behind.

Aroma is nice grassy hops upfront nice bready malt thats lightly minty.

Taste is toasted malts good grassy like hops mixed with some herbal ones light mint flavors also. The hops and herbal minty flavors lightly over ride the lightly toasted malt with hints of caramel showing up.

Mouthfeel is medium almost with nice carbonated feel to it.

Drinkability is good would make a great sessions brew at 4.4% Its nice and has a good flavor want to thank merlin48 for the sample.

 579 characters

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Baseball themed beer....This has a Honus Wagner label, and a Negro Legue bottle cap of "Cool Papa Bell". Colorful label evokes old baseball cards and the sport's history.

Pours a burnished copper, rusy hazed body with a beige head that is small, in spite of a vigorous pour. The ecru head quickly falls to a collar, but leaves plenty of attractive, patch lace on the glass.

Mouthfeel is light bodied, has moderate carbonation, and a mineral note that suggests Burton on Trent, English water.

Taste is well balanced, with a pleasant herbal hoppiness taking center stage. Toffee maltiness and a signature English mineral presence balance things out. Very nice, overall, and very English in character. Clean herbal finish with a hint of butterscotch.

Very sessionable with the low abv. Very much in the style of an English ESB, with the mineral notes from the water. The colorful labels of ancient baseball players suggest a gimmicky ale, but this is a solid, well crafted, ESB.., one of the better American versions on the market.

 1,042 characters

Photo of PBRstreetgang
3.94/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid copper hue, good clarity. A white head does not quite reach a finger in hieght, and drops to very modest lacing in under a minute. Toasted Malt and strong hop pressence in the nose, sweet dark fruit aroma with a hint of astringentcy. The taste begins with a rich toasted malt, then a very pronounced hop bitterness that fades almost instantly, leaving no aftertaste. Sold in 4-packs, but the drinkability would suggest selling it in cases. Slightly unblanaced for an ESB, but the low carbonation and light body form a mouthfeel that makes the hop bite smooth and pleasent with a dry finish.

 604 characters

Photo of flaminghomer
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

my first impressions on the quality of this beer were comparisons to killians irish red. a thin watery example of the style. (esb?) it has nice taste and balance, just not enough. smells a bit maltier than it tastes. taste isn't bad, but it does taste a bit metallic like killians as well. an ok beer that would make a good gift for the macro drinking baseball fan.

 365 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.2/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice experiment. I actually passed this beer up on several occasions because it looked like a gimmick. It's actually a good beer, but nothing to get too excited about. Pours a bronze-golden, nicely carbonated beer. Aromas as mild barley malt, light hops, and caramel. Taste is much the same--throw in some mild spiciness, mild fruitiness and presto. The downside is that the body and flavors gave way and weakened toward the finish. Didn't leave behind much bittering, sweetness, or alcohol. Still a clean beer, but I'm afraid that it will be ignored because of better brews by other brewers.

 594 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.03/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance - pours a slightly hazy, lightish orange amber. A thin head quickly dies to a thin cap with some patchy lacing.

Aroma - pleasant roasted light grain aroma but nothing exciting.

Taste - competent malt base (moderately sweet) with some well-balanced hops. Finishes with just a bit of hop bitterness which quickly goes away. Tasty but kinda plain.

Mouthfeel - average mouthfeel and carbonation.

Drinkability - a bit light of flavor, not a very distinctive ESB.

 480 characters

Photo of granger10
3.96/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Ever since I found Fullers ESB for the first time I've really been into trying new ESBs and learning more about this style. So I decided to give this beer a try even though it does look rather gimmicky.

It pours a really illuminating copper color with a decent amount of carbonation and a one inch thick tan head that holds for almost the entire time I am drinking the beer.

Nose is a bit weak but there's some floral hops and what reminds me of crystal malt.

Flavor brings a nice dry maltiness upfront that mixes in with a piney, citric quality. Malts become a bit sweeter and more caramelly in taste, then the finish is really dry and has a spicy hop flavor. Not too bitter though.

Body is a bit on the thin side and the flavors are a bit light but I think that is what they were going for with this beer.

Really drinkable but the flavors are almost too easy for me as I was happy/content after one. If I were planning a session this could be my beer, but for just relaxing I might want a little more bite. Just my preference.

This for sure seems like a traditional bitter or maybe pale but not really an esb. Definitely surprising though and a beer I might go back to every once in awhile.

 1,216 characters

Photo of beergeek279
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. Christy Mathewson labeled bottle, into a pint glass. The color is copper, with a foamy white head. The smell is a dry malt. The taste is a dry hoppiness with a good dry malt backing. Mouthfeel is average. As for drinkability, this is a solid session beer, and with the low ABV could have a few of these.

Yes, it probably looks a bit gimmicky, what with the different labels and crowns of old-time baseball cigarette cards. Still, with a 4.4% ABV and a nice balance between the hops and malt, I could well have this bitter plenty of times, and hopefully will make it back to Michigan to do so!

 616 characters

Photo of beckerboots
4.2/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a couple of these bottles at the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth at $2.50 each more so for the novelty of the bottles rather then the quality of content. Boy was I surprised. Poured to a bronze/carmel colour with an inspiring head. The sweet malty dominance had me captivated. Hints of toffee and carmel nut were fairly apparent, put the real pleasure of the ESB (I question this catagory) was how it stimulated the palate, not only during consumption but several minutes afterwards. Very refreshing. Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I'd purchased more. Definitely a keeper.

 577 characters

Photo of putnam
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is what the American craft brew scene is all about. Competence.
This is a clean, clear-eyed bronze/copper colored liquid with bright, floral scented bread crust aromas. On the palate, the raw, jagged texture recovers with the help of pure, roasted, sweet grain flavors. Dry. Easy to drink. Easy to forget about.

 317 characters

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A good hop aroma asserts itself as you pop the top, always a good sign. Nice foamy head pours on top of a golden body. A great malty taste accentuated by lingering hoppy nose. You usually expect a licensed tie-in brew like this to be the usual pale pilsner (as in the 3 Stooges beer), but instead we have a nice ale outside of MBC's other styles. Don't know if Helmar Brewing, the name on the label (licensed to MBC) really exists, but there was Helmar Tobacco company that issued some of the early baseball cards back in 1900s, some of which are reproduced on the labeling.

 574 characters

Michigan Brewing Big League Brew from Michigan Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.54 out of 5 with 16 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.