Clawson brewery has world's best strong ale

Posted at 7:33 PM, May 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 19:33:45-04

It is Craft Beer Week and, if you're a beer drinker, you may be happy to know the world's best strong ale comes from Michigan.

Mark Harper is the owner of Black Lotus Brewery in Clawson. He has been making beers for 10 years.

"We are proud to be in Michigan," he said.  "Michigan is known as the great beer state."

This is the first year Black Lotus entered their beers in the World Beer Cup. It's an international competition that was held in Philadelphia earlier this month.

"We are amongst Budweiser, Dogfish Head and Bells Brewing Company, really big breweries out there," he says.

Judges pick beers from different categories and award the breweries a gold, silver or bronze medal.

"We knew we had something with this," Haper says. "It's just there are thousands and thousands of breweries that enter this."

Black Lotus's 'Ninja Pirate' is the only Michigan beer that brought home a gold medal in any of the categories!

"It's nice when the little guy wins over the bigger beer companies," says Harper.

So what makes Ninja Pirate such a great strong ale?

"Hints of toffee, or hints of dark fruit so this pairs well with summer grilling," says Harper. "It derives its name from how strong it is  - coming in 13.2% ABV - so it's pretty strong," Harper said.  "If you are going to have a strong beer, I guess you would pick two strong characters."

Now Harper wants to use a recipe to make Ninja Pirate beer stronger.

"It just intensifies the complexity of the beer by aging it in oak," he said. "So we will age it in a bourbon barrel for about a year and then bottle that."

Ninja Pirate will be available bottled or on tap early next month.