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Your Friday Drinking Instructions are Sweetly Trippel'd

Greetings, Michigan Faithful!

After a hiatus (which was of course spent traveling the globe, seeking out only the finest brews for you, loyal readers), YFD is back, with three excellent recommendations to kick off your weekend right.

On tap tonight: a fantastic stout from the Midwest, a brown ale from Hawaii New Hampshire, and a Belgian trippel from Pennsylvania. Read on for the hoppy goodness.

First up - recommended to me by one of our female readers, who graciously showed up to a dinner party with a six-pack - Schafly's Oatmeal Stout. In a market flooded with stouts, particularly of a coffee and chocolate variety, the oatmeal is an excellent winter beer without too much heaviness. Brewed in St. Louis, one of the finest beer cities in America (Anheuser notwithstanding, there are a lot of great craft brews around), this Oatmeal Stout is simple, and finishes clean.

Sweeter than most stouts, this sucker packs a fairly light punch, weighing in at 5.7%. What I love about this stout is that it tastes much more like caramel and oatmeal than other stouts - it's got a much lighter finish. It also looks fantastic in a glass, with a deep brown pour and a caramel head. Observe and enjoy.

Second up is my brown ale du jour. I'm a self-professed brown ale afficionado, having been introduced to Newcastle years ago by an old friend (which coincidentally got me off of bourbon and onto beer), I've found brown ales both sweet and bitter. Today's offering is a bit off the beaten path in terms of browns, with a twist- Kona Brewing Company's Koko Brown.

A sweet brown ale, the Koko Brown has something I haven't encountered in any other beer - and correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume it's rare) - a twist of toasted coconut. The coconut is added in the fermentation stage after being roasted over a wood fire, so rest assured it's not some cheesy coconut syrup. I can't get over this one. Some of you will love it, some of you will hate it, but it's a unique beer best served with something salty - or chocolate, as some of my female testers discovered. Check it out:

Lastly, if you're feeling rambunctious this weekend and hoping for a Michigan win over Ohio in yet another sport, try Pennsylvania's Golden Monkey Ale from Victory Brewing Company. Winner of several medals at competitions (yet only $8 for a six-pack at the time of writing), this ale is a true Belgian trippel, complete with coriander and nutmeg tones. It's a little sweet, so keep that in mind if you're going for something darker (perhaps try their Dark Lager, another excellent choice). This one clocks in at a hefty 9.5% ABV, so it's the perfect victory celebration - it tastes much, much less alcoholic than that, so keep that in mind when you're on your fourth or fifth one...

Regardless of your preference this weekend, the Midwest is blessed to have such a fantastic beer portfolio - I'd go out and give that Schafly a chance, even if your plans consist of staying warm and watching basketball. If you're up for something a bit more adventurous, well, that coconut will knock your socks off.

Until next time, Michigan Faithful - Cheers!