8/22/19: Silver Harbor Brewing Company's Kumbaya Brown

4:08 PM

This seems like it should be the perfect beer to cap off summer. Sure, right now it's in the upper 70s and cicadas are singing from the trees that surround our house. But, it's cloudy and a few trees in the woods next to my porch are turning orange for the fall. Summer is reaching its natural conclusion.


Now, considering the setting I've so carefully laid plain for you, look at the label of Silver Harbor's Kumbaya: a group of people huddled around a beach bonfire while the sun sets. Do you get what I'm saying? Now, let's crack into this to find out if Kumbaya is really the perfect beer to enjoy for the blog's farewell to summer.

Silver Harbor is located in beautiful Saint Joseph, MI. While they don't have in official "About" page, here's what I was able to glean from their website: Founded by four guys, Silver Harbor opened in a renovated 1900 storefront in 2015 and regularly features a taplist of 10-16 brews.

Kumbaya is one such of those brews. Found on Silver Harbor's "Beer" page, it clocks in at 5.4% ABV and features roasted malts and vanilla beans, meaning that it's dark, rich, and sweet.

I get a lot of caramel in my can's bouquet. I also get some vanilla, but, to be honest, this smells like a straight-up, well-crafted brown ale. It's sweet without being overly so. It has a little bit of that dark chocolatey, roastiness the style needs, but, like with other examples of browns, this is tempered so as to not encroach upon porter territory. I really like the nose, and, seeing as how she gave it eight whiffs, I can only surmise that Purrl feels similarly.


The vanilla comes through more prominently in the ale's flavor. It lends the whole affair a creamy, marshmallowiness. But, beyond that, there's caramel, there's dark chocolate, and there's an almost bitey coffee note. There's a little wateriness here, but it doesn't really detract from the combination of flavors.

Kumbaya is a frothy ale. It's big and creamy, which is much more that what I'd expect from the style. But, I have to say, it really fits with the whole marshmallow aspect.

During an August somewhere between 2009 and 2011 (I cannot, for the life of me, recall the specific year) my family went camping in Holland, MI with my aunt and uncle. The water at that part of Lake Michigan was warm but, man, did the air have a chill to it. One evening, after spending the day in the water, we returned to the campsite where my uncle stoked up a bonfire in the sand. My aunt handed out mugs of hot chocolate and we whiled away a few hours sitting and talking, enjoying the fire and the warm drinks. Blame it on the mixture of the can's imagery and the marshmallow of the beer, but that camping trip bonfire is what's flooding my mind as I sit on my porch with this brown ale.

Silver Harbor has crafted a solid brew with Kumbaya Brown. With its minimal frills, they've shown that they have a firm grasp of the style. I'm giving the stuff in my can an 8.0/10. See you next year, summer.

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