Summer is the perfect time to enjoy Michigan’s numerous, unique beers. For many Michiganders, summer and beer go hand-in-hand. Drive through Mitten towns on any given summer weekend, and you’ll likely spot folks sitting on their front porches, sipping on the cool, flavorful drink.
Michigan, of course, has endless top-notch choices when it comes to craft beers and Michigan-made brews. In fact, our state is currently fifth in the U.S. in the number of breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs, according to Pure Michigan.
The Top 5 Michigan Breweries
So, raise a pint and get to know a few best breweries in Michigan.
Founders Brewery Co.
Since 1997, Founders Brewery has made a name for itself as the top beer stop in Grand Rapids. The Founders Family focuses on craft beers, and they have a simple philosophy: “We don’t brew beer for the masses. Instead, our beers are crafted for a chosen few, a small cadre of renegades and rebels who enjoy a beer that pushes the limits of what is commonly accepted as taste. In short, we make beer for people like us.”
Grand Traverse Distillery
The Grand Traverse Distillery is known for its high-quality whiskey and vodka and holds the title of Michigan’s largest micro-distillery. The distillery offers a selection of unique vodkas, including True North, True North Cherry, What Vodka, and Chocolate Vodka. Aside from vodka and whiskey, special spirits include Peninsula Gin and rum that’s in the works.
Arbor Brewing Company
Ann Arbor, with additional locations in Ypsilanti and even India
Downtown Ann Arbor just wouldn’t look the same without Arbor Brewing Company, which has stood tall in the city for nearly two decades. Founded by husband and wife team Matt and Renee Greff, Arbor Brewing Company offers a variety of unique craft beers and local foods. Arbor Brewing Company newly offers three locations to enjoy its choice of brews, including Ann Arbor (ABC Brewpub), Ypsilanti (Microbrewery), and even Bangalore in India (ABC India).
Dark Horse Brewing Co.
Local beer lovers know the name Dark Horse. The Marshall-based brewery and tap room is home to some of Michigan’s most unique beer varieties and experimental brews. Dark Horse’s annual Crawfish Boil happens every summer, with this year’s edition on June 14. The Crawfish Boil features two stages of live music and, yep, all-you-can-eat crawfish.
Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Kalamazoo and Comstock
Oberon. That’s all you have to say to get a beer lover’s attention. Bell’s is the brewery behind the oh-so-recognizable summer drink, as well as Michigan-made brews: Amber Ale, Kalamazoo Stout, Lager Beer, Oarsman Ale, and Porter, to name just a few. Bell’s in Kalamazoo also features the Eccentric Café, offering some unique, small-batch brew options.
Michigan liquor law changes would double microbrewery limits.
Michigan’s microbreweries could start making twice as much beer as they currently produce under legislation that won overwhelming support in the Legislature.
The bipartisan package that amends many state liquor laws would change the definition of a microbrewery, doubling production limits from 30,000 barrels to 60,000 barrels a year. It also would accelerate liquor licensing by creating a conditional license for use during the applicants’ license review process. Startup craft brewers would be allowed limited self-distribution.
Brewers and trade associations say the new regulations would help the industry grow and create jobs.
“These reforms will open the door of opportunity for businesses and further support Michigan’s thriving craft beer sector,” Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association (MBWWA) President said in a statement. “After more than two years of working with diverse stakeholders and making concessions to find common ground, distributors look forward to doing our part to keep Michigan beer hopping.”
Michigan’s $2 billion beer industry accounted for more than 5,000 brewing and distribution jobs and more than 30,000 retail jobs in 2012, according to the Beer Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association. Lashbrook’s association represents 53 distributors across the state.
Michigan has so many great breweries, but what sets them apart from those in other states? Michigan has some of the best water in the U.S.