If there is one thing Michigan knows how to do better than anyone, it’s beer. With over 200 breweries that call the Mitten home, it can be difficult and overwhelming to find that one beer — or two — that truly hits the spot on hot Michigan days spent on the lake. If you find yourself having trouble locating that signature summer brew, or you want to expand your craft beer horizon, then here are some of the most Michigan noteworthy and original brews, and the breweries who house them.
Quite possibly the epitome of Michigan craft beer is Bell’s Brewery’s legendary Oberon. Chances are that if you are from the Great Lakes State you have had this iconic brew, even if you’ve never been to Bell’s in Kalamazoo. This beer is so popular that bars around the state have midnight tappings when it is finally released for the summer months.
“I just love the culture that surrounds it [Oberon],” professional writing major Hally Darnell said. “It really just tastes like summer, and the orange that is served with it is marketing genius on Bell’s part.”
Oberon tastes of spicy hops and sweet citrus, has a 5.8% ABV, and can be found on tap around Michigan, bottled or canned. This American Wheat Ale has become a true cult favorite among Michiganders, as well as a true summertime classic.
Black Rocks Brewery
Located in the most populated upper peninsula city, Black Rocks Brewery takes its name from one of the well-known Marquette hotspots: Black Rocks, a cliff-diving location. The brewery itself is a townhouse turned microbrew, decorated with all things mountain biking as well as customized hanging mugs owned by the brewery’s regulars. Aside from the overall ambiance, Black Rocks summer seasonal Honey Lav brew brings a particular uniqueness to the establishment and local scene. Honey Lav is an American Wheat beer with a 5.2% ABV level. It is brewed with Michigan honey and lavender, and tastes exactly like the name that it was given. If you’re looking for a brewery with character and a summer beer with a one-of-a-kind taste, look no further because Black Rocks Brewery is the place for you!
Founders Brewing Company
An atypical brewery, in the best possible way, Founders is located in Beer City, USA — or its official name, Grand Rapids. Founders has a classic homey and welcoming environment that helps to accentuate the craft beer tasting experience. Live bands and Open Mic Night Tuesdays are some of the entertainment featured at Founders. In addition to brews and entertainment, grab a bite to eat off their pub-inspired menu that the whole group can share. Founders brings out their take on a summer seasonal beginning in April with the PC Pils brew. This summer beer is an American Pale Lager and has a ABV of 5.5%. PC Pils is a refreshing, clean and crisp beer with just the right amount of hops, citrus and floral tastes that will no doubt cool you down on a hot Michigan summer day.
Keweenaw Brewing Company
The KBC is the spot to go in the winter tundra — the Keweenaw Peninsula. With a true rustic and minimal Upper Peninsula style, you’ll fit right in with your favorite flannel on. When the snow melts away and the grass is finally visible, Keweenaw Brewing Company brings out their U.P. Witbier. This summer seasonal was first called The Sneaky Bastard, when it was solely on tap. But as popularity grew, KBC knew that this brew needed to be canned and distributed to those who couldn’t get to the brewery. And so the newly named U.P. Witbier can was born. An unfiltered Belgian Style Ale with a 5.5% ABV, the U.P. Witbier is a classic summer beer that is light, refreshing and crisp with an earthy, citrus taste.
“The cans all have some historic thing on them … it is so cool because it’s like looking at the Keweenaw’s history with every can,” Jeremy Chaney, a kinesiology major and Houghton native said.
If you’re in the mood for a classic summer brew accompanied by a relaxed and down-to-earth environment, the Keweenaw Brewing Company is it.
New Holland Brewing
It was only last summer that New Holland first started brewing their summer seasonal: Lost Dune. But with its unique qualities, it is probably here to stay. Lost Dune is a Summer Ale with a 5.5% ABV and is said to pair well with salmon and pork — in case those happen to be on your cookout menu. This brew from New Holland has tropical notes of mosaic hops, with tastes of blueberries, coriander and hints of orange. This beer is more on the sweet and crisp end of the spectrum, so if that is more of your style of drink or maybe you want to try something a bit out of the box, this might be the summer brew for you.
Ore Dock Brewing Company
Industrial with a rustic flare, the Ore Dock Brewing Company is a hipster’s paradise. Weekday or weekend, it doesn’t matter because this place is always throwing it down with local musicians, touring bands or stand-up comedians. Ore Dock is the place to be once dusk rolls around in Marquette, and their summer seasonal, Bum’s Beach, is, without a doubt, a crowd pleaser. This brew is an American Wheat Ale with a 5.8% ABV and made with water straight out of Lake Superior herself. Light, smooth and with a sweet citrus taste, this craft beer took home the 2013 Beverage Tasting Institute World Beer Championship’s silver medal. Come for the award-winning beer, and stay for the killer entertainment at this Upper Peninsula brewery.
No matter where you may find yourself in the Mitten this summer, remember to take some brew breaks with these Michigan-made beers.