I generally have two requirements where my beer is concerned. There should be plenty of it nearby, and it should be cold, especially as we celebrate International Beer Day on August 3. In honor of such a special day, I’m sharing a few Michigan beers that you might want to try, a brewery or two to visit, and even some fun facts about hop production in the great state of Michigan. Cheers to drinking local Michigan beer!
A Few Citrus-Infused Michigan Brews to Try
Summertime is also when several breweries bring out their citrus-infused brews, and though I have never been a huge fan, a friend recently introduced me to a new favorite, number one on my list for you try.
- Tangerine Space Machine from New Holland Brewing in Holland. This New England-style India Pale Ale might move into my fridge through the rest of the warm weather. New Holland is only one of several notable craft brewers in Michigan, producing some world-class beers and ales here in our backyard.
- My favorite from Short’s in Bellaire is their Bellaire Brown, a refreshing, light brown beer with hints of caramel.
- Oberon is a favorite of mine from Bell’s in Kalamazoo. When summer rolls around, the seasonal wheat ale, typically served with an orange slice, quenches my thirst with a subtle hint of citrus.
Locally Sourced Michigan Hops
Part of the growing trend in beer production here in the Mitten State is the infusion of crops of hops.
Hops, which look like an asparagus crown or a green pine cone, add bitterness and flavor to beer, providing distinctive and regional flavor, depending on the hop variety.
Michigan now produces more hops than any state outside the Pacific Northwest, coming in at number 4 nationally, with total hop acreage of nearly 900 acres. This means the craft beers we enjoy from the area are more and more likely to include locally sourced hops.
The top hops farms in Michigan include Top Hops in Goodrich and The Michigan Hop Alliance, growing on acreage primarily on the Leelanau Peninsula near Traverse City. Hop farming increased by more than 150% between 2015-2017, so local breweries like Short’s in Elk Rapids and Bellaire can more easily source local hops.
Major craft brewers like Short’s in Bellaire and Bell’s in Kalamazoo are using more and more Michigan hops.
Two Up North Breweries to Add to Your Must Visit List
There are plenty of craft breweries even closer to me, like Petoskey Brewing, where the Horny Monk is a popular beer order.
For those Michigan hops, I like North Peak’s Great Lakes Golden Ale, which always goes down smooth, as does their Pilsner-style Northern Light, which is less of a light beer and more of a golden ale brewed with locally sourced Empire hops. The Mind’s Eye IPA is always a great one to try too.
Another bonus to visiting Petoskey Brewing, is that you can visit by bicycle. The brewery is located just outside Petoskey, directly across M-119 from the Little Traverse Wheelway.
A bit farther north, Biere de Mac opened last year on the edge of Mackinaw City in the space occupied for many years by ‘Neath the Birches. Try the Mackinac Platter, with an assortment of smoked fish dip, cured meats, and more, along with a Nicolet Rye IPA and a traditional India Pale Ale made with a combination of hops.
Summertime—or any time—is beer time. And the beer in Michigan continues to get better and better. Cheers!