Over the years, Scott and I have done two beercations to Michigan. The first was in 2012 when we were newbies and had no idea what we were doing, but it was really eye-opening and we discovered some fantastic places that changed the way we view beer. The second time was this July when we went down to cover the 20th Anniversary Michigan Summer Beer Festival, and we managed to get in a few podcasts at some incredible places while we were at it.
So here are some of our fave spots from both trips. Get it in ya.
1. Batch Brewing Company
Our good mate Dave Cicotte hooked up this podcast with Batch for us, but during the chat I realized that I’d seen their series on Mashable, which was amazing. The beer these guys are making is both fun and classic, with some great barrel-aged stuff, a fantastic kolsch and an even more fantastic rotating beer slushie (we had the strawberry kolsch, it’s worth heading there for this alone). Co-Owners Stephen and Jason are hilarious and genuine guys who care about the Detroit community, and that love is expressed in how they run the brewery. It doesn’t hurt that the beers are on point, too.
2. HOMES Brewery
Another new find courtesy of Dave, HOMES is based out of Ann Arbor and even after less than 6 months of being open, they’re already kicking ass. Owner Tommy and Head Brewer Nick are top blokes, the space is modern and dope, their merch game is super strong, the Asian street food they serve is phenomenal and of course, the beers are bloody great. My fave was their Lots Of Dots IPA, but they recently canned their flagship IPA Same Same Different. Need to get our hands on those bad boys.
3. Founders Brewing Co.
The pioneers of Michigan beer are the kings over at Founders in Grand Rapids. We were lucky enough to get to interview Co-Owner Dave and Brewmaster Jeremy over the summer, and to hang out at their immense facility. That place is huge. They recently had a $42 million expansion so you can imagine how big it is. Their taproom and restaurant is fantastic. They have a ton of sandwiches named after their beers and are meant for pairing, and there’s like 30 beers on tap, a bunch of which are brewery only. Worth the trip.
4. Old Nation Brewing
One thing we noticed about Michigan beer this last trip was that there’s really not a lot of haze out there...with the exception of Old Nation. Their stand at the festival caught our eye as they had a big ass sign that said “HAZE IS GOOD”. It’s like they have to convince people it’s not a bad thing. Weird. We got to try three of their beers at the festival - M43, Boxer and Boss Tweed, all of which were phenomenal juice bombs. We even swung past the brewery on the way back to Canada to get us a 4 pack of M43. Wish we had more time to hang out there, next trip it’s happening for sure. If you’re a haze head, this is the place you need to be.
5. Arbor Brewing Company
I’m about to mention Dave again, but he really helped us a ton with the summer trip. Dave works for Arbor Brewing Co. so we got to kick it at their Ypsilanti brewpub a bunch, and it’s awesome. On the first trip, Scott and I visited their original Ann Arbor brewpub and it was great, but we really got to experience the Ypsilanti location in detail. We ate there twice, and tried a ton of their beers both at the pub and at the festival. They do a great range of styles very well, including some bomb barrel-aged sours and stouts, and the food was on point. The vibe at Ypsilanti was very much like a dive bar, with worn out couches and board games to encourage people to stay all day. Super dope, worth a visit.
6. Motor City Brewing Works
These next few faves are from our first trip so excuse me if my memory slips a little. Motor City is a Detroit staple, and it was (and likely still is) a super small spot with a variety of styles on offer, which I remember enjoying a ton. I wish we had have kicked it there and smashed a flight but it’s an OG brewery that definitely warrants a visit if you wanna get to know the origins of the scene in the D.
7. Detroit Beer Co.
Detroit Beer Co. is located right downtown by the sports stadiums, and it was the first brewpub we ever visited in Michigan. I remember have a flight of mostly lighter beers as that’s what they tended to offer, and all were fantastic. I wish I brought some back this last trip. Their logo is super sick as well, I still have their carry bag on my wall. If you’re hitting up a game, pop around the corner before and/or after for a pint or 4.
8. Liberty Street Brewing
And finally, another fave from 2012 was Liberty Street in Plymouth. It was quite small yet cosy, with a dope selection of beers available. We were both taking photos and doing reviews, so people kept asking us what we were doing. That got the attention of the Head Brewer so he came out and gave us tasters of the beers we didn’t have in front of us, which I thought was super cool. I love that craft beer is all about sharing the product and talking about it, there’s such a passion behind it from both the brewers and the drinkers. What a time to be alive, folks. Anyway, get down there.