Our Cups Runneth Over

Michigan brewers continue to win international acclaim, but local consumers are the real winners


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Some brewers don’t want to be famous. And many don’t care for popularity contests. Still others scoff at judging and awarding a product based on something as subjective as “taste.”

However, one thing can be agreed upon: Michigan brewers have gained the attention of global beer judges and drinkers. And it’s not only the larger, well-known breweries that are bringing home trophies. 

The Michigan Brewers Guild has more than 200 active member breweries listed on their website. And with all the variety available in the state, craft beer drinkers are the real winners.

Still, competitions do take place. And going back to 2014, Michigan brewers have brought home 39 medals and the Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year title from three of the largest beer competitions on the planet: The World Beer Cup, The U.S. Open Beer Championship, and the Great American Beer Festival.

Microbreweries and brewpubs have also been awarded accolades and hardware for their entries in over 90 different style categories. These beers are being judged against several thousand entries and breweries.

Here’s just a taste:

WORLD BEER CUP 

Held every two years, it’s considered the “Olympics” of international beer competitions.  The 2016 event judged 6,596 beers from 1,907 breweries representing 55 countries. Michigan brewers took three medals home in 2016 and five in 2014.

2016

Gold Medal
• Black Lotus Brewing Co., Clawson, “Ninja Pirate” (Old Ale or Strong Ale)

Bronze Medals
• Wolverine State Brewing Co., Ann Arbor, “Raucher” (Smoke Beer) 
• River’s Edge Brewing Co., Milford, “Dirty Frank Stout” (Export Stout)

2014

Gold Medals
• Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, “Mango Magnifico con Calor (Herb and Spice Beer)
• 51 North Brewery, Lake Orion, “Wind Walker Brown” (English-Style Brown Ale)
• Saugatuck Brewing Co., Douglas, “Bonfire Brown Ale” (American-Style Brown Ale)

Bronze Medals 
• New Holland Brewing Co., Holland, “Pilgrim’s Dole” (Old Ale or Strong Ale)
• Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, “Thor’s Hammer” (Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale)

 

U.S. OPEN BEER CHAMPIONSHIP

Nearly 5,000 beers representing over 90 different styles were sampled by judges from England, Canada, and the United States. Winners heard the results July 11
in Oxford, Ohio. Michigan landed seven medals, plus Portage-based Latitude 42 Brewing landed in the No. 9 spot of the Top 10 Breweries of 2016.

2016

Gold Medals
• Latitude 42 Brewing, Portage, “Barley Wine 2014” (Barley Wine) Latitude 42 Brewing, Portage, “4 Hour Pils” (American Imperial Pilsner)
• Bastone Brewery, “Private Stock #163” (Wood/Barrel-Aged Pale Beer)
• Perrin Brewing, Comstock Park, “Q-Stew Light Lager” (Sessions Beer)

Silver Medals
• Perrin Brewing, Comstock Park, “Cherry Capital” (Wood/Barrel-Aged Sour Beer)
• Latitude 42 Brewing, Portage, “Private Dancer” (American-Style Black Ale)

Bronze Medal
• Bastone Brewing, Royal Oak, “Dubbel Vision” (Belgian Dubbel)

2015

Gold Medals
• Perrin Brewing, Comstock Park, “Roeselare” (Wood/Barrel-Aged Sour Beer)
• Latitude 42 Brewing, Portage, “4 Hour Pils” (American Imperial Pilsner)

Silver Medal
• Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter, “Biere de Mars” (French/Belgian Ale)

Bronze Medals
• Latitude 42 Brewing, Portage, “Lil Sunshine Golden Ale” (Golden or Blonde Ale)
• Latitude 42 Brewing, Portage, “Barley Wine 2014” (Barley Wine)
• Latitude 42 Brewing, Portage, “Beachcruiser Wheat” (American Specialty Wheat)

2014

Gold Medals

• Arbor Brewing Company, Ann Arbor, “Jackhammer” (Old Ale)
• Arbor Brewing Company, Ann Arbor, “Bliss” (German Hefeweizen)
• New Holland Brewing, Holland, “Full Circle” (German Kölsch)

Silver Medals
• Latitude 42 Brewing, Portage, “Lil Sunshine Golden Ale” (English Summer Ale)
• New Holland Brewing, Holland, “The Poet” (Oatmeal Stout)

Bronze Medal

• New Holland Brewing, Holland, “White Hatter” (Belgian Pale Ale)

 

GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL

Founded in 1982, this event has grown and evolved with the American craft brewing industry. In 2014 and 2015, Michigan brewers took home six medals in each competition. The 2016 festival will be held Oct. 6-8 in Denver.

2015

Gold Medal
• Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, “reDANKulous” (Imperial Red Ale)

Silver Medals
• Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City, “Concrete Dinosaur” (Rye Beer) 
• Short’s Brewing Co., Elk Rapids, “Melt My Brain” (Experimental Beers)
• Arcadia Brewing Co., Kalamazoo, “India Pale Ale” (Classic English-Style Pale Ale)
• River’s Edge Brewing Co., Milford, “Dubbel Entendre” (Belgian-Style Dubbel or Quadruple)

Bronze Medal
• Rockford Brewing Co., Rockford, “Rouge River Brown” (English-Style Brown Ale)

2014

Gold Medal
• Short’s Brewing Co., Elk Rapids, “Key Lime Pie” (Experimental Beer)

Silver Medals
• Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, “Private Stock #472” (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer) 
• Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, “Thor’s Hammer” (Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale)
• Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, “Porter” (Robust Porter)

Bronze Medals
• Stormcloud Brewing Co., Frankfort, “Rainmaker Ale” (Belgian-Style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale)
• Tapistry Brewing Co., Bridgman, “Peck’s Porter”  (Robust Porter)
• Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year: Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, Rockne Van Meter 

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