Summer is almost here, which means lazy afternoons spent drinking Michigan beers in the sun! Lucky for us, our state makes some of the best — and many of them come from right here in metro Detroit.
Patti Smith is a homebrewer and longtime beer writer for publications such as Mittenbrew and CraftBeer.com and is currently writing a book titled Michigan Beer History for The History Press. For her, the perfect summer beer will tend to be lighter — both in color and on the tongue. This includes brews such as Kolsch, classic American pilsners and wheat ales, and also gose. Smith is also a fan of fruit beers for summer. “These have been dismissed as beers for lightweights — a stereotype that I loathe,” she says. “Fruit beers are getting better every year and offer a lovely alternative.”
Beer merchant Ashley Price has been a purveyor of everything beer, mead, and cider in metro Detroit for 13 years. These days he can be found at Metropolitan Variety Store, a newly opened combination market/bar in Detroit’s West Village. When it comes to a great summer beer, he’s looking for a “whisp to a heavy load of citrus” as well as “low to medium hop bitterness for sweaty days — crushable, and crisp.”
Check out some of Smith and Price’s Michigan beer picks here, and stock up for your own sweaty days!
10 Michigan Beers to Enjoy This Summer
Lagers & Pilsners
Cerveza Delray – Brew Detroit
“Lagers are crisper because of the way they’re brewed. I like this one because it’s a lighter lager that still fills you up, unlike a macrobrew.” —Patti Smith
El Ligero – Griffin Claw Brewing Co.
“Another great lager! Crisp, clean, everything a lager should be! Nice balance of hops and lime.” —Smith
Michigan Hell – Urbanrest Brewing Co.
“This Michigan beer should just be named Crispy for the mouthfeel and finish. Easy, bready, lemon, love. Lagers are coming to the forefront of every conversation lately, and this is one of the best from my neighborhood brewer.” —Ashley Price
Professional Pils – Drafting Table
“This was my reintroduction to German pils. I was never a huge fan until this beer. Light but packed with flavor. A subtle sweetness accompanies noble hops’ floral notes, making this a very quaffable any-day-of-the-year Michigan beer.” —Price
Blueberry Lemonade Shandy – Saugatuck Brewing Co.
“They balance those flavors perfectly so that it isn’t too tart or too fruity.” —Smith
Shandy – Old Nation Brewing Co.
“I have been begging for this for years and I cannot wait until its release.” —Price
Whango – Atwater Brewing
“Whango uses fresh mango puree for a balanced wheat and mango flavor. That’s impressive — a lot of places use extract because mango can be a tough flavor to capture.” —Smith
Tropical Oberon – Bell’s Brewing
“This new iteration of a Michigan summer classic is a new 2021 release I’m looking forward to. Past variations have included Mango, Mango Habanero, and Pineapple Jalapeno. This year’s mix will be mango, guava, and passionfruit. Bells is well known for consistently nailing flavors, and I am excited for this one.” —Price
Cucumber Lime Gose – Arbor Brewing Co.
“OK, I love cucumber and lime and at first I was skeptical, but they married these flavors in the best possible way. The hint of salt rounds out the beer for me.” —Smith
House Gose – Eastern Market Brewing Co.
“This is a perfect accompaniment to hot days. The light salinity and tartness might seem contradictory to heat but very much work together to create a delicious, refreshing experience. Arguably the best straight gose in the state.” —Price