The summer driving season is upon us and it’s time to venture out and explore the Mitten State. After negotiating 118,637 construction barrels, why not reward yourself by grabbing a brew?
Michigan breweries are all over the lower peninsula, which affords metro Detroiters the opportunity to visit more than 200 of them without crossing the bridge (which I also recommend you do some time).
Of course, we don’t encourage drinking and driving, so planning a hotel-based sightseeing trip, cozy B&B weekend, or camping trip is the best way to take in the natural spectacle of the Great Lakes State while sampling some of the best beer on the planet.
My recent brewery crushes provide great sightseeing along the way. It’s an opportunity to experience Michigan’s state motto: Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice, which means “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”
Set in a 116-year-old former church, they serve up hand-crafted beer and wine along with lunch and dinner featuring seasonal and local ingredients. The beer runs the gamut of flavors and styles and maintains a true-to-style methodology. There are in-house drafts and to-go growlers and crowlers.
Sightseeing options: Rentschler Farm Museum, Depot Museum & Trail, and the Weber Blaess One-Room Schoolhouse.
They’ve taken up shop in an historic firehouse in Grand Rapids. Known for their solid beer, legendary pizza, and baseball-themed décor, The Mitten has worked their way into the hearts of southwestern Michigan beer lovers and is moving forward with plans to increase production and distribution with the addition of a larger production facility.
Sightseeing options: Frederik Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids Art Museum,.
Their inspiration is firmly rooted in German beer culture, while honoring local brewing tradition. Although they produce American craft beer styles and other global influences in both the brewery and the kitchen, you’d be missing out if you didn’t try some of their true-to-style Bavarian offerings.
Sightseeing options: Deer Track Junction, Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary.
This spot located two blocks off Lake Michigan serves Belgian-inspired beer and locally inspired food. There’s live music, a curling club (in winter), and other fun events like tango lessons.
Sightseeing options: Point Betsie Lighthouse, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Crystal Lake.
Founded in December 1994, Wiltse’s was the third brewpub in Michigan’s post-Prohibition history. Wiltse’s prides itself on quality-made products made with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. The simple beer menu boasts strong and consistent examples of highly drinkable beers that have kept both locals and tourists coming back for 23 years.
Sightseeing options: Lumberman’s Monument, Iargo Springs, Au Sable River Queen.