7 Michigan Breweries Worth a Trip

Check out these must-visit locations during your summer travels

I’m a bit jealous of Emily Bennett. In 2017, she undertook a “Mitten Beer Quest” to visit every brewery in Michigan. She hit 323 breweries at a nearly one-a-day pace (read about it at mittenbeergirl.com). Those of us with day jobs can cover a lot of ground at beer festivals or stores, but in the spirit of the travel season, here are a few places worth a visit.

Hop Lot, Suttons Bay
While the Leelanau Peninsula is better known for wine, the beer scene is also lively. During a visit, Hop Lot’s lot was packed, we had to find a spot out on M-22. And for good reason. The inside is nice, but the back-yard includes a hop garden, bonfires, picnic tables, and corn hole boards. The beer is great, too, including Ransom Note (a Double Black IPA), and Woad Warrior Scotch Ale. 658 S. West Bay Shore Drive, Suttons Bay; 231-866-4445. hoplotbrewing.com

Pigeon Hill, Muskegon
While I’m not usually a fan of “novelty beers,” the folks at Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. do it right. You can find their Oatmeal Cream Pie and Salted Caramel Porter in
stores. Head to the source and try Your Mom on French Toast. 500 W. Western Ave. Ste. 1, Muskegon; 231-375-5184. pigeonhillbrew.com

North Channel, Manistee
Located in a former furniture factory, they offer about 10 beers on tap — such as Salt City Blonde and Magnetic Sand Black IPA — plus Texas-style barbecue. An interesting side note for trivia fans: their logo’s illustration was done by the same person who drew the mountain range for Coors as well as the dog for Lagunitas. 86 Washington St., Manistee; 231-299-1020. northchannelbrewing.com

North Pier, Benton Harbor
We didn’t get to Benton Harbor, but got to sample their brews and meet the owner and brewer at an 8 Degrees Plato, Detroit tap night. Highlights included The Conjurer (Belgian Golden Strong) and Happy Guy (Dry-hopped Pilsner). 670 North Shore Dr., Benton Harbor; 269-757-7163. northpierbrewing.com

Austin Brothers, Alpena
We all love northern Michigan, but this family fell hard. The owners came across Alpena on a road trip and decided to pack up their Southern California families and start a microbrewery here. They have a host of beers on tap, and if you can’t get Up North, they’ve started distribution downstate, including bottles of their 45’er West Coast-style IPA. 821 W. Miller St., Alpena; 989-340-2300. austinbrosbeerco.com

HOMES, Ann Arbor
The Great Lakes acronym (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior) is the inspiration for this newer spot. They don’t plan on distributing at this time, but you can find them in Ann Arbor, or on tap at select places (we sampled a limited-edition of their Same Same Different IPA at One-Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale). Their coffee-inspired beers sound worth the relatively short drive, as well. 2321 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-954-66437. homesbrewery.com

Founders, Detroit
Speaking of short drives, I was disappointed when Founders took Red’s Rye out of year-round rotation. Finding Red’s on tap right here is worth the visit alone! Just to keep it fun, there serve a few Detroit-specific brews you can’t get in Grand Rapids. 456 Charlotte St. Detroit; 313-335-3440. foundersbrewing.com