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Beer in Michigan

I will be traveling to Michigan for the next two days to sample the local beers within the southern part of the state. Bell's and New Holland breweries are the only two on my itenerary, but was thinking about going as far east as Ann Arbor...if it's worth the extra drive? Any independent restaurants or other breweries in this part of Michigan NOT TO MISS? Thanks!

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  1. It's a shame you're not coming as far east as the Detroit area...Dragonmead sounds like your version of heaven. Doesn't hurt that they openly welcome outside food, either!

    1. This website lists (and has a map of) pretty much all the craft brewers in the state: www.michiganbrewersguild.org

      1. Pretty much Dragonmead for sure . Totally worth the drive . Final Absolution is possibly the best beer I have ever had . I'm sure that means nothing in of itself to you , but trust me , I have had a great many terrific pints of beer in my day . Get some local pizza , settle in , find a designated driver , and prepare to be amazed by what these guys can do .

        1 Reply
        1. re: GoalieJeff

          I tried Dragonmead downtown at the Red Smoke BBQ place - sadly I was underwhelmed. Which brew of theirs is good? Clearly I didn't pick the right one. Which kind is best?

        2. Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, and Jolly Pumpkin in Ann Arbor.

          Founders Brewing Co.
          235 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

          1. bells & new holland are very good. also good suggestions so far (dragonmead and the a.a. breweries)

            here are a couple that i like in west/mid michigan:

            arcadia http://www.arcadiaales.com/

            founders (grand rapids) http://www.foundersbrewing.com/

            michigan brewing (weberville) http://www.michiganbrewing.com/

            and if you do come to the detroit area, these are some of my favorites:

            kuhnhen (warren) http://www.kbrewery.com/

            bastone (royal oak) http://bastone.net/

            black lotus (clawson) http://blacklotusbrewery.com/

            rochester mills (rochester) http://www.cplanet.com/ctheresf.aspx?...

            royal oak brewery (royal oak) http://www.royaloakbrewery.com/

            motor city (detroit) http://www.motorcitybeer.com/

            2 Replies
            1. re: xman887

              Michigan Brewing is just getting BAD. The owner Bobby has chased away about every single decent employee that has passed in and out of there. If you go to a Michigan Brewers Guild event he (they) are are almost never mentioned as a serious beer place. When he is brought up you can feel the disrespect for him even if you try to avoid it. They lack consistency, personality and have burned way to many bridges in the brewing community.

              Founder's to me is the states best big Micro. Not biggest (Bell's)...but best. I like Kuhnhen's for the small guys with Dragon Mead in second.

              1. re: xman887

                +1 for motor city brewing

                would also like to add Arbor Brewing/Corner Brewery (Ann Arbor/Ypsi). I'm a fan of their Sacred Cow IPA

              2. No ones mentioned Shorts Brewing, so I will. They seem to have a pretty robust distribution network through out MI., because I've had their beers in a number of Oakland county pubs.
                (I like a number of their ales)


                1 Reply
                1. re: RedTop

                  Yikes! That would be quite a detour for the OP! I was assuming their goal is to visit the breweries themselves? Short's is very good, but that's northern Michigan territory. Then again, I'm not one to discourage someone from taking a beautiful day trip for the lure of good food or drink.

                2. Dark Horse is within easy reach from Kalamazoo (especially if you're thinking about heading out to AA), and I've become a big fan of some of their beers since I moved to Michigan. And yeah, if you're already planing on Bell's and New Holland, you've got to include Founders to complete the triangle. :)

                  1. It's out of your way but Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City makes some of the best beers I have had from anywhere in the world. I've only been at it for fifty years so I still have a lot to learn.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: jock

                      Thanks to all of you!! I have to say after spending time at New Holland, my beer focus hasn't changed but my route has. I'm in the UP now and plan to head back in 2 days toward Detroit! I would love to drive along the East Coast of Michigan along L Huron so is there anything to NOT MISS on this drive? I forget what highway this is but I can't stay away from the Great Lakes...absolutely beautiful!!! I need good beer BUT also great food in local, independent institutions...Perch, Smelts or any local fish that may be had in the area? Thanks...Michigan has been a great escape so far!

                      1. re: napolean

                        That is QUITE the detour!

                        Whitefish! Fresh, smoked, sausage, pate...any way you can get it! Lake trout are good too, but I am an absolute whitefish junkie. I also happen to be a fan of stopping whenever I see signs advertising jerky or sausage...I am rarely disappointed. :)

                        1. re: napolean

                          As far as I know, the good beer in northern Michigan spans the west coast, not the east (the above mentioned Shorts and Right Brain, for example). However, you will be in good territory to satisfy the fresh fish request. I suggest starting a new thread for East Michigan recommendations.

                          1. re: tokyo

                            >> As far as I know, the good beer in northern Michigan spans the west coast, not the east

                            The map on the brewers guild website (using the link I posted above) shows four brewers along the east coast of the lower peninsula between the Mackinac Bridge and the Detroit area. www.uncleheavy.com/MBGAnnex/default.asp

                          2. re: napolean

                            napolean, if you're heading "toward Detroit" you'll find the absolute BEST lake perch dinner at Pat O'Brien's Bar in St Clair Shores, at 10 Mile & Jefferson. NE suburb of Detroit.

                            1. re: napolean

                              The US 23/Lake Huron drive: breakfast at Flour Garden in Harrisville.

                              There is a brewpub in Oscoda, Wiltse's, which is decent but not "gourmet". But I like their beers, they do offer a sampler, and the food is tasty in a bar food kind of way.

                              In Tawas, Klenows downtown for smoked fish. Get fish and crackers, then a bottle of wine at the Brew Crew down the street and you have the makings of a picnic with plenty of good places to enjoy it. There is a state park, complete with lighthouse, on the point and city parks along US23.

                              I hesitate to recommend Barnacle Bills in Tawas--once we had perch that was amazing but the second time we ate there it was meh. You pays your money, you takes your chances. Mulligans down the street makes a fine Bloody Mary, and they make their own fried mushrooms (not Sysco) so again it's decent for bar food.

                              Our favorite stop on the way up is H&H RestaurantBakery in Au Gres for a lake perch sandwich and fries; I think last summer it was $7. They also have homebaked goods, of which my favorites are the cookies (pies are Krogerish IMO); you can get uninteresting beer/wine here if you, like my DH, must have a beer with your sandwich.

                              Barnacle Bill's
                              119 Newman St, East Tawas, MI 48730

                              1. re: coney with everything

                                Thanks again all. Will report back next week!

                              2. re: napolean

                                If you are in the Keweenaw, definitely try Keweenaw Brewing for your beer. At the tip of the thumb, you can get great perch at the Bayport Inn..Bayport is the home of the Fish Sandwich festival in the summer.