Back in July, our beer research in Michigan totaled 30 visits of 205 breweries in the state. See Beercation in the Mitten blog. It’s now Dec. 1st, Josh and I have more progress to report traversing the Mitten in search of good suds.
Our tally stands at 47 of 205, up 8%, now at a 23% of the total. Bonus, our research revealed more brewpubs are committed to serving culinary delights along with award-winning ales, stouts, porters, ambers and more. Michigan is full of it. Full of delightful pairings like Lake Superior Whitefish at Brickside Brewing’s hearty brown ale with a malty, caramel finish that accentuates the salty steak fries. Beer tourism continues to thrive in the Mitten and no matter where our travels take us we’re quick to include a pint and a bite.
Again, not experts, we’re merely offering up our humble opinions from our travels and a few favorites. We’re continuing to work on the Holmes & Watson beercation resumé. Happy tasting and travels.
On an August trip to the Upper Peninsula we made pitstops in Copper Harbor, Ishpeming, Marquette then Petoskey on the way home. The summer tour included more biking to earn our beer calories. Copper Harbor is adventure enthusiast headquarters and the quality of the single-track trails matched the complex flavors in our glasses.
Brickside Brewing, Copper Harbor
This hole in the wall is big flavor wrapped in a small package. The sign outside is hanging from chains, off-center on purpose, likely how many bikers feel as they enter after being on two wheels all day. Try the stout or the brown.
Jasper Ridge, Ishpeming
Do not judge this book by its cover. Brewing for over twenty years, Jasper Ridge has street cred just not a fancy building to go along with brewing tenure. The restaurant would pass for a cheap mom/pop breakfast diner and the waitress who poured our beers, she didn’t drink so we were not skewed by her opinion at all. Tip: Order the burger with waffle fries and spicy ketchup.
Cognition Brewing, Ishpeming
Just two minutes from Jasper Ridge, this total opposite is lodged on the ground floor of a historic building complete with hip décor, candlelight ambience, a well-appointed ornate bar and unique brews with names like The Hedge Witch and the Gnome Wrecker.
KBC (Keewanaw Brewing Company), Houghton
In the heart of Michigan Tech country, try a tasty and cheap beer at KBC in downtown Houghton, where a pint of Red Jacket Amber or Widow Maker Black Ale only sets you back $2.75. It will make you feel like a student again.
The Library (Li-brew-ery), Houghton
More restaurant than brewery, we were impressed with a sampler platter surrounded by books and encyclopedias lining the wall and bar. Truth be told, I ordered a scotch to cleanse my palette after all the carbonated suds.
True to our respective palettes, I ordered the Horny Monk (dubbel style) and Josh thumbed-up the Java Stout. We sipped on the patio taking a break from the long drive back home to Spring Lake. A bustling place, we elected to drink only as the restaurant had a wait list.
Beards Brewing, Petoskey
The more eclectic sibling in the same town (downtown Petoskey), Beards is tattooed, rebellious and flavorful offering up robust porters, browns and stouts like Wheat Us and Deez Nuts.
More Brews Below the Bridge……
Rockford Brewing, Rockford
This brewery is located close to two important Rockford attractions: The Merrell Mountain Bike Trail and the Rockford Footwear Depot. Ride the single track then pick out a pair of Merrell sandals or shoes, on sale half off. Try their signature Irish Stout after riding and shopping.
Big Hart Brewing, Hart
New on the scene in Oceana County, and conveniently located just off US 31, it is a well-placed pitstop between Muskegon and Ludington. The Screeching Sands amber ale with agave made a lasting impression on my taste buds.
Cultivate Brewing Company, Berrien Springs
A farm-to-pint model has been born at this southwest Michigan locale. We stopped on a return from Chicago. Sip a pint of a wet-hopped brew while looking out at a row of hops suspended by their signature tall and slender posts.
Dead Bear Brewing, Grayling
The name threw me, but this Grayling pub served delicious sandwiches (burger and philly steak) en route to Traverse City to see family for the Thanksgiving holiday. I tried the Escanaba River Amber Ale and Josh a seasonal dry-stout.
Hop Lot Brewing, Suttons Bay
A must stop on a M-22 tour, Hop Lot has an expansive outdoor patio equipped with picnic tables and bricked fire pits for the winter months. We watched both U of M and MSU lose on the pub TV while tasting a Smashface Pumpkin Ale, Milky McMilkerson, Rough Sawn Amber and a Bayshore Brown.
Lake Ann Brewing, Lake Ann
LAB as my brother calls this new brewery in the sleepy village of Lake Ann, seven miles west of Traverse City. A well-appointed outdoor patio area is LAB’s signature gathering area where you can order a Village Blonde while letting summer tunes float around on Lake Ann breezes.
Odd Side Ales, Grand Haven
With the close proximity of this brewery to home, we should spend more time tasting their ever changing line-up of odd and eclectic ales. Less odd, I prefer their staples, the Citra Pale Ale and Bean Flicker, a blonde ale brewed with coffee beans. In the heart of Grand Haven, in a restored factory building the ambience matches the character of the beer.