Did you now that Michigan is a destination for beer? The state boasts more than 200 breweries of all sizes – and flavors. From your traditional pub atmosphere, to being housed in a former church, to a bar with a modern vibe, you can find a brew that suites you and everyone you’re camping with.
Since April 7 is National Beer Day, we put together a simple list of well-known beer trails from around the state. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t branch out and pave your own way. Three resources for finding information on Michigan breweries all in one place include Pure Michigan, the Michigan Craft Beverage Council, and the Michigan Brewers Guild. Some breweries offer tours of their facilities to explain their process for producing exquisite beer, and many establishments are offering beer to go instead of tastings. Even better, many breweries offer their beer in cans instead of glass bottles, making them more campground friendly.
Truth be told, it’s tough to choose favorites.
U.P. Brew Trail: You’ll find a “common Yooper bond” among the breweries in the looped trail around the entirety of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Some breweries are close by one another, such as those found in Marquette, but others take some effort to drive and may be more than a 100 miles away. You can choose to visit breweries across the northern border and head into the Keweenaw Peninsula, or stay closer to Lake Michigan by visiting establishments across the southern edge. Be ready for adventure, and to experience the hospitality of Yoopers first-hand. If you take a photo at one of these breweries, make sure to use the hashtag #DrinkUPMI
Northwest Lower Michigan
TC Ale Trail: Traverse City is a well-known hotspot for craft beer, and there seems to be new brews being created and reaching the hands of thirsty patrons on a regular basis. There is a passport to help you keep track of your visits to the eight breweries, which you can bring in completed to The Filling Station to receive a commemorative pint glass. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, then “paddle for pints” and rent a kayak and stop in at a few breweries that are within an easy walk of the Boardman River, which runs right through downtown.
Northeast Lower Michigan
Thumbs Up Wine Trail: What’s more optimistic than a thumb’s up? Visiting the “thumb” of our beautiful green and blue mitten. The Thumbs Up Wine Trail takes you to several Michigan wineries (which also deserve a visit), but you’ll find breweries along the route, too. There are several breweries in Bay City and nearby Bavarian Frankenmuth. But the coastline of the land that juts out into Lake Huron also has some stops, notable in Caseville and Port Austin and Lexington. Inland towns Ubly and Sandusky are also home to craft breweries. While you’re visiting, enjoy the natural beauty and simple charm of the towns, scenery, and people. This is how Michigan used to be.
Southwest Lower Michigan
Makers & Shakers Trail: This favorite Lower Peninsula trail takes you in and around the state’s capitol, Lansing. We featured a combination walking/driving tour of some of the stops along the way on this trail, along with other places to explore near some of the establishments. Read the full article.
Give a Craft Beer Trail: Kalamazoo is another hotbed for breweries. Their beer trail is passport ready. There are 13 stops along the trail, including the city’s first brewpub, Olde Peninsula Brewpub and Restaurant, and Bell’s, from which the summer favorite brew Oberon is produced. You know that spring has arrived, and summer is coming when you spot Oberon in the grocery or liquor store but stop in at Bell’s to meet the folks personally.
Grand Rapids Beer City USA Tour: Yes, Beer City, USA. Grand Rapids is “hopping” with every type of beer you can imagine. The trail map will help you choose from the more than 40 breweries in and around the Grand Rapids area. Grand Rapids itself is very walkable and an artistic hub, so you can easily enjoy strolling from brewery to brewery.
Holland Area Hops, Grains, Grapes, and Grains Tour: The three breweries included on this tour are Big Lake Brewing, New Holland Brewing Company, and Our Brewing Company. Hops at 84 East is a beer bar that features many of their brews on their 60 taps. All of these breweries are well-known in the state
West Michigan Wine & Beer Trail: Thirteen breweries are included in this multi-stop driving tour, with several breweries within easy reach in Grand Rapids and Holland. It’s not possible to stop at each one, so you’ll have to choose carefully, but Founders and New Holland are two of the finest and largest. Smaller establishments are also eager to share their brews with you.
Southeast Lower Michigan
Detroit: It may seem that Metro Detroit, well known for being the car production capital, has traded in and moved up to craft beer production. You can even go on a Gears and Beers tour of the main city area, with stops for libations, of course. Atwater Brewery and the Detroit Beer Company are two of the most popular located near downtown. In downtown proper, there are more than a dozen breweries and brewpubs, but to really experience all the flavors, you should drive into the various suburbs to check out other establishments.
Ann Arbor: College towns are obviously magnets when it comes to craft beer, and many students at the University of Michigan these days have their pick of breweries any night of the week. Visitors can find unique atmospheres and offerings that are lively and fun at more than 20 establishments, although many of the local bars carry local beer on tap, too. Hopcat is known for is brews, but also for its fries.
Michigan beer makers are passionate about bringing you great beer. Give some new Michigan-made brews a try this year, but there’s nothing like sipping on a favorite while you’re sitting at the campsite or at the beach.