With titles like the “Great Lake State” and “Great Beer State” it’s no wonder Michigan is home to dozens of brews focused on its sun, sand and shorelines.
- Did you know Michigan boasts more miles of freshwater coastline than any other state (and more overall coastline than any other state in the continental US) at 3177?
- Did you know Michigan is home to 11,000-plus inland lakes (more than Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes)?
- Did you know the Michigan Brewers Guild has a record 157 member breweries (as of July 1, 2015—and growing).
“The Great Lakes give us so much to be thankful for – and are among the biggest contributors to the ever-growing craft beer industry here in Michigan,” Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says in the 2015 issue of Michigan. The Great Beer State magazine.
Consider enjoying one of these craft beers as you head out with family and friends to enjoy summer in Michigan! Please note, the beers listed above may be available at retail outlets, or only at the brewery or select off-premise locations. Seasonal beers go quickly, so don’t delay in seeking out these beach-themed brews.
- 57 Brew Pub & Bistro, Greenville. Sun Kissed Blonde (5.2% ABV | 16 IBUs). This American blonde ale is a crisp, clean and very easy drinking beer, showcasing locally-grown hops from Hopyards of Kent.
- Arcadia Ales, Battle Creek & Kalamazoo. Cheap Date (4.5% ABV | 30 IBUs). If you’re looking for uncomplicated fun, look no further—you’ve got a Cheap Date. Whether you’re relaxing shore side, hitting the competitive lawn game circuit, or just enjoying the seasons and all their splendor, there’s never a bad time for this refreshing hoppy session ale. Keep it casual and enjoy the moment with this standby of high drinkability.
- Arcadia Ales, Battle Creek & Kalamazoo. Whitsun (6.2% ABV | 17 IBUs). Brewed in the style of a mid-19th century English festival ale, this unfiltered wheat beer displays a translucent orange color topped with a creamy, white head. Wheat enhances the mouthfeel of the beer and produces pleasant bread-like notes while Michigan honey provides a caramelized sweetness in the flavor profile. This beer is spiced with orange peel, coriander and small amounts of three hop varieties that perfectly counterbalance the sweetness.
- Atwater Brewery, Detroit. Summertime Ale (5.0% ABV | 24 IBUs). A truly unique representation of the American Wheat style, Atwater’s Summer Time Ale, is a study in refreshing crispness. Vienna malt brings a distinct snap to the finish with dark wheat flavors lightly present. The hot wort is briefly exposed to ground lemon peel and grains of paradise which provide a tidy lemon, citrus finish.
- Beards Brewery, Petoskey. Luna (6.0% ABV | 12 IBUs). White wheat, 2-row barley and rye create the backbone of this crisp and refreshing Saison-styled American wheat ale while Brewers Gold hops add a balance to this orange brew.
- Bell’s Brewery, Comstock. Oberon Ale (5.8% ABV | 26 IBUs). Bell’s Oberon is an American Wheat Ale fermented with Bell’s signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt lends a smooth mouthfeel, making it a classic summer beer.
- Bell’s Brewery, Comstock. Oarsman Ale. (4.0% ABV | 10 IBUs). Tart and refreshing, Oarsman Ale is a sessionable wheat beer that presents citrus and lemony aromas and trades sour for finesse. A perfect pairing with any menu.
- Bell’s Brewery, Comstock. Lager of the Lakes (5.0% ABV | 34 IBUs). Following in the tradition of Czech Pilsners by offering a combination of firm malt and herbal hop bitterness, Bell’s Lager Beer is as refreshing and crisp as a swim in the Great Lakes. The label has a series of modern map symbols bordering an 18th Century French map of the Great Lakes region.
- Bell’s Brewery, Comstock. Third Coast Beer (4.8% ABV | 51 IBUs). A crisply hopped American Pale Ale that offers a refreshing bitterness with floral and herbal aromas. This session beer is a tribute to the Great Lakes region Bell’s has called home since 1985. Twenty-four different front labels map all 3,288 miles of the Michigan coastline, touching four of the five Great Lakes.
- Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids. Beach Patrol (6.5% ABV | 9 IBUs). This crushable cloudy wheat beer is accented with coriander and fermented with our farmhouse yeast. It drinks smooth and easy and the coriander triggers a refreshing essence of lemon. It’s perfect to pass around the bonfire after a long day of swimming laps or soaking up the sun. Released in June.
- Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids. Tropical Saison (6.5% ABV | 24 IBUs). A slight spicy character, light effervescence, and the addition of real pineapple & mango juice lift us out of our everyday and plop us, feet in the sand, to our beach front reverie. Not cloying, but refreshing and complex, this beer is a true “salut” to summer. The rustic biere de garde yeast lends just a hint of tartness to our pineapple and mango infused Tropical Saison. Released in July.
- Cheboygan Brewing Company, Cheboygan. La Cerveza (4.0% ABV | 14 IBUs). Brewed in the Mexican-Bohemian tradition with five different styles of malted barley plus flaked maize and noble German hops for a dry crisp character. This beer is great on its own or compliments the addition of a lime perfectly. It’s lower in alcohol content than our Lighthouse Amber and a perfect thirst quencher for the warm days of summer.
- Cravings Bistro & Brew Pub, Benton Harbor. Tan Line Brown Ale (6.0% ABV | 21 IBUs). Tan Lines American Brown is the ultimate summer beach beer. Pour a frosty mug of this delightful beer and note the distinct white on brown tan line that is characteristic of a long summer on the beach. Malty and not too hoppy for a wonderful summer refresh.
- Frankenmuth Brewery, Frankenmuth. Twisted Helles Summer Lager (5.5% ABV | 18 IBUs). Inspired by Michigan summers, Twisted Helles stands as a monument to everything we love about the season: beaches and BBQs, patios and porch swings, friends and fireworks. Tinged with mild yet memorable zests of orange and lemon, this crisp, perfectly quenching lager doesn’t just taste like summer,..it feels like it.
- Greenbush Brewing Co., Sawyer. Sunspot (6.0% ABV | 15 IBUs). This traditional German Hefeweizen is a refreshing avenue to cooling down in the summer heat. A medium-bodied wheat ale with full flavor, as well as banana and clove esters, Sunspot is available on draft and in bottles from through Labor Day.
- HopCat, Grand Rapids. Light Side Of The Sun, an American style Pale. Brewed with not only the thought having fun in the sun on a beach, but also of American patriotism: flying on the back of a bald eagle with a flag for a cape while dodging enemy bombs and missiles in the name of freedom. Pretty much a perfect fit.
- Latitude 42 Brewing Co., Portage. Lil’ Sunshine Golden Ale (4.8% ABV | 22 IBUs). The perfect introduction to craft beer, this brilliant colored ale tastes crisp and clean with a well-balanced malt profile blended with a subtle floral hopping that is sure to refresh during the dog days of summer.
- Latitude 42 Brewing Co., Portage. Beach Cruiser (4.5% ABV | 27 IBUs). This cloudy refreshing ale is brewed with German hops and organic wheat malt to provide a thirst quenching experience with citrus and floral notes. This unfiltered American wheat is served with a slice of lemon.
- Lexington Brewing Company, Lexington. Beach Babe (5.1% ABV | 25 IBUs). Beach Babe is a Kölsch beer: clean, crisp with soft malt and hop character.
- New Holland Brewing Co., Holland. Sundog (4.5% ABV | 33 IBUs). Double suns, aka sundogs, have inspired artists and philosophers for centuries. This amber ale pays tribute with toasty caramel tones and a nutty finish.
- Ore Dock Brewing, Marquette. Bum’s Beach Wheat (5.8% ABV | 25 IBUs). The carefully crafted companion to a freshwater summer, this American wheat longs for lazy days that turn into night and back again. Pale Wheat and Pilsner malts lay out their crisp yet creamy rays of ripe citrus through a hazy shade of south shore sun.
- Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City. Strawberry Fields (5.5% ABV | 12 IBUs). Extracts are for sissies. We use real ingredients at Right Brain Beer, and Strawberry Fields is no exception. This cream ale is brewed with real Michigan strawberries, but don’t expect to taste fruity hard candy in your beer. The natural tart flavor of the strawberries compliment bready malt characteristics, leaving one with a sensation similar to that of Strawberry Shortcake in a glass.
- Rochester Mills Beer Co., Rochester Lazy Daze Lager (5.25% ABV |18 IBUs). With this easy-drinking German-style lager, there’s no need to buy imports. This clear-filtered brew boasts a rich amber color and medium bodied flavor – from a combination of Munich malt for a subtle sweetness and German hops.
- Saugatuck Brewing Co., Douglas. Oval Beach Blonde (5.0% ABV | 10.5 IBUs). This is an easy drinking light ale, with subtle malt flavors and aroma perfectly paired with a well-balanced body. Oval Beach Blonde is a great everyday pint and a perfect gateway into the world of craft beer for the newer craft beer drinker.
- Short’s Brewing Company, Bellaire & Elk Rapids. Local’s (4.0% ABV | 6 IBUs). Local’s is a light, yet very tasty lager. The light pilsen malt creates a soft and subtle flavor profile that finishes crisp and clean on your palate. Local’s is a perfect beer for the seasoned craft brew enthusiast and someone new to microbrews.
- Stormcloud Brewing Company, Frankfort. The Beach Buddha (8.0% ABV | 100 IBUs). This Imperial IPA is for enlightened hopheads.
- ThumbCoast Brewing Co., Port Huron. Skinny Dipper Golden Ale (5.8% ABV | 20 IBUs). A brilliant golden colored brew that is nicely balanced and very approachable. We called Skinny Dipper because it’s a bare bones beer, not too malty or hoppy. Perfect for lounging on the beach of Lake Huron.
- Tri-City Brewing, Bay City. Loons Summer Ale (4.8% ABV | 21 IBUs). Loons Summer Ale is a smooth, refreshing blonde ale brewed from 100% malted barley and Nobel hops. By the lake, at the cottage, or in the backyard, this beer is the perfect complement to any summer day around the Great Lakes.
- Wolverine State Brewing Co., Ann Arbor. Five Shores Blonde Lager (4.5% ABV | 36 IBUs). This beer is Michigan summer in a glass. It’s a sunny, pale golden Blonde Common built on a foundation of Canadian Pils and pale malt, and citrussy hop notes burst forth on the nose and palate with woodsy Northern Brewer adding some warmth. It was dry-hopped on Michigan-grown Cascade hops, resulting in one delicious wave of flavor. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Five Shores Blonde Lager goes towards the Alliance for the Great Lakes to help them further their mission to protect, preserve, and sustain the Great Lakes. (Five Shores = Five Great Lakes!).
- Wolverine State Brewing Co., Ann Arbor. Verano Mexican-style Amber Lager (4.1% ABV | 15 IBUs). Wolverine’s signature summer beer. Medium-gold in color, hopped with subtle Hallertau Mittelfruh hops, and made with crisp Vienna malt, Verano practically pushes you out the door and onto the beach. Best enjoyed with a slice of lime. Salud!
The Michigan Brewers Guild was formed in 1997 and held its first festival in July 1998. Today, the Guild hosts four festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan craft beer produced by its nearly 150 member breweries.
Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $277 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #5 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”
The Michigan Brewers Guild is the network of innovative and passionate brewers that serves as the recognized advocate for the Michigan craft beer industry. The mission of the Michigan Brewers Guild is to promote and protect the Michigan craft beer industry with an overarching goal to help craft beer acquire 20% of the market by 2025. Michigan ranks #5 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State”.