Top 5 Local Breweries in Michigan

Don’t miss out on these brewpubs with tasty craft beers

Larry Bell was ahead of the local brewery curve. After graduating from Kalamazoo College in 1976, he began working at the original Sarkozy Bakery. He learned about yeast and fermentation, which led to him into experimenting with home brews.

He then opened Bell’s General Store and stocks homebrew supplies. His interest and skills grew into Bell’s Beer, brewed in a 15-gallon soup pot. Production and distribution grew. By 1986, the staff of nine was producing 135 barrels—4,184 gallons—of beer annually.

Bell opened Third Coast Beer, still well ahead of the current craft beer craze. But because beer drinkers were afraid of “ales,” he just called his pale ale beer to avoid the hurdle. The beer’s label is a tribute to the 3,288 miles of Michigan coastline of the five Great Lakes. Now with multiple locations, the Comstock facility has become a favorite for its tour.

While each brewery has its own story and specialty, fall is when they take center stage, as communities all over Michigan host German-themed Oktoberfests. Local brews and ciders are celebrated as part of that culture.

New Tastes, More Stops

The upsurge in craft brewing has created new places to taste the creations. Food is added by partnering with food trucks or creating onsite menus that range from bites to full meals.

Culture Trip says that the Great Lake State is becoming the Great Beer State. There are dozens of craft beer producers making bold brews that include ingredients as innovative as bacon. There are likely as many brews as there are tastebuds.

Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City, Michigan

Use these brewpubs as a base when taking a custom beer tour:

  • Short’s Brewing Company in Bellaire is a Michigan icon. Short’s offers 20 on-tap beers that blend well with a knowledgeable staff willing to share the secrets. The microbrewery restricts distribution to Michigan locations, so travelers should make the stop.
  • Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City holds its own amid wine country. Known for the Pig Porter, Right Brain also innovates brews that feature ingredients like lavender tea, vanilla beans and beets. They always use fresh and never extracts in the making.
  • Odd Side Ales in Grand Haven is focused on crafting unique, high-quality products. The brews are made amid the historic surroundings of the local piano factory. After three expansions, they now create brews in a 44,000-square-foot facility. A tap room and multi-state distribution makes it easy to get the beer, hard seltzers and craft cocktails throughout the Midwest.
  • Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids can be the first or last stop along this loose beer trail. Being rooted in Beer City, there’s constant encouragement to hone the process, create the best. For the fall season, Mosaic Promise returns as a popular hard seltzer.
Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan

When it’s time for an ale, beer, hard cider or seltzer, it’s time to take to a Michigan beer trail. Cheers.

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