4 Ways to Stay Toasty This Fall with Michigan Craft Beer

Fall is quickly approaching and that means it’s color tour season. But even if you’re not a fall-color enthusiast, there’s something to look forward to when cooler weather greets the Great Lakes state. This autumn, warm up with a fall flavor tour when you Go Great Lakes Bay, when you can indulge in brewmasters’ fuller, richer, darker brews.

Read more on four ways you can #GoGreat and trace the trails of malty, hoppy goodness from one bold brew-lover’s excursion to the next! 

1. Try a sample at one of Michigan’s newest breweries

Oracle Brewing Company

Scheduled to open this fall at 122 N. Michigan Avenue in Old Town SaginawOracle Brewing Company will offer pub-style service where you can order your beer and take it back to your seat. Although food isn’t on the menu just yet, you’re welcome to bring your own or grab a slice from Old Town Pizzeria which is conveniently located in the same building. Expect a rustic, lounge-type feel from this brewery, with comfortable seating as well as more traditional tables.

Cozy up with a Michigan craft beer this autumn

Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

As for beer, get ready to try something new. “We’re ready to bring something completely different to the Great Lakes Region beer scene,” says Chris Younk, co-owner of the new venture with partner Cody Smith. “Right now we’re focused on creating beers that are light and easy drinking, like some very good pale ales.”

For the fall and winter months, they’re planning a few different beers to help keep you toasty. “Our efforts right now are a combination of making the beer we really like to enjoy for the fall and preparing for winter, when people will want an imperial stout or nice double IPA,” explains Younk.

“I like a good pumpkin beer, so we’ll consider that, but we don’t want to put anything out just to put it out,” Younk says. “It still has to meet our expectations.” Oracle Brewing is working with local suppliers to source various Michigan-grown ingredients. “We want to find opportunities to introduce non-traditional flavors into the beer in ways that will meet your expectations.”

One beer you should look out for when Oracle opens this autumn is a nice pale ale. “It will be pale to golden in color, probably around 4.5 – 5% ABV. It’s going to have a nice, decently thick head on it and some tropical fruity notes with some pine and citrus, but it’s going to be subdued. It will be a crisp beer that will make you want to take another sip.”

If you’re a fan of darker beer, you’re in luck! “We have a strong love for coffee, so another beer we’ll have this fall is a chocolate coffee porter or stout,” Younk says.  “It’s going to be a bigger bodied beer, dark brown, almost chestnut in color, with a nice, rich, creamy mouth feel.”

“Come in and see us when we open!” he says.

Other stops in Saginaw:

At JB Meinburg & Woody’s Draught House you’ll find over 100+ beers on tap. It’s a great place to stop for a flight and sample a few. Loggers Brewing Company is also scheduled to open this year – check their website for updates.

While you’re in Saginaw, don’t miss the The Taproom at Stardust Lanes, a unique venue with a fun bowling alley and taproom, where you’re sure to find something you like: the Taproom boasts 41 taps that feature craft beer from Michigan and around the country.

2. Give Hard Cider A Try

With more than 80 varieties of Michigan craft beer, 40 on tap at any time, WhichCraft Taproom in Midland is a beer-fan’s dream. But for those of you who want to try something a little different, they also serve Michigan-made cider (in addition to mead and wine.) If you haven’t yet tried hard cider, think about the traditional fall drink made with apples, then imagine it fermented and spiced. Similar to craft beer, cider makers start with a base and tweak it to produce different varieties and flavors. Whichcraft has several different kinds in cans or bottles (not on tap) so you can get a feel for what you like.

The Whichcraft Taproom has more than 40 delectable Michigan craft beers on tap

Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

Eastman’s Forgotten Ciders

In the small town of Wheeler, about half an hour southwest of Midland,  you’ll find, Eastman’s Forgotten Ciders, an apple orchard that doesn’t just grow and pick apples-they ferment and bottle cider, too. You can try the goods in their tasting room where they feature cider on tap.

Other stops in Midland:

The Great Lakes Bay Region has a lot of award-winning brews and Midland Brewing Company has won several, including a Bronze Medal at the World Expo of Beer for its Three Mile Marker Hefeweizen, which should be available this fall. Stop by and see what’s on tap.

3. Raise a glass at Michigan’s oldest brewery

Frankenmuth Brewery

The historical Frankenmuth Brewery has been operating in the iconic town of Frankenmuth for more than 150 years. Not content to rest on their historical laurels, Frankenmuth continues to create new brews and winning awards for their efforts, including two gold and one bronze medal at the 2016 World Expo of Beer.

Get ready for a blast from the past when you enter this functional but attractive brewery. “The bar and the back bar look like an old-school German brewery with wood floors and dark wood booths,” says Steve Buszka, Frankenmuth Brewery’s Brewmaster.

Frankenmuth Brewery is a must-visit when in the Great Lakes Bay Region

Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

This brewery is indeed old-school, but the beer is what locals and visitors alike look to enjoy in the city. “We make everything from light Kölsh to oatmeal coffee stout and everything in between,” says Buszka. Of our 20 beers on tap, 6 are German-style beers, but we’re also a craft-centric Michigan brewery.” That means that in addition to German beers, Frankenmuth serves their highly drinkable flagship brews, creative seasonal releases, and unique small batch brews.

This fall, Frankenmuth Brewing will craft a chestnut brown ale made with toasted chestnuts, that’s as-of-yet unnamed (just ask for it by description when you get there). “The toasted chestnuts impart a very autumn flavor to the beer,” Buszka says.

They’ll also be introducing two enticing IPAs, one of which, Ted Nugget, is made with 100% Michigan grown nugget hops. “The nugget hop is a hop varietal that’s going to have an earthy bitterness but a very citrusy, light grapefruit flavor to it,” says Buszka. If you’re an IPA fan be sure to ask for Wicked Warlock, a west-coast style Double IPA that they’ll have this fall. “I like to make beer that is balanced and smooth,’” Buszka says. “I know I’ve done my job right if you drink one, order another, and contemplate ordering a third!”

When you Go Great Lakes Bay region this autumn, you can also try their Oktoberfest beer and pumpkin beer. “We use all German hops, malts, and yeast in our Oktoberfest beer, which is going to be a very light amber beer with a nice, malty aroma,” says Buszka.

Pumpkin Chucker, their pumpkin brew, will “taste like liquid pumpkin pie, but it’s 8% alcohol,” Buszka cautions. Although many breweries sell their pumpkin beer on the market, Frankenmuth only serves it in-house. “Ours is just at the brewery, so if you want to try it, you’ll have to take a little trip to Frankenmuth.”

Other stops in Frankenmuth:

If you’re in the mood for traditional German food and want to try a few other Michigan beers (as well as a few from around the country), swing by Sullivan’s Black Forest Brew Haus & Grill while you’re in town.

4. Try the brewery whose beers have won a gold, silver and bronze

Tri-City Brewing Company 

If the summer Olympics has you dreaming of podium wins, Tri-City Brewing Company in Bay City is your next stop. In 2007, the second beer they introduced after opening, Phelan, won a bronze medal at its first World Expo of Beer. Tri-City has continued turning out winners, including three golds and a silver at the 2016 World Expo of Beer.

If you visit this fall, you can still find Tri-City Brewing at its original location (3020 North Water Street), which is truly  inviting with high ceilings and a bit of an industrial feel (it’s located in a former warehouse). But this popular brewery is growing so they’ll have new digs later this year (4170 Shrestha Drive). The new location will almost double their seating capacity giving them the capability to expand their tap line, which means they’ll have more tasty brews for you to try.

Make a splash this autumn by sharing Michigan craft beers with your friends

Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

You’ll find several Belgian beers on tap at Tri-City, because they’re a favorite of Brewmaster Paul Popa. “Belgian beers are different in the sense that they’re very flavorful and the aroma profiles is dominated by the Belgium yeast,” explains Popa. They often have floral or clove notes; you may pick up rose aroma or bubble gum notes or get a spiciness from a white or black pepper note.”

You can also look forward to their seasonal beers, like Oktoberfest. “That’s always a big one for us,” says Popa. “Our Oktoberfest is a little darker than most, with darker gold notes and almost an orange color. It’s a very malty, very clean lager, with about 6% alcohol. To me, it represents fall. I call it autumn in a glass.”

Another seasonal beer you’ll want to try is Tri-City’s Brownhoist Ale, whose namesake, Industrial Brownhoist, was once a major manufacturer of industrial cranes in the area. “We’ve won several awards with that beer,” Popa says. “It’s an easy drinking English brown ale, not too hoppy, very earthy, with caramel to toffee notes and only about 4.8% alcohol. It’s great in the fall when the weather starts to cool and leaves start to change.”

As long as you’re there, you should give their flagship beer, Hell’s Half Mile a whirl. Named after a rougher part of town in the old lumbering days, it’s a German lager with some malty, toasty notes. “It’s a very easy drinking beer and it’s the beer that we recommend people start with when they come here,” Popa says. “It’s very clean but has some flavor to it.”

Other stops in Bay City:

Lumber Barons Brewery is housed in an old lumber mill. Try the BBQ at Rusty Saw Smokehouse, located inside the brewery. With delicious flatbreads and 54 rotating taps featuring beers from Michigan and around the country, Tavern 101 is also worth a stop! If you’re in the mood for schnitzel, stop by Stein Haus and try theirs, while you sample the beers on tap.

For a unique group experience, schedule a ride to pedal your way along a Bay City pub tour on Sunrise Pedal Trolley (rides also available in Frankenmuth).

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting the Great Lakes Bay region? Share with us by commenting below!

Here’s What You Can’t Miss This Fall in Livingston County

It’s been a memorable summer in Pure Michigan, but it’s nearly time to turn our attention to fall! Between the changing colors, cider mills and fall festivals, there’s so much to plan for to fully enjoy the autumn season in the Great Lakes state.

The best way to plan for fall is to plan early, so read more on a handful of can’t-miss fall festivities and locations in Livingston County to visit and explore during the coming season.

Kensington Metropark offers unique events and happenings all year long

Photo Courtesy of the Livingston County Convention and Visitors Bureau

1. Cider Mills, Parks and U-Pick Farms

Parshallville Historic Cider Mill
Fenton

What’s the telltale sign of autumn in Pure Michigan? Taking that first sip of fresh, sweet and crisp cider. While you visit this iconic mill, take home a (strictly from scratch) Dutch Apple Pie and munch on a toasty donut rolled in cinnamon sugar. A variety of heirloom apples, apple cinnamon bread, apple butter, caramel apples and more make this tasty stop “Apple Central”.

Spicer Orchards Harvest Festival
Fenton, Sept. 17-18

Spicer commemorates farm life of early settlers with antique tractor and machinery, corn grinding demonstration and old fashioned kids play area. Here you’ll find a daytime corn maze, train rides, arts and crafts fair and home-style BBQ meaning you will leave full and happy. In addition to the festival, Spicer offers a variety of u-pick fruits and vegetables and free wine tastings for the adults.

Spicer's Cider Mill is a favorite among locals and visitors alike

Spicer Orchards is an ideal destination for picking that perfect pumpkin (and other fruits and vegetables!)

Kensington Metropark
Milford

Kensington Metropark is an ideal destination if you enjoy being surrounded by colorful forest vistas and native wildlife. And nothing says fall tradition like a horse drawn wagon ride to a U-pick pumpkin patch. Plan to allow time to explore the 150 year old restored barn farm exhibit, poultry house and pet the animals at the Farm Center.

2. Fall Colors and Autumn Festivals

There are many fall events tailored for every age in Livingston County

Photo Courtesy of the Livingston County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Mayhew’s Tree Farm Fall Festivities
Fowlerville, Oct. 1- 31

These fun autumn days are designed with small children in mind! Hop aboard the covered wagon hayride through Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and the Ghost Town of Tombstone to the U-Pick pumpkin patch. Find the magic pumpkin in the Evergreen Maze and win a prize. Kids love to pet the farm animals and relish the apple cider and donuts. October 1 – 31, Monday thru Saturday 10-7pm Sunday, 11-5pm. mayhewstreefarm.com

Tour de Livingston
Howell, Oct. 9

Get your bike ready – the Tour de Livingston will be here before you know it! This scenic ride provides cyclists with a perfect panoramic view of early fall colors as they journey through the breathtaking countryside of Livingston County. The tour features the exclusive opportunity to cruise your bicycle on the GM Proving Grounds and includes hospitality tents, a full breakfast, snacks, and a hearty meal prepared by the chef at Mt. Brighton when the ride is over. Choose between 5 & 10 mile family rides or 29, 38, 62 metric century or a century route.

3. Spooky and Haunted Attractions

Hell-O-Hollow Weekends 
Hell, Sept. 17 – Oct. 31

The thrills are in Hell, where Halloween is celebrated all year long! Take the Grave Digger Sundae Challenge and win the official death certificate, if you survive. Dip scary named toppings like bat droppings, toenails, worms and ectoplasm out of the authentic Coffin Bar.

The Legend of Sleepy Howell and Haunted Howell Ghost Tours
Howell, Oct. 22nd

The Legend of Sleepy Howell is a humongous Halloween costume party for the whole family! Historic downtown Howell is transformed into a magical site for trick or treat, live music, hayrides, costume contests, games and prizes. Don’t forget about the Headless Horseman 5K/10K race while you’re there! The ghost tours are guided by Medium Dianna O’Grady who shares her personal insights and experiences at several historic sites rumored to be haunted. Tour guests are encouraged to arrive in advance to visit Howell’s Main Street Winery, sample some wine and ask about the many “encounters” staff and visitors have shared. Tours by appointment all season long.

The Terrorfied Forest is not for the faint of heart

Photo Courtesy of Terrorfied.com

The Terrorfied Forest & Terrified Manor
Pinckney, Sept. 16 – Oct. 31

The Terrorfied Forest & Terrorfied Manor are not recommended for the faint of heart. Traversing the dark pathways of the forest will unearth the terrors lurking in the depths of the forest. And if you dare, prepare to have your blood run cold as you experience a different thrill in every room of the haunted manor. Not recommended for children as these frights are sure to leave even the bravest adults trembling.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting Livingston County? Share with us by commenting below and like the Livingston County Convention and Visitors Bureau Facebook page to stay up to date on upcoming events!

You’re Invited: Michigan Fall Colors Live Web Chat

Fall is in the air in Pure Michigan! The new season officially begins on September 22, which means that brisk days and vibrant colors are in sight. In Michigan, there’s really no better place to see the dynamic colors of a trillion trees than by taking a fall colors tour along our highways, country roads and coastlines. To learn more about how to experience a fall colors tour for yourself, we’re hosting a live chat with Pure Michigan’s very own David Lorenz on Monday, September 30 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) EST. David will be answering questions on timing of peak colors, routes to explore and things to do along the way.

On September 30, you can join us right here at the following box. Learn more about David below, and get your questions ready for the chat!

For more on fall in Michigan, check out the following resources:

David Lorenz is the Manager of Industry Relations & International Marketing for Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation – the official State of Michigan tourism promotion agency.  He oversees Travel Michigan’s efforts in the areas of international marketing, packaged travel, conventions and meetings, industry relations, golf and sports-event promotion. 

Prior to coming to Travel Michigan in October 2002, Mr. Lorenz was the Manager, Partnerships and Promotions, for Meijer, Inc. where he was responsible for the facilitation of collaborative marketing programs with key consumer goods manufacturers such as Nabisco, Kraft, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Coca-Cola, Disney and Mattel. 

He also has 14 years’ experience in radio broadcasting in roles varying from announcer and news reporter to numerous management positions. 

David Lorenz attended Western Michigan University.  He lives in Norton Shores with his wife, Roberta.