Cheers for Charlevoix Beers: 5 Awesome Breweries

Calling craft beer drinkers! Northern Michigan is the perfect place to enjoy the lakes while sipping on a delicious Michigan craft beer. If you’re looking for an ideal spot to stay right in the middle of a fun Michigan brew tour, look no further than the Charlevoix area!

Read more on a few breweries to discover in Northern Michigan via the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

1. Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company
Charlevoix

Located in downtown Charlevoix, the Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company is an 8 tap brew-pub featuring four mainstays and four ever rotating tap handles of quality Michigan craft beer. During the warmer months make sure to get a seat in the beer garden overlooking Round Lake. They thoroughly enjoy the seasonality of different beer styles, drinking darker beers in the winter and lighter beers in the summer. One of the coolest beers on tap currently is Our-Levoix, a rhubarb red ale that is both tart and sweet brewed in collaboration with Our Brewing Co. Hopheads will love the El Trubador, a citrus noted Imperial IPA made from Michigan Cascade Hops. The food menu provides shareable apps and simple tacos and sandwiches that perfectly accompany the beer choices.

Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company is your stop for delicious craft beer

Photo Courtesy of the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau

2. Petoskey Brewing Company
Petoskey

It’s hard to miss the Petoskey Brewing building on M-119, which was built in 1898 and brewed until 1915. In 2012, the brewery was restored and reopened. The seasonal Cranium Crush Waffle Cone Raspberry Cream Ale is a great blend of fresh raspberries and actual waffle cones. This unique brew is a great seasonal beer that’s smooth and great for summer. If you are a IPA fan, Hopsessed Double I.P.A. is a bold blend of citrus and Simcoe dry hop. This beer’s high bitterness is somewhat toned down by the caramel used in the malted barley. Petoskey Brewing also offers a full menu with delicious burgers and sandwiches.

The Petoskey Brewing company hails from a historic northern Michigan location

Photo Courtesy of the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau

3. Beards Brewing Company
Petoskey

Nestled in downtown Petoskey, Beards has a unique concealed backroom location. With a vibe like your neighborhood coffee shop, the low key feeling is ever present with the offering of Wed-Sat food truck Happy’s Tacos. Looking for a good summer beer? Look no further than the Luna, this beer is a classic brewery staple that is a saison-styled American wheat ale that has amazing undertones of citrus. The Serendipity Porter offers a smooth chocolatey flavor with a perfect blend of sweetness. There are also subtle undertones of sherry and smoke that makes this a great class of beer.

Beards Brewing is a can't-miss when visiting Petoskey

Photo Courtesy of the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau

4. Shorts Brewing Company
Bellaire

Shorts is a Northern Michigan staple. This local brewery has gained state and national recognition for their innovative beer names. Known for its Soft Parade, Bellaire Brown, and Huma Lupa Licious, the brew pub also offers numerous unique beers that cannot be found in stores. Try their Chocolate Wheat ale, an amazingly smooth and drinkable porter style beer. Gitchy Gitchy Ooh La La is brewed with nontraditional ingredients such as cucumber, lemon and lilac. This tasty blend creates a fun tasting experience. Shorts always has tons of new beers being added to their tap list. Make sure to save room for food, as their menu does not disappoint (our fav is the White Pepper sammy).

Shorts is known as one of the most recognizable breweries in Michigan

Photo Courtesy of the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau

Up & Coming

Stiggs will be a great addition to the Michigan brewery family

Photo Courtesy of the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau

5. Stiggs Brewing Company
Boyne City

We were very lucky to get a sneak peek! Located downtown Boyne City, Stiggs Brewing Company can be found in the historical Alpena Railroad building. This once bustling railroad depot promises to be the next great addition to the Michigan craft beer scene. The Screaming Tree IPA is an American hops and barley ale that’s well balanced and smooth. The Boyne Logger is a Vienna Style Lager that is lightly hopped and visitors a chance unwind after a busy day.  The Swoopy Swallow is a Weizenbier that has a wheaty malt flavor with an extremely crisp finish. Stiggs serves pub food with a twist derived from local farmers and vendors paired with Stiggs hand crafted beers and other Michigan wines and spirits. Don’t miss your chance to visit the newest addition to Northern Michigan. Stiggs Brewing Company will be opening in October of 2016!

Tap Rooms You can never go wrong with Michigan craft beer. Check out each of these locations to find more awesome Michigan beer.

Which of these breweries have you visited? Share with us by commenting below!

Celebrate Summer at the Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival

Summer time kicks off in Mt. Pleasant, MI with the 3rd Annual Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival! Hosted in downtown Mt. Pleasant, the craft beer festival brings together thousands of people with one common interest: the love of craft beer.

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The Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival launched in 2014 and became an instant success, yet the idea of the festival was not new to the city of Mt. Pleasant.

“The Mt. Pleasant Jaycees saw an opportunity with the growing craft beer industry and decided to plan an event,” says Brian Wieferich, co-chair of the festival committee, “The Craft Beer Festival is a fun, educational event, and the proceeds raised are poured right back into the community to go toward various charitable causes.”

The festival features craft breweries from all over the state including New Holland Brewing Company, Shorts Brewing Company, and Mt. Pleasant’s local brews such as Mountain Town Brewing Company. Samples will including an array of beers, ciders, meads and wine. “Also this year, we will have four food vendors within the Festival area, so there will be plenty of options for food! We will have a photo booth and various merchandise vendors as well,” says Wieferich.

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The Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival is a fun and safe way to enjoy local craft brews. The festival will be held on June 11th and take place in Jockey Alley parking lot, behind Max & Emily’s Eatery in Downtown Mt. Pleasant. Spend the weekend with beer, live music, food and friends.

Plan your stay at MountPleasantWow.com/Stay.

For more information about the participating breweries, food vendors, or ticket pricing visit mpbeerfest.com.

5 Michigan Breweries Famous on a National Scale

Craft Beer is becoming synonymous with Michigan, with some 250 breweries spread throughout two peninsulas. Ranking fifth nationally for that overall number of breweries, it’s no wonder the Michigan Brewers Guild uses the tag: “Michigan. The Great Beer State.” In celebration of National Beer Day, read more on five famous Michigan breweries (in no particular order), as shared by Dianna Stampfler of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

Did you know there are quite a handful of Michigan breweries and microbreweries that currently distribute outside the state? In fact, Michigan-based Meijer recently announced that it is taking the six largest breweries—Arcadia, Atwater, Bell’s, Founders, New Holland and Short’s—to more than 223-store locations in five states in the Midwest!

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @nickgezon

Currently, Meijer carries selections from 50 Michigan breweries and offers 550 different beers from 220 beer-makers in its six-state footprint. It expects to sell $90 million in craft beer in 2016, including $30 million of Michigan-produced beer.

Those who live in Michigan probably know most of the older, well-established breweries. But for those throughout the rest of the country, what do they think of when they hear the names of some of these noted craft producers?

1. Bell’s Brewery. The largest and longest-operating of Michigan’s craft breweries, Bell’s was founded in 1986 in Kalamazoo by Larry Bell—considered the patriarch of the industry.

Available in 23 states, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico, this brand’s most noted product is Oberon (introduced as Solsun in 1992 and renamed in 1997 due to a similar named beer from another North American brewery).

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

The release of this noted beer is nothing less than a National Holiday—Oberon Day was celebrated this year on Monday, March 21 (second only to Eccentric Day, held each December, in terms of Bell’s-focused festivities). Considered a summer seasonal for most states, it is available year-round in states with warmer climates such as Arizona, Southern California, Florida and Puerto Rico.

2. Dark Horse Brewery. Featured in 2014 on The History Channel show “Dark Horse Nation,” this Marshall brewery has a loyal-following for its cast of characters as well as its full beer portfolio. But it is the Crooked Tree IPA which is its top seller, currently available in 15 states, and overseas in Denmark.

An IPA (India Pale Ale) is a style of beer dating back to the early 1800s. Contemporary American IPAs are typically brewed with distinctively American hops. Dark Horse’s award-winning Crooked Tree IPA (6.5% ABV | 46 IBUs) is heavily dry-hopped with a blend of Centennial, Cascade and Columbus hops, to give it a big aroma of pine and grapefruit citrus.

3. Founder’s Brewing. Michigan’s second-largest brewery (and the fastest growing of the top 50 largest breweries in the United States), has been operating in downtown Grand Rapids since 1997 and currently offers a wide variety of beer styles available in 37 states (and growing).

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

Among Founders’ diverse portfolio, it is Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) which garners the most attention for the brewery.

“KBS is sold one day a year in outlying markets,” says co-founder Dave Engbers. “Usually. It doesn’t hit the shelves but is quietly held or reserved as a reward to retailers’ best customers. Beer enthusiast have been known to ‘tail’ beer distributor’s trucks so they don’t miss a delivery.”

While KBS is available in limited quantities starting April 1 across the brewery’s distribution footprint visitors to and residents of Grand Rapids were given access to this much-anticipated beer back in mid-March during KBS Week.

4. Jolly Pumpkin. Regarded as the nation’s first brewery focused on and offering an exclusive selection of oak-aged sour beers—often called farmhouse or rustic country ales—Jolly Pumpkin has under the watchful guidance of master brewer Ron Jeffries.

With a special interest in rustic country ales, Ron and his wife, Laurie, realized their dream in the summer of 2004 when they launched Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Dexter (along with North Peak Beer, both of which operate through Northern United Brewing Company). Currently available in 25 states (as well as Hong Kong, Belgium, Ontario and South Korea), the award-winning Jolly Pumpkin is recognized as the America’s premier all-sour brewery.

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

And while the creatively-named and inspired beers are all special in their own way, it is the Oro de Calabaza (translation: Golden Pumpkin) that is the #1 selling beer outside of Michigan. This Golden Ale (8% ABV | 30 IBUs) is a “wild ale” brewed in the Franco-Belgian tradition of Belgian Strong Goldens. Available year-round, this orange-yellow hued beer it is “spicy and peppery, with a gentle hop bouquet and beguiling influence of wild yeast.”

5. New Holland Brewing. Founded in downtown Holland in 1997, (and coming soon to downtown Grand Rapids), this brewery and distillery first produced Dragon’s Milk (11% ABV | 31 IBUs) in 2001 as a single-batch annual release. Today, it is the brewery’s largest selling year-round beer – available in all 24 states where they distribute. In fact, in 2015 New Holland renovated its Holland production facility to expand its cellar, where more than 3,500 oak barrels of Dragon’s Milk are now aging.

This Bourbon Barrel Stout is aged in bourbon barrels and is noted for its roasty malt character intermingled with deep vanilla tones that dance together in an oak bath before being bottled. In 2014, New Holland introduced their “Dragon’s Milk Reserve” series, including additional conditioning ingredients, like toasted chilies, and raspberries. The 2016 Dragon’s Milk Reserve series includes Vanilla Chai, released in January, Coffee & Chocolate released in March and will include Raspberry and Lemon and “Double Dragon” later this year.

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

It should also be noted that New Holland produces a full line of spirits as well, including Beer Barrel Bourbon – a bourbon-style whiskey finished in second-use Dragon’s Milk beer barrels for 90 days. For those who are so inclined, a snifter of Dragon’s Milk served with a shot of Beer Barrel Bourbon has affectionately been called the “Dragon Slayer.”

Dianna Stampfler is a freelance writer and promoter of all things Michigan. She has served as publicist for the Michigan Brewers Guild since 2008.