Michigan's Wackiest Beers: Here’s What’s Inside

Shorts brewing co
Photo Courtesy of suzikiefer

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Michigan's beer scene is one of the best in the country. With more than 200 breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs across the state, Michigan is truly a dream destination for both beer enthusiasts and those just looking to explore craft beer for the first time. Many beer drinkers prefer to stick with beer-flavored beer, but for those who enjoy taking a drink on the wild side, here are a few of the most unique beers that Michigan breweries have produced. Since most of these are produced in limited quantities and served exclusively in tap rooms or at beer festivals, make sure to check out the breweries’ websites to see what’s available.

1. Spicy

Peter Piper Pepper Pale Ale

Rockford Brewing Company – Rockford
This pale ale utilizes serrano, jalapeno, banana and Hungarian wax peppers from Heidi’s Farmstand and Bakery in Lowell. You can expect a finish of fresh peppers without an overwhelmingly spicy bite. Also try Hot Peter; Peter Piper Pepper Pale Ale cask conditioned on a blend of peppers. - ABV: 5%

440 Pepper Smoker

Original Gravity Brewing Company – Milan
This Amber Ale uses a German smoked malt, producing a balanced smoky flavor that works well with the heat from the fresh jalapenos that are added during several stages of the brewing process. - ABV: 5.6%

2. Sweet

Rye Hipster Brunch Stout

Odd Side Ales – Grand Haven

This dark, boozy stout was aged in bourbon barrels along with coffee, maple syrup and bacon. While made with breakfast ingredients, the sweet and complex flavors found in this beer would also be great for dessert. - ABV: 10%

Barrel Aged Sweet Potato Souffle

Odd Side Ales – Grand Haven
This boozy, spiced strong ale is brewed with sweet potatoes and aged in rye whiskey barrels. Skip the sweet potato casserole and make this the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving table. - ABV: 10%, IBU: 31

Cherry Pie Whole

Right Brain Brewery – Traverse City

Tapped annually in July, this amber ale is brewed with 80 entire cherry pies -- crusts and all -- from Grand Traverse Pie Company. Released just in time for the National Cherry Festival, you can expect the tart-sweet flavor of cherries and a crackery finish from the crusts. - ABV: 5.4%

Ain’t Jemima

Rockford Brewing Company – Rockford
Rockford Brewing Company replaced the water in the brewing process with fresh sap from local maple trees for this sweet beer. Carmel and Munich malts mix well with the maple syrup flavor that easily ferments down to a dry, refreshing finish. - ABV: 7.6%

3. Savory

Mangalista Pig Porter

Right Brain Brewery – Traverse City
A rich, chocolaty porter that is brewed with smoked pig heads and bones. While the vegetarians will want to steer clear, this is the beer that put the spotlight on Right Brain when it was named the 2011 Gold Medal Winner for Best Experimental Beer at the Great American Beer Festival. - ABV: 7%


Short’s Brewing Company – Bellaire

This barbecue-themed experimental amber ale is brewed with tomatoes, brown sugar, molasses, spices and smoked hops. While its smokiness and slight spiciness harken to barbecue sauce, the malty backbone reminds you that this is a surprisingly drinkable beer. - ABV: 6.7%

Spear Beer

Right Brain Brewery – Traverse City

A light-bodied ale with nutty, earthy and sweet notes from real asparagus! They also add real lemon zest for a little brightness in the mix. It sounds weird, but it is a must-try for asparagus fans. - ABV: 5.3%