4 Ways to Stay Toasty this Season with a Fall Brew Tour

Beer School 2016Autumn is on the way and that means it's color tour season. Busy roads and leaf-gazing not your thing? Then warm up this autumn with a fall flavor tour when you Go Great Lakes Bay, when you can indulge in brewmasters' fuller, richer, darker brews fall creations. Here are 4 ways you can #GoGreat and trace the trails of malty, hoppy goodness from one bold brew-lover's excursion to the next!

1. Raise a glass at Michigan's oldest brewery 
Frankenmuth BreweryFrankenmuth Brewery Exterior
The historical Frankenmuth Brewery has been operating in the charming town of Frankenmuth for more than 150 years. Not content to rest on their historical laurels, Frankenmuth keeps creating interesting, new brews and winning awards for their efforts, including two gold and one bronze medal at the 2016 World Expo of Beer.

The brewery may feel old school but the beer is what you want to drink right now. "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.

Frankenmuth Brewery GrowlerOther 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.

 

2. Sample at one of Michigan's newest breweries 
Oracle Brewing Company
Slated to open this fall at 122 N. Michigan Avenue in Old Town Saginaw, Oracle Brewing Company will feature pub-style service (you order your beer and take it back to your seat). Although they won't be serving food, you're welcome to bring your own or grab some za from Old Town Pizzeria which is conveniently located in the same building. You can expect a rustic, lounge type of feel from their brewery, with comfortable seating as well as more traditional tables.

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, who co-owns 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."

Other stops in Saginaw: J.B. Meinberg Woody O'Briens.jpg
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.

3. Try the brewery whose beers have won a gold, silver, and bronze 
World Expo of Beer 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. Way back 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 comfortable and 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.

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).

4. Give hard cider a whirl. Whichcraft Taproom
WhichCraft Taproom
With more than 80 varieties of Michigan craft beer-40 on tap-WhichCraft Taproom in Midland doesn't disappoint beer aficionados. 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're unfamiliar with hard cider, think about the traditional fall drink made with apples, then imagine it fermented. And spiced. In lots of different ways. Just like craft beer, cider makers start with a base and tweak it to produce different flavors. Whichcraft has several different kinds in cans or bottles (not on tap) so you can get a feel for what you like. 

Eastman's Forgotten Ciders
About half an hour southwest of Midland, in Wheeler, MI, 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.

Midland Brewing Company BrewOther stops in Midland:
The Great Lakes Bay Region has a lot of award-winning brews and Midland Brewing Co. 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.Larkin Beer Garden

If you're in town on a Thursday or Friday, don't miss Larkin Beer Garden, a unique venue that's definitely worth a stop. This shipping container bar is sort of like a stationary food truck - it's the perfect place to grab a beer (occasionally they feature a cider), sit at a picnic table, and play board games with friends. They have bike racks for cyclists and actual food trucks nearby so you can nosh on something tasty while you enjoy their brews. Bring your leashed (friendly) pet and he can hang while you enjoy the day.