“Michigan. The Great Beer State.”

cherry_ale.jpgAccording to the Michigan Brewers Guild, the Great Lake State should also be known as “The Great Beer State.” Home to world-famous breweries such as Bell’s in Kalamazoo and Founders in Grand Rapids (which brews the seasonal bright red cherry ale, using only Michigan cherries, pictured above), and with the fifth most breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs (80+) per capita in the nation, the state has earned its reputation.  

HopCat, a brewpub in Grand Rapids, has 48 taps, around 60 percent of which are stocked with Michigan beers at any time, and 150 bottles, 35% from MI, and has become a destination in its own right. They have recently started bottling their own beer, an IPA called Oil Rigger. And it makes sense for brewpubs like HopCat to make bold new steps like this because the beer industry in Michigan, unlike many others in the state, is growing.

On February 27, the Michigan Brewers Guild is hosting the 5th Annual Winter Beer Festival, the perfect way for craft beer fans to sample tons of Michigan beers in one location, on one day. The event will be held in Fifth Third Park (home of the Grand Rapids minor league baseball team, the Whitecaps) which is in Comstock Park, just north of the city. More than 35 microbreweries and brewpubs are expected, and over 200 beers will be available to sample. The cost is $35 in advance and includes 15 drink tokens, each good for a 3 oz. beer sample. Tickets can be purchased here.

Here at IT, we often encourage travelers to have a sustainable experience by shopping locally during trips, but it’s also something you can do in your home state. Check out your local microbreweries and brewpubs–you may discover your new favorite fermented beverage!

Image: Sara Robertson / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


  1. Gordon
    September 28, 2010, 7:10 pm

    If you’re looking for a great Michigan brew , you must find your way to Frankenmuth! One of the best local brewery’s around.

  2. Mike@ Traverse City Hotels
    August 4, 2010, 12:54 am

    Bells is with out question the best micro brew house in the country. There summer brew Oberan is amazing, as well as their other brews. I always love taking a trip to Traverse City Michigan for their summer microbrew and music festival. Lots of good beer.

  3. Julie
    February 28, 2010, 12:26 am

    You can find all of these and every other craft brewery in Michigan, the rest of the U.S. and Canada at http://www.pubquest.com – cheers!

  4. Cheap beer koozies
    February 23, 2010, 9:17 pm

    You got a really useful blog I have been here reading for about an hour. I am a newbie and your success is very much an inspiration for me.

  5. dragos_ionut2004
    February 23, 2010, 8:44 pm

    Nice post! However I have to say that Michigan is not the only beer out there.Check out the Beer of the month club and you’ll see with your eyes about it.

  6. Linda
    February 18, 2010, 2:37 pm

    I keep learning more and more about the great state of Michigan. The west side of the state is definitely the place to be for a home-grown cold one. I wouldn’t consider myself a hop head, but I agree the festival is a great way to support local businesses.

  7. Steve
    February 18, 2010, 9:31 am

    Bell’s (Kalamazoo) and Founders (Grand Rapids) both make many great beers. I’ve never been to the Winter Beer Festival, but I’m thinking about making the trek this year.
    Great article!

  8. Ben Keene
    February 16, 2010, 5:44 pm

    Great post. Beer festivals are a great way to try new brews, meet fellow hop heads, and support local business. Check out the Brewers Association for information on events nationwide.