Michigan Breweries: A Pint-Sized Adventure of Michigan Beer Cities!

Welcome to Michigan Breweries, and pint sized beer adventurers! If you’re a fan of craft beers and want a pint-sized adventure, come see why beer always tastes better in Michigan! Ranked consistently the top three of "Beer Cities" of the United States we are often dubbed "The Great Beer State," Michigan boasts innovative breweries that populate the taste buds for both boldness and uniqueness.  Michigan is full of Beer City adventures, beer trails, ale trails, beer tours and good food. 

From well-established internationally renowned breweries to magnificent microbrew marvels, here’s our self guided beer adventure tour of Michigan's breweries!

Voted #1 Best Beer City USA | Best Brewery Grand Rapids Michigan | Founders Brewing Co.

Beer City GR Logo

Let's start with Founders Brewing Co., Voted #1 in the USA of Best Breweries this brewery is nestled in the heart of Grand Rapids Michigan. Founders Brewing crafts bold, complex flavors that redefine what a true craft beer can be. Founders Brewing Co. has been serving Grand Rapids beers on tap for years and offers a stunning beer garden, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re a Michigander or venture in from out of state. Founders is one of the best breweries located in the world. Contributing to their status as one of Michigan's premier breweries, they also boast a taproom in Detroit.

See all the Best 50 Grand Rapids Michigan Breweries

Where in Michigan: Southwest Michigan - Address: 235 Cesar E. Chavez Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Southeast Michigan,  Detroit, MI - Address: 456 Charlotte St, Detroit, MI 48201

Not in Michigan, no worries check out the store finder near you: Where to buy Founder's Beer Located Near You

MAP Founders has two primary locations: the main brewery and taproom in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a second taproom in Detroit.

Host: beer tastings, festivals, or other special events.

Guided tours: Yes, want to see the beer factory check out Founders Brewing Tours

Do they offer merchandise for sale? Founders Online Beer Glasses and a Company Store 

What sets them apart? Founder's Brewing Co., based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has set itself apart in the craft beer world in numerous ways:

  1. Founders is known for its wide variety of beer styles, each with a unique twist.
  2. Barrel-Aging Program: Founders has one of the most renowned barrel-aging programs in the craft beer industry. Their Barrel-Aged Series, including the fore mentioned KBS and its counterpart CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout), has garnered international acclaim.
  3. The Grand Rapids taproom is not just a place to sample beers but an experience in itself. With live music, events, and a wide variety of beers on tap (including some taproom-exclusive brews), it's a hub for both locals and tourists.

Best Grand Rapids Beer | Founders Brewing Co. Beer Types:

  1. All Day Beverages: All Day IPA: A session IPA that's flavorful yet lower in alcohol. All Day Vacay: A wheat ale version, offering a lighter, refreshing taste.
  2. Stouts: KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout): An imperial stout brewed with coffee and chocolates, then aged in bourbon barrels. CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout): Similar to KBS but aged in bourbon barrels that previously held maple syrup.
  3. IPAs (India Pale Ales):Centennial IPA: A well-balanced IPA with a robust hop character. Unraveled IPA: A juicy IPA that's packed with flavor.
  4. Fruit Beers: Rübæus: A pure raspberry ale, vibrant in color and taste. Más Agave: A series of barrel-aged beers reminiscent of a classic margarita with flavors like grapefruit and cherry.
  5. Lagers: Solid Gold: A premium lager offering a hint of hop appeal. PC  Pils: An American-hopped pilsner with a crisp finish.
  6. Special & Limited Releases: Barrel-Aged Series: Founders often releases limited-edition beers aged in different barrels. This series has included a variety of styles from stouts to barley wines and more. Blushing Monk: A Belgian-style ale fermented with pure raspberries.
  7. Others: Dirty Bastard: A Scotch-style ale with seven varieties of imported malts. Porter: A robust porter with chocolate and caramel malt undertones.

What Makes Founders Brewing Unique: It must be something in the water?

Founders Brewing Co. holds a distinguished spot in the American craft beer landscape, and we celebrate them for reasons that underscore their distinctiveness as a Michigan Brewery:

Production Volume: Founders consistently ranks among the top 20 craft breweries in the U.S. based on annual beer production volume. They've been producing several hundred thousand barrels of beer annually. In Michigan they rank in the top two for production and reputation for years.

  1. Bold Beer Choices: From the outset, Founders built its reputation on audaciously flavored beers. Its motto, "Brewed for Us," encapsulates the company's commitment to producing beers that its founders would want to drink, regardless of mainstream preferences.
  2. Iconic Beers: Founders has produced several iconic beers that have received international acclaim. Beers such as the Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) and Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) often cause a buzz among enthusiasts upon their limited releases.
  3. All Day IPA: One of the early and notable successes in the session IPA category, the "All Day IPA" showcased that a beer could be both flavorful and lower in alcohol, making it suitable for extended drinking sessions.
  4. Centennial IPA: This beer, with its balanced flavor and broad appeal, stands out as a quintessential American IPA, making it a staple for many craft beer drinkers.
  5. Diverse Portfolio: Beyond just IPAs and stouts, Founders offers a broad range of beers, including lagers, fruit beers, barrel-aged series, and more.
  6. Commitment to Sustainability: Founders takes measures to minimize its environmental impact. This includes practices related to water conservation, energy use, waste management, and sourcing sustainable ingredients.
  7. Taproom Experience: The Founders taproom in Grand Rapids is more than just a bar; it's a community hub. Michiganders and visitors alike can enjoy live music, food, and a wide variety of beers on tap.
  8. Consistent Quality: Consistency is key in the brewing world, and Founders has maintained a reputation for producing high-quality beers batch after batch.
  9. Evolution and Growth: Despite facing challenges, Founders has shown a capacity to evolve. The brewery has expanded its reach, exporting beers to various countries and growing its brand presence nationally.
  10. Community Involvement: Founders actively participates in and gives back to its local community in Grand Rapids, hosting events and supporting charitable causes.

In summary, Founders Brewing Co. stands out due to its bold and innovative beer choices, its commitment to quality and sustainability, and its active role in the community. These factors, combined with a genuine passion for brewing, make Founders a unique pillar not just in Michigan but in the craft beer world.

It's Beer Thirty | Does Founder's Brewing offer food or snacks along with their beer?

  1. Sandwiches and Wraps: Often hearty and flavorful, these might include options like pulled pork, turkey, vegetarian offerings, and more.
  2. Pizzas: Handmade crusts with a diverse range of toppings catering to both traditional and gourmet tastes.
  3. Salads: For a lighter option, they typically offer a few different salads with fresh ingredients.
  4. Appetizers: These can range from pretzel bites and nachos to wings and other beer-friendly snacks.
  5. Soups: Depending on the season, they might offer a rotating selection of soups.
  6. Desserts: A selection to satisfy your sweet tooth, sometimes even incorporating their beers into the recipes.
  7. Specials: Seasonal or limited-time offerings based on local ingredients or particular themes.
  8. Vegetarian & Vegan Options: Conscious of various dietary preferences, the menu typically includes options for vegetarians and sometimes vegans.

To get the most current menu and specific food offerings, it's best to visit Founders Brewing Co.'s official website or contact their taproom directly.

Bell's Brewery | Kalamazoo, MI | Something Brewing in the Zoo!

Next is Bell's Brewery, the biggest Michigan brewery by sales volume and a brewhouse master in the craft beer industry. They are located in Kalamazoo and have a mission of brewing purposefully flavorful, unfiltered, quality craft beer. From classics like the Oberon Ale to the exquisite Two Hearted Ale, every sip you take is a testament to their craft and passion.

Bell's is also a Historic Brewery:
Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, is one of the oldest and largest craft breweries in the United States. Established in 1985, Bell’s has been a pioneer in the craft beer movement, contributing to the state's reputation as a beer destination.

Where in Michigan: Southwest Michigan, Kalamazoo, MI, MAP 

Where to buy: Bell's Beer Store Located Near you

When: beer tastings, festivals, or other special events.

Guided tour: Yes, Bell's Brewery Tour

Do they offer merchandise for sale? Get Bells Beer Glasses online and at the Eccentric Café Store in Kalamazoo.

What sets them apart? Bell's Brewery stands out due to its blend of traditional values, innovative brewing techniques, commitment to quality, and deep-rooted community ties. Their combination of iconic beers and continuous evolution makes them a unique and respected player in the craft beer world.

Interesting Michigan fact: Checkered Motors Corporation was based in Kalamazoo, MI, the iconic Taxi Cab company ran for almost 90 years until the financial crisis of 2008 stressed much of the economy and the company closed. 

What is interesting is Bells Brewery's "Eccentric Café" is located only blocks from the former world headquarters for Checkered Motors ran for decades.

What Makes Bell's Brewery Unique: Crafty Commitment

Bell's Brewery, headquartered in Comstock, Michigan, is one of the oldest, most esteemed and largest craft breweries in Michigan and the United States. There are several aspects that set Bell's apart and give it its unique character:

  1. Pioneering Spirit: Founded by Larry Bell in 1985, Bell's Brewery is one of the pioneering establishments in the American craft beer movement. Starting as a homebrew supply shop, it transitioned to brewing and became a cornerstone in the U.S. craft beer evolution.
  2. Iconic Beers: Bell's is the creator of some legendary beers: Two Hearted Ale: Regularly touted as one of the best IPAs in America, this beer has achieved almost cult-like status among beer enthusiasts. Oberon: A seasonal wheat ale that has become synonymous with the onset of summer for many in the Midwest. Hopslam: An annual release, this double IPA brewed with honey is highly anticipated and sought after.
  3. Quality & Consistency: One of Bell's key strengths is the consistent quality of its beers, whether they're flagship products or limited releases.
  4. Environmental Commitment: Bell's takes steps to ensure its brewing processes are sustainable. They've invested in energy efficiency, waste reduction, and other eco-friendly initiatives.
  5. Family-Owned & Independent: While the craft beer industry has seen acquisitions and mergers, Bell's has remained independent and family-owned, which allows them to prioritize their original mission and values.
  6. Eccentric Café: Located in Kalamazoo, the Bell's Eccentric Café is more than just a taproom and a beer garden. It's a place of community, music, and, of course, a wide variety of Bell's beers, some of which are exclusive to the café.
  7. Innovation & Experimentation: Despite their success, Bell's doesn't rest on its laurels. The brewery is known to experiment with new beer styles, ingredients, and brewing techniques, ensuring they remain at the forefront of the craft beer scene.
  8. Diverse Portfolio: While they have their stalwarts like Two Hearted and Oberon, Bell's boasts a diverse range of beers, from stouts and porters to lagers and specialty ales.
  9. Community Involvement: Bell's is deeply rooted in its local community. They sponsor events, support local causes, and work to uplift the region they call home.

Bell's Brewery Beer Types | Barley and Hops – and a Pair of Flip Flops!

  1. Year-Round Beers: Two Hearted Ale: An American IPA, this beer is known for its balanced malt backbone and pronounced hop profile. It's frequently ranked among the best IPAs in the country. Light Hearted Ale: A "lo-cal" IPA that offers a lighter version of Two Hearted, capturing the essence of the original but with fewer calories. Official: A hazy IPA that combines oats, wheat, and a blend of hops to create a smooth, fruity profile. Amber Ale: A well-rounded beer with a mix of toasted grain, light caramel notes, and a range of hop flavors. Lager of the Lakes: A Bohemian Pilsner that's crisp and refreshing with a subtle hop presence. Kalamazoo Stout: A rich stout with flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted barley. Porter: A blend of dark malts gives this beer its deep color and flavors of chocolate and coffee.
  2. Seasonal Beers: Oberon: A wheat ale and a summer favorite. I think of Barley and hops – and a pair of flip flops! It's known for its fruity aroma, smooth mouthfeel, and slightly spicy hop character. Best Brown: A smooth, toasty fall ale that's perfect for the cooler months. Bright White: A Belgian-inspired wheat ale with a slightly fruity and spicy profile, typically available in winter. Octoberfest: A traditional Märzen-style beer that celebrates the fall season.
  3. Specialty Beers: Hopslam: A double IPA brewed with honey, this beer has a complex hop profile and is an annual release that's highly anticipated by fans. Expedition Stout: A robust Russian Imperial Stout that's perfect for cellaring. It offers complex flavors ranging from chocolate to dark fruit. Third Coast Old Ale: A barley wine-style ale with a rich malt character and notes of caramel and dried fruit.
  4. Limited & Experimental Releases: Bell's often brews limited or experimental beers that are available for a short time or exclusively at their Eccentric Café.
  5. Bell's Reserve Series: This series includes high-gravity, experimental, and barrel-aged beers that are released sporadically and are highly sought after by enthusiasts.

This list represents just a fraction of Bell's Brewery's offerings, as they continuously innovate and introduce new beers. It's best to visit Bell's Brewery's official website or their taproom for all that is new or limited.

Does Bell's Offer Food or Snacks Along With Their Beer? | Eccentric Café

Yes, Bell's Brewery's Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo serves a menu that complements their beer offerings, making it a popular destination for both locals and visitors. Here's a general overview of the kind of food you will find at the Eccentric Café:

  1. Starters & Snacks: Pretzel bites, often served with beer cheese or mustard. Nachos with various toppings like cheese, jalapeños, and salsa. Cheese boards with a selection of cheeses, meats, and accompaniments.
  2. Sandwiches & Wraps: Various meat options like pulled pork, turkey, or roast beef.Vegetarian and vegan sandwiches featuring ingredients like tempeh or roasted vegetables.
  3. Salads: Fresh greens with a variety of toppings, dressings, and optional protein add-ons.
  4. Pizzas: A range of pizzas from classic margheritas to specialty pies featuring unique toppings.
  5. Burgers: Both meat-based and vegetarian burger options, often paired with a side like fries or coleslaw.
  6. Main Dishes: Depending on the season, you might find dishes like fish and chips, stews, or other hearty mains.
  7. Desserts: Sweets that sometimes incorporate Bell's beers, like stout brownies or ale-infused ice creams.
  8. Specials: Daily or weekly specials based on seasonal ingredients or chef's inspirations.
  9. Vegetarian & Vegan Options: The café is generally conscious of dietary preferences and offers vegetarian and vegan dishes.

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

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    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "Travel-mi.com." A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of Travel-MI.com. This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

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