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 Michigan Breweries Guide: Best Craft Breweries in MI

friends at a Michigan brewery

About Michigan Breweries

You’d be hard-pressed (pun intended) to find a state with more to offer beer and cider lovers than Michigan. With more than 350 breweries throughout the state, we’re truly a beer-rich state; Michigan ranks fifth in the country based on the number of breweries, cideries, brew pubs and microbreweries.

Great Beer State AND Great Lakes State

The Michigan Brewers Guild, a brewers association that promotes breweries in Michigan and Michigan craft beer, refers to Michigan as “The Great Beer State,” and rightly so.

Michigan brewing and craft beer has captured both Michigan’s hearts and refrigerators. The same innovation and passion dedicated to the automobile has been doubled in terms of dedication to batch brewing beer, artisan ales and hard ciders.

craft beers in michigan

Michigan’s Best Breweries (and Ciders, too)

With so many great breweries from which to choose, we’ve created a guide to some of our favorites. We’ve also included a favorite beer pick from the My Michigan Beach team. If we’ve missed a beer or brew pub or you have a suggestion for us; use the comment section at the bottom of this article to let us know. Cheers and enjoy!

Read on to discover My Michigan Beach team favorites like:

  • Grand Rapids Brewing Co.
  • Brewery Vivant
  • Founder’s Brewing Company
  • Mitten Brewing Company
  • Bells Brewery
  • South Haven Brewpub
  • Three Blondes Brewing
  • Beer Church Brewing
  • River St. Joe
  • Lexington Brewing Co.
  • War Water Brewery St. Clair
  • Alcona Brew Haus
  • Austin Brothers Beer Company
  • Cheboygan Brewing Company
  • Griffin Claw Brewing Company
  • Brown Iron Brewhouse
  • Detroit Beer Company
  • Homes Brewery
  • Ludington Bay Brewing
  • Starving Artist Brewing Co.
  • Jamesport Brewing Co.
  • Hop Lot Brewing Co.
  • Lake Ann Brewery
  • Mackinac Brewing Co.
  • Rusted Spoke Brewing Co.
  • Great Turtle Brewery
  • Cherry Public House
  • North Peak Brewing Co.
  • Keweenaw Brewing Company
bartender serving a beer in one of Michigan's best breweries

Grand Rapids Breweries

As you travel throughout the state, you’ll notice that some spots in the Upper Peninsula as well as in northern and western Michigan have grown into craft and microbrewery hubs in their own right.

Grand Rapids, MI is one of those spots. Home to some of Michigan’s best-known craft breweries such as Founders; it has earned the nickname “Beer City.”

With more than 80 excellent craft beer breweries, Grand Rapids even has its own “Beer City Ale Trail,” making it a great vacation destination for beer-lovers. Read on to learn about out favorite Grand Rapids Breweries.

Grand Rapids Brewing Co.

A staple of the Michigan beer scene, the Grand Rapids Brewing Co. is in the bustling downtown area of Grand Rapids, just blocks from the Grand River. This Michigan brewing company is on every tour guide’s list as a must-visit.

With daily brew tours available, you can peek behind the curtain and see how things happen and enjoy the classic charm of this rustic Grand Rapids pub.

The Grand Rapids Brewing Co. is not only famous for its beer but for its Game Room, which makes this location perfect for a night out with your friends. The game room is sure to pair well with whichever beer you choose.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The Charles Bradley

Brewery Vivant

Part brew pub and part eccentric café, the one-of-a-kind Brewery Vivant microbrewery is in a refurbished Grand Rapids Funeral Home.

Brewery Vivant has kept the authentic charm of the original building: you can immediately feel the history when you open the heavy doors revealing the high cathedral ceilings and stained-glass windows. For a building that once dealt in death, Brewery Vivant has given it new life and then some.

It’s a comfortable spot to create memories with friends and family in one the area’s most talked-about spots.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The Ski Patrol, a refreshing wheat ale with orange peel

Founder’s Brewing Company

As the 15th-largest brewery in the country, Founders Brewing is one of Michigan’s finest and most well-known breweries. A favorite of beer enthusiasts everywhere, it’s also one of our favorites and a must-visit destination for craft-brew lovers.

The food is made with the same quality and care as the beer, making this brewery more than just a spot for a drink. Founders is home to some of our favorite drinks including the All Day IPA, the Solid Gold Lager and the barrel-aged Backwoods Bastard.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The full-bodied and robust Breakfast Stout

michigan craft beer

Mitten Brewing Company

Another great Grand Rapids Brewery, the Mitten Brewing Company, is one for the sports fans.

This brewery, set in an old and restored firehouse, gives you a unique experience that makes you feel like you are part of a secret club.

The Mitten Brewing Company is decorated with old baseball memorabilia and doubles as a pizzeria, which only adds to its sporty feel. What could be better than eating great pizza and drinking even better beer?

My Michigan Beach Pick: The Stretch Golden Ale, which pairs wonderfully with their “The Heater” pizza.

Southwest Michigan Breweries

Bell’s Brewery

Based in Kalamazoo, MI, Bell’s Brewery Inc. is one of Michigan’s most well-known breweries. Bell’s is a 100% family-owned brewery, which exemplifies their genuine appeal.

As Michigan’s oldest brewery, Bell’s is truly a local beer with a local passion.

Bell’s has many local and country-wide favorites, including the popular seasonal release, Oberon. A Michigan summer tradition for many, Oberon has justly developed a huge fan base who excitedly await the annual release of this craft brew.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The Amber Ale

South Haven Brewpub

The South Haven Brewpub is South Haven’s first brewery and one of their best.

Located right on Michigan’s Black River docks, the South Haven Brewpub gives you a totally unique experience as you enjoy some excellent Michigan beers. Within walking distance of two stunning Lake Michigan beaches, you can come and go as you please.

The food here, too, is quite good: classic pub food with standouts like the “Mac and Cheeseburger” that pairs well with the brews.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The tangy Toes in the Sand Citrus IPA

Three Blondes Brewing

Named for the founding three blonde sisters, this brewery has a family’s touch with everything they do, and it shows.

Located in the quaint lakeside town of South Haven, Three Blondes Brewing is just a short drive from Lake Michigan’s shore, which makes it the perfect end to a day at the beach.

Three Blondes Brewing has a diverse menu that appeals to all members of the family. The food is good, but the beer is better. With quirky beer names like “Just Took A DNA Test Turns Out I’m 100% That Beer® IPA” and “Luxurious George,” it’s as much fun ordering them as is it drinking them.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The Boom Boom Betty, a fitting Blonde Ale

Beer Church Brewing

Looking to enjoy the perfect combination of beer, pizza…and church? Look no further than southwest Michigan’s Harbor Country, where this brewery-in-a-church (former) is making quite a name with its tasty pies and craft brews.

Located in the beautiful town of New Buffalo, this Civil War-era church is home to exclusive small-batch beer that is served in house.

The pizza is equally as exclusive, having an authentic Pizza Napoletana. With chefs trained under legendary pizza grandmasters Pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio and Pizzaiola Giorgia Caporuscio, this pizza is one-of-a-kind.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The Pontius Pilate, a double dry-hopped IPA

River St. Joe

For a genuinely homey experience and farm to table foods, make your way over to this farmstead brewery.

This brewery is best visited in the summer when you can truly experience the beauty of this little farm and see the sprawling fields with the hops in bloom.

The truly authentic River St. Joe uses hops from the neighboring Flatwater Farms, making everything from the food to the beer farm-to-table fresh. Try the roasted beet and goat cheese dish; it’s spectacular.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The Farmhouse Pale Ale

Michigan craft beer

Southeast Michigan Breweries

Lexington Brewing Co. (Temporarily Closed)

Lexington, Michigan, located in the thumb, is home to one of Michigan’s most beautiful Lake Huron shorelines.

Within easy walking distance of the beach and Lexington State Harbor, Lexington Brewing Co is quite exceptional, offering a wide-ranging menu of tasty brews.

Lexington Brewing Co. also serves as a tasting room for Blue Water Winery. A short drive from the Detroit area, it’s a perfect destination for a day trip or weekend road trip.

My Michigan Beach Pick: Lexington Sunrise

War Water Brewery St. Clair

With direct visibility of the St. Clair River from its storefront, War Water Brewery St. Clair is a brew with a view. This brewery is truly one for the sightseers; you could not ask for a better atmosphere.

One thing that we thought we’d never see is a brewery with sushi, and luckily War Water Brewery has what they call Sushi Saturday. You’d be surprised how well beer pairs with Sushi.

My Michigan Beach Pick: Bare Knuckle Pale Ale

Griffin Claw Brewing Company

If you’re looking for a little local flavor in the Metro Detroit area, look no further than Birmingham, Michigan’s Griffin Claw Brewing Company. This is one craft brewery that will have you coming for the character and staying for the beer.

As a relatively new brewery, with an official opening in 2013, Griffin Claw has made a name for itself rather quickly. This speedy rise to popularity is a testament to Griffin Claw’s quality. With a tight list of six beers available year-round, you can’t go wrong with any of them.

We tried them all, and our favorites are the distinct and famous Norm’s Raggedy Ass IPA and the delicious Mr. Blue Sky. It’s worth mentioning that beer is not all Griffin Claw is known for; it also has many of its own spirits, including vodka and bourbon.

My Michigan Beach Pick: Fineapple Cider

Detroit Beer Company

This brewery occupies the historic Hartz Building in downtown Detroit.

The new brewing equipment’s unique juxtaposition against old-world architecture creates a feeling of accomplishment, seeing how far we’ve come. You can’t help but think what the building’s inhabitants long ago were drinking.

Detroit Beer Company has a lot going for it: the beer is great and the pub grub is unparalleled. With such an extensive menu, if you want it, they probably have it.

My Michigan Beach Pick: Local 1529 IPA

Homes Brewery

Of the breweries in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Homes Brewery is one of the best.

With its distinct shipping container exterior, Homes Brewery checks all the boxes for a genuinely hip brewery.

Featuring a menu stacked with food ranging from burritos to Korean BBQ wings, there’s something to please everyone. The beer menu is no different: Homes has an array of sour beers and IPAs to please even the pickiest palette.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The Same Same Different IPA

Brown Iron Brewhouse

Located the heart of downtown Royal Oak, Brown Iron Brewhouse is known for its smokehouse style menu and classic American beers.

We absolutely love how the beers pair with their meats, especially the Texas Beef Brisket that is smoked for 16 hours to perfection.

Royal Oak is famous for its inviting, walkable streets – a great spot for a romantic evening on the town that ends with dinner and drinks at Brown Iron Brewhouse.

My Michigan Beach Picks: Double Barrel Caramel Apple

craft breweries in michigan

Northern Michigan Breweries

Alcona Brew Haus

Don’t be fooled by the size of tiny Harrisville: this is one Michigan brew pub that will leave a big impression.

The extensive drink menu features some memorably good ciders and beers; it’s one reason why you’ll find this spot “hopping” (again, pun intended) all summer long.

Located in the beautiful shoreside town of Harrisville, Michigan, which boasts one of the smallest populations in the state, the Alcona Brew Haus is a unique spot worth a trip. Not far from Harrisville State Park and some of the prettiest beaches along Lake Huron, the Alcona Brew Haus also serves food and wine.

One of the local favorites is the Black Hops Russian Imperial Stout. This beer packs a punch; It is so strong it has a pour limit of two.

My Michigan Beach Pick: Sturgeon Point Irish Red

Austin Brothers Beer Company

Located in Alpena, MI near the shores of Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay, Austin Brothers Beer Company is a family-owned microbrewery bringing some big flavor to northeast Michigan.

While Alpena is known for its lush forests and beautiful Lake Huron beaches, it’s proximity to Presque Isle, Hubbard Lake, Grand Lake and Long Lake make it a hub for outdoors-lovers all year long.

Fishing, hiking, biking, sailing and swimming are just some of the fun activities that keep visitors busy all day long and Austin Brothers Beer Company is a great place to relax and enjoy some delicious food and drinks after a hard day of…play.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The Besser Pilsner

Cheboygan Brewing Co

Near the tip of the mitten, just east of the Mackinac Bridge, is the charming little town of Cheboygan.

It’s also home to one of our favorite breweries, the Cheboygan Brewing Company. Known for its inviting rooftop dining area and delicious beers, the brewery is in quaint downtown Cheboygan, just a short walk down the street from Lake Huron and the Cheboygan Crib Light.

This makes is a perfect spot for a romantic rooftop date. One of our favorite brews here is the Blood Orange Honey. There is simply nothing like this beer; the honey coupled with the blood orange, creates an incomparable smooth flavor.

My Michigan Beach Pick: the Blueberry Cream Ale

Jamesport Brewing Company

Ludington, Michigan, is a hot spot year-round for visitors taking in the natural beauty of this Lake Michigan port city.

Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness; the Big Sable Point Light and the Ludington State park are just a few of the many attractions in this Michigan beach town. Ludington is also home to a few of Michigan’s lesser known but finest breweries, including Jamesport Brewing Company.

Located in the middle of a row of Victorian storefronts, this Brewery has embraced history with its building and classic beer styles.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The traditional German Altbier

Starving Artist

Starving Artist Brewery is another brewery that has put Ludington on the craft beer-map.

Starving Artist is always doing something new, whether it be the beautiful art and design on their cans or the ambitious “Fine tART” series of limited edition 750ml bottles with new and exciting flavors bound to push your taste buds to their limits.

My Michigan Beach Pick: Conspiracy IPA

Ludington Bay

Besides having some of the best beer, and some of the most diverse styles, Ludington Bay Brewery has a logo that perfectly represents Michigan: a beautiful lake-blue foreground underneath the shadow of towering pine trees.

Ludington Bay Brewery is on our ever-growing list of Ludington Breweries, and it is near the top.

My Michigan Beach Pick: It’s a tie between Dark Necessity Stout and Ry-Fi Rye IPA

Lake Ann Brewery

Lake Ann, Michigan, is just about as quaint of a town as you can find in Michigan, and the Lake Ann Brewery is no different.

The brewery itself looks like a park ranger’s cabin, inside and out. You really get that rustic, woodsy aesthetic that only the best establishments in Michigan have to offer.

If you’ve seen the Great Lakes and were somehow left craving more, then Lake Ann is the place for you. There may only be five Great Lakes, but Lake Ann’s beauty puts it right up there

My Michigan Beach Pick: The Coffee Vanilla Blonde

Hop Lot Brewing Co.

If you are looking for a brewery that is perfectly unique, with beers to match, head to Suttons Bay’s very own Hop Lot Brewing Company.

Hop Lot’s cozy outdoor drinking area is surrounded by trees and soft lights, making this brewery is perfect for a romantic evening with that special someone.

Fully immerse yourself in the woodsy surroundings, enjoy the bonfire and the music and be grateful for Michigan’s beauty.

My Michigan Beach Pick: Wakka Zakka

Michigan Beer Festivals

Mackinac Brewing Co

Traverse City, MI is one of the coolest cities in Michigan, and it’s no coincidence that it is also home to some of Michigan’s best breweries, the Mackinac Brewing Company.

This staple of the Traverse City brew scene was founded in 1997 and has served the community with quality beer ever since. We are a big fan of pairing beer with food, and the Mackinac Brewing Company is unique in that it serves beer with fresh smoked meats and local fish.

This combination gives Mackinac Brewing Company the appeal of a backyard BBQ all in the comfort of one of Michigan’s best breweries.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The bold and hoppy East Bay IPA

Rusted Spoke Brewing

Rusted Spoke Brewing is a perfect stop on your way to Mackinac Island, located near the Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry.

Grab a beer and hop on the ferry, all in one afternoon. This cozy brewery has become even cozier with its heated patio, so you can stay warm and safe during these weary times while enjoying one of the many delicious beers Rusted Spoke Brewing has to offer.

If you want a beer to pair with the heat of the patio, look no further than the Rusted Spoke Murder Hornet, this firey beer is a delicious Habenero Cream Ale, and it’s sure to give your tongue something to remember.

My Michigan Beach Pick: Michigangster, a Wheat Ale

Great Turtle Brewery

It’s Mackinac Island’s first and only brewery, which makes it one of a kind.

Named for the legendary turtle that is supposedly the island itself, this brewery feels right at home on the island.

Great Turtle Brewery is the best spot on the island to cool down and recharge after a long bike ride: what better way to pick yourself up after that long bike ride than the Hoban Street Stout.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The Hoban Street Stout

Cherry Public House

Do you love cherries? Us too.

At Cherry Public House, you can try four different cherry beers made with 100% Michigan cherries. The love for cherries does not stop there; this little brewery takes it to the next level and has homemade cherry baked goods and ice cream.

Cherry Public House can satisfy even the most hard-to-please sweet tooth.

My Michigan Beach Pick: Leelanau Lambic

North Peak Brewing Company

This classic northern Michigan brew pub and microbrewery in downtown Traverse City is often a first-stop for craft beer fans visiting T.C.

It’s not just the unique flavors and good food that brings visitors in and keeps them coming back; it’s also the comfortable setting in a former candy factory just a block from Grand Traverse Bay.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The Boardman Nut Brown

Michigan craft breweries

Upper Peninsula Breweries

Keweenaw Brewing Company

The journey to Houghton, Michigan, is not a short one. Travel through Marquette and keep going until you reach the Keweenaw Peninsula, home to the Keweenaw Brewing Company.

The journey there is long, but it’s worth it: the Keweenaw Brewing Company is the largest brewery in the U.P. and looks out over the beautiful Keweenaw Waterway.

Here, you can enjoy the U.P.’s untamed outdoors while also appreciating the Keweenaw Brewing Company’s Michigan craftsmanship.

My Michigan Beach Pick: Borealis Broo

Black Rocks Brewery

Located in the Upper Peninsula, Black Rocks Brewery is a Marquette, MI favorite. Black Rocks Brewery uses a rustic house as its venue, but don’t let the small size of this brewery deter you.

This charming setting truly makes it feel like home or like you are just going to your neighbor’s house for a beer.

The homey feel makes this brewery a special experience suited for family and friends; you may even make new friends here.

My Michigan Beach Pick: The 51k

About the Author

Patrick Crowley is a Content Manager with My Michigan Beach. A graduate of Oakland University with a degree in Cinema Studies, he is currently finishing a second in creative writing. Two of his greatest passions are film and the outdoors. When he is not watching movies, you can find him exploring the outdoors. He is delighted to be writing about the great state of Michigan and its many natural wonders.