Mi guys Lets start something here, Best local beer noones ever heard of

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by loki993, Apr 24, 2012.

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  1. loki993

    loki993 Initiate (180) Apr 16, 2009 Michigan

    Ok, I've been into craft beer for a few years now and I've been back in Michigan for about a year and a half. Im always looking for new beers to try. Heres the thing I think we, I'm just as guilty as anyone, all get caught up in the hype of some beer from some other state that you have to trade a arm and a nut away to get a bottle of and end up maybe ignoring some great stuff that you can get with maybe just a drive up to road a bit. I mean I'm trying to find ways to trade for beers and I still haven't sampled everything Michigan has to offer.

    So lets try this. What are some great to excellent local beers from local breweries that we all should try? Im not talking stuff from Bells, Founders or Shorts. We know what they have and we know they're good. Lets try to keep this to the smaller guys. A place you may not check out unless someone said hey try these guys they got great stuff.

    What do you all say?
  2. northernbrews

    northernbrews Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2006 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I'd say Big Rock Chop House is the most under the radar place. Super high quality (Red Rocks, Saison St. Claire, BA and Reg Imperial Stout, IPAs....) and not too much talk of them on the sites.
    superspak, Zaphog, iceatalamo and 3 others like this.
  3. jale

    jale Initiate (0) Oct 17, 2009 Michigan

    Numerous beers from Odd Side ales. They are barrel aging and working on sours. Underated brewery IMO.
  4. fishtremble

    fishtremble Initiate (183) Jan 18, 2010 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Wolverine State Brewing did a bock called Bread Winner that I had at Shark's Club one night that I thought was amazing. For a common beer off the shelves I have always loved New Holland's The Poet. But on tap my top choice is Kuhnhenn's Creme Brulee Java Stout.
  5. psykosis

    psykosis Aspirant (268) May 21, 2009 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    I'm happy with everything from North Peak.

    Leelanau Brewing is worth tracking a bottle down, since it's brewed for them by Jolly Pumpkin,

    Otherwise, my favorite MI breweries are Greenbush, Brewery Vivant, HopCat, and Kuhnhenn.
  6. vivasbeer

    vivasbeer Initiate (0) Feb 3, 2012 Michigan

    Some of my favorites not from the Big 3 that comes to mind

    Everything Kuhnhenn...for their size, the brew BIG amazing beers
    Final Absolution from DragonMead
    Neapolitan Milk Stout from Saugatuck Brewing
    BB Shamans Porter from Atwater
    BB Shipwreck Porter from Arcadia
    gustogasmic likes this.
  7. tjohn2401

    tjohn2401 Initiate (53) May 26, 2010 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, Saugatuck is not bad. Neapolitan Milk Stout is good and their Singapore IPA is a good $7.99 sixer.

    I also think Arbor's Framboozled is a pretty tasty sour.
  8. DrDoitchbig

    DrDoitchbig Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2009 Michigan

    Calling Kuhnhenn under the radar is a bit of a stretch. If you've been on BeerAdvocate for a couple months you have most likely heard of them, especially if you're from Michigan.

    Big Rock Chophouse is in my opinion the best brewery in Michigan that doesn't get it's dues. I've had 4 or 5 brews from them and they were all great. You can also buy bottles at the brewery pretty much all the time.

    Wolverine State is kind of strange in the fact that they specialize in lagers but everything I've had at their pub has been at the very least above average to very good (I've avoided their standard Lager and Dark Lager). The Gulo Gulo "India Pale Lager" is damn good.

    Odd Side is definitely making a case for themselves out in Grand Haven. I've only been their once but overall I was impressed. My favorite was probably the Citra Pale Ale. They had a sour on tap, I believe it was Atomic Cherry or something to that effect. It could use a little fine tuning but for how long they've been around it was nice. There was also a Tart Cherry Imperial Stout which seemed like it had the Atomic Cherry blended into it, that was very good.

    I'll give a little shout out to Witch's Hat Brewing in South Lyon. I was there the first week that they opened and they definitely know what they're doing. Currently most of their offerings are fairly pedestrian but I except good things in the future.
  9. loki993

    loki993 Initiate (180) Apr 16, 2009 Michigan

    Calling Kuhnhenn under the radar is ok, yeah a lot of us may have heard about them, but some people could be on the fence about making a trip.

    Id love to try some stuff from Odd Side, its just a drive to Grand Haven is a stretch for me.

    I need to get down to Kuhnhenn to try that Creme Brulee, it sounds amazing. 28 for a growler though.

    I gotta try the Big Rock Chophouse, see that's one I would have probably overlooked.
  10. Bay01

    Bay01 Aspirant (278) Nov 19, 2008 Illinois

    HEY, Shhhhh!
  11. decadance

    decadance Initiate (0) Mar 14, 2010 Texas

    The Livery, hands down. Their Grand Reserve Triple Wiezenbock is insanity, not to mention the Cherry Bomb and the Runemiester. Great location, real nice guys, and down to earth people sitting at their bar.
  12. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Initiate (154) Jun 7, 2005 New York

    Man, I've had nothing but disappointing bottles from these dudes. The wheatwine...the flanders red...the barrel-aged imperial stout. All were pretty awful. Was initially stoked to try something "new" (for me) from Michigan, but was left wanting so much more.

    Odd Sides, though.....the coffee stout was pretty sick (in a good way).
  13. GoldenChild

    GoldenChild Disciple (339) Nov 18, 2009 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Big Buck in Gaylord. They have a new brewer and he is doing a amazing job. They have allot of Big BIG beers that are awesome.
    iceatalamo and Mothergoose03 like this.
  14. DrDoitchbig

    DrDoitchbig Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2009 Michigan

    Out of curiosity when did you get these bottles and what was wrong with them? I don't make it down there very often but I've had bottles of Red Rock (Flanders Red) and BA Flying Buffalo on a few occasions. Red Rock is usually a gusher but otherwise great. I've had some low carbonation issues with BA Flying Buffalo but it's always tasted very good. It's been quite awhile, at least 6 months, since I've had one of their bottles. Hopefully it's an isolated incident and not an overall dip in quality. Either way it's disappointing to hear someone being turned off of a brewery that I've had nothing but good experiences with.
  15. dukes

    dukes Initiate (0) Apr 2, 2012 Maryland

    Redwood Lodge in Flint.
    kdmcguire10 likes this.
  16. Slamminson

    Slamminson Initiate (28) Mar 24, 2012 Washington

    Arbor Brewing Co.'s Red Snapper
  17. raymo55

    raymo55 Initiate (0) Oct 3, 2011 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Call me a homer (since I live 1 mile from it), but I have to say The Walldorff from right here in downtown Hastings! Great beer, great food, and great service....and located dead center of the Founders, Bells, and Dark Horse "triangle".
    Come check it out! And if you do, let me know, I will buy you a round.

    I will also throw votes on Odd Side and Livery....I have heard tons of great things, but haven't been to either yet
    Mothergoose03 and BoneyardBrewer like this.
  18. atone315

    atone315 Savant (933) Oct 8, 2008 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I'm not from Michigan but, I visit the U.P. 4-6 times a year. I try to always hit up the Keweenaw Peninsula as there is a few decent brewpubs there, with The Library in Houghton (Java Stout rocks!!!) definitely sticking out to me. If only their service was better and they could learn to fill a growler....
  19. syu3003

    syu3003 Initiate (0) May 4, 2011 Michigan

    I was just there and got one filled! Its worth it man... Certainly a unique and very delicious beer. Every trip to kuhnhenn is always a great one!

    And if you haven't been to Dark Horse or Dragonmead I'd certainly recommend those places. Especially Dark Horse, that place is awesome!

    Short's is always a hike to get up to, but if you are doing a ski/snowboard trip and go to boyne, shorts is right there and a great place to hang out.

    As for more local small time stuff, ive been to a lot of local breweries around the detroit/ann arbor/royal oak area and unfortunately nobody really hit it home for me... gonna hawk this thread to see if any new places pop up to try though!
  20. Holiday1072

    Holiday1072 Initiate (158) Nov 18, 2008 Michigan

    Agree with all of this, I would throw Greenbush in Sawyer into the mix, I have had a few of their offerings and hear they are doing some pretty amazing stuff, I look forward to checking them out in person this weekend.
  21. travMI13

    travMI13 Aspirant (213) Jan 7, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Blatant homerism: Liberty Street Brewing Co. in Plymouth with their Clementine Lemon Thyme and Tart Cherry Porter. Both of these seasonals are phenomenal. I had a bottle of their Oak Aged Tart Cherry Porter that was also outstanding, and I have really enjoyed some of their small batch IPAs.
    strohme2 and biga7346 like this.
  22. vivasbeer

    vivasbeer Initiate (0) Feb 3, 2012 Michigan

    I live 18 miles from Kuhnhenn and had I not joined this site, I would still not know what a Kuhnhenn is LOL
  23. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Initiate (0) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    And you only named a small number of their just out of this world awesome beers. Love the place, love the people, you just don't get any better.
    jeffwilliams11 likes this.
  24. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles Initiate (154) Jun 7, 2005 New York

    Received all of them in a single trade maybe a little over a year ago. There was a certain "thin-ness" to most of them. I was probably disappointed the most with the BA Buffalo as I had noticed that it won several awards. I picked up a weird metallic quality in both the stout and the wheatwine as well. No clue what would have caused that. The Red Rock certainly wasn't the worst thing ever, but it didn't really stand out all that much to me. Forgettable would be a word that I would use to describe it.

    I certainly wouldn't be opposed to trying more of their beers (i.e. barleywine, if they even brew one), but I just haven't had the most spectacular experiences with them.
  25. mike409

    mike409 Aspirant (220) Jan 25, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Gonna throw Sherwood in the mix
    TheMonk41 likes this.
  26. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,291) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    No love for OG in Milan? Brad is making great beers.

    Wolverine makes some outstanding beers. Lagers are boring you say?

    Redwood Lodge always has some clean tasty beers.

    No mention of Paw Paw, really liked their beers the time I was there, very clean and to style.

    Witches Hat has the problem that they can't meet demand with the small system. The beers were great when they opened, but some are a little rushed now. I like them, hope they are successful.

    Hey, not familiar with "noones" is that a Spanish word? :slight_smile:
  27. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Initiate (0) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    What if we exchanged the phrase "great location" with "conveniently located"?
    decadance likes this.
  28. BoneyardBrewer

    BoneyardBrewer Initiate (105) Apr 24, 2005 Michigan

    Definitely agree with Big Rock & the Walldorff. Also want to ad my local, Black Forest. Lost Sailor IPA is my go to.
  29. hoppymeal

    hoppymeal Champion (871) Jun 25, 2005 Michigan

    Paw Paw Brewing is definitely somewhat of a hidden gem.

    Their beers are pretty spot on style-wise, most everything has been clean (I had one funky urban assault pale), and they all care about the place and it shows. That part of things reminds me of Shorts, its that feeling of welcomeness, they are excited/glad to have you there, and they make everyone feel that way.

    Cool little spot, even some outdoor seating. Their vanilla porter was really good, their two paws ipa is also really good, and I can session their black talon like nobody's business. They would get my vote for most underappreciated currently.
  30. szmnnl99

    szmnnl99 Crusader (704) Apr 3, 2006 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    2nd this, Redwood has some very good beers
  31. brkstoutfiend

    brkstoutfiend Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2010 Michigan

    The Livery, Big Rock
  32. biga7346

    biga7346 Aspirant (295) Jun 19, 2010 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Liberty has improved every year they've been in business, he's getting more creative with a broader range of styles. I also had the BA tart cherry porter and the regular and I'd say I enjoyed the regular TC porter better, that's a really wonderful beer.
  33. landrewg

    landrewg Initiate (184) Nov 11, 2008 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    EtPlus one for Liberty Street! Been there a bunch of times and they make some really good beers.
    Love the CLT!
  34. biga7346

    biga7346 Aspirant (295) Jun 19, 2010 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Jolly Pumpkin never gets its due IMO, even in this thread nobody has said jack so far. I mean some of their beers are definitely revered but it seems like it has more of a cult following among BAs. As for the general market share they have grown steadily.
  35. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (1,867) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Supporter Subscriber

    I visited Witch's Hat 3-4 weeks ago and they has a rye beer available that is the best beer in that style that I've ever had. Maybe they use caraway seeds in it or something, but I swear I was drinking rye bread.
  36. LiquidTable

    LiquidTable Initiate (0) May 3, 2011 Michigan

    See below...
  37. LiquidTable

    LiquidTable Initiate (0) May 3, 2011 Michigan

    Dude, don' rd rade for Big Rock beers. They are hand bottled one at a time. I was just there today...Dan Rogers is hands down one of the best brewers in the midwest...MI and beyond.
    IPa gold medal at WBC 2010, DIPA silverf at WBC 2010, numerous award for RIS, Red Rock Flanders Red, etc.
    Hell, he was the brewmaster at Michigan Brewing when Pierre Celis taught him the secrets of Witbier.
    Ask any brewer in MI who they admire and they will say Dan Rogers.
    Hell Joe Short was his assistant at MBC... didn't know that didja?....
    iceatalamo, Jakers90 and GoldenChild like this.
  38. LiquidTable

    LiquidTable Initiate (0) May 3, 2011 Michigan

    That was s'posed to say "trade"
  39. Mattmc1973

    Mattmc1973 Initiate (170) Jun 4, 2008 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Of course all of us geeks know about Kuhnhenn, but it still amazes me how many people who live in the vicinity of Kuhnhenn know nothing about it. At least once a week I'll ask someone who isn't a beer geek, but likes good beer, if they are aware of Kuhnhenn, and it's always "No, who? Where?"
    LiquidTable likes this.
  40. MarcatGSB

    MarcatGSB Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2011 Michigan

    I'm going to have to disagree on this one. Stopped in there on my way back to the Keweenaw after the Winter beer fest in GR, sampled their big Barleywine off the "Gourmet" beer menu, and was strongly dissappointed...as wall as a smoked beer or something, I don't even remember. Their regular stout was rather underwhelming as well.
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