Michigan Breweries — South

I’m a week or so in (to Michigan) and figured I should get my thoughts on the past few breweries I’ve visited down on pixels, before they start blending together. Read what you will into the post’s title. Michigan has lotsa breweries!

I decided to drag the trailer through downtown Jackson to visit Grand River Brewery. The B in the map app tried to lead me under a 10′ clearance bridge a block away from the brewery. (I hated her right then!) but saw through her evil ways and circled the block. This is more a BJs restaurant than a brewery but since they do brew I guess they qualify. Their Reuben appetizer is great; the session IPA & straight-up IPA were 3.5 pointers on my Untappd app. Hauling the trailer, I wrapped up and headed to my camp at Waterloo Rec Area.

Territorial Brewing Company on the skirts of Battle Creek was a nice lunch stop a couple days later on my way from Fort Custer Rec Area to Ionia Rec Area, both located in the then-hot & humid inland woods. At Territorial I went for the flight of the Helles, the German Pils, the Wanted Dead and Alive Vienna lager and the one-off caffeine Pils. I liked the Kenny Helles, an easy drinking beer. The olive burger (reportedly its a Michigan thing) was also very good. Cool brewhouse near the ANG base. Enjoyed the flyby of five yellow vintage planes… Don’t ask me what they were; I’m clueless. But cool to watch.

A couple days later I walked into Steele Street Brewing in the small farming town of Ionia. Many of the breweries in Michigan seem to be large operations with full kitchens, some are parts of larger conglomerates for cryin’ out loud. I just prefer the honest-to-local small breweries, which this is. Time for another flight: the FOCUS cream ale, Mousetrap Quad IPA, Morrison Lake IPA, Michigan Three Hop IPA & Arland’s Sozo Smooth golden ale. All decent beers, nice finds in the middle of nowhere!

The weekend found me in Muskegon on the lakeshore again. Beautiful day! Low 80s, no water in the air, lotsa choices here downtown. Specifically, the weekend has found me at Unruly Brewing Co in downtown Muskegon. Fun, friendly place with decent beers, music, games, touristas. I tasted through their menu, except for a couple outliers, with a flight of six 4 ouncers, Dang it … the farmhouse ale caught my palate. I loved it. What’s happening to me?! Tell me IPAs still rule! 😳

Welp, yep, they tend to rule at Pigeon Hill Brewing Company just down the street. They’ve got a pretty extensive menu so I just asked the beer tender to set me up with a flight of Pales & Indians. Solid brews: Limp Tail,Shifting Sands, Renny & No Diggnity. Renny and his kid brother (Lil’ Renny, a session IPA) were my and the staffs’ favorites. I felt kinda sorry for the old, annoying drunk fool who staggered in and asked for something like a Busch Lite. He settled for their Walter Blondale and bitched about the $4 cost of a pint.

Monday was gonna be a fixit day on the trailer (always something loose or needing adjustment) and I’d had it with the reefer door swinging open while in transit. I was gonna fix it or break it worse. Fixing it won the battle! And every fixit day with at least one success deserves a brewery break so I headed up the road to Fetch Brewing in Whitehall. Just had a couple IPAs here: the Ryptide (a rye IPA in case you miss the nuance) and the Angry Sky. Decent enough beers in a very cool old bank building: a good asset to a pretty town on the water. Fetch has that great local feel everyone loves, and is also friendly to outtatowners. Definitely worth a visit.

The next day I headed a few miles south, starting with lunch at Old Boys Brewhouse. Super cool brew pub on Spring Lake. Nice deck on the water. Good beers—especially the farmhouse ale (I dunno what’s happening to my palate) and the Michigan Heritage IPA. The albacore tuna melt sandwich was also very, very good. If I lived here this would likely be my favorite hangout.

Next I headed over to Odd Side Ales (or Odd Sides All-less as the B in the map app says it). This good brewery has a pub in uber cool Grand Haven, a block from the channel linking Lake Michigan to the inland waters. I tasted through a flight of their unique beers, enjoying (I know … I’m confused myself!) the Wheatermelon wheat and the Tangerine Dank Juice. I could session that wheat beer all day and, while at 7% the Dank Juice ain’t sessionable, it’s a very tasty beer.

I walked around Grand Haven, enjoying the waterfront and village stores. A container ship was heading down channel toward the big lake. When it blew 2 longs and 3 shorts I was pretty proud to have it signal me just standing there on the wharf … until I realized the horn signal was paying respects to the Coast Guard station down the wharf. Dangit!

Next stop: Holland. Under-impressed by New Holland Brewing’s glitzy pub in 8th Avenue, I ducked out quickly and then into Our Brewing Company, another cool (maybe my newest favorite brewery!) joint. Just had a couple tasters there but the Saison (again!) was pretty solid. Cool patio, great karma feel here. Wish it was closer to the campground.

To round out the day I felt compelled to check out Saugatuck Brewing. Their flight included a coffee-infused red ale (sounded different to me and was dang good) and the excellent Paled It! pale ale was a nice wrap to the southern Michigan tour.

Next up: breweries from central Michigan, followed by those I find in the Upper Peninsula toward the end of the month. Cheers my friends!

One Reply to “Michigan Breweries — South”

  1. No wonder we didn’t hear from you . You have been covering a lot of ground. Quite an interesting trip Mark. Lee

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