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Michigan is a great place to visit for beer fans.
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14 Road Trip Worthy Breweries to Visit in Southwest Michigan

Dare to plan a trip around beer

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Michigan is a great place to visit for beer fans.
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It’s road trip season for Chicagoans and summer’s a great time to pack up the car and see some new parts of the Midwest. The breweries of Southwest Michigan make for a great destination at the end of an easy drive from chicago. Trust us, Indiana’s in the rear view before you know it. From farm-focused beer makers to hype-heavy hazy IPAs to classic, clean lager lovers, you’re never far from a great beer — and the next one is just up the road. And there’s probably a house-made soda for your driver, too. Don’t forget to return in the fall when the colors change.

Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Beer Church Brewing Co.

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“Drink, eat, repent, repeat” is the easy-to-follow motto of this New Buffalo brewery, built into a former church (in case you couldn’t guess from their name). Beers like the Crooked Cross cream ale and the Pontius Pilate NEIPA keep close to the liturgical theme, while other options like the Tinderella creme brulee blonde ale skew a bit more modern. The wood-fired pizzas are a major draw, but you shouldn’t go to Church without getting an order of “Communion Bread” the brewpub’s fresh-basked flatbread.

Seedz Brewery

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This very-new brewery (opened in February 2021) focuses on marrying Midwestern agriculture with Belgian, Nordic and German-style beers — a coupling of international flavor and local focus. All their malts and hops come from Midwestern providers, and drinkers will find familiar styles like kolsch, hefeweizen and pilsner on the blessedly lager-heavy menu. Another fun find: Czech-style side-pour handles that create thick, creamy, foamy slow-pour beers. 

Haymarket Brewery & Taproom

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If you’ve visited the Haymarket Brewpub in the West Loop, you’ll be familiar with some of the beers coming out of Pete Crowley’s production facility just off of I-94 in Bridgeman, like the Speakerswagon Pils, the Blood Orange Blonde, and their Chicago Tavern Beer. The wood-fired pizzas will come as a friendly surprise, though, as will the sounds of nature in the beer garden instead of departing Metra trains and the constant din of freeway traffic. 

Transient Artisan Ales

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Usually it’s Michiganders who transplant themselves to Chicago, but Transient Brewing’s Matt Betts packed up shop and landed at this Michigan brewery after years of bouncing around Chicago-area production facilities. Betts came to brew in the Mitten thanks to the native yeasts that float around the many fruit farms in the area which facilitate wild ales, but it’s mostly the hefty IPAs and big barrel-aged beers like their famed Buckley Stout that keep people coming back for more.

Watermark Brewing Company

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Running the gamut from session IPAs and porters to Czech-style dark lagers all the way to wilder things like foeder-aged sours infused with a variety of fruits, Watermark offers a beer for almost everyone. Despite an in-town location, they’ve also got a wonderfully spacious outdoor patio and green space to drink those beers in, with everything from fire pits to a rotating array of food trucks.

Three Blondes Brewing

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Megan, Carrie, and Amanda — the three sisters that make up the ‘Blondes’ — opened their brewery in their hometown in June 2018, a rare woman-owned brewery in the area. Since then they’ve delivered beers ranging from a brown sugar infused Imperial IPA to American light lagers and a 3B Bubbler line of hard seltzers… and yes, they also serve a blonde ale.

Odd Side Ales

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A visit to Odd Side’s loft-style taproom and seasonal biergarten in Downtown Grand Haven could start out with standard options like their Citra Pale Ale and Fruitsicle series of fruited beers, or drinkers could enjoy the beers that help Odd Side live up to their moniker. For example, the Great American Beer Festival medal-winning Hipster Rye Brunch Stout (made with coffee, maple syrup and bacon) or one of their increasingly interesting seltzers, like Tigers Blood with strawberry, watermelon and coconut.

Grand Armory Brewing Company

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Located in a 110-year-old former military armory building steps from the West Michigan waterfront, Grand Armory believes in the “Right to Bear Craft,” and proves it (along with an obvious appreciation for Pauly Shore jokes) in beers like their delicious Wheezin’ the Juice hazy IPA, popular Mango or Pineapple Grindage IPAs and their Crop Duster Citra IPA. If you find a tap handle that looks like a huge artillery shell, you’ve found a Grand Armory beer.

Waypost Brewing Co.

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Located just a couple minutes off of I-196 very close to the Lake Michigan waterfront, Waypost is a farm-based brewery doing things a little differently than most other brewers out there. The sprawling patio and a Nordic-feeling taproom serves up farm-to-kettle beers and other thoughtfully off-kilter options like a blueberry porter, sea-salt stout, and an IPA with key lime and candied pineapple.

Saugatuck Brewing Company

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Any trip to tourist-haven Saugatuck is incomplete without at least one of Saugatuck Brewing’s famous Neapolitan Milk Stouts that artfully blends chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Don’t sleep on their other beers, though — its Bonfire Brown, Peanut Butter Porter and Oval Beach Blonde also deliver the goods. Don’t feel like fighting Saugatuck-area summer traffic? They’ve got another pub in Kalamazoo and a new location coming to Grand Rapids sometime this year.

Virtue Cider

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Mostly known as a producer of hard ciders like Percheron and Lapinette, Virtue added beer to the menu this year when owner/founder Greg Hall — formerly Goose Island’s head brewer and famous as the creator of Bourbon County Brand Stout — returned to beer making with a Nordic-inspired lager with rye, caraway, and juniper called Vestland. If you need more of a reason to come check it out, you can also wander their 48-acre facility while you visit, and also hang out with their farm animals including goats, chickens, and pigs.

Virtue_1
Virtue Cider’s mill.
Virtue Cider [Official Photo]

Speciation Artisan Ales & Native Species Winery

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Speciation’s Mitch and Whitney Ermatinger have been serving up next-level spontaneously-fermented, foeder-aged, lambic-style, and otherwise wild beers to the Beer City masses since 2016, following stints at sour-focused breweries in Colorado (where Mitch took home a couple Great American medals for his efforts). Not into the funkier side of the beer world? Good news - they also have a line of natural wines and wine spritzers called Native Species Winery, which are also pouring at their Wealthy Street taproom space.

Bell's Eccentric Cafe

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A beer road trip around Southwest Michigan isn’t complete without a visit to where so much of Michigan’s beer culture originates from. The Eccentric Cafe is Bell’s original pub and home to iconic brews like Two Hearted and Oberon, as well as an ever-changing array of house beers that might go on to be the next big Bell’s beer. A burger-focused menu and a spacious beer garden round out the experience. 

Wax Wings Brewing Company

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This small rustic-feeling brewpub on the outskirts of Kalamazoo is actually the highest-rated brewery in the state according to beer-rating app Untappd. They’re clearly earning high accolades for the huge variety of beers, mostly focused on the adjunct stouts, hazy IPAs and sours that make beer nerds crazy. Even though they rotate through beers quickly, reliable favorites include the dozens of varieties of Condor Valley fruited sours and their flagship IPA, Pulled Into Nazareth, which has also been amped up into Double and Triple IPA versions. 

Beer Church Brewing Co.

“Drink, eat, repent, repeat” is the easy-to-follow motto of this New Buffalo brewery, built into a former church (in case you couldn’t guess from their name). Beers like the Crooked Cross cream ale and the Pontius Pilate NEIPA keep close to the liturgical theme, while other options like the Tinderella creme brulee blonde ale skew a bit more modern. The wood-fired pizzas are a major draw, but you shouldn’t go to Church without getting an order of “Communion Bread” the brewpub’s fresh-basked flatbread.

Seedz Brewery

This very-new brewery (opened in February 2021) focuses on marrying Midwestern agriculture with Belgian, Nordic and German-style beers — a coupling of international flavor and local focus. All their malts and hops come from Midwestern providers, and drinkers will find familiar styles like kolsch, hefeweizen and pilsner on the blessedly lager-heavy menu. Another fun find: Czech-style side-pour handles that create thick, creamy, foamy slow-pour beers. 

Haymarket Brewery & Taproom

If you’ve visited the Haymarket Brewpub in the West Loop, you’ll be familiar with some of the beers coming out of Pete Crowley’s production facility just off of I-94 in Bridgeman, like the Speakerswagon Pils, the Blood Orange Blonde, and their Chicago Tavern Beer. The wood-fired pizzas will come as a friendly surprise, though, as will the sounds of nature in the beer garden instead of departing Metra trains and the constant din of freeway traffic. 

Transient Artisan Ales

Usually it’s Michiganders who transplant themselves to Chicago, but Transient Brewing’s Matt Betts packed up shop and landed at this Michigan brewery after years of bouncing around Chicago-area production facilities. Betts came to brew in the Mitten thanks to the native yeasts that float around the many fruit farms in the area which facilitate wild ales, but it’s mostly the hefty IPAs and big barrel-aged beers like their famed Buckley Stout that keep people coming back for more.

Watermark Brewing Company

Running the gamut from session IPAs and porters to Czech-style dark lagers all the way to wilder things like foeder-aged sours infused with a variety of fruits, Watermark offers a beer for almost everyone. Despite an in-town location, they’ve also got a wonderfully spacious outdoor patio and green space to drink those beers in, with everything from fire pits to a rotating array of food trucks.

Three Blondes Brewing

Megan, Carrie, and Amanda — the three sisters that make up the ‘Blondes’ — opened their brewery in their hometown in June 2018, a rare woman-owned brewery in the area. Since then they’ve delivered beers ranging from a brown sugar infused Imperial IPA to American light lagers and a 3B Bubbler line of hard seltzers… and yes, they also serve a blonde ale.

Odd Side Ales

A visit to Odd Side’s loft-style taproom and seasonal biergarten in Downtown Grand Haven could start out with standard options like their Citra Pale Ale and Fruitsicle series of fruited beers, or drinkers could enjoy the beers that help Odd Side live up to their moniker. For example, the Great American Beer Festival medal-winning Hipster Rye Brunch Stout (made with coffee, maple syrup and bacon) or one of their increasingly interesting seltzers, like Tigers Blood with strawberry, watermelon and coconut.

Grand Armory Brewing Company

Located in a 110-year-old former military armory building steps from the West Michigan waterfront, Grand Armory believes in the “Right to Bear Craft,” and proves it (along with an obvious appreciation for Pauly Shore jokes) in beers like their delicious Wheezin’ the Juice hazy IPA, popular Mango or Pineapple Grindage IPAs and their Crop Duster Citra IPA. If you find a tap handle that looks like a huge artillery shell, you’ve found a Grand Armory beer.

Waypost Brewing Co.

Located just a couple minutes off of I-196 very close to the Lake Michigan waterfront, Waypost is a farm-based brewery doing things a little differently than most other brewers out there. The sprawling patio and a Nordic-feeling taproom serves up farm-to-kettle beers and other thoughtfully off-kilter options like a blueberry porter, sea-salt stout, and an IPA with key lime and candied pineapple.

Saugatuck Brewing Company

Any trip to tourist-haven Saugatuck is incomplete without at least one of Saugatuck Brewing’s famous Neapolitan Milk Stouts that artfully blends chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Don’t sleep on their other beers, though — its Bonfire Brown, Peanut Butter Porter and Oval Beach Blonde also deliver the goods. Don’t feel like fighting Saugatuck-area summer traffic? They’ve got another pub in Kalamazoo and a new location coming to Grand Rapids sometime this year.

Virtue Cider

Virtue_1
Virtue Cider’s mill.
Virtue Cider [Official Photo]

Mostly known as a producer of hard ciders like Percheron and Lapinette, Virtue added beer to the menu this year when owner/founder Greg Hall — formerly Goose Island’s head brewer and famous as the creator of Bourbon County Brand Stout — returned to beer making with a Nordic-inspired lager with rye, caraway, and juniper called Vestland. If you need more of a reason to come check it out, you can also wander their 48-acre facility while you visit, and also hang out with their farm animals including goats, chickens, and pigs.

Virtue_1
Virtue Cider’s mill.
Virtue Cider [Official Photo]

Speciation Artisan Ales & Native Species Winery

Speciation’s Mitch and Whitney Ermatinger have been serving up next-level spontaneously-fermented, foeder-aged, lambic-style, and otherwise wild beers to the Beer City masses since 2016, following stints at sour-focused breweries in Colorado (where Mitch took home a couple Great American medals for his efforts). Not into the funkier side of the beer world? Good news - they also have a line of natural wines and wine spritzers called Native Species Winery, which are also pouring at their Wealthy Street taproom space.

Bell's Eccentric Cafe

A beer road trip around Southwest Michigan isn’t complete without a visit to where so much of Michigan’s beer culture originates from. The Eccentric Cafe is Bell’s original pub and home to iconic brews like Two Hearted and Oberon, as well as an ever-changing array of house beers that might go on to be the next big Bell’s beer. A burger-focused menu and a spacious beer garden round out the experience. 

Wax Wings Brewing Company

This small rustic-feeling brewpub on the outskirts of Kalamazoo is actually the highest-rated brewery in the state according to beer-rating app Untappd. They’re clearly earning high accolades for the huge variety of beers, mostly focused on the adjunct stouts, hazy IPAs and sours that make beer nerds crazy. Even though they rotate through beers quickly, reliable favorites include the dozens of varieties of Condor Valley fruited sours and their flagship IPA, Pulled Into Nazareth, which has also been amped up into Double and Triple IPA versions. 

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