Six-Pack Project Guest Post: What to Drink in Michigan

six pack-beerThe Six-Pack Project rolls on today, as we have a new collection of beer choices from all over the country. The latest round offers a couple new efforts for the collaborative project, including our first guest post.

Curious what kind of great beer we’ve got selected for you? Let’s first start with a quick recap of what the rules of the Six-Pack Project are all about:

  1. Pick a six-pack of beers that best represents your state and/or state’s beer culture.
  2. Beer must be made in your state, but “gypsy” brewers are acceptable, so long as that beer is brewed with an in-state brewery and sold in your state.
  3. Any size bottle or can is acceptable to include.
  4. Current seasonal offerings are fine, but try to keep selections to year-round brews as much as possible. No out-of-season brews preferred.

As always, you can check the full archive on the Six-Pack Project page and read this round’s submissions here:

mark graves headshot
Guest poster and Michigan resident Mark Graves

Today’s post on This Is Why I’m Drunk comes from Michigander Mark Graves, a friend of the program who lives near Lake Michigan and began his craft beer convergence in 2009 when he traveled to the Founders Brewing taproom in Grand Rapids.

“I had a tall glass of Dirty Bastard and was blown away by the texture, flavor and ABV,” he said. “Since then, I’ve made it my beer-drinking mission to only drink craft beers, preferably those made in Michigan. I’m on a ‘buy local’ kick that’s lasted a few years so far.”

I’m happy to have Mark here represent Michigan and he’s got a really eclectic collection that covers the western part of the state. If you’re interested in helping out with central or eastern Michigan beer selections for the Six-Pack Project, let’s connect on Twitter.

You’ve come here for the beer recommendations, surely, but stick around for Mark’s great eye in capturing some incredible beertography.

ArcadiaAles-HopMouthHopmouth (Double IPA) – Arcadia Ales – Battle Creek
ABV 8.1% / IBUs 55

Battle Creek is where Arcadia Ales calls home, and is an easy detour for anyone traveling the east-west corridor. Whether you spend your day walking the Leila Arboretum, gawking at the Gilmour Car Museum or putting it all on the line at Firekeepers Casino, it’s worth the stop.

If you love IPAs, you will never go wrong with Hopmouth. The light piney bitterness is over-powered by the abundant grapefruit-like citrus flavor. Arcadia recommends pairing this exceptional DIPA with “Gorgonzola, Greek Salad, Mediterranean Foods, Indian or Thai Dishes, Spicy Italian Sausages, or Carrot Cake”, but I love it with homemade Chicago style deep-dish pizza. Bottled 10 months out of the year, Hopmouth can be found in many stores year-round.

ShortsBrew-SoftParadeSoft Parade (Fruit Infused Rye Ale) – Shorts Brew – Elk Rapids
ABV 9% / IBUs 14

Shorts Brew is located East of Grand Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan. Whether you’re touring the local wineries,  playing in the Lake Michigan bay, paddling a local river or day-tripping up to Mackinac Island, Elk Rapids is a great place to start.

When you pop the cap off a bottle of Soft Parade, you are met with a face full of pureed berry aromas. With every drink, the rye is very present in your mouth, but the fruit flavor masks the high ABV. That combined with the low IBUs can make this one sneak up on you. If you love fruit beer as much as me, then this year-round delight is a must-have.

Founders-DirtyBastardDirty Bastard (Scotch Style Ale) – Founders – Grand Rapids
ABV 8.5% / IBUs 50

After being named Beer city, USA for the second year in a row, Grand Rapids feels like the center of beer industry in Michigan. Several breweries call it home, including Founders.

Dirty Bastard is the first Michigan beer I ever tried. After that, there was no turning back. Dirty B pours a deep maroon color and feels thick in your mouth. The seven varieties of malt along with a “right hook of hop power” make this brew a mouthful of awesome! Founders claims it “ain’t for for the wee lads,” but if you sometimes get a hankering to wear the kilt, you should never pass up this amazingly complex brew.

NewHolland-DragonsMilkDragons Milk (Bourbon Barrel Stout) – New Holland Brewing – Holland
ABV 10% / IBUs 31

The things I love about west Michigan include farmers markets, long sandy beaches, wooded hiking trails and endless miles of paved bike paths… Holland, Michigan has all these things. This is where I live. New Holland brewery is located directly in the middle of downtown Holland and they make some stellar beers.

Being a stout beer boasting 10 percent ABV, you would expect Dragon’s Milk to be bitter. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is thick and smooth. It almost feels like milk in your mouth! It has smoky, oaky, vanilla hints and as it warms up almost tastes like chocolate. Pair with a hearty chowder or just kick back and enjoy. A must have.

Cheboygan-LighthouseAmberLighthouse Amber (Altbier) – Cheboygan Brewing – Cheboygan
ABV 5.25% / IBUs (N/A)

Established in 2011, Cheboygan Brewing is a baby in the Michigan beer industry… Or is it? In 2009 some ‘beer guys’ got together and reopened the historic Cheboygan Brewery that was established along the banks of the Cheboygan River in 1872. Lighthouse Amber was their first brew.

This pre-lager top-fermented “old” beer has a nice head, is full-bodied, pours a cloudy brown and is delicious. The Cheboygan website says they “focused on the water” and “went after taste.” They succeeded! I can almost smell the cool river water as I take a slug from the mug. If you can’t find this beer where you are in Michigan, keep heading north. It’s worth it.

sirenSiren (Amber Ale) – North Peak Brewing Co – Traverse City
ABV 5% / IBUs 48

I love Traverse City. I love going up north to where the air is crisper, the ground swells and dips, and the environment feels wilder. This is where North peak makes its home.

Siren has a complex flavor and near lack of bitterness that leaves you sucking your cheeks. This is my favorite year-round beer. It satisfies on hot days. It’s great around the campfire. It’s fun on poker night, and fine with any food. Found in many Michigan beer stores in short-necked bottles, North Peak’s website states “It’s a brew that will seduce your heart, mind and palette”. Agreed. Find one and drink it.

For all our other Six-Pack Project selections, visit the Six-Pack Project page.


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