At the end of July, I took a wonderful day trip to the northern Lower Peninsula. The purpose of my trip was to pick up a few beers from Beards Brewery in Petoskey for the Summer Clean 15 Festival of Beers.

On my way home, I stopped by Stiggs Brewery & Kitchen in Boyne City. I’d heard about Boyne City from friends and family and knew it was a go-to destination within Michigan. I was familiar with Stiggs Brewery because I had recommended their Red IPA, Bad Romance, as one to try at the 2019 Detroit Fall Beer Festival.

When I stopped into Stiggs Brewery, I noticed they had hard seltzers on their menu. With Hard Seltzer Summer in the back of my head, I decided to give it a try to see what this brewpub had to offer. I sampled the pomegranate and enjoyed the fruity and sugary take on the style. Shortly thereafter, I spoke with Mike “Stiggs” Castiglione, owner and head brewer of Stiggs to get a better idea of his stake in the hard seltzer game.

Mike’s background is in microbiology so the pathway to loving brewing seemed like a no brainer. He began homebrewing and decided to open Stiggs Brewery in Northern Michigan for a variety of reasons. When it came to joining the hard seltzer craze, he said he wanted to create a tasty hard seltzer that was not dry or had little to no taste. He said he wanted to make a hard seltzer that was worth drinking and enjoying.

Mike created five small “test batches” of hard seltzer at the beginning of the summer. The five flavors he made were pomegranate, blackberry lime, cotton candy, juniper, and, Mike’s personal favorite, Tangerine Dream. He said that with Boyne City’s summer population being four times as big as it normally is it was a great opportunity to see how well hard seltzers went over with his crowds of regulars and visitors. It turns out the juniper, cotton candy, and tangerine ones were the big winners.

When I asked him about the next round of seltzers, he invited me back up to the brewery to try out the newest batch of Tangerine Dream and to collaborate with him on another flavor! Last week I made the trip up and was impressed by the Tangerine Dream. It poured with a slight haze to it and, as the name suggests there was tangerine with orange giving this seltzer a strong citrus taste. The backend of a sip was much sweeter than any hard seltzer I’ve had this summer.

As far as the collaboration goes, we took the first few steps on making a Stiggs Brewery x Better on Draft hard seltzer! More information will follow when I’m able to try to collab, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a break in the dry hard seltzer trend, stop in at Stiggs in Boyne City and give these batches a try.