The List- 20 Beers You Want to Try at the Michigan Summer Beer Festival (2018)


Before we begin, make sure to head over to DET.BEER and sign up for the mailing list.  Detroit Beer Week 2018 will run from October 19th through the 28th including the Michigan Brewers Guild Fall Beer Festival!  (Note, Detroit Beer Week is not affiliated with the Michigan Brewers Guild)

Each and every year the Michigan Brewers Guild have four major festivals in which they collect a huge number of beers from the now over 330 breweries in the state that allow you to sit down and have a beer (and there are more than 65 breweries upcoming). Every July the Summer Beer Festival takes over Ypsilanti, MI. and this year is no different! With 1166 different beers from 151 breweries, the list is the biggest ever. But with over a thousand beers, we tell you the 20 we want to try at the festival.  With over 151 breweries to even choose from, our criteria is different than just telling you the 20 ‘best’ beers.  We give you a variety of flavor, a variety of reasons, and we make sure to spread the love across all different breweries even from our previous posts.  Missing your favorite beer or brewery?  Check out our previous LISTS, they may be there!

1. Austin Brothers Beer Co – Blood Orange Mango Smoothie IPA

When Austin Brothers started distribution throughout the state, there wasn’t much fanfare, but it wasn’t until everyone started to drink their Murky series, and everyone went wild!  Rated 4.2, this beer brewed with lactose is gonna give you a NE IPA juicy feel with but with the orange creamsicle taste!  A can’t miss on a hot summer day!  We had a bunch of their beers on Episode 111!

2. Baffin Brewing Co – Mango Unchained

Have you ever wondered why Baffin Brewing Co wins our contests and is now retired for a year?  Russian Hackers?  Fake accounts?  Or maybe it’s their really good beer and rabid fanbase!  Why not finally get a chance to taste their Mango Unchained, their first beer their going to start canning and distro’ing!  A mango flavored IPA gives you a little more juice kick than your standard IPA but with all the bittery goodness!  Baffin has been gracious enough to share their beer with us on Episode 59, Episode 82, and most recently Episode 136!

3. Biercamp (w/ Eldebrau) – Brown

This collaboration between Biercamp and Eldebrau sparked my interest as both breweries have made great beer but I think it’s their ability to pair properly with food is key!  I will probably be getting this Brown ale while eating my dinner at the event (stay full and hydrated everyone!) While I thought about promoting the alt (fans of the show know how much I love altbiers), the ability to create a malt forward brown I am excited to see as their style of brewing will lean more towards the European style and not the American brown ales.  This is an Ann Arbor specialty you’ll want to try more and a great place to check out while you’re in town!

4. Brewery Becker – Kolsch (De-Glutenized)

With the Michigan Brewers Guilds decision to eliminate all non-beer products at their event, we broke our rules a little bit and decided to highlight Brewery Becker.  Brewery Becker deglutenizes all of their beer.  While they can never say Gluten Free due to legalities, this is the beer and drink of choice for all you Coeliac festival goers who may get shocked into knowing there is no more cider!  We (Better on Draft) will do our best to see if there is any other GF/DG beer out there, but Brewery Becker does a great job explaining how they do it when they were on Episode 78 (and the OVERFLOW Podcast)

5. Brooks Brewing – Goblin King

What kind of magic spell to use?  Brooks is always brewing up something good and this beer festival will be no different!  This imperial IPA is what every hop loving beer drinker wants in the world.  At 8.5%, this beer will certainly be a little sipper, but you’ll love it the second it hits your lips!  Proceed with caution!  Don’t forget to check out their episode with us on Episode 30 (with 2 James Spirits)

6. Canton Brew Works – Sour Milk IPA

The first beer we don’t know much about, but the name caught our eye the second we saw it.  Will it be brewed with lactose?  Will it be a sour hoppy IPA?  We don’t know, but we do know with a name like Sour Milk IPA, it’s something we’re gonna just have to wait, see, and try when it comes out!  You can listen to when CBW joined us on Episode 45!

7. Cellarmen’s – CellarRest Braggot

Cellarmen’s is where we will be set up Friday night at the event pouring throughout the night!  Your chance to meet the hosts and the names behind the voices of Better on Draft.  Cellarmen’s is one of the best mead and cider makers in the world (not an over exaggeration, get there ASAP), but their beer is out of this world good and different.  They aren’t going to make your NEIPA, or anything like that, they’re going to make Braggots, and lots of them!  What’s a Braggot you may ask?  Braggot is a form of beer/mead made with Honey and barley malt.  This may be a bit too boozy for some as it’s meant to kick your teeth in, but this is one you have to try, especially if you want a true taste of the style!  Listen to their story as they’ve been on the show for Episode 10 and Episode 89!

8. Draught Horse Brewery – Gin BA Strong Ben

We do our best not to promote the big beers at this event.  Simply because we want everyone to be safe, and if it’s as hot as it has been, these beers will sneak up and be even more dangerous.  BUT.  We do have a soft spot for Gin Barrel Aged beers, and the Strong Ben is no different!  Using a Valentine Gin Barrel, this Belgian Golden Strong base is expecting to keep you warm with some oak, spice, and fruit notes.  Listen to Draught Horse on Episode 46!  They explain their story, their beer, and you’ll learn why we chose this specific Gin BA beer!!!!!

9. Eastern Market Brewing Co – Peaches & Cream

Eastern Market Brewing Co is off the beaten path.  It’s behind Eastern Market, but their beer is next level.  This place is one of those breweries where there is definitely a beer for everyone. We chose this honestly from the name, but if it’s like any other beer with the same name we’ve had, it’s going to give you a creamsicle taste without over powering, and again something we love for a beer fest in 90+ degree weather!  Check out the episodes they joined us on Better on Draft, Episode 53 and Episode 110!

10. Exferimentation Brewing Co – Pink Tickler

This tart beer will knock your socks off on a hot summer day.  It’s a hibiscus wheat that actually pours pink (see photo above of actual beer).  This WILL BE SOUR!   Be forewarned, it’s not as sweet, but damn is it good!  We actually had this beer nearly 100 episodes ago on Episode 49!

11. Farmington Brewing Company – Cameron Takes a Wee Nip

This is a 11.2% wee heavy barrel aged in Buffalo Trace barrels.  Need we say more?!? You’re gonna get more sour than wee flavoring, and a lot of bourbon!  It’ll warm up fast and go down smooth!  We had them on Episode 66 in studio!

12. Fort Street Brewery – Waka Waka BIPA

I was debating whether to put End of the Road by Boyz II Men or Shakira, but I decided to go with Shakira as I’m typing this during some of the World Cup games!  Fort Street has announced they will be closing up shop, and this is their farewell stop!  If you haven’t, definitely get to the brewery!  Limited food menu and beer is being sold until it’s gone!  This beer pours a deep black, brewed with chinook, amarillo, and citra hops!  A lot of people are saying this tastes very lite for a black IPA, but that’s up to you to decide!  Check out the beer before it’ll never be made again!

13. Harsens Island Brewery – Jobbie Nooner

When I saw this name, I about near died.  As I (writer) am 32 years old as of today, still get baffled at the festival that is Jobbie Nooner.  The beer on the other hand, crisp, hop forward session APA, so it’ll give you that bitter flavor without the extra alcohol.  Coming in at a crisp 4.7% ABV, this brewery in the middle of nowhere is always brewing out hits!  Check out the episode they were on with us at Episode 101!

14. HOMES Brewery – Same Same Different

You can’t say new breweries without mentioning HOMES.  This brewery is releasing some of the best IPA’s in the country, and Same Same Different is no different.  Brewed with three different styles of hops, you’re going to get a very citrusy tropical beer without the bitterness.  This comes in at 7.2% ABV so watch out for the booze to sneak up on you!  This is just an introduction and when you start getting deeper into their catalog, there is no turning back as an IPA drinker.

15. Liberty Street Brewing Co (w/ Witch’s Hat) – Peace, Love, and Haze 

Michigan Malt, CHECK.  Michigan Hops.  CHECK.  Michigan Yeast.  CHECK.  According to the brewers, this is a Oat Hefe.  Coming in at 5.5%, this beer is going to be lighter and easier drinking.  You’re gonna get that wheat and clove taste with the hop bite at the end that you yearn for!  Crushable for a Michigan summer!  We actually had Liberty Street on Episode 71!

16. Parkers Hilltop Brewery – Ry-No’s Head

A well balanced, crisp and clean Belgian Pale Ale.  A palate cleanser if you may.  This isn’t gonna bite you like an IPA, it’s not gonna be sweet like a stout.  You’re gonna get a little spice and a delicious smooth finish!  This is something to drink and enjoy between big or hoppy beers and one that I’m personally looking forward to drinking as one of my in-between beers!

17. Pike 51 Brewing Co – Beer City ESB

Even at festivals, ESB’s scare people.  Hell, Saugatuck Brewing changed the name of their ESB Amber to Third Bear just because of that!  These beers are balanced with malts and hops and not too crazy of a kick in the mouth for sure!  There are only two at the festival, so we picked the one with the name we like best.  We may be in Ypsilanti for the event, but beer city will always be Grand Rapids!

18. Railtown Brewing Co – POW! Right in the Kizberry

One of the few beers we chose slowly by name.  This fruit beer is going to go down smooth.  You’re gonna get a bit more tart/sour tasting from this beer but it won’t make you pucker!  This is definitely a favorite for the ball games at Cooley, so why not drink what the Lugnuts fans drink, and try POW!  It’s a home run of a beer (puns fully intended)

19. Saugatuck Brewing Co (w/ Fermenta) – Cucumber Watermelon Saison (VIP Enthusiast)

We promoted the Cucumber Watermelon Gose from Elk before, now we have a cucumber watermelon saison from Saugatuck with the help of a collaboration of Fermenta!  Fermenta is a great program that promotes women in the industry, and we even got a chance to interview Pauline from Short’s on Episode 70 to discuss the program!  If you are a woman in the industry, make sure to check it out and support it!  We do here at Better on Draft!

20. Tri-City Brewing – Vienna Lime

Tri City exists.  Nobody really talks about it do they.  That’s not a bad thing though, but it’s not a good thing either.  Tri City went through a great transformation in the past five years and their beers skyrocketed in the flavor category on all aspects.  We chose this beer as a beer you just have to try.  This is the perfect introduction beer at the perfect time.  A lime zested vienna lager.  Smooth, crisp, and easy to drink on a hot summer day.  You’ll have one, and you’ll start talking about them again, and they deserve much praise for all their amazing beers!  I’m sure they’ll be bringing more of their heavy hitters to other events including their Dragon Slayer, which we had on episode 37!