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 300 breweries in the state. Every February the Winter Beer Festival takes over Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, MI. and this year is no different! With OVER 1000 different beers from 142 breweries, the list is the biggest ever. But with over 1000 beers, we tell you the 20 we want to try at the festival!

1. 5 Lakes Brewing Co – Holy Jalapeno Batman

In a world of Batfleck and obnoxious deep voices, sometimes we need to add a little spice to it and make a call back to the 66 Batman Series!   While Adam West is one of the most well known people to play Batman, did you know he was the third person to play it!  So grab this fun fact while you check out the beer from this Bowling Alley Brewhouse!

2. Arcadia Brewing – Cereal Killer

This is one of the first beers that popped out simply because of a name!  Cereal Killer (played by Matthew Lillard) is definitely one of the best in a movie with simply amazing music (seriously check out the album, it’s amazing).  Check out this beer from the over twenty year old brewery (which the barrel aged version won Gold Medal at the GABF in 2009).  The non BA version is 10% so be careful of this high octane and delicious Barleywine

3. Arclight Brewing Co – Hail to the Darkness

This imperial porter aged in Elijah Craig 12 Year barrels is one not to mess with.  Probably one at the lower ABV scale kicking in at 8.7% ABV (this event is always dangerous with high ABV beers), this beer does have a boozy kick and flavor so be careful when you drink it!

4. Beards Brewery – Oh! The Citranity!

At 4.9%, this beer is as sessionable as they come, a balanced bitter finish with a lot of citrus/grapefruit notes, this APA is something that may scare bitter beer drinkers, but the low ABV and balance really is the key to try this, even on a chilly day at the ballpark!

5. Blackrocks Brewery – Little Scooter Ginger Pale Ale

Blackrocks always produces amazing beer, and we think this is going to be a secret favorite at the event!  We don’t know much about the ABV, IBU, or anything, but a ginger pale where the ginger could balance the bitter as opposed to a honey or citrus flavor, could bring a new flavor style out into the world without having to reach out to malternatives for ginger flavor!

6. The Distant Whistle Brewhouse – OreOMG Oreo Stout

Brand new beer, we don’t know much, but holy hell check out the VIDEO of them making this beer and your mouth will start to drool!

7. Dragonmead Microbrewery – BB Under the Kilt Wee Heavy

I’ve always been a fan of Dragonmead’s consistency.  Their beers have tasted the same ten years ago when I started drinking them, and while I’ve personally have had good beers from them (people tell me Ring of Fire is good, but I hate spice… so don’t let my hate for it scare you away), we tried this beer on EPISODE 117 and it was smooth!  One of the best beers from them by far and one you have to try!

8. Ellison Brewery and Spirits – Gravity Shift

This beer clocks in at 14% (yes, 14%), and made with cacao and vanilla beans.  What’s scary is this beer does NOT taste like 14% and something you should want to try, but maybe share the little taster with some friends unless you have a designated driver!  This 2oz taster is literally one drink.  We had Ellison on Episode 54 1.5 years ago, check out the show with Kaylan!

9. Grand River Brewery – 313 Polish Lager

Polish lagers are some of my favorites, not going to lie.  I wish I would drink them more and in Metro Detroit they’re easy to find (Bozek’s in Utica and Srodek’s in Sterling Heights both carry good ones).  The beer is considered a homage to the euro style lager and people who are looking for it and at 3.72 on Untappd, that’s a pretty good rating considering the style!

10. Greenbush Brewing Co. – It’s Always Thumpin

This is a barrel aged farmhouse saison that is getting some distro outside of the brewery, but this is beer number two we simply picked by the name.  I highly suggest checking out the video from SNL with the “Fast and the Furious” remake of Bambi, but onto Greenbush!  Greenbush brings their A game when they come to these events.  They don’t mess around.  Celebrating their 7th year this year, they get around, and this beer really caught our eyes as something new to try, and based on their previous beers, you know it’ll be great!


11. HopCat – Don’t Haze Me Bro

There is so many facets to this pun that it’s hard to find just one, but obviously as a NEIPA in the world where everyone has one, HopCat has put out there playing on the 11 year old meme from the University of Florida (how old did I just make you feel?).  Get your juice fix here!

12. Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales – Aquamarine Dream

Jolly Pumpkin beers are always out there.  Their sour beers are always on point, never overbearing, and there are so many styles within the style we wanted to promote this one. We are curious what the blueberries are going to do in this fruit saison, and probably a great taste destroyer to have either at the beginning of the end of your beer (we love Saisons, but the taste is really over powering no matter what!)

13. Olde Peninsula Brewpub & Restaurant – Cuckoo 4 Coconut

This toasted coconut stout at 5.5% is going to be one of the most sessionable stouts at the event, so take advantage of it.  The Olde Peninsula Brewpub is a great place in Kalamazoo to stop right in the downtown area and is secret good with so many other ‘major names’ in the area.  I’ve had pancakes n porter, gingerbread porter, vanilla porter, and a BA version of their vanilla porter… all amazing, so this one will be too!

14. Osgood Brewing – Night at the Razzbury

Formerly known as Wedgewood, glad they changed the name because we picked this out simply because of the name.  The raspberry vanilla porter clocks in at 6% with a 62 IBU, the fruit and vanilla finish will allow for easy slamming, so be careful!

15. Right Brain Brewery – Who Gose There

When we talk about beer puns, Gose’s seem to always be on point, and this one is no different!  This gose has a perfect mix of sour and sweet and the faint notes of raspberry.  Don’t look for too much fruit in this Gose and enjoy the balance.  at 4.5%, it may be too sour to be sessionable, but it won’t get you drunk!

16. Rustic Leaf Brewing Co – Shake That Rass (Friday)

We couldn’t find this beer, but noticed a beer with a close to the same name called Rass Shaker.  If it’s anything like Rass Shaker, the fruit, body, and subtle hop bite will allow for you to enjoy this IPA without feeling too bitter.  We had a show with them on Episode #42

17. Short’s Brewing Co – Gin Barrel Aged Melt My Brain

If you’ve never had this beer, go.  On episode 30, Two James brought us the Gin used to barrel age this beer, along with the beer, and we had a great time seeing the comparisons.  Two James came on at Episode #30, and also had Pauline on Episode #67.  Short’s is always pushing the limits of beer, and we love it every time we get a chance to try a new one!

18. The Livery – Heritage Verchuosity

The Livery has always been known to push great beers out, and their food is on point.  At the beer festival they’re bringing this Belgian Amber with tart cherries where you’re gonna get all amber and cherry.  This beer is going to be flavorful, sour, and at 11%, going to kick you hard!

19.Thornapple Brewing Co. – Hazelnut Stout Tree Beer

Definitely the brewery to hit up after the event, Thronapple will provide you with Karaoke on Friday night or music on Saturday, or for Brunch on Sunday.  So grab their Hazelnut Stout here, and talk to Jeff or Eric, and head out there at night!  Who knows, the Better on Draft crew may be there Friday night!

20. Unruly Brewing Co – Dab City V.03

Each version of Dab City sees new hops, so we can’t wait to try version 3.  If it’s anything like the previous beers, it’ll be above 8% Imperial/Double IPA, and the version one which was at the fall beer festival that people were rating >4

By Ken

A craft beer fan since 19, used to look for your non-regular beers on frequent trips to downtown Windsor with friends, at 21 Ken basically took over an entire refrigerator with monthly visits to Merchants. With 5 years of podcasting prior, Ken decided to create the brand and show Better on Draft in the spring of 2015, and began creating his dream of a beer-centric website that wasn't too full of itself. He now runs the board and does a lot of the back office stuff while the show goes on, keeping everyone in line, and the beer flowing!

5 thoughts on “The List- 20 Beers You Want to Try at the Grand Rapids Winter Beer Festival (2018)”
  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Ken (and the whole Better on Draft team)! We’ll be sharing on our social media this week! 🙂 Cheers, Emily (From Beards brewery)

  2. I’m not a Batman fanatic, but you should know that there were more than 3 actors that portrayed Batman in the movies:
    Ben Afleck
    Christian Bale
    George Clooney
    Michael Keaton
    Val Kilmer

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