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


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 July the Summer Beer Festival takes over Ypsilanti, MI. and this year is no different! With 1140 different beers from 147 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, to represent the 20 year anniversary!

1. American Harvest– Lychee Blonde

After coming onto our SHOW on 9/23/16, we decided to start a scholarship program with Schoolcraft College and are proud to announce The Michigan Brewers Scholarship 2017.  We are excited to see what they have worked on so far, and hope you take a chance to taste these students great beer and watch the program progress

2. Ascension Brewing– BBA 800 Pound Gorilla w/ Cocoa Nibs (Saturday Only)

Coming in at 10.2%, we highly suggest starting your day off here just so you can get that crazy high ABV beer out of the way on a summer day!  The beer is given a 4.19 on Untappd, and is probably one of their best beers that they make that is hard to get normally!  They were also on our SHOW on 6/10/2016, you can check it out here!

3. Axle Brewing– AlternaFacts (Friday Only)

This Black Rye IPA caught our eye simply by the name.  Axle has EXPLODED lately with their Liveronis Tap Room and are turning out delicious food there along with their amazing beer!  You can try it at their tap house now or check it out Friday.  Axle has been kind to join us twice on our show.  Once on 5/14/16 and again on 7/15/16.

4. Brewery Becker– Vargdricka

One of our first choices for your non-standard beer styles, this gruit is one of their standards.  We suggest this one over the braggot version, but to each their own!  Gruits are great and hard to come by, and if it’s a nice and hot night or day, you’ll love the fruity flavor without any hops!  Brewery Becker did stop by on our SHOW and we even ran LONG.  Check them out!

5. Downey Brewing Co– Thunder Down Under

This brewery knows what it’s like to give you the family experience, but it’s their beer that makes you come back time after time.  Their Thunder Down Under combines all Australian/New Zealand hops including Vic Secret, Dr. Rudi, Moteuka, Kohatu, and Galaxy hops.  Here them talk about starting a brewery when they were on our SHOW on 2/26/16, and again after they’ve started and what they’ve learned when they came on our SHOW again on 6/9/17

6. Drafting Table Brewing Co– Rye Whiskey Mean Vanilla Bean

Another big hitter on our list, but especially if you’re not local to the Metro Detroit area, this is a MUST try.  At 15%, please be careful as you drink this, and as we suggest, drink this first so that you know how to properly pace yourself!  We had them on our SHOW the day before they opened, so you can hear their calm before the storm!

7. Eternity Brewing– STAR S’MORES Series

As a fan of brown ales, this really stood out.  Four “Episodes” in which I believe all are brown ales with different variations.  With the name “SMORES”, they will taste like a S’more, but each one has it’s own twist including one with coffee, one barrel aged etc.

8. Latitude 42– Nectar of the Goddess

A blood orange and passion fruit wheat beer infused with honey, this is one of the most solid all around beers on the list.  While available in cans at your local party stores, this is a beer that is a must try if you’ve never had.  I know you want that BBA Lucifers Cuvee, but you don’t need all the big beers in the world, this is a perfect beer to sip and relax to, and a great lawnmower beer!  They even came onto our SHOW on 11/25/16 to chat beer with us too!

9. Old Nation Brewing– Espresso Double Dwarf w/ Mexican Vanilla

This beer really stood out to me.  With the hype of Boss Tweed and M-43 still going, we look at the other beers Travis has created, and the double dwarf is a beer that I (as an Altbier fan) hated with a fiery passion, especially in comparison to the Detroit Dwarf and even told Travis (head brewer) on our SHOW the first time he joined us… BUT…  adding coffee and mexican vanilla beans has me intrigued at the potential balance of the beer.  Do not let this style that doesn’t have a craze around it go by, give it a try!  Even check out the SECOND time Travis came on, and we talk about the explosion of the NEIPA.

10. Perrin Brewing Co– Michigan Cherry IPA

I feel the Michigan Cherry IPA is the red headed step child in the Perrin IPA game, but this is probably one of their more solid beers.  With the ability to get the freshest and best cherries in the state, Perrin really allows for this one to be smooth without the kick you in the mouth bitterness!  At 5.3% too this is definitely one of their session beers, we may have even had it on our SHOW when Perrin was in studio on 3/10/17

11. Petoskey Brewing Co– 12 Parsecs Session IPA

The beer is one of the few we chose simply because of the name.  This session IPA brings out the inner nerd in everyone with its Star Wars reference, but as the brewery is off the beaten path for most Michiganders, this is your chance to try some of their beers.

12. Rochester Mills Beer Co– All the Good Names are Taken Double IPA

From the mind of Forrest Knapp, this citra hops double IPA with only (ONLY?) a 8.6% ABV, we chose this beer simply by the name.  Should kick you in the nose with the late addition of most of the hops.  Did you know Eric of Rochester Mills, who is also the guild president, was our first ever guest nearly two years ago, but check out the last time he was on our SHOW, as he joined us with Kuhnhenn to talk about last years Summer Beer Festival.

13. The Mitten Brewing Co– Put Me In, Kolsch

Another light drinking crispy beer, this is their best ‘lawnmower’ style beer, and something to drink at a festival, especially if you’re drinking some of these heavy malt and hop bomb beers!  A great baseball name for a potentially great summer beer!  Tell us if you’ve had it and liked it!

14. Watermark Brewing Co– Kwan Tsu

A passion fruit wit that has a name which I can only assume is from this random movie, Surf Ninjas.  Here is the trailer for you to watch, starring Rob Schneider, Ernie Reyes Jr, Leslie Nielsen, and Tone Loc

15. Wolverine State Brewing Co– Wheelbarrow Weekend Lemon Radler Series

Their Wheelbarrow Weekend series of lemon radlers, combining a Munich Hellese with lemon juice and a few different flavors, having a cucumber, lemon meringue, basil, and watermelon flavor added will only make these sweet and delicious.  Something easy to drink!

16. Batch Brewing Co– Huzzah! Sour Gruit Firkin (Saturday Only)

So may words!  So much going on!  But this Saturday only release is something that caught my eye as a gruit is one of my favorite styles, and with it comes a lot of fun that can be had with no hops!  A sour gruit firkin can show one of the truest flavor profiles you’re going to get, and being a sour in a firkin excites me!

17. Griffin Claw Brewing Co– Harry Cherry BA Sour Tripel (Friday Only)

For a list that is telling you to make sure to be careful with all the heavy beers there and look for the non-heavy beers, we are still suggesting a lot.  Thankfully this tripel is only at 9%, and the regular is not too tart.  I’m curious what a barrel will do do this beer!  We even had them on our SHOW to talk about many of their beers on 4/21/17!

18. Territorial Brewing Co– Kenny Lagers Helles

A less bitter version of their Pilsner, this beer truly promotes the Pilsen malt.  To be honest, this is a great beer to sip on if you reach that point of the beer fest where you need a break, you know… the… DANGER ZONE!

19. North Center Brewing Co– We’ve Gone Nuts Coconut Brown

We saw this ad nausea on our show, but this beer is one of the best beers we’ve ever had in the category, let alone at beer festivals.  Smooth, easy drinking, and one of the best beers we’ve had.  A long promoter of our SHOW, check out the last time they were on it!

20. Brown Iron Brewhouse– Irish Red Envy

Named one of the best beer bars in Michigan by as the readers choice, they also are making beer now!  We felt we needed to add a nice lower ABV red ale for those who are looking for that caramel malt flavor you may not have seen on our list yet!

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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!