Michigan Breweries, Beer, and Festivals Leading the Way in Latest 10Best Reader’s Choice Polls
The latest round of USA Today/10best.com Reader’s Choice polls focus on beer, and it should be little surprise that many of the early frontrunners are from Michigan. Our state is home to more than 250 breweries, meaning you’re never too far away from quality Michigan beer. The Michigan Brewer’s Guild also host four amazing festivals throughout the year: the Winter Beer Festival (Comstock Park), Summer Beer Festival (Ypsilanti), U.P. Fall Beer Festival (Marquette), and the Detroit Fall Beer Festival.
Michigan has 11 nominees across seven categories in the current polls. There is one nominee for Best Beer Scene, two nominees for Best Beer Festival, one nominee for Best Beer Label, two nominees for Best Beer Bar, two nominees for Best New Brewery, two nominees for Best Brewpub, and one nominee for Best Brewery Tour. You can vote once per day through March 19th, and the winners will be announced on March 23rd. Check out the nominees below and get voting in these USA Today 10 Best Reader’s Choice Awards polls!
Best Beer Scene, Grand Rapids – Grand Rapids will attempt to be named Best Beer Scene for a third consecutive year. “Michigan’s second-largest city sports the state’s strongest beer scene, thanks largely to the presence of the world-renowned Founders Brewing Co. Not to be outdone, there are several other brewing operations around town, most notably the Belgian-inspired Brewery Vivant. The city’s official “Beer City Ale Trail” lists more than 40 breweries in the surrounding area, and the local calendar is constantly filled with beer festivals, events, and promotions. Throw in exceptional beer stores such as Siciliano’s Market, and it’s easy to see why Grand Rapids proudly stakes its claim as Beer City USA.” Other cities that are finalists in this contest include St. Louis (MO), Cleveland (OH), Richmond (VA), Fort Collins (CO), Chicago (IL), Minneapolis (MN), Philadelphia (PA), Denver (CO), and San Diego (CA). As of this writing Grand Rapids was sitting in first place, you can cast your vote at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-beer-scene/grand-rapids-michigan/.
Best New Brewery, Speciation Artisan Ales (Comstock Park) – Even without a traditional taproom, Speciation has become on of Michigan’s most talked-about breweries in the last year. “Inspired by centuries old traditions of farmhouse and spontaneous brewing, Speciation Artisan Ales opened in early 2017 with a focus on beers that showcase nature’s many biological variations. Bottles are released monthly in small batches, including many barrel-aged varieties.” If you want to try some of Speciation’s beer at a festival, our advice is to make it one of your first stops – they were incredibly popular at the 2017 Detroit Fall Beer Festival, and will likely be even more popular at next weekend’s MBG Winter Beer Festival (located a few blocks from their production facility). As of this writing Speciation Artisan Ales was in 8th place out of 20 finalists, they could definitely use your vote at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-new-brewery/speciation-artisan-ales-comstock-park-mich/.
Best New Brewery, HOMES Brewery (Ann Arbor) – We had a chance to try some of HOMES’ beers at the Detroit Beer Festival and were very impressed, so it was little surprise that this Ann Arbor brewery was nominated as one of 20 finalists for Best New Brewery. As of this writing they were in 6th place, cast your vote and help them out at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-new-brewery/homes-brewery-ann-arbor-mich/.
Best Brewpub, Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids) – One of Michigan’s best known and most popular breweries has become a must-visit destination for travelers from all over the country. “A Grand Rapids icon that doubles as one of Michigan’s most popular breweries, Founders’ delights local beerhounds on multiple levels. The casual taproom overlooks the brewhouse, and the draft selection always includes some options that are only available on-site. Visitors stay satiated with a deli menu of handcrafted sandwiches. Live music and open mic nights keep things lively.” You can vote for Founders at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-brewpub/founders-brewing-co-grand-rapids-mich/. As of this writing they were in 11th place out of 20 finalists.
Best Brewpub, Jolly Pumpkin Traverse City – Located on the beautiful Old Mission Peninsula, Jolly Pumpkin is a standout in the growing beer scene in Traverse City. 10best notes that “hungry beer lovers will find Jolly Pumpkin and North Peak brews on draft, served alongside pizzas, salads, sandwiches and appetizers.” As of this writing, Jolly Pumpkin was in 2nd place behind Cleveland’s Collision Bend Brewing Company. Head to http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-brewpub/jolly-pumpkin-traverse-city-traverse-city-mich/ to vote and help push them into the top spot!
Best Brewery Tour, Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids) – Founders is also nominated for best brewery tour for their limited tour offerings that “offer a glimpse into one of the nation’s top craft breweries. Those with a deeper interest in beer can also sign up for classes ranging from Beer 101 to off-flavor tastings.” Currently in 14th place out of 20 finalists, Founders has some catching up to do and could use your vote at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-brewery-tour-2018/founders-brewing-co-grand-rapids-mich/.
Best Beer Label, Smashed Grabbed & Hop Dusted (Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales) – Michigan’s only nominee in the Best Beer Label contest is Smashed Grabbed & Hop Dusted from Jolly Pumpkin. “The funky label of Smashed Grabbed & Hop Dusted, a sour IPA collaboration between Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and Holy Mountain Brewing, is as funky as the beer within. The artwork takes inspiration from the strange David Lynch thriller The Holy Mountain.” You can grab a bottle at Jolly Pumpkin or in select retail outlets. Currently 14th out of 20 finalists, they’ve got a lot of catching up to do to reach the frontrunners (Space Lettuce from Monday Night Brewing and Wake-n-Bake from Terrapin Brewing Company). You can vote for this beer at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-beer-label/smashed-grabbed-hop-dusted-jolly-pumpkin-artisan-ales-holy-mountain-brewing/.
Best Beer Festival, Detroit Fall Beer Festival – We were able to attend the Detroit Fall Beer Festival for the first time in 2017 and found Eastern Market to be an excellent location for a festival with hundreds of Michigan beers on tap. This festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2018, with even more great beer, local Detroit food, and live music. You can vote for the Detroit Fall Beer Festival at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-beer-festival/detroit-fall-beer-festival-detroit/, as of this writing they were in 17th place.
Best Beer Festival, Michigan Summer Beer Festival (Ypsilanti) – The signature event for the Michigan Brewer’s Guild is also nominated as one of the country’s top beer festivals/ This ever-growing event will likely feature close to 150 Michigan breweries and more than 1,000 beers in 2018. Hosted at Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park, this festival also features live music and food. You can vote at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-beer-festival/michigan-summer-beer-festival-ypsilanti-mich/, the Summer Beer Festival currently sits in 10th place out of 20 finalists.
Best Beer Bar, Brown Iron Brewhouse (Washington) – Consistently voted as one of the state’s best beer bars, Brown Iron Brewhouse is now getting some national attention. Located roughly an hour north of Detroit, Brown Iron is “fashioned after a large German beer hall, but with beer from American craft breweries (alongside their own house-brewed options). Taps rotate daily, and Michigan beers are almost always well-represented.” They currently sit in 5th place, and you can help them out by voting at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-beer-bar/brown-iron-brewhouse-washington-mich/.
Best Beer Bar, HopCat (Grand Rapids) – Thanks to their legendary “crack fries” and a top-of-the-line craft beer menu, HopCat has been able to take the success of their downtown Grand Rapids location and duplicate it at a total of 12 locations in 7 states. Currently 6th in the standings, you can vote for them at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-beer-bar/hopcat-grand-rapids-mich/.