Summer beers: 6 pack edition | Characteristics
Refuel and go on the ultimate six pack of summer adventures with beer
By Amy Martin | June 5, 2021
The sun is shining, the temperature is rising, and it’s time to indulge yourself with a summer craft beer. For your best interest (and for “research” purposes), we’ve compiled not only our picks for some of Michigan’s best hot weather sippers, but also the area’s best places to enjoy them – because the only thing that tastes better than a beer on a hot summer day in northern Michigan is beer on a hot summer day in northern Michigan.
Beer: Oberon Ale from Bell’s Brewery
Seasoned Michiganders know that the spring release of this American Wheat Ale signals that warmer weather is just around the corner – after all, it’s known as the state’s go-to summer beer. The secret of this beer is not an addition, but simply their house brewer’s yeast, which imparts fruity and lemony notes, as well as delicate spice characteristics. Bell’s himself describes Oberon as “the color and scent of a sunny afternoon,” which is not only an accurate description but also the best time to enjoy it. To find a Northern Michigan bar, restaurant or market that offers Bell’s Oberon near you, simply check the Oberon box and enter your zip code at www.bellsbeer.com/beer-finder. (We found ours at Waters Edge Market, 7262 Cairn Hwy., Kewadin. (231) 264-5511)
Best place: Torch Lake
Torch Lake, known for its dazzling light turquoise color, is Michigan’s second largest inland lake. Float in its Caribbean waters on a pontoon boat and you’ve found the perfect setting to enjoy a Bell’s Oberon. Stay in the deeper area for a peaceful cruise or join the party at its infamous sandbank. Either way, you’ll want to bask in the sun and savor a glass of Oberon in all its citrus goodness. There are several public access points around Torch Lake, including Eastport’s Torch Lake Access, located on the southeast side of the village of Eastport. Don’t have your own boat? You can rent a pontoon from M&K Marine: (231) 620-8783
The Beer: Peanuts and Crackerjack by The Mitten Brewing Company
Some people oppose the idea of drinking dark beer during the summer season, but when the nights get cooler they make a great companion. This sturdy doorman goes down easily and is the perfect addition to the fireside. As the name suggests, this beer embodies classic stadium snacks: peanuts and Cracker Jacks. The taste includes a subtle presence of caramel and the slightest notes of caramel, with a large presence of peanuts. Peanuts and Crackerjack is made with real roasted peanuts and peanut butter from Germack Pistachio Company, a Detroit classic that has been around since 1924. You can find The Mitten’s Peanut and Crackjack at 112 W Nagonaba St., Northport and various retailers. across the state. Find them all at www.mittenbrewing.com.
The best place: Leelanau State Park
The best place to enjoy Peanuts and Crackerjack Porter is around a campfire at Leelanau State Park, just 10 minutes from The Mitten Brewing Company’s Northport location. When the sun goes down below the horizon and you start to see stars starting to punch through the sky, it’s time to crack open a tin can. Sip this one to the sound of a crackling fire and, when the embers are glowing, pair it with a hot, golden, and freshly roasted marshmallow. Glutinous, crystallized sugar mingles with peanut butter in a glorious union. Leelanau State Park sits at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, with rustic campsites and cabins just steps from Lake Michigan. It is also home to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum, a must-see stop. For more information and to book a campsite, visit www2.dnr.state.mi.us/parksandtrails/
The Beer: Soft Parade by Short’s Brewing Company
For the twelve residents of northern Michigan who don’t yet know, Soft Parade is a fruit beer brewed with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, and not sipping an Up North in the summer is something that is akin to sacrilege in these regions. Its enchanting pink color catches the light like a pink topaz, and the delicious blend of flavors dances pleasantly on the tongue. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the berries will make this beer too sweet – there’s a slight acidity that sweeps over the palate, and it ends up dry, leaving you craving the next delicious sip. You can find Short’s Soft Parade in their newly renovated pub, 121 N. Bridge St., Bellaire, as well as their Elk Rapids Taproom and stores across the country. www.shortsbrewing.com/beer/beer-locator/
The best place: the glacial hills trail
A five-minute drive from the Short’s Bellaire Pub, Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area is one of Michigan’s top hiking and mountain biking destinations. With over 30 miles of trails, there is no shortage of natural wonders and there is something for all skill levels to explore, from beginner to expert. Whether you need a little liquid energy before you venture out or something to soothe your sore muscles after a vigorous hike, Short’s Soft Parade is for you. For more information and a trail map, www.glacialhillstrails.org.
Beer: Cliff’s Last Call by Brose Brewing
Brose Brewing is part of St. Ambrose Cellars – the Benzie County honeypot known for its mastery of mead, cider and wine making. However, don’t let the magic of the place in the beer-free libations keep you from sampling the Brose portfolio of beers. Among our favorites for the summer season is Cliff’s Last Call, a crunchy and refreshing American Blonde Ale and, at 5.1% BAC, easy to swallow more than one. As one of the more accessible styles, we highly recommend this one for those venturing into the world of craft beer, although it is a tasty treat even for the most serious drinker. experienced. Only available at St. Ambrose Cellars Bar, 841 S Pioneer Rd., Beulah.
Best place: St. Ambrose Cellars disc golf course
Ideally, the best place to join a summer adventure with Cliff’s Last Call American Blonde Ale is… right on the expansive grassy and wooded St. Ambrose property, where you can also engage in an exciting game of disc golf. Grab your records and make your way to the first tee, located right next to the tasting room parking lot. This free 9-hole course takes you through what its creators describe as a “mythical forest”. For playing it multiple times with a unicorn, we couldn’t agree more. Really though, navigating this course full of towering trees is the perfect challenge for beginners and experienced players alike, and its level of freshness is only enhanced by the combination of shade and that refreshing lager. For more information, a course map and even photos of each hole, visit www.stambrose-mead-wine.com/st-ambrose-disc-golf-course/
Beer: under the trestle by The Filling Station microbrewery
Under the Trestle is a Mango Kölsch, one of the seasonal versions of The Filling Station, perfect for the summer heat. Lightweight with good carbonation, it is well balanced between the Weyermann Pilsner malt and the Hersbrucker hops used in the brewing process. After fermentation, the brewers added organic mango puree, creating a slightly sweet and slightly tart beer that is sure to delight your taste buds. Under the Trestle can be drunk on the spot and is also one of the canned beers they offer for people on the go. The filling station microbrewery is located at 642 Railroad Pl, Traverse City. thefillingstationmicrobrewery.com
The best place: TART trails
Calling all cyclists! The Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trail (known as TART for short) is a 10.5 mile paved urban trail that connects you to the shops and restaurants of Traverse City. Whether you’re looking for an intense bike ride to get a sweat on or you’re more interested in a leisurely cruise, this path is suitable for both. Conveniently, the filling station microbrewery is right next to the TART and makes a great pit stop. There’s no better way to enjoy Under the Trestle Mango Kölsch thirst quencher than right after getting off your bike. There are nine other trails that are part of the TART Trails system, including on beautiful state forest land – for more information and a trail map, visit traversetrails.org/trails/tart/
Beer: East Coast Pale Ale by Farm Club
As one of Northern Michigan’s newest breweries, Farm Club has been offering high quality, carefully crafted beer and food since its inception. Their East Coast Pale Ale is no exception – its complex layers of flavor are enjoyed perfectly from the front of the palate to the lingering aftertaste. It is the color of a wheat field bathed in golden sunshine and is hazy from the oats used in the brewing process. It simply bursts with tropical fruit and citrus from the hops, while avoiding being bitter. Buy it for yourself at The Farm Club, 10051 Lake Leelanau Dr, Traverse City, or select stores in Northern Michigan, Grand Rapids and Detroit. farmclubtc.com
The best place: your garden
You don’t have to leave your home to get the most out of this luminous brew – you just need to be surrounded by soil, sun, and germinating plants. The Farm Club’s East Coast Pale Ale was brewed on a farm, so it makes sense that it pairs so well with gardening. Don’t hesitate to get your gardening gloves dirty while you drink, and don’t be afraid to pop a few cherry tomatoes from your harvest – the acidity of the tomatoes complements the hops in a heavenly way. Are you done with the day’s work? This infusion, especially with its elegantly designed can, also makes a great garden party drink.