This content was originally published by The Hop Review, a digital magazine that joined the Hop Culture family in March 2020.
This piece was written by Nick Costa.
There are few things better than Michigan summers; backyard BBQs, cabins on the lake, sunsets after 9PM, and a spoil of craft beer riches from coast to coast. So whether on the boat, the beach, or the backyard, we put together a 6-pack of crushable Michigan craft cans perfect to fill your cooler with all summer long.
Bell’s Oarsman – 4.0% ABV
This beer is wrongfully overlooked in their year-round line up, and overshadowed by Oberon in the summer. Bell’s Oarsman is the beer they should be celebrating all summer long. This tart and refreshing wheat ale is bursting with lemon and citrus aromas and flavors to match, and at only 4% ABV, Oarsman is the perfect session beer for a day at the lake.
Founders’ Green Zebra – 4.6% ABV
Founders’ summer seasonal offering is a riff on the German style Gose that has taken off with American craft brewers the last couple years. The Grand Rapids brewery does a masterful job using watermelon to add a subtle fruitiness that harmonizes with the traditional lemony sourness and subtle salinity traditional to the style. Never leaning too sweet or too sour, Green Zebra is thirst quenching for any palate.
Brewery Vivant Tropical Saison – 5.5% ABV
Saison were historically brewed to be consumed by farmhands during the French and Belgian summers. Brewery Vivant is the Michigan gold standard for farmhouse ales, and Tropical Saison is no exception. All the usual saison characteristics are there — mild fruitiness and spice from the yeast, grassy hops, and an effervescent finish. Tropical Saison then adds real pineapple and mango juice to round it all out for a beer that stands on its own or pairs with a full range of summer foods.
Old Nation M-43 – 6.8% ABV
Adding fruit is not the only way to get tropical notes out of your beer. M-43, the New England style IPA that put Old Nation on the map, is so hopped that it explodes with aromas of mango, papaya and grapefruit and is full of tropical juices on the tongue. It is not excessively bitter and the addition of wheat and oats creates a soft pillowy IPA that will please IPA and non-IPA drinkers alike.
Griffin Claw Mr. Blue Sky – 4.5% ABV
Mr. Blue Sky is a Belgian wit ale that will be familiar to anyone who has tried a Blue Moon or Oberon in the last decade. Brewed with coriander and grapefruit peel, the wheat beer offers a soft, semi-sweet aroma of fresh bread dough, pithy grapefruit peel, and a mild spice from the coriander. This beer drinks rather light, but not watered down, and is very approachable. Hints of the citrus and grainy wheat complement each other well in this highly quaffable beer from the Birmingham brewery.
Oddside Citra Pale – 5.75% ABV
The hoppiest beer of the bunch, the Grand Haven breweries flagship pale ale offers all the things an IPA lover looks for in their favorite brew, but in a lighter body, perfect for those who want to indulge without weighing them down on a hot day. Brewed exclusively with citra hops, this pale ale offers a big beautiful bouquet of grapefruit, subtle tropical fruits, and fresh pine. It is bitter on the tongue, but balanced with just enough bready malt and a dry enough finish to keep you going back for another sip.