With craft beer exploding in popularity over the last several years, especially here in our home state, it’s no surprise that Metro Detroit’s brewery scene is one to be proud of. The history of Detroit beer dates back almost 200 years, and in fact, Michigan was the first state to repeal Prohibition in 1933 (you can read more about that here). So plan a girls’ night out, call the babysitter for a date night, or if you’re like my family, just bring the baby along, and sample some local favorites.
Atwater Brewery – Riverfront, Detroit
The Detroit tap room is situated in the brewing warehouse so you feel immersed in the process and can take in the sights and sounds that led to the delicious beers before you. They also have a new beer garden, Atwater in the Park, in a renovated church in Grosse Pointe Park.
I recommend the Vanilla Java Porter. Their Dirty Blonde and Grand Circus IPA are also classic and widely available in stores if you can’t make it in to the tasting rooms.
Bastone Brewery – Royal Oak
Given their extensive selection of Belgian beers and their central location on Main Street, Bastone is a great option for happy hour or a post-dinner beer. Or take advantage of their excellent food and make this your one-stop shop for dinner and drinks. They offer a yummy weekend brunch, where kids eat free on Sundays.
I recommend: the Witface, a citrusy Belgian-style white ale, refreshing on a hot day.
BATCH BREWING COMPANY
Batch Brewing Company – Corktown, Detroit
Like its home in Corktown, Batch has a hip atmosphere, with Edison bulbs, subway tile, and long wooden tables. You sit amidst the brewing equipment while they brew their hand-crafted, small-batch beers. Batch offers a wide range of styles, from Hefeweizen to Kolsch to IPA, Belgians, stouts and saisons. They also have sandwiches and shareable snacks.
I recommend the Mango Island, a mango-infused double IPA.
DETROIT BEER CO.
Detroit Beer Co. – Downtown Detroit
Detroit Beer Co. is conveniently located for a visit before or after a Tigers game (they literally have a beer named Baseball Beer), and they give shout-outs to their namesake with the 313 Pilsner and the People Mover Porter. There’s extra space upstairs to crowd in with your friends at the bar.
I recommend the Detroit Dwarf, a German altbier with some hoppy notes.
Dragonmead Microbrewery – Warren
Stepping into Dragonmead feels like walking into a different era, with its medieval decor and endless offerings of Belgians and ales and meads, many of which you can’t buy in stores. Dragonmead has been in business since 1997, long before craft beers gained the popularity they have today, and it’s conveniently located right off 696, so you can’t (and shouldn’t!) miss it.
I recommend Final Absolution, it is (deservedly) their classic, but I suggest taking advantage of your brewery visit and sampling the Sin Eater, a Belgian strong dark ale, which is harder to find. (But be cautious! Its ABV is 11%.)
FALLING DOWN BEER CO.
Falling Down Beer Co. – Warren
Falling Down brews beers with funky flavors and even funkier names, like Ninja Chicken and Vampire Bunnies, to list a few. They’re extremely family-friendly. (In fact, our servers gave us a free dessert in exchange for letting them hold our baby.)
I recommend the Blood Orange IPA. Their draught offerings are constantly rotating, so if that’s not available, I suggest that you be bold and consider choosing the one with the craziest name.
GRIFFIN CLAW BREWING COMPANY
Griffin Claw Brewing Company – Birmingham
Unfortunately (for me), I went to Griffin Claw while I was nine months pregnant and literally timing my contractions. However, I can attest to their great appetizers, particularly the smoked Gouda mac ‘n cheese bites, and based on my limited sampling of my husband’s drinks, to the quality of their beers. You can expect a crowd, so arrive early if you’re with a group and want to secure a table.
I recommend Norm’s Raggedy Ass IPA, a World Beer Cup champion that’s even better on draught.
JOLLY PUMPKIN PIZZERIA & BREWERY
Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery – Midtown, Detroit
Jolly Pumpkin offers delicious pizzas (like Korean shortrib and Brussels sprouts) and family-style seating. We crowded in on a Friday night and were able to find space, but it was bustling! They also offer North Peak beers on draught. You can visit their other locations in Ann Arbor, Dexter, and Traverse City.
I recommend the Bam Biere, a golden, hoppy farmhouse ale.
KUHNHENN BREWING CO.
Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. – Warren & Clinton Township
Kuhnhenn feels like a friendly neighborhood bar that also happens to offer some of the best beers in the state. But don’t just take my word for it! Beer Advocate ranked two of their brews in the Top 10 Michigan beers, right up there with Founders and Bell’s. Their Warren location hosts rotating food trucks so you can grab a bite while you sip.
I recommend the Loonie Kuhnie (I’ll admit, I was pleasantly surprised to be so excited about a pale ale). Or if you’re a fan of Belgians like me, the Simcoe Silly won’t disappoint.
ROAK BREWING CO.
Roak Brewing Co. – Royal Oak
The new kid on the block (they opened in June 2015), Roak is a gem just off the beaten path in Royal Oak. They have ample outdoor seating and plenty of parking, and their interior features a modern-Goth-style atmosphere and a large bar. With their nitro selections and rotating specials, you can expect to find something new each time you go.
I recommend the Higher Ground coffee stout, brewed with coffee beans from Chazzano in Ferndale, or the Live Wire, an IPA that is always available.
Tell us about your favorite place to grab a pint! Was it featured on our list? Were there any favorites that we missed?