++Let there be beer++
or the many, many breweries we visit as we travel America.



Farmington Brewing Co.
Farmington, MI

Right next to the fabulous Farmington Civic Theatre, Farmington Brewing Co. has two things going for it - no one under 21 allowed and... I forget but there are no children here so yay.

Salt Springs Brewery
Saline, MI

Another brewery in an old church, which is always a good idea. There beer is hyper traditional which is great. The food is way ambitious and over priced for Saline.

Montreal, QC

This was the best if not the only really good beer I've ever had out of Canada. That is all.

Montreal, QC

I love this little hole in the wall. Beer was OK, but I was drinking vodka by the end of the night.

The Hideout
Grand Rapids, MI

Beer in the middle of nowhere. Worth the trip.

Black Lotus Brewing
Clawson, MI

The BDGF would like everyone to know that Black Lotus has an extensive cocktail list in addition to their excellent brews. It's also in adorable downtown Clawson next to a decent record store, so worth the trip.

Iechyd Da Brewery
Elkhart, IN

Used to be the only reason to go to Elkhart was to buy an RV. That title has been usurped by Iechyd Da. Beer was amazing, food was great. I'd go out of my way to go back. Might even consider purchasing an RV.

Evil Czech Brewing
Mishawaka, IN

Evil Czech is pretty upscale for little Mishawaka, but they also had a pretty awful 90's hippie band on a tiny stage. I assume this is always the case and thus will never go back. Beer was good though.

Bare Hands Brewery
Mishawaka, IN

I was fairly inebriated when I showed up, but I'm pretty sure this place was located on a KOA campground. Huh. The beer was tasty though, if you're ever in Mishawaga.

Constantine Brewing
Constantine, MI

Every podunk town is getting a brewery. Someone decides how hard can it be, so they get their friend the contractor to spec out and old building and figure the low overhead can't not turn a profit. They're usually right. Constantine is the epitome of this model. They use local ingrediants and not enough of them, but hey, maybe they'll turn it around.

Falling Down Beer Co.
Warren, MI

Falling Down is located in an abandoned McDonalds, which is right next to a state of the art, brand new McDonalds. Surreal. Inside, it looks like someone with not a lot of funds tried to makeover an old McDonalds, natch. The beer was pretty good though. Ultimately, glad I went, too sketchy for a return visit.

Church Works Brewing Co.
Pittsburgh, PA

This has been near or at the top of my list of breweries to visit for a long time now. It didn't disappoint. Great bear, great food, spectacular atmopshere. Why more churches aren't turned into places that you'd actually want to go I'll never know.

Tibbs Brewing Co.
Kalamazoo, MI

New breweries often suffer because some shmoe figures he can quickly cash in on the microbrewery trend by whipping together some hops and labeling them "something clever IPA". Tibbs opened last December, but decided to do things proper. Righteously hopped beers that are damn tasty. Can't wait to see where they take it.

Bad Brewing Co.
Mason, MI

If you are within 50 miles of any decent metropolitan area (yes, Lansing counts) you are required by the State legislature to have a brewery. This is Mason's. I wasn't impressed with the beer, but hey, they're new.

Eagle Monk
Lansing, MI

So apparently someone's grandparents left them a house in the middle of nowhere and that someone said "I don't know what to do with it. Brewery?" Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Eagle Monk. Totally forgettable outside of the fact that they have shuffleboard.

Griffin Claw
Birmingham, MI

Griffin Claw is about what you'd expect from a Birmingham brewery - it's a little overpriced and inexplicably named after something in Harry Potter (?) But the beer is good and the place is impeccably appointed. Plus, if you're in this part of the world, where else ya gonna go?

Grand Rapids, MI

Founders may not yet produce the volume of Bells, but it feels even more corporate. Bells sometimes gives off the vibe that they'd rather be smaller than they are. Founders feels like they'd love to be twice as big. That's not necessarily a bad thing. They make great beer, so I suppose I'm for it. I'll count on Dark Horse and Greenbush to stay indie.

Orlando Brewing
Orlando, FL

Industrial. Orlando Brewing is located in the Jutland Wastes outside of downtown. Their beer is good and I don't mind drinking in an industrial park, so I'd go back.

Darwin Brewing
St. Pete, FL

Darwin is upscale brewing. It's not your typical brewery filled with former dropouts who really love beer. These guys are catering to beer snobs who don't necessarily want to drink with the proletariat. Sometimes I can handle upscale. The beer helps.

Michigan City, IN

My other home base. Indiana still doesn't have a plethora of great breweries, but this one is superb, and more importantly, two miles from my in-laws house.

North Country Brewing
Slippery Rock, PA

Our stop during our pilgrimage to Happy Valley. The beer wasn't anything to write home about, but we dug the hippy vibe in rural PA.

Kalamazoo, MI

The granddaddy of them all. One could argue how craft Bells is anymore given their size, but those that have been to the Eccentric Cafe and tasted their artisan wares know the truth. A visit there is a true pilgrimage every beer snob owes themselves.

Toronto, ON

Canadians are many wonderful things, but good at making beer is not one of them. At least not yet. After suffering through their IPAs that don't contain hops, we walked several kilometers to get to Bellwoods, hoping that an actual brewpub might have a clue. I have no idea how good the beer actually was, because I was a man in a desert who had just found water, but I will say that at the time, it was worth the hike.

Arbor Brewing Company
Ann Arbor, MI

I once spent a lot of time here. The beer at ABC likely had a significant impact on my becoming a beer snob. They're still churning out delicious beer, they just happen to suffer from the fact that they're down the street from the Griz, which I call home.

The Royal Oak Brewery
Royal Oak, MI

Not much of a sign. Didn't love the food. The beer was good and I loved multiple IPAs on tap, but I don't see myself rushing back. Glad you exist though. Breweries are comforting.

Grizzly Peak
Ann Arbor, MI

The Grand daddy of them all - in the sense that I am here about 3 times a week. The GP Pale Ale in the winter, and el Hefe in the summer. I am proud to call this my home bar.

Blue Tractor BBQ
Ann Arbor, MI

I was anti-Blue Tractor when it opened because I thought their sauce was weak sauce. They now have a superb North Carolina style sauce, my favorite appetizer ever in the skillet dip, and their IPA has always been awesome. They are now 5 stars.

3 Floyds
Hammond, IN

Impossible to get into, very hard to leave walking upright. This is the must-stop on the way to Chicago from Michigan.

Maumee Brewery
Toledo, OH

It's Toledo, so if you temper your expectations, you can leave her relatively happy. The beer needs a lot of work, the cut-up former hotel is an interesting space. A few blocks from the Mud Hens' stadium, so worth a stop.

Dark Horse
Marshall, MI

Everything they do, they do well. Nearly impossible to drive with a half hour of this place and not stop for at least two beers. It's as podunk as it gets, but that shouldn't deter you one iota.

Corner Brewery
Ypsilanti, MI

Corner is a former municipal building, meaning that it is large and open inside, giving them ample opportunity to host unique events. Since the owners are cool, they take advantage of this. I took this the night we went to see a sCottish play that was staged in the actual bar.

Sawyer, MI

A stones throw from Exit 12 off I94, the beer here is impeccable and on weekends, the pulled pork and brisket are to die for. A perfect stop on your way to or from Chicago.

The Livery
Benton Harbor, MI

The Livery is a middle of nowhere townie bar. This is both to its credit and downfall. Divier than most microbreweries, the beer is a tad inconsistent. Worth a stop on the chance that you catch a good day.

Battle Creek, MI

Beers and BBQ are two great tastes that go great together. Arcadia isn't the best at either, and it's a tad off the beaten path to make a stop when driving by BC. But still, they're pretty good at both, so you could do worse.

Bellaire, MI

The crown jewel of Northern Michigan. Shorts is adorable and neigh on incapable of making a bad beer. If you find yourself north of Flint, it's worth the trip to find this place.

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Copyright 2005 Tyler Brubaker