10 Best Vacation Cities for Beer Lovers
Bell's has some friendly craft brewing neighbors in Battle Creek's Arcadia Brewing and Kalamazoo's Olde Peninsula Brewpub, but there's a bigger payoff about an hour north on Route 131 in Grand Rapids. Founder's Brewing has become as well known for high-powered concoctions such as its 12% alcohol by volume Devil Dancer Triple IPA and 7.2% ABV Centennial IPA as it has for its hard-to-find breakfast stouts that have a sad habit of disappearing from shelves as soon as they're stocked.
For greater extremes, however, beer lovers have to head to Holland, where New Holland Brewing has been experimenting with beers such as its oak barrel-aged Dragon's Milk strong ale, its barrel-soured Blue Sunday sour beer and its chile- and coffee-concocted El Mole Ocho. A bit east in Dexter and Ann Arbor, Jolly Pumpkin Brewing concocts Belgian-style brews such as the spicy Oro de Calabaza golden ale, Calabaza Blanca witbier, La Roja sour red and Bam Biere farmhouse ale while serving guests vegetable pizzas, thick burgers and pumpkin whoopie pies in the sidewalk seats or roof deck of its Main Street Ann Arbor brew pub.
There's no real tour to speak of and the Dexter outpost is really just a production facility, but a lakefront brewpub and restaurant in Traverse City puts guests close to North Peak Brewing, Right Brain Brewery and Traverse Brewing in Traverse City and the pub, deli and hyperlocal brews such as Pontius Road Pilsner and Bellaire Brown at Short's Brewing in Bellaire.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a gorgeous destination unto themselves, but the Brew Ridge trail of breweries provides just a little added incentive.
The giant, cabin-style brewery of Nelson County's Devils Backbone Brewing in the middle of a sprawling field with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background is as fine a place as any to start. A gorgeous view of the valley and big stands of Cascade hops for tourist photos are nice and all, but its Gold Leaf Lager, Baltic Coffee brew and Danzig Porter are award-worthy.