I apologize for often referring to the fact that the Upper Peninsula (UP), although 30% the land mass of Michigan, contains just 3% of the state’s population. A new comparison I was able to make with the help of the Michigan Brewers Guild Website, is that the UP is home to almost 18% of the breweries that make up our “great beer state.”
So, what has me summoning my high school math skills? “The Upper Peninsula… Beer by Beer, Mile by Mile. A Michigan Craft Beer Lovers Brewery Trip,” a well crafted blog post by Kevin McKinney, aka, Michigan Beer Review.
Now that I typed out the article’s full title, I may consider a shorter suggestion, but beyond that, I found little to add, suggest or change to McKinney’s post when he sent it my way, asking for an opinion.
Opening lines, such as, “[The] toll is paid and instantly you feel you’ve entered the 51st State,” find a way to capture both the attention and heart strings of all members of the mitten state. He does a great job at sharing Upper Peninsula culture for example, “There’s a very strong community feel here. Everyone knew everyone and made this Troll feel right at home,” referencing Alpha Brewing Company in Alpha, MI. McKinney, all the while being sure to highlight the charm of each establishment, giving readers a few suggestions on a couple hidden gems, while not giving away too many secrets.
I’ll be honest, I learned a lot about my home region from reading this article, and the videos he pairs in the post are a great way to get to know some of the brewers behind it all. In conclusion, although beer isn’t my main focus, more often than not those who appreciate craft beer also already value or can easily understand the importance behind quality local ingredients may it be make up their next meal or be the ingredients in their favorite microbrew. I’m seeing more and more breweries seeking out regional and Michigan sourced ingredients, and the taprooms themselves have become hosts for our many small town’s community focused events.
So cheers to Kevin, thank you for taking the time to get to know us Yoopers. I highly recommend referencing this article as you visit some of these great spots! Pair it with your 2019 Guide to Local Food to visit great restaurants and farmers markets along your vacation and experience the great culture the Upper Peninsula has to offer. Also, just a reminder this tour was done in many visits in the UP. Always drink responsibly designating a sober driver.
Find a great Michigan brewery here.
Alex Palzewicz is the Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference, and can assure you, Kevin will need to be heading back to the Upper Peninsula to review a few more new brewers coming UP north.