Food & Drink

5 Michigan beer experts pick their favorite Summer beers

Brewmasters and cellarmen are just like us. They like good beer. And when it’s hot out, they like it even more. But the heat also means you don't have much time to debate what you're going to drink, because you need that beer immediately. With that in mind, we accessed some of the finest beer minds in Michigan to hand-pick their favorite Summertime brews for your drinking pleasure.

Al Russell 

Brewer, Short’s Brewing Company

Founders, All Day IPA (American IPA, 4.7% ABV)
Al says: “It is light and bitter with citrusy American hops playing the starring role. Session IPAs are a great Summer go-to for hop heads as they offer the hop flavor and bitterness of normal IPAs and double IPAs, but with less alcohol and a lighter, more refreshing body. All Day was one of the first of this style I ever tried (back then it was called Endurance Ale) and it still stands out as one of my favorites. The fact that it now comes in cans makes it perfect for a trip to the beach, or you can pour it into a glass and enjoy it with some spicy tacos.”

Jolly Pumpkin, Bam Biere (Farmhouse Ale, 4.5% ABV)
Al says: “This beer is a Belgian-style farmhouse ale that clocks in at 4.5% ABV. It has a nice cloudy golden color, refreshing aroma, and a flavor that is both spicy and tart. Farmhouse ales were historically made to be consumed in Summertime and fit the bill with their earthy, spicy, and effervescent nature. Like all Jolly Pumpkin beers, this one runs a bit on the funky side, which I especially enjoy. As with all beers of this style, it fits well with a wide array of foods, especially cheese and fatty grilled meats.”

Dave Engbers

Co-Owner, Founders Brewing Company

Allagash Brewing Company, Allagash White (Belgian-Style Wheat, 5.0% ABV)
Dave says: “Allagash is a fantastic brewery that I put up on a pedestal because they do everything right. Their White Ale is a light and refreshing beer brewed with Curaçao orange peel and there’s probably some coriander in it. It also has a beautiful white head on it.”

Bell’s Brewery, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (American IPA, 7.0% ABV)
Dave says: “As far as Summer beers go, I tend to gravitate towards pale ales and IPAs. Two Hearted is always delicious. It’s got a ton of hop character to it, lots of hoppy aromatics, and goes down smooth. Just a solid, go-to beer.”

Bryan Wiggs

Head of Brewery Operations/Resident Hippie, Dark Horse Brewery

Arbor Brewing Company, Strawberry Blonde (Blonde Ale, 7.7% ABV)
Wiggs says: “Being a blonde, it’s easy to drink, and when they drop those strawberries in --what’s more Summery than strawberries? Makes me want to eat ice cream. And there aren't a ton of strawberry beers out there, so it’s unique.”

Kuhnhenn, The Fluffer (American IPA, 4.5% ABV)
Wiggs says: “As far as IPAs go, the Fluffer is a fun one to get ahold of. It’s got over-the-top hoppiness, a little thinner body, and the West Coast citrusy feel makes it very enjoyable on a Summer day.”

Ron Jeffries

Brewmaster, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Victory Brewing Company, Prima Pils (German Pilsener, 5.3% ABV)
Ron says: “When fresh, [Prima Pils] is nice, hoppy, crisp and refreshing. An awesome beer to enjoy on the back deck on a sunny Summer afternoon.”

Stone Brewing Company, Stone IPA (IPA, 6.9% ABV)
Ron says: “Really nice, clean, hoppy beer. Great on the deck, and great with food too! For me, a good Summer beer should be crisp, hoppy, and refreshing, I guess, considering my two choices.”

Jeff Levine

Head Cellarman, Atwater Brewery

Fuller’s, London Pride (English Pale Ale, 4.7% ABV)
Jeff says: “I will always enjoy a Fuller’s London Pride. It is deliciously smooth, with a rich, malty backbone. It is hopped enough to know it is there. It has a balanced finish, and always leaves me wanting another.” 

Great Lakes Brewing, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (Porter, 5.8% ABV)
Jeff says: “Not particularly a Summer beer, but an old favorite that is good year-round. I love a dark, malty porter, with bittersweet chocolate and coffee notes. Smooth and always drinkable.”