Atwater Brewery Vanilla Java Porter
American porter; 4.5%
This English-style porter is kicked up a notch with the addition of vanilla and coffee, and it is a longtime Detroit favorite.
Motor City Brewing Works Ghettoblaster
English dark mild ale; 4.2%
For many years before the dawn of everyone being a beer geek, every Detroiter drank the hell out of Ghettoblaster because it was "our" beer. Ghettoblaster is one of the few commercial English mild ales you can find and it's a real session beer, meaning you can sit down and have a pint or six and still feel just fine.
Atwater Brewery Purple Gang Pilsner
Czech pilsener; 5.5%
You know what there aren’t enough of in American brewing? Pilsners. There need to be more pilsners. The Purple Gang Pilsner (the name pays homage to Detroit's Prohibition booze-running heritage) is brewed in strict German tradition, a bit lighter than its Czech counterparts, and makes for some easy drinking.
Right Brain Brewery Mangalitsa Pig Porter
American porter, 6% ABV
One of the most... well, weirdest beers in Michigan takes America's obsession with pork to a whole new level. Right Brain Brewery's Mangalitsa Pig Porter is brewed with smoked Mangalitsa pig bones (so it's totally not a bacon beer, even though it's totally a bacon beer) which gives this beer its natural smoky flavor without added smoked malt or pork extracts. But is it good? Well, not all ideas are good ideas (see: Short's Brewery's very, very large portfolio), but this one took home the gold medal for "Best Experimental Beer" from the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, for what that's worth. It's a limited release that already has a cult following and its own release party à la KBS and Oberon, and it's totally what you would serve to your bacon-fiend friends even though it's not a bacon beer (even though it totally is).
Leelanau Brewing Company Good Harbor Golden Ale
Bière de Garde; 7.5%
The Good Harbor Golden Ale is aptly-named, as it is liquid gold in a bottle. Leelanau's small production and lack of a brick-and-mortar brewery has meant that it has flown mostly under the radar in the mainstream of beer geekery, but Michigan beer nerds in the know know that these are some of the best sours being produced in the state. (As well they should be, as Leelanau has a relationship to Jolly Pumpkin.) Golden Harbor is their "Michigan Bière de Garde" aged in French oak.
Saugatuck Brewing Company Neapolitan Milk Stout
Milk stout; 6%
What does a "Neapolitan" stout taste like? Chocolate. Then vanilla. Then strawberry. It is by pure wizardry that the folks at Saugatuck have been able to recreate the experience of Neapolitan ice cream, and it makes for mandatory Michigan drinking.
American adjunct lager; 4.6%
It may not be made in Michigan anymore -- now it's basically PBR with a different label, but this is still a part of our state's long brewing heritage, and how exactly are you going to go through life having never drank a Stroh's? The answer: you are not.
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