Lake Michigan’s Beermuda Triangle

Sun, sand, and suds in the Mitten.

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New Holland Brewing
New Holland Brewing

Photo by Evan West

As great as Indiana’s craft-beer scene has become lately, it pales in comparison to Michigan’s. Recently ranked fourth in the country by Yahoo for quality suds, the Mitten boasts three nationally celebrated breweries in the southwest region—each less than a 45-minute cab ride from the next. You can check off a few places from your beer-bucket list in a single day.

Start your adventure at Bell’s Brewery (355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo, 269-382-2332) at noon. Lunch may seem early for an Oberon wheat ale, but lines form by 1 p.m. on weekends. With its manicured beer garden (opening with a big party on June 4), Depression-era theater, and walls hung with antiquities from far-flung places, the operation’s brewpub, Eccentric Cafe, feels like a place Ernest Hemingway would have frequented.

Around 2 p.m., call Yellow & Checker (269-349-9300) for a ride about an hour north to Founders Brewing Company (235 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, 616-776-1195). Its Breakfast Stout scores a rare 100 (perfect) on beeradvocate.com, and the Double Trouble IPA isn’t far behind at 94. On June 20, Founders Fest shuts down the streets around the brewery.

By 5 p.m., call Metro Cab (616-827-6500) for a 25-minute trip to New Holland Brewing Company (66 E. 8th St., Holland, 616-355-6422), where hopheads crowd the curbside patio—particularly on Hatter Days, a June 13 celebration of the flagship Mad Hatter IPA. Holland sits on an inlet to Lake Michigan, so it’s a perfect place to catch the sunset over the water. Call Rosebud Taxi (866-699-6975) when you’re ready to call it a night.

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