Michigan’s Best Beers of 2022, According to Untappd

By Lisa Green

January 4, 2023

Untappd’s 2022 “Best Of” lists show off some of Michigan’s reliably awesome breweries—and reveal our newest breakout brewery stars.

MICHIGAN—In case you hadn’t heard, the craft beer industry is pretty major in Michigan. With 408 craft breweries making about 850,000 barrels of beer each year, local breweries had a $2.3 billion impact in the Mitten’s economy in 2021—and employed about 16,000 Michiganders.

No surprise, then, that Untappd—a social networking platform for beer enthusiasts, and a national authority on craft beer rankings among customers—has Michigan beer all over their “Best Of” lists. We scoured those lists to find Michigan’s best brews in 2022, according to Untappd.

Bell’s Two Hearted IPA, formerly known as Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. Photo Credit: Bell’s Brewery

Bell’s Two Hearted IPA

Beer Style: American IPA
Brewer: Bell’s Brewery (Comstock)
ABV: 7%
IBU: 55 

Bell’s Two Hearted IPA (formerly known as Two Hearted Ale) is arguably the best-loved beer among Michiganders. Aside from finding it on taps across the state, it’s also a favorite of Governor Gretchen Whitmer. And on Untappd, Two Hearted ranked fourth on the list of Top Ten Craft Beers with the Most Five-Star Check-Ins.

Bell’s has been producing Two Hearted since the 1980s, and in 2022 the beer celebrated its 25th birthday. The recipe has changed a little over time—from a pale ale brewed with English malt, to an IPA famously balanced with citrus, pine, and malt. Along with its birthday, 2022 also saw Two Hearted get a name change—from Two Hearted Ale to Two Hearted IPA, though nothing changed in the recipe to necessitate the switch.

Why “two hearted?” Originally, this referred to the two “hearts” of the beer’s then-flavors of English malt and Wisconsin-grown hops. Today, it’s a hometown reference to Michigan’s Two Hearted River, popular with fly fishing enthusiasts.

Bell’s Hopslam Ale. Photo Credit: Bell’s Brewery

Bell’s Hopslam Ale

Beer Style: Double IPA
Brewer: Bell’s Brewery (Comstock)
ABV: 10%
IBU: 65 

Whether you call them double IPAs or Imperial IPAs—both names simply refer to an IPA (India pale ale) with an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 7% or higher—hop-forward beers like Hopslam are popular craft brewery favorites. Hopslam’s got six—yes, six—hop varietals, plus a “massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops,” according to the Brewery, which also notes that it’s their “most complex hopping schedule” in their beer repertoire. Grapefruit, honey, and florals give the overall flavor a special, er, slam…and people seem to love it: Hopslam ranked ninth on Untappd’s Top Ten Craft Beers with the Most Five-Star Check-Ins.

Founders All Day Haze. Photo Credit: Founders Brewing Co.

Founders All Day Haze

Beer Style: Hazy Session IPA
Brewer: Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids)
ABV: 4.9%
IBU: 50 

An instant hit when it was released in early 2022, this hazy variant of Founders’ popular All Day IPA took seventh on Untappd’s 10 Best Session IPAs of 2022 list.

Jeremy Kosmicki, brewmaster at the Grand Rapids brewery, called the All Day Haze “supremely drinkable” with its lower alcoholic content and low bitterness. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t packed with flavor. Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops combine with flavor notes of orange, pineapple, and peach, and subtler floral and pine flavors. The result is a beer easily enjoyed on a mild Michigan day.

Fun fact: A “session” beer is one with a low ABV—meaning you can probably drink two or three in a single session. IPAs are especially popular as session beers, because lowering their ABV makes them softer on the palate and less bitter.

Bell’s Black Hearted Ale, far right. Photo Credit: Bell’s Brewery

Bell’s Black Hearted Ale

Beer Style: Black IPA
Brewer: Bell’s Brewery (Comstock)
ABV: 7%
IBU: 50 

If you love stouts and you love IPAs, a black IPA is for you. These beers have dark malts and the colors of darker brews, but without the astringency of a stout or porter. Bell’s Black Hearted Ale took home fourth place on Untappd’s Highest-Rated Black IPAs of 2022 list.

Black Hearted Ale was a just-before-COVID release in February 2020. It has a flavor profile of stone fruit and pine, and a taste that’s been described as similar to the Two Hearted IPA but with more of a roasted coffee flavor. Bell’s specifically encourages drinkers of this beer to “remember your ex, take a few sips, then go back to enjoying your day.”

Founders Nitro Breakfast Stout and Founders Breakfast Stout. Photo Credit: Founders Brewing Co.

Founders Breakfast Stout & Nitro Breakfast Stout

Beer Style: Oatmeal Stout
Brewer: Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids)
ABV: 8.3
IBU: 50 

Michigan may have plenty of craft beer enthusiasts, but not everyone knows a nitrogen draft pour from a carbon dioxide one. Founders Brewing Co. is cool with that, experimenting with both a classic version of their beloved Breakfast Stout and a Nitro Breakfast Stout. And it worked out all right for them, since both beers made Untappd’s list of 13 Best Oatmeal Stouts in 2022, at #3 (nitro) and #5 (classic).

What the heck is nitro? Most beers are carbonated using carbon dioxide. CO2 has big bubbles that send aromatics up to your nose, and that give beer that crisp mouthfeel. When nitrogen is used instead of CO2, the bubbles are smaller, creating the pillowy foam you might recognize on, say, a proper pint of Guinness. Nitro gives beer a softer mouthfeel, and help the heavier, malty varieties—think stouts and porters—distribute the complex flavors and smells more evenly. If you’re a nitro newbie, you might think the brew feels a little flat—but open yourself up to your other senses, and you’ll have a whole new beer-drinking experience.

Nitro’s ability to reduce bitterness and acidity in beer works well for Founders Breakfast Stout, which is made with bitter and imported chocolates, two types of coffee, and flaked oats.

Roak’s Bourbon Barrel Aged French Toast Devil Dog Oatmeal Stout. Photo Credit: Roak Brewing Co.

Roak’s French Toast & Bourbon Barrel Aged French Toast Devil Dog

Beer Style: Oatmeal Stout
Brewer: Roak Brewing Co. (Marshall)
ABV: 8.3
IBU: 45 

Also on Untappd’s list of Best Oatmeal Stouts in 2022 are two versions of Roak Brewing Co.’s original Devil Dog oatmeal stout. Both the French Toast Devil Dog and Bourbon Barrel Aged French Toast Devil Dog are some of the finest stouts the 2022 beer world has to offer.

The French Toast Devil Dog takes the original formula of the Devil Dog and adds maple syrup. The taste is complex and reminiscent of a french toast breakfast, with notes of maple, vanilla, and cinnamon. As its name suggests, the Bourbon Barrel Aged French Toast Devil Dog is aged in bourbon barrels for an even richer caramel taste.

Bell’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout. Photo Credit: Bell’s Brewery

Bell’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout

Beer Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Brewer: Bell’s Brewery (Comstock)
ABV: 13.4
IBU: 77

Check out the ABV on this brewski. Porters and stouts are historically tied to 1700s London, with stouts originally considered stronger variants of porters. The Russian stout became its own beast—an export specifically for Russia, made more bitter with a higher alcohol content to survive the long journey.

Bell’s Brewery used that premise to create their Expedition Stout, one of the first Russian imperial stouts in the United States, then they adapted it by aging the beer in bourbon barrels for a magical richness.

Like the original stouts preferred by high-profile Russians like Catherine the Great, Bell’s Expedition Stout is designed specifically to mature and age with complex flavors. The Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout takes the Expedition’s heavy chocolate and dark fruit malt flavors and adds a smoky bourbon barrel-aged flavor, infused into the brew over 12 months.

The Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout took third place on Untappd’s Best Russian Imperial Stouts of 2022.

HOMES Brewery’s Doozie Noche Imperial Stout. Photo Credit: HOMES Brewery

HOMES’ DOOZIE NOCHE

Beer Style: Imperial Stout
Brewer: HOMES Brewery (Ann Arbor)
ABV: 12.3
IBU:

Stouts are often at their best when made with decadent, rich flavors. But stouts that are brewed intentionally sweet are called pastry stouts, and their tastes often imitate beloved desserts. One of the best ones in Michigan comes from HOMES Brewery. The DOOZIE NOCHE took sixth place in Untappd’s Best Pastry Stouts of 2022.

The DOOZIE NOCHE is a collaboration with Colorado-based microbrewery WeldWerks Brewing Co. The beer is infused with rich flavors like dark maple syrup, Ecuadorian and Ghanaian cocoa nibs, Indonesia and Madagascar vanilla bean, Vietnamese cinnamon, toasted pecan, brown sugar, and milk sugar. Aging in bourbon barrels adds to the complexity of the taste.

Stormcloud Brewing Company’s Rainmaker Ale. Photo Credit: Stormcloud Brewing Company

Stormcloud’s Rainmaker Ale

Beer Style: Belgian-Style Pale Ale
Brewer: Stormcloud Brewing Company (Frankfort)
ABV: 5.9%
IBU: 20 

The Rainmaker Ale was the first brew made by Northern Michigan brewer Stormcloud Brewing Company when they opened in 2013. Nearly a decade later, the Belgian-inspired brewery’s flagship is still going strong. The Rainmaker Ale ranked eighth on Untappd’s list of Best Belgian Pale Ales of 2022.

Rainmaker Ale is a perfect balance between malt and hops flavors, with local hops grown in Northern Michigan. Part of its flavor profile comes from the house Belgian yeast, lending a zestier, almost peppery taste to the beer. The end result is an accessible Belgian-style beer to please most palates and that pairs well with most types of food.

This year, Stormcloud Brewing Company also earned national recognition at San Francisco’s USA Beer Ratings competition. Not only did the Rainmaker Ale take home a gold medal, but the brewery itself was named “Brewery of the Year.” The award is given based on “marketable and consumer driven” beers. So if you’re not yet seeing the Rainmaker Ale on your local party store shelves—don’t worry, you probably will soon.

Brew Detroit’s Yumtown Mexican Lager. Photo Credit: Brew Detroit

Brew Detroit’s Yumtown

Beer Style: Mexican Lager
Brewer: Brew Detroit (Detroit)
ABV: 4.7%
IBU: 12 

This smaller brewery in Detroit’s Corktown is dedicated to bringing manufacturing back to the Motor City—and its Yumtown definitely deserves to fly off the assembly line. Brew Detroit’s Mexican-style lager ranked so high this year, it placed eleventh on Untappd’s Highest-Rated Lagers of 2022.

Yumtown is a perfectly crushable lager with luscious flavors of Michigan cherries and key limes. The flavor balances sweet and tart without being overpowering.

Brew Detroit is an expanding brand that made big moves in 2022. In addition to opening a kitchen at the Corktown brewery for food pairings, they also teamed up with Emagine Theatres to serve Brew Detroit’s beer menu to folks watching their favorite flicks. Think of the Yumtown as an ideal companion to a summer blockbuster.

HOMES Brewery’s Smooj Seltzer. Photo Credit: HOMES Brewery

HOMES’ Smooj Seltzer

Beer Style: Hard Seltzer
Brewer: HOMES Brewery (Ann Arbor)
ABV: 5%
IBU:

Hard seltzer is all the rage these days, and HOMES Brewery in Ann Arbor just took it up a notch. Smooj is a hard seltzer smoothie that took both first (piña colada) and second (strawberry banana) places in Untappd’s Best Hard Seltzers of 2022.

Smooj is thicker and creamier than most hard seltzers, and has only a hint of carbonation. The strawberry banana and piña colada flavors are among the line’s bestsellers, but other colorful concoctions under the Smooj banner include Tropical Trip, Prickly Pear Piña Colada, Berry Blast, and Orange Delight. Smooj is fruity, dairy-free, and gluten-free. 

Other breweries such as Phase Three Brewing Co. in Illinois have decided to make their own takes on the hard seltzer smoothie. But as this new variety grows in popularity, just remember that it started in Michigan.

Short’s Brewing Company’s Soft Parade Shandy. Photo Credit: Short’s Brewing Company

Short’s Soft Parade Shandy

Beer Style: Shandy
Brewer: Short’s Brewing Company (Bellaire)
ABV: 4.2%
IBU: 12 

Sometimes called shandies, sometimes called radlers, these sangria-like beer cocktails are always delicious. Traditionally made with lemonade, the style can also combine beer with ginger beer, ginger ale, a soft drink, or any variety of juice. Some of Michigan’s best shandy comes from the folks up north at Short’s Brewing Company. Their shandy spin on their flagship fruit ale ranked fifth on Untappd’s Best Shandy/Radlers of 2022.

Short’s Soft Parade is made with pureed strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. The fruit ale flavors blend impeccably with homemade lemonade from Michigan-made Northwoods Soda and Syrup Company, resulting in a shandy that’s ideal for enjoying while out on the lake. It’s tart and sweet, with just a hint of rye flavor, giving a taste that’s reminiscent of fruit candy.

Witch’s Hat Brewing Co.’s Blueberry Lemonade Gose. Photo Credit: Witch’s Hat Brewing Co.

Witch’s Hat Blueberry Lemonade Gose

Beer Style: Fruited Gose
Brewer: Witch’s Hat Brewing Co. (South Lyon)
ABV: 5.8%
IBU:

A gose beer (pronounced GO-sah) is a type of salty sour that’s relatively new to the local craft beer scene. Its history, though, goes back over a thousand years, originating in Goslar, Germany. Witch’s Hat claims to be among the first in Michigan to brew the gose style, starting in 2018 and expanding distribution across the state ever since. The Blueberry Lemonade Gose ranked thirteenth on Untappd’s Best Goses of 2022.

The Blueberry Lemonade Gose is made from blueberries and lemon zest, then finished with the gose style’s signature salt. The flavor profile is aggressively tart with plenty of sweet blueberry flavors. Witch’s Hat’s kitchen has used the gose in culinary creations ranging from cheesecake to vinaigrette salad dressing. But the gose is also perfectly enjoyable on its own, especially in a Michigan summer.

Arclight Brewing Company’s Soursmith Black Raspberry. Photo Credit: Arclight Brewing Company

Arclight’s Soursmith Black Raspberry

Beer Style: Sour
Brewer: Arclight Brewing Company (Watervliet)
ABV: 5.2%
IBU:

Arclight Brewing Company introduced itself to the southwestern Michigan craft brewery scene in 2014. The brewery is an adventurous one, brewing five craft sodas, Kombucha, and at least eight beers on tap at any given time. But the best reason to visit would have to be its sours. Arclight’s Soursmith Black Raspberry placed seventh on Untappd’s Best Fruited Sours of 2022.

The Soursmith line are all foeder-aged American sours, which means the sours are wood-aged and fermented in large barrels. Flavors include lemon blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, blood orange, mango, peach, pear, pomegranate, and more. The Black Raspberry, though, is one of Arclight’s most popular flavors. The tart raspberry flavor is juicy and powerful, and balanced with sweetness. All in all, the Soursmith is an ideal offering from Michigan’s Fruit Belt.

Grand Armory Brewing’s White Chocolate Blonde. Photo Credit: Grand Armory Brewing

Grand Armory’s White Chocolate Blonde

Beer Style: Blonde Ale
Brewer: Grand Armory Brewing (Grand Haven)
ABV: 5%
IBU: 15

The blonde ale is among the most commonly consumed beers in the craft beer world, primarily because of how accessible the style is to both first-timers and connoisseurs alike. It’s a moderately bitter and malty ale that makes for a classic session beer experience. Out of all the Michigan breweries producing their own spin on this traditional style, West Michigan brewer Grand Armory Brewing holds the honor of being seventh on Untappd’s Best Blonde Ales of 2022.

The White Chocolate Blonde puts a new spin on an old brewing tradition. Like the darker beer varieties of stouts and porters, the White Chocolate Blonde adds chocolate to the fermentation process, using white chocolate to mix better with the blonde ale flavor. The end result is a delightful surprise of sweetness for a smooth, balanced finish.

Founders Brewing Co.’s Frangelic Mountain Brown. Photo Credit: Founders Brewing Co.

Founders’ Frangelic Mountain Brown

Beer Style: Brown Ale
Brewer: Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids)
ABV: 9
IBU: 40

Coffee is good on its own, but hazelnut makes it better. Founders understands this pretty well with Frangelic Mountain Brown, a hazelnut coffee-infused brown ale. And that delightfully hazelnut brew found its way to the third spot on Untappd’s Best Brown Ales of 2022.

Founders started brewing Frangelic Mountain Brown in 2007 and has gone through 15 other iterations before settling on this winning brew. This darker beer has balanced sweet and nutty flavors. It uses locally-sourced coffee from Grand Rapids coffee roaster Ferris Coffee and Nut. Other flavors include notes of tobacco leaf and graham cracker.

Keweenaw Brewing Company’s Red Jacket Amber Ale. Photo Credit: Keweenaw Brewing Company

Keweenaw’s Red Jacket Amber Ale

Beer Style: Amber Ale
Brewer: Keweenaw Brewing Company (Houghton)
ABV: 5.1%
IBU: 32 

The Upper Peninsula and Keweenaw Peninsula in particular are full of tributes to its history as Copper Country. In this case, it’s in the form of a beer. The Red Jacket Amber Ale is the Keweenaw Brewing Company’s tribute to present-day Calumet’s Red Jacket Mine. And this delicious piece of Michigan history is fifth on Untappd’s Best American Amber/Red Ales of 2022.

The Red Jacket Amber Ale has flavors that are earthy, fruity, and caramel-y. It counts as an Oktoberfest-style ale and is medium bodied and lightly hopped.

Bell’s Octoberfest Beer. Photo Credit: Bell’s Brewery

Bell’s Octoberfest Beer

Beer Style: Märzen
Brewer: Bell’s Brewery (Comstock)
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 0

Oktoberfest is a two-week festival annually held in Munich, Germany. And in Michigan, it’s kind of a big deal, especially when it comes to beers. The Märzen, which literally means “March beer,” originates from Bavaria, and many Michigan brewers have tried their hands at crafting the seasonal delight. One of these is the beloved Bell’s Brewery, whose Octoberfest Beer made sixteenth place on Untappd’s Best Märzens/Festbiers of 2022.

Bell’s calls their Octoberfest Beer “community in a glass.” The traditionally-crafted Märzen lager has the bite of a crisp hop, vigorous German malt flavors, and is richer and maltier than most German beers. Bell’s Octoberfest comes around every year and is a Michigan favorite, perfect for starting new traditions with your friends and family.

Founders Brewing Co.’s Ultimate Oktoberfest. Photo Credit: Founders Brewing Co.

Founders’ Ultimate Oktoberfest

Beer Style: Märzen
Brewer: Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids)
ABV: 10%
IBU: 0

Founders already had a hit in their version of an Oktoberfest, but this year they took it one better by aging that Bavarian brew in a bourbon barrel for nine months. The resulting Ultimate Oktoberfest has landed in the number two spot Untappd’s Best Märzens/Festbiers of 2022.

The Ultimate Oktoberfest is full bodied and features flavors of smooth bourbon, sweet bread, and moderate bitterness. The bourbon barrel-aging makes the flavors extra robust and complex. Though it’s a seasonal brew only available in August and September, we’re optimistic this one will stay on Founders’ seasonal schedule for some time.

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