Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of Canva

By Lisa Green

January 30, 2024

2023 was a year full of twists and turns for Michigan, but one thing we can always count on is the beer.

MICHIGAN—The Mitten’s craft beer industry is one of the best in the country. With around 400 breweries in the state, and 100 of those opening in just the last decade or so, supporting Michigan’s economy is easier than ever. Each brewery has a few recognizable names and trademark favorites, but they’re always innovating new recipes, and 2023 was a great example of that.

Trends in Michigan’s craft beer industry can easily be tracked using Untappd, a beer-centered networking website and app that provides insight into market data among craft beer enthusiasts. The service allows users to “check in” and rate beers as they drink them. Forward-thinking breweries often synchronize their beer lists with Untappd, sometimes with check-ins displayed in a live feed on-site. The app tracks users’ tastes, offering gamification in the form of unlocked badges and recommendations based on preferences and location.

We’ve got a list of Michigan’s best beer releases from 2023, assembled using Untappd’s rating data, based on rating and popularity of both the beer and the brewery among Untappd users.

Oberon Eclipse

Beer Type: Citrus Wheat Ale

Untappd Rating: 3.70

Brewery: Bell’s Brewery

Brewery Location: Comstock/Kalamazoo

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of Bell’s Brewery via Facebook

Every Michigander worth their salt knows that when it’s Oberon season, the summer is right around the corner. The Bell’s Brewery flagship ale, which has a Michigan holiday named after it, is traditionally available from March through September. But this incredibly popular seasonal ale is certainly missed during the long Michigan winters. That’s why, in 2023, Bell’s developed a solution for those long winter nights—the Oberon Eclipse.

The Oberon Eclipse is similar to the traditional Oberon, but incorporates orange peel and coriander in the brewing process. The result is a spicier version of the traditional Oberon that incorporates a somewhat different citrus taste that’s not too far from the original. With Oberon Eclipse, one or the other variant of Oberon will be available year-round.

No Rules Double Barrel (2023)

Beer Type: Vietnamese Imperial Porter

Untappd Rating: 4.49

Brewery: Perrin Brewing Company

Brewery Location: Grand Rapids

There’s another beer-related day during the spring that’s perhaps lesser known than Oberon Day but arguably more coveted, and that’s No Rules Day.

No Rules Day is named after Perrin Brewing Company’s award-winning No Rules Vietnamese Porter. Why the name? Because the beer was created to fly in the face of the idea that brewing beer comes with strict rules that must be followed. By brewing this porter outside the lines, Perrin created something special and immensely sought-after by customers.

Perrin describes the No Rules Vietnamese Porter as tasting like “a Mounds candy bar that’s been dipped…in rich chocolate and soaked in bourbon.” This once-a-year offering is so popular that its release day in April has become an event. Customers can purchase not only the original No Rules, but also past variants, flavor variants, and even special merchandise. It’s all available on a first-come, first-served basis.

In 2023, the No Rules release was a smashing success, getting packaged in cans for the first time. The 2023 variant quickly became more popular than other No Rules variants on Untappd, second only to the 2017 version, which used scotch barrels. The 2023 version also altered the recipe by using twice as much barrel-aging for even more earthy bourbon flavors.

No Rules 2023 also included three new flavor variants: Blueberry Pancake, Chunky Monkey, and Coffee. The No Rules theme is based on The Big Lebowski, with the label art depicting an artist’s rendition of John Goodman’s Vietnam veteran and bowler enthusiast, Walter Sobchak.

MI, MI, MI

Beer Type: Triple New England IPA

Untappd Rating: 4.27

Brewery: Old Nation Brewing Co.

Brewery Location: Williamston

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of Old Nation Brewing Co. via Facebook

The Lansing-area brewery giant Old Nation is known primarily for one thing—great New England IPAs (NEIPAs). The M-43 and the Boss Tweed are two examples of Michigan’s favorite NEIPA flavors. But in 2023, Old Nation brewed up a Triple IPA as part of its limited IPA series that’s truly a love letter to the Mitten State.

MI, MI, MI (pronounced “my, my, my”) was part of an extremely limited run in early 2023, but it made a big splash at the Detroit Free Press, earning a place on its lists of top Michigan beers in 2023 and Michigan beers to enjoy for Super Bowl LVII. The MI, MI, MI is a higher-ABV beer that’s remarkably smooth, with plenty of juicy citrus notes, including mango, tangerine, and pineapple. The beer is returning for a limited release in January, so get it before it’s gone.

KBS Blueberry

Beer Type: Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout

Untappd Rating: 3.99

Brewery: Founders Brewing Co.

Brewery Location: Grand Rapids

Founders’ iconic KBS, short for Kentucky Breakfast Stout, celebrated its 20-year anniversary in 2023. Of course, the brewery had to celebrate—and what better way to do so than with Michigan-grown blueberries?

The KBS Blueberry is a blueberry-flavored variant of the original barrel-aged KBS. Tasting notes include the sweet flavors of vanilla, blueberry, and chocolate mixed with the more earthy flavors of coffee, bourbon, and oak. The result is a full-bodied finish that’s delicious even in the summertime.

Detroit Hustles Harder

Beer Type: Double IPA

Untappd Rating: 4.27

Brewery: Atwater Brewery

Brewery Location: Detroit

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of Detroit Hustles Harder via Facebook

Atwater Brewery is one of Michigan’s largest and top-grossing breweries, but even big brands can still hit new milestones. Atwater achieved quite a milestone in 2023—they brewed their first-ever double IPA, one that pays homage to the hardworking nature of Detroiters.

The Detroit Hustles Harder beer is a collaboration with the eponymous Detroit Hustles Harder brand, operating out of Eastern Market. The Detroit Hustles Harder platform offers locally designed clothing, handcrafted gifts, and more, but its main mission is to uplift the spirit of Detroit. The Detroit Hustles Harder beer carries flavor notes of berries and citrus. It was Atwater’s most popular release of 2023 among Untappd users.

Raspberry Paczki Beer and Blueberry Paczki Beer

Beer Type: Blonde Ale

Untappd Rating: 3.89 and 3.71

Brewery: Eastern Market Brewing Company

Brewery Location: Detroit (Eastern Market)

Thanks to the historic population of Polish immigrants in Detroit, Michiganders get to enjoy paczki every Fat Tuesday. These donut-like, jelly-filled treats are so popular in Detroit that Eastern Market Brewing Company developed a paczki-inspired beer.

Eastern Market Brewing started brewing a raspberry paczki-inspired beer back in 2021 to rave reviews. The ale was so popular, they brewed a second flavor for 2023. This time, beer enthusiasts were able to try both the raspberry and blueberry flavors to decide which one they liked better. The beer was also sold in a limited run as a mixed four-pack, featuring two cans of each flavor.

Check them out in 2024, when the blueberry flavor will be rotated out for a brand new lemon flavor.

Rainbow Rodeo

Beer Type: American IPA

Untappd Rating: 3.7

Brewery: Saugatuck Brewing Company

Brewery Location: Douglas

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of Saugatuck Brewing Company via Facebook

When you live in a Michigan beach town like Saugatuck, you can pretty much expect to take your beer out onto the water. That’s exactly what Saugatuck Brewing Company planned for with their Rainbow Rodeo IPA, released just in 2023. The Rainbow Rodeo pays tribute to Michigan’s fishing and farming heritage, with the can’s artwork featuring a fisherwoman riding a rainbow trout in a style similar to a cowboy or cowgirl riding a bull.

Rainbow Rodeo is described as a “great bucking” IPA. It’s made from Centennial, Simcoe, Cascade, and Columbus hops, with plenty of citrus, tropical, and piney flavor notes. The clean, supporting malt accentuates the hop flavors. The IPA was also Saugatuck’s most popular 2023 release on Untappd.

Underbru

Beer Type: Oak-Aged Saison

Untappd Rating: 4.11

Brewery: Speciation Artisan Ales

Brewery Location: Grand Rapids

If this beer’s bottle reminds you of a digestif, that’s because it’s a collaboration beer with Underberg, a German digestif made since 1846. Combine that with Eclipse on Tap, a combination beer-and-space podcast, and you have one of the most unique—and most hyped—beer collaborations in Michigan.

With Underbru, Speciation Artisan Ales has crafted a saison inspired by Underberg’s 43 aromatic herbs, first released in fall 2023. The saison is specifically designed to accompany Underberg and contains notes of hops, citrus, and ginger. The clever creation was incredibly popular with patrons at the Underbru Release Party.

Hazy Huma

Beer Type: Hazy Imperial IPA

Untappd Rating: 3.79

Brewery: Short’s Brewing Company

Brewery Location: Elk Rapids/Bellaire

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of Short’s Brewing Company via Facebook

Joe Short, founder of Short’s Brewery, once embarked on a quest for the perfect IPA. The eccentric founder completed this quest with the Huma Lupa Licious, Short’s most popular IPA and one of its flagship beers. But this year, Short’s remixed their old classic with the Hazy Huma, a hazier version of the classic, named after the hop flower Humulus Lupulus.

The Hazy Huma was first released in Short’s Huma Is Where the Heart Is variety pack at the beginning of 2023. The Hazy Huma still utilizes the original Huma Lupa Licious blend of hops: Centennial, Columbus, Chinook, Cascade, and Palisade. The biggest difference is the hops are added post-boil, which reduces the bitter flavor. The result is a refreshing beer with a hoppy, juicy flavor.

Dragon’s Milk: Triple Mash (2023)

Beer Type: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout

Untappd Rating: 4.44

Brewery: New Holland Brewing

Brewery Location: Holland

Michigan-made Dragon’s Milk is touted as the No. 1 best-selling American-made stout. New Holland Brewing’s most popular beer got a whole new facelift this year. Its annual release, the Dragon’s Milk: Triple Mash is a version of the popular Dragon’s Milk, but aged for one year in bourbon barrels. Triple Mash has chocolate, vanilla, roasted malt, and oak flavors. It’s highly anticipated and highly rated each year, so that’s not new. What is new is the makeover that the entire Dragon’s Milk line received.

As of 2023, the Dragon’s Milk products feature new packaging and new products. The iconic dragon logo has been slightly redesigned to better showcase the potent ABV and barrel-aging features. Two other new beers within the Dragon’s Milk brand were released as of 2023: Crimson Keep, a bourbon barrel-aged red ale; and Tales of Gold, a bourbon barrel-aged golden ale. New Holland also added a Dragon’s Milk Ready-to-Serve Old Fashioned cocktail, made with a simple syrup crafted from a reduction of Dragon’s Milk.

Cultish

Beer Type: West Coast IPA

Untappd Rating: 4.01

Brewery: Kognisjon Bryggeri

Brewery Location: Marquette

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of Kognisjon Bryggeri via Facebook

Marquette’s newest brewery isn’t so new after all. Kognisjon Bryggeri finished its first year of business in 2023, but they originally opened as the viking sister version of Cognition Brewery in Ishpeming. By May, the owners decided to shift operations full-time to Marquette, closing the original Cognition Brewing location.

The rebrand is working well. The house IPA, Cultish, earned high ratings from Untappd users and took the top spot for popularity among the brewery’s beers. Cultish uses Comet, Simcoe, and Chinook hops, which Kognisjon describes as more “dank” and “aggressive” hops than normal. The double dry-hopped beer also uses a lot of rice in fermentation to help accentuate the hops and aromatics.

100 Pound Chimp

Beer Type: New England IPA

Untappd Rating: 4.14

Brewery: Arvon Brewing Co.

Brewery Location: Grand Rapids

Arvon Brewing Company has only been a part of the Grand Rapids beer scene for a few years, but they’ve become experts at the New England style IPA. Arvon opened in a former car dealership on Division Street in Grand Rapids and has been brewing up masterpieces ever since. But one of the best releases of this year was the 100 Pound Chimp.

The 100 Pound Chimp is a New England IPA brewed with Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops. Arvon Brewing introduced it in 2023 for their Hop Fest celebration in May. It also has a Double New England IPA version called the 200 Pound Chimp.

Split Scrape and Pastry

Beer Type: Imperial Stout

Untappd Rating: 4.28

Brewery: Transient Artisan Ales

Brewery Location: Bridgman

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of Transient Artisan Ales via Facebook

Transient Artisan Ales is a brewery with Chicago roots that specializes in barrel-aging. True to its name, the brewery was once transient, but planted its roots in the Lake Michigan town of Bridgman, where it helped revitalize the local economy. Transient is known for its sours, but the Buckley stout is among its most popular offerings on Untappd.

One particular 2023 release, the Split Scrape and Pastry, uses Buckley’s popular rich and fudgy base. It was then aged in Journeyman estate rye sherry puncheons with vanilla beans for 18 months. The stout has strong chocolate, caramel, and vanilla flavors, with flavor notes of sherry and rye.

Poseidon’s Fury

Beer Type: Double IPA

Untappd Rating: 4.22

Brewery: Wax Wings

Brewery Location: Kalamazoo

Wax Wings is a local yet lesser-known favorite of craft beer fans, frequently topping the Untappd ratings charts for Michigan breweries. The brewery makes frequent “drops” on Facebook and Instagram of their beers as they become available, usually offering a literal flavor of the week. These drops lead craft beer enthusiasts from both in- and out-of-state to swoop up the new flavor fast. If the beer is popular enough, Wax Wings may sell out within minutes.

What was Wax Wings’ most popular drop in 2023? While there were several contenders, Untappd users liked the October drop, Poseidon’s Fury. This DIPA uses a base from a previous single IPA recipe, Nereids. Both Poseidon’s Fury and its parent Nereids use Nectaron hops. Poseidon’s Fury is considered to be “bolder” and contains stone fruit notes.

Dünk the Halls

Beer Type: Dünkelweizen (Dark Wheat Beer)

Untappd Rating: 3.84

Brewery: Brewery Vivant

Brewery Location: Grand Rapids

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of Brewery Vivant via Facebook

Brewery Vivant is the world’s first LEED certified microbrewery, usually known for its Belgian-style beers. For the 2023 holiday season, though, they gave Grand Rapids a huge gift. The brewery created a traditional German-style beer, meant to be enjoyed at Grand Rapids’ first Christkindl Markt in the Grand Rapids Downtown Market.

Dünk the Halls is a Dünkelweizen. The flavor is described as a “tick darker than an amber” but not quite a stout or porter. It’s malt-forward with flavor notes of caramel and toffee. The beer is best enjoyed out of a stein, preferably while perusing artisan gift and food vendors, like the ones from the first annual European Market-inspired Grand Rapids event.

Sour Lake Kiwi Coconut Lime

Beer Type: Fruited Sour

Untappd Rating: 3.93

Brewery: Broad Leaf Brewery and Spirits

Brewery Location: Kentwood

Broad Leaf Brewery is owned by the same owners as the Grand Rapids-area Brewery Vivant. It’s known for its progressive beers. One of Broad Leaf’s offerings is the Sour Lake sour series, a tart-forward sour with new flavor variations released each year.

In 2023, one of Broad Leaf’s most popular beers was the Kiwi Coconut Lime variant of the Sour Lake. According to Broad Leaf, this flavor variant will have you thinking about “high dives into refreshing alien liquids that shine with lush fruit and vibrant tartness.”

Out for a Rip

Beer Type: Imperial Black IPA

Untappd Rating: 3.91

Brewery: Ore Dock Brewing Co.

Brewery Location: Marquette

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of Ore Dock Brewing Co. via Facebook

Ore Dock Brewing Company is named after a neary Marquette historic landmark, the Iron Ore Docks. The brewery is located close to the Lower Harbor Iron Ore Docks, which were once used in Marquette’s economic history of iron ore. Ore Dock Brewing sources its beer from the waters of Lake Superior.

In 2023, one of Ore Dock’s most popular beers on Untappd was Out for a Rip, an imperial black IPA. The flavor is strong, malty, and roasty.

Pizza Pie Pils

Beer Type: Italian-Style Pilsner

Untappd Rating: 4.01

Brewery: Brewery Faisan

Brewery Location: Detroit (Islandview)

Brewery Faisan was designed as a Belgian-style brewery just minutes from downtown Detroit and Belle Isle Park. However, for the benefit of one of Faisan’s best business relationships, their style went in a distinct Italian direction.

Pizza Pie Pils is a collaborative effort meant to be enjoyed with one of the best accompaniments for beer—pizza. The Pizza Pie Pils was a co-creation with The Bricks Pizzeria, a wood-fired pizzeria in Grosse Pointe Park. For its release, the Pizza Pie Pils was available in both the brewpub and the pizzeria, the first restaurant to carry Brewery Faisan’s beer. Its flavor profile is crisp, clean, and hoppy.

Praline

Beer Type: Imperial Porter

Untappd Rating: 3.82

Brewery: Odd Side Ales

Brewery Location: Grand Haven

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of Odd Side Ales via Facebook

Odd Side Ales began brewing out of an old piano factory in Grand Haven over a decade ago. Today, it serves up iconic ales with multiple flavor variants, like Bean Flicker, Dank Juice, and Fruitsicle. But in 2023, the most popular release on Untappd was Praline.

Though peanut butter is a popular flavoring for porters and stouts alike, the taste of Praline will have you thinking of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher. It’s a smooth porter with natural hazelnut flavorings leading the taste profile, with notes of chocolate throughout. And Odd Side Ales operates in 11 states outside of Michigan, so your out-of-state friends can pick this one up, too.

All Day West Coast and All Day Crimson Sky

Beer Type: Session IPA and Session Red IPA

Untappd Rating: 3.64 and 3.58

Brewery: Founders Brewing Co.

Brewery Location: Grand Rapids

Another smash hit for Founders in 2023 included not one but two variants on its ever-popular Session IPA, the All Day IPA. The All Day IPA was first canned in 2014 and quickly became one of the top best-selling IPAs in the country. It was named All Day IPA because of the beer’s easy-drinking qualities that could have you drinking it, well, all day. And it became so popular that it spawned a whole series of session beers with the All Day label.

The popular All Day Haze, a hazy IPA variant of the All Day IPA, was released in 2021; as of 2023, the All Day IPA received two additional variants. The All Day Variety Pack was first released in 2023, including both the original and hazy variant. But it also included the All Day West Coast and All Day Crimson Sky, with the Crimson Sky exclusive to the variety pack.

The All Day West Coast is made in the West Coast IPA style, which traditionally involves a “dry-hopping” process, which is a flavor-altering decision of adding the hops later in the brewing process. West Coast IPAs are similar to the hazy style but carry a clear, amber appearance. The flavor tends to be significantly more hop-forward than the yeast-forward varieties of the East Coast. The All Day West Coast emphasizes this hop-forward flavor and accents it with pine and citrus notes.

The All Day Crimson Sky, on the other hand, is a red IPA, which can be thought of as a hybrid between the traditional IPA and an amber ale—like a red or amber ale with extra hop flavors. The All Day Crimson Sky is a malty beer carrying floral, grapefruit, and pine flavors.

THICC OR TREAT (2023)

Beer Type: Fruited Sour

Untappd Rating: 4.44

Brewery: HOMES Brewery

Brewery Location: Ann Arbor

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of HOMES Brewery via Facebook

HOMES Brewery may be best known for Smooj, the hard smoothie drink, but with THICC OR TREAT, it takes that mastery of sweet flavors in a different direction. THICC OR TREAT is an annual series of beers released for the Halloween season. The taste is based on the white mystery Airheads candy. And much like the candy of its inspiration, the flavor changes a bit from batch to batch.

The 2023 version used Sicilian lemon, key lime, strawberry, and plum. Previous versions of the beer have been kettle sours using other flavors like tangerine, raspberry, cherry, blueberry, and black currant. But the 2023 version climbed higher in the Untappd ratings than the 2021 and 2022 versions, showing that this beer is better than ever before.

Imperial Bourbon Barrel DOOM CAKES

Beer Type: Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout

Untappd Rating: 4.28

Brewery: Supernatural Brewing

Brewery Location: Livonia

Supernatural Brewing was Livonia’s first independently owned brewery, which just so happens to have a Ouija board aesthetic and an owner that sometimes dresses up as a mad scientist professor. And the beers get even quirkier from there. One of Supernatural’s popular offerings is DOOM CAKES, a stout tribute to the departed rapper, MF Doom. The beer, which came out in previous years, is brewed with “tons of chocolate cake,” vanilla, lactose, and chocolate.

For 2023, Supernatural celebrated its fifth anniversary and provided a barrel-aged version of the popular stout to celebrate. Like the other beers released for the anniversary event, the 2023 version of DOOM CAKES was aged in a Two James rye whiskey barrel. It was so delicious and popular that, not only did it round out Supernatural Brewing’s top Untappd scores for 2023 releases, it also made Better On Draft’s list of 25 Beers You Need to Try at Michigan’s Summer Beer Fest. The flavor is described as sweet, smooth, and chocolatey.

Dual Gauge

Beer Type: Double New England IPA

Untappd Rating: 4.05

Brewery: Witch’s Hat Brewing

Brewery Location: South Lyon

Witch’s Hat is a popular microbrewery in southeast Michigan known for beers such as Defloured and Train Hopper. The Halloween aesthetic was inspired by, of all things, a bat in the house. The Witch’s Hat owners laid the foundations for Witch’s Hat Brewing and eventually came to see the bat stuck inside as a good omen.

Among the Witch’s Hat 2023 releases, the most popular was Dual Gauge, a double New England IPA. This hazy beer was brewed with Mosaic, Simcoe, and Cashmere hops. The body is described as “super pillowy” with citrus, mango, and papaya flavor notes.

Grave Goods

Beer Type: Imperial Pastry Stout

Untappd Rating: 4.14

Brewery: Arclight Brewing Company

Brewery Location: Watervliet

Arclight Brewing Company was originally designed for the brewery patrons interested in more than IPAs. Today, they brew up a wealth of sour ale, barrel-aged beer, and craft sodas. Their most popular 2023 release was a collaboration with Viking Artisan Ales, an Indiana-based brewer.

The collab beer, Grave Goods, is a coconut s’mores stout with a heavy flavor base, followed by the sweet flavors of chocolate, coconut, and vanilla. The beer was brewed with Madagascar vanilla, Ghana cacao nibs, and toasted coconut for a taste that’s thick and delicious.

Glow

Beer Type: Hazy IPA

Untappd Rating: 4.01

Brewery: Mothfire Brewing Company

Brewery Location: Ann Arbor

Michigan’s best beers of 2023, according to Untappd

Photo courtesy of Mothfire Brewing Co. via Facebook

Mothfire Brewing Company already has an insect-inspired name, but its 2023 beer ended up being a symbol of their metamorphosis over the year. During the summer, the microbrewery opened a new taproom, larger than the location they had been operating out of since 2020. The new location includes enough taps for 14 beers, a large patio, fire pits, and rotating art installations.

The 2023 beer of transformation is the “breakthrough beer” Glow, with the beer can featuring a macro-view of a moth wing. The beer has a glow described as “ghosty,” and includes Mega Motueka, Motueka, and Nectarine hops. A special ingredient is Phantasm, a powder made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The result is an unbelievably tropic taste that’s truly transformative.

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