U.P. breweries: Munising’s craft beer scene has never been better

It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of Michigan craft breweries when there are more than 400 currently operating in a space that the biggest players – Bell’s, Founders and Shorts – tend to dominate the conversation.

Even among U.P. breweries, the shadows cast by Blackrocks, Keweenaw and Ore Dock seem to blot out both the established and the up-and-coming microbrews.

That’s changing as Munising breweries are getting rave reviews from those discovering the pubs for the first time and others who routinely find respite in the relaxing atmospheres where smooth ales and pilsners, rich stouts and seasonal selections are a great way to start a vacation or end a day.

The fall season tends to be the perfect time to take a self-guided tour of the region’s breweries as the cooler temperatures are ideal for outdoor adventure followed by cold beverages and tasty food, either made in-house or through partnerships with nearby restaurants.

Whatever the season, be sure to stop by for a beer after a trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a snowmobiling adventure or a day checking out waterfalls or hiking on the trails.

Here’s a look at the two breweries in Munising and one in nearby Grand Marais:

ByGeorge Brewing

The newest among Alger County breweries, ByGeorge Brewing is owned by two Munising natives who debuted the brewhouse in the heart of Munising at 231 E. Superior St. in 2020, and ByGeorge wasted no time in creating standout beers and ciders. With more than a dozen taps, the lineup has a full variety that’s sure to please any taste, with India Pale Ales, farmhouse ales and a traditional-style Marzen-Octoberfest beer currently available. The cozy pub and outdoor patio are adjacent to the Driftwood Deli, which is home to some of the U.P.’s best sandwiches.

A recent Google reviewer wrote:

“Absolutely loved this spot. The staff was friendly and helpful with choosing my flight, and checked in on me from time to time which I appreciated. Customers able to order food next door (Driftwood Deli) and eat in the brewery, so I double enjoyed being able to support two local businesses at once.”

East Channel Brewing

Less than two blocks away from By George Brewing, East Channel Brewing has been turning out great beers since 2016, inviting people to “stop in for a pint and good company.” The community staple generally has 6 to 10 beers on tap and frequently features live music or events with area authors and other creatives. It extends those partnerships by providing a summertime home for the Cooking Carberry’s Wood Fired Pizza and supporting other area restaurants and charitable fundraisers throughout the year. Be sure to check out the Whitecap Wheat, the Big House Blueberry Wheat and the malty Druggists’ Scotch Ale.

Take it from this recent visitor who said:

“Great spot with nice & cold locally made beer and amazing music. We were visiting from Chicago and this place has the best atmosphere in Munising. Friendly bartenders as well. Highly recommend trying it out.”

Lake Superior Brewing

One block from its namesake Great Lake, Lake Superior Brewing stakes a claim to being the second oldest brewpub in the U.P., crafting and serving original beers since 1994. Lake Superior – not to be confused with a recently closed brewpub by the same name in Minnesota – has built its reputation on solid brews, great food and a warm and welcoming embrace of its guests. Try the hoppy Sandstone Pale Ale, the English-style Cabin Fever brown or appropriately named Hematite Stout.

A visitor who stopped by recently remarked:

“Lake Superior Brewing Company is a nice eclectic place to eat, have a brew and hang out with the locals. The food is very good. The wait staff friendly and knowledgeable, and the local atmosphere not to be beaten.”

These U.P. breweries have yet to distribute their tasty treats so the only way to discover what you’ve been missing is to stop by for a beer or two and a meal. Be sure to grab a growler on your way out so you can share with friends at home.

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