Family vacations have quickly turned into combination beer adventures for this this member of Beertasteslike and I couldn't be happier about that. Our latest vacation was filled with amazing weather, the clean beaches of Southwest Michigan, and fresh local beer from the area. The four days away from the rigors of work, the stress of building a new deck, and everyday distractions was a nice change of scenery for my first family vacation with our baby girl. There are no crazy stories to tell this time unlike some previous vacations with friends and family. This was a relaxing trip that included some great handcrafted beer and quality family time.

The SW Michigan shoreline is scattered with small boutique towns and sprawling orchards. If you want antiques, Mitten sweatshirts or to hand pick fruit for a summer pie you are definitely in the right place. You will also find beer and lots of it. Every town seems to have its own brewery, and from New Buffalo to Grand Rapids I don't think you are ever more than 30 minutes away from one. You could make a weekend of just stopping at breweries. The possibilities are almost endless in this area (maybe link to visitor’s bureau or something?), but it doesn't matter why you go to SW Michigan, as long as it ends with a local beer or two.

If you're planning a trip to the area, you might want some guidance on where to drink and eat. I reviewed five breweries that we visited on our drip. Enjoy!

Reviews: out of 5

Founders Brewing - Grand Rapids
Food/Ambiance - 4/5
Made to order sandwiches and the like. Founders has a great outdoor seating area with a large indoor dining room. Separate annex for beer/merchandise purchases
Beer - 5/5
Seasonal TRIPA Devil Dancer on tap. Barleywine-ish. Frangelica Hazelnut Nitro Stout was creamy and tasted like a Nutella beer, perfect dessert beer.  Red's Rye Ale was maybe the most memorable beer, spicy with candied fruit aftertaste. Centennial IPA, too much of a malty biscuit flavor for my liking.

New Holland Brewing - Holland
Food/Ambiance - 3.5/5
More sandwiches and such. Homemade Rueben was good, but not exciting.  Spacious indoor space and outdoor beer garden with a separate annex for beer/merchandise.
Beer - 4/5
I love Dragon's Milk, a fruity barrel aged Imperial Stout with enough punch to take down any dragon master. The Poet is decent oatmeal stout.

Our Brewing - Holland
Food/Ambiance -
Smaller facility than the other breweries, but very rustic inside with a small outdoor area. Free popcorn, but no other food.

Beer - 3.5/5
Had a flight of in house beers/ciders, but found them hit or miss. Imperial Stout with Coconuts (Sasquatch on Coconut) was outstanding and I purchased a growler to go, which everyone loved later in the night!  The pineapple cider had such a robust pineapple flavor that I had to ask if there was actually pineapple in it (there was not, just the name).

Saugatuck Brewing - Saugatuck
- 3.5/5
Just a short drive from where we stayed. Another large space with a small outside seating area and decent sandwiches, I had a tasty shrimp po-boy that was fried in their own beer batter.
- 3.5/5
Neapolitan Stout on nitro stole the show. All of the flavors of the ice cream, but in beer form. This would be great in an adult float with vanilla ice cream. Mandarina IPA lacked the necessary citrus flavor I expected. Bertha barleywine had a strong gingerbread flavor and went down easy, even though it was 11%.

Greenbush Brewing - Sawyer
- 5/5
Best food of the trip, bar none. The Cuban sandwich with house made pulled pork was phenomenal. All of the meat is smoked in house for extra goodness.  The place was packed from the opening to when we left. A separate annex with other beers on tap and merchandise.
- 4/5
Massive selection on tap due to recently celebrating their 4 year anniversary. The regular coffee stout had a nice green coffee backbone, but the BA cream stout aged in Templeton Rye barrels was amazingly complex. Spiciness, with a rich leather background, and viscous. The Village Idiot Anniversary IPA was everything I look for in an IPA - a strong malty presence with orange/pineapple flavor from the front to back.