Whether a visit to America's oldest microbrewery is on your bucket list or the originality of a small-batch brewhouse situated in a historic neighborhood speaks to your style — the Great Lakes Bay's growing beer scene boasts everything from bigger-name breweries to intimate spots with unconventional brewmasters who do things in a novel way, while still giving a nod to the region's rich brewing traditions.
Cozying up to uncork and share a bold bottle of red sound more like your idea of date night? Try a spot with perfect-temperature wines on tap and an outdoor fire bar for chilly fall nights — named "Michigan's Best Wine Bar" (BuzzFeed, 2016) — or a chic, mid-century modern wine bar set inside an urban city market, offering wine flights, full glasses, and even single wine samples!
Not to be forgotten is our growing roster of spots for craft spirits — from a craft distillery at the heart of Old Town Saginaw to a new distillery and taproom coming to Midland's Main Street — even a Bay City spot serving up artisan cocktails and local provisions!
Microbreweries + Craft Breweries
Midland Brewing Company (Midland) Historically great beer honoring the lumberjacks of the 1800s, served up inside a sprawling microbrewery situated along the 30-mile Pere Marquette Rail Trail. Enjoy seasonal series like Lumberjack Brawl Midnight Wheat — with light notes of chocolate and caramel, balanced by bready malt flavor and dark malt roast.
Oracle Brewing Company (Saginaw) Old Town brewhouse in a historic 1905 building with pub-style, gratuity-free service — just come and grab another pour as you please. Here, the focus is all on beer, but you're welcomed to order in food from neighbors that'll deliver straight to your table. Sample from three tiers of brews, and don't miss standouts like C-Beans Ligni — a creamy, decadent coffee chocolate stout that gets made with the good stuff from local roaster, Creation Coffee, before hanging out for two months in a Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrel!
Tri-City Brewing Company (Bay City) Microbrewery and tasting room hosting everything from food truck takeovers to charcuterie pop-up events! Pick a pint of fall with their fan-favorite Oktoberfest, or sip winter's award-winning Brownhoist Nut Brown Ale — medium-bodied and mahogany in color, with five types of premium-malted barley and two hop varieties.
Frankenmuth Brewery (Frankenmuth) America's oldest microbrewery and Michigan's original craft brewery, hatching award-winning ales and lagers since 1862. Call in advance for the chance to tour this historic brewhouse, then taste the over-150-year brewing tradition for yourself — from year-round core brews to seasonal favorites like fall's Oktoberfest Lager or winter's Christmas Town Ale!
The Maple Grille Restaurant and Microbrewery (Hemlock) Unassuming microbrewery and farm-to-table restaurant with an inspired, rotating selection of wood-fired craft brews. Wander out to the country for this rare and well-worth-it gem, and pair your sips with a choice from the chalkboard menu that changes daily — then see it all scratch-cooked over fire before your eyes!
Lumber Barons Brewery (Bay City) Sprawling brewery with a martini & cigar bar, plus a weekend outdoor fire bar for even more cozy vibes. Enjoy live entertainment nightly while you sip your selection from three tiers of beer, or try one of the rotating guest taps.
Loggers Brewing Company (Shields) Rustic, log-cabin-like microbrewery that was once a church! Sip slowly on favorites like Northern Nightfall Russian Imperial Stout — dominated by flavors of espresso, bittersweet baker's chocolate, and dark, pitted fruits.
Taprooms + Craft Beer Pubs
Woody's Draught House (Saginaw) Intimate, brick-lined Old Town tavern with an impressive 100+ craft brew and cider handles on constant rotation.
Tavern 101 (Bay City) Beer-forward restaurant bar with 54 taps, reinvented gastropub fare, and a new featured brewery each quarter!
WhichCraft Taproom (Midland) Cozy, brick-lined taproom serving only made-in-Michigan craft beer, cider, mead, and wine. 100+ craft beer and cider selections alone make the menu here — 40 of them on tap!
The Taproom at Stardust (Saginaw) 41 craft beer handles at the ready, with new kegs always waiting in the wings to be tapped. Order a pint, or sample from a tasting flight of four premium pours!
Governor's Quarters (Bay City) 30 taps always on rotation, mostly from Michigan breweries. Odd Side to Oracle, Short's to Saugatuck — enjoy the wares of some of Michigan's best brewers here.
Zehnder's Tap Room (Frankenmuth) 20 craft beer taps, frequent tap takeovers, and special beer and food pairing dinners — all inside Zehnder's of Frankenmuth.
Michigan on Main Bar & Grill (Frankenmuth) 17 Michigan craft brews on tap and Michigan's greatest selection of German beers, served up inside Bavarian Inn Restaurant alongside seasonal fare.
Outdoor Beer Experiences
Sunrise Pedal Trolley + PedAle Trolley (Bay City, Frankenmuth) 15- and 16-person trolleys that'll have you pedaling to earn your pints — between local breweries and bars — sipping on the good stuff while you go! Don't have a full party to pedal with? Buy single seats on Frankenmuth's PedAle Trolley or try the Circle Cruiser in both Bay City and Frankenmuth for smaller crews of four to six!
Beer Gardens (Midland, Frankenmuth) Swing by Midland's Larkin Beer Garden on Thursday and Friday nights through late-September for cool sips of craft brews under the stars — plus a lineup of local food trucks, large picnic tables, and life-sized board games. Or, mosey up to the inviting Schnitzelbank Biergarten in front of Bavarian Inn Lodge — where, weather permitting, you'll enjoy live entertainment and an impressive selection of brews, all the way into October!
Wineries + Wine Tasting
St. Julian Winery Tasting Room (Frankenmuth) Try six-sample flights — made from only Michigan-grown fruits — inside this tasting room of Michigan's largest and most-awarded winery. Then, take home your souvenir tasting glass... and a few bottles of your favorites from the shop's extensive collection!
Grape Beginnings Winery (Midland) Down-to-earth wine tasting in Downtown Midland. Try rich, full-bodied reds like Night Owl — with notes of plum, black raspberry, and woodsmoke — even dessert, port, and ice wines!
Modern Craft Winery Tasting Rooms (Bay City, Frankenmuth) Not your traditional wine tasting, try trendsetting, fruit-infused wines designed to be combined — with each other, or with stouts, spirits, and bar mixes! Taste "a different kind of wine" at City Market in Bay City or inside Frankenmuth River Place Shops' Bead Haven.
Black Star Farms Tasting Room (Frankenmuth) A tasting room shared with Grand Traverse Distillery, where classic varietal wines and fruit brandies are brought to your glass.
Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie (Frankenmuth) Sip perfect-temperature pours — even six wines on tap — by the outdoor fire bar well into fall, or cozy into this European-patterned hangout named "Best Wine Bar in Michigan" (BuzzFeed, 2016) anytime of year! Try a flight of big reds like "The Bold and the Beautiful" or choose a full pour from their global selection.
Federal 131 (Saginaw) Tasting flights, single samples, or full glasses from a top-shelf selection of 32! Enjoy ultra-fresh wines — preserved by a closed-loop, Italian-imported tap system — inside this chic, mid-century modern wine bar.
Whine (Midland) Inviting wine bar with a well-stocked glass cellar named "Stella" and an extensive wine list, both by the glass and by the bottle. Sample from six themes of flights and pair with inventive, seasonally inspired small plates — then, sink into an overstuffed leather chair and unwind!
VNO Wine Warehouse & New Age Restaurant (Bay City) Retail wine shop and wine-forward restaurant combined! Enjoy 30+ wines by the glass alongside tapas-style dining and watch for special events from wine tasting classes to wine pairing dinners.
Distilleries + Craft Cocktails
Old Town Distillery (Saginaw) Craft distillery housed in a historic corner building, with live entertainment nightly and a low-key tasting experience. Try and buy their premier spirits — whiskey to moonshine, vodka to rum — and don't leave without sipping on signature cocktails like the Old Town Fashioned, featuring orange nectar, orange bitters, and fresh cherry muddle!
The Public House (Bay City) Artisan cocktails and locally sourced provisions, served up in a gorgeous space with a lush living wall behind the bar and a cozy loft. Slip in to warm up with a house cocktail like the Waterfowl Hot Toddy — Old Crow Bourbon, Amontillado Sherry, apricot, lemon, cinnamon, and clove!
Grand Traverse Distillery Tasting Room (Frankenmuth) Award-winning, grain-to-bottle spirits — Certified Craft Distilled and bursting with Pure Michigan flavor. Try favorites like Ole George Rye Whiskey or True North Rye Vodka inside their Frankenmuth River Place Shops tasting room!
Lorelei Lounge (Frankenmuth) Lounge inside Bavarian Inn Lodge where you'll enjoy live entertainment (and the nightly singing of the Schnitzelbank song), plus a new Bourbon Bar with 19 bourbons and 2 ryes!
*Note: Our beer, wine, and craft cocktail hotspots rotate their selections regularly to bring inventive, new flavors to your glass. All offerings mentioned here may not be available at the time of your visit. Check out their individual drink menus or follow along on social to see what's being served up while you're in town!