Michigan’s culinary truly good for a surprise. New winegrowers produce fine wines and numerous micro breweries create extraordinary beer.
What a surprise! In Michigan I meet actually a – more typical German – brewing culture! After a stroll through downtown Grand Rapids, the second largest city of the state, and a visit to the Grand Rapids Art Museum, it’s time for a beer tasting. Although temperatures are extremely low for October, the beer garden is filled up to the last place (okay, there are patio heaters) and also inside everyone is in a good mood. The Founder’s Brewing Company is one of the 40 breweries in the city, for them Grand Rapids got the title “Beer City USA”.
Michigans most unusual beers
Founder’s Brewery offers not just normal beer, but also very unusual variants – for my taste! They serve red beer with raspberry flavor or deep brown ales with a chocolate note in small glasses. Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers founded their own brewery and made a lifelong dream come true. Today, they are extremely successful. Beside the pub there is also a huge gift shop with T-shirts and countless other presents. A place that should not be missed in Grand Rapids!
New wines from Michigan
Wine drinkers are in good hands in northern Michigan. Traverse City also attracts guests with ten micro breweries and some brandy distilleries, but the region is known better for viticulture. Especially on the “Old Mission” peninsula, that divides the large bay near the city on 27 kilometers. On the headland there is a good climate for growing grapes and modern wineries invite you to taste some wine and even offer overnight accommodations.
I drive to the estate Chateau Chantal, which is surrounded by vineyards and offers a great view across the lake. I try Pinot Blanc and Malbec and I am surprised. Some wines are indeed too sweet to me, but especially the Gewürztraminer tastes very good. Winemaker Mark Johnson studied viticulture in the German city Geisenheim and presents his wines obviously proud in German language.
The combination of wine with apples and cherries is a little bit unusual. Traverse City calls itself “Cherry Capital of the World” and so Mark Johnson serves of course a cherry wine. However, I prefer the classic versions and try some more dessert wines. If you like wine, you should definitely plan a trip to the region, especially in fall. Because when the grapes are harvested, also the woods have wonderful colors and there is a beautiful Indian Summer in Michigan!