You can find over 20 craft beer, artisan distilleries and boutique wineries included in Greater Lansing's Makers and Shakers Trail. Each producer takes their craft seriously and comes up with their own signature creations with creativity, passion and the desire to bring something unique and tasty to the masses. You may, like me, delight in the tongue-in-cheek puns and naming of their products. Most offer flights or tastings to sample some of their product before purchasing.
You don’t need to travel hours to find fine wine or have a wonderful wine-tasting experience. Greater Lansing is home to several boutique wineries for tasting, exploring and purchasing.
Deb and Dave Burgdorf have been making wine for over 40 years ago. With credentials in microbiology, fermentation and agronomy, these two bring great educational pedigrees to the table. Located in Haslett, Burgdorf's Winery is a *Garagiste winery using fruit that’s grown on the premises and from Michigan farmers.
Enjoy their tasting room and gift shop while tasting specialty wines that are produced and bottled onsite. In cold months, find igloos out back and in the warm months enjoy the patio and garden with the vineyard and production barn as a backdrop. Red wines include a 2016 Wolverine Red and a Spartan Reserve-Bourbon Bareled along a dry Rose named Autumn Skies and both dry and sweet white wines. They also produce fruit wines from pears, raspberry, blueberries, paw-paw fruit and strawberries that are definitely fruit forward.
*Garagiste is a term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their garage, who refused to follow the “rules.” Now a full-fledged movement responsible for making some of the best wine in the world. Syn: Rule-breakers, pioneers, renegades, mavericks, driven by passion.
Located in St. Johns, you may be familiar with Uncle Johns Cider Mill, but tucked in a 85-year-old restored fruit packing house, you can find a taproom and tasting room to sample from their over 20 award winning fruit, grape and dessert wines. They also have delicious hard ciders and perries, apple brandy and even vodka made from apples.
Did you know that the definition of fruit wines are wines made from a variety of fruits other than grapes and may add flavors taken from flowers and herbs? They are popular in areas with cool climates such as North America and Scandinavia.
The Country Mill in Charlotte is the only place in Mid-Michigan where families can pick apples, peaches, and blueberries all on the same farm. With wagon rides, a pumpkin patch and a barn filled with yummy baked goods and everything you can think of that’s made from apples, they also produce fruit wines. Wine flights are available to taste to figure out your preference prior to purchase.
Located on the east side of Lansing on Michigan Avenue, this brewery and smokehouse has terrific food options and is open on the weekends for brunches at 10 a.m. with mimosas and Bloody Marys. Arcadia is known for their seasonal brews like the ever popular Whitsun, the brand’s flagship Wheat Ale brewed with coriander, orange peel, and honey, and it’s available through the summer. It will be replaced by Sippelicious Wheat Ale in September, just in time for fall tailgating season. Look for popular Jaw-Jacker, the pumpkin-spiced latte of fall beer that’s coming out in September and available through October.
This popular brewery in Mason opened in 20212 and hasn’t looked back. There are 22 beers on tap that include Ash Street Amber, Chocolate covered Coffee Brown, Hop Dance IPA,Belgian Tripel, Mud in Your Rye, Sunhands Golden Ale and No Crusts Pleas, a PB&J Gose) Food can be found at the Good Bites Food Truck outside. Their patio is super popular no matter the season!
This is one of a few local breweries that’s housed in a former church, and opened in 2017. Find eight beers on tap including RaRA Double IPA, ECB (Eaton County Beer,) Begineer, BrickHaven Stout and more. There are also six wines and four sparkling ciders available as well. Food offerings include sandwiches and paninis, appetizers and scratch-made soup.
Dimes is located in the village of Dimondale and owned by people who are self-described chemistry nerds. This is a warm and inviting taproom with both a front and back patio. Beers include Berliner Weisse (a traditional German sour,) King Balaton’s Sirius Mittens (a cherry wheat,) Pineapalium (a pineapple pale ale,) FruLaLa (a smoothie sour) and Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barleywine. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, they offer some great options like ruebens, wraps and build-your-own grilled cheese sandwiches.
With nine beers on tap ranging from Easy Blonde, Irish Red and Michigan White to Dan's signature Red Eye Rye, as well as a variety of IPA’s, Delta Porter and Marcy Street Stout. The Red Eye Rye is a hoppy pale ale that is easy drinking and well-balanced. They also have a Blueberry Wit and Cherry Cider that’s a summertime hit. The food menu includes pizza with house-made dough and sauce, appetizers, Panini, salads, and desserts. The outdoor beer garden has entertainment through the warm weather months.
You can find Ellison products at over 700 different locations across Michigan. This summer’s crowd favorites are the hard seltzers- Key Lime Pie & Plum Marshmallow (people like the unique flavors and lightness for summer) and the Nevada Beach Front West Coast IPA which is a smooth drinking IPA and Ellison is the first one around to do this West Coast IPA style. Ellison boasts the best pizza, wings and mac around! Look for their anniversary party in October where they’ll be releasing five new beers as well as yearly releases of their award-winning Barrel Aged Stouts. They also have hard liquor and a popular cocktail is their Old Fashion.
Located in the heart of East Lansing and was one of the first craft breweries in the region when it opened in 1991. Harper’s products include Spartan Wheat, Kombucha Beer and Grove Street Pale Ale. Note that they have organic and reduced gluten offerings. By adding a special enzyme that is a proline-specific protease, it chops up the gluten proteins so that people with sensitivities to gluten may not react adversely. Harper’s offers a full menu with pizzas, wraps, burgers, pasta and other entrees, appetizers and soups and salads.
Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery is housed in downtown East Lansing’s new Center City District on Albert Street. Their year-round beers include sour amber ale LaRojo, oakaged Michigan sour biere Ror de Calabaza, Bambiere Farmhouse Ale as well as a dark farmhouse ale called BamNoire, IO Saison and Calabaz Blanca. Food is plentiful and delicious with appetizers like candied brussel sprouts, salads, sandwiches, bowls, pizzas and a great kids menu.
LBC was Lansing’s original brewery, once located in the early 1900’s in Old Town Lansing and shuttered during prohibition. It’s back and booming in downtown Lansing's Stadium District and is also within one of Lansing's Social Districts. Their signature beers are Amber Cream Ale, Angry Mayor IPA, Peninsula Pils, Union Gold Lager and Velvet Villain. This summer they’ve added in the rotation Hammocks and Half Days (an India Pale Lager,) Cara Cara Orange Smove (a sour-fruited beer,) Lime Shandy and a dark ale-Joe in Black.
Their menu is extensive with vegan options, wonton nachos, beer battered fish and chips and more. Enjoy patio parties with musical entertainment or just sitting out on their patio for most of the year with summer games like corn hole and a fireplace for when the temperatures dip.
Located in downtown DeWitt, Looking Glass Brewing Company offers 10-16 craft beers, ciders, seltzers, wine and handcrafted food. While the beer name of MJ’s Pretty Pink Panties catches my attention, the most popular beers are the IPA’s like I-69 Detour and Midnight Hour plus the Lactose Fruit Kettle Sours like Mega Mooshy and Super Squishy. Look for their second batch of hard seltzers that will be included in cocktails.Find a great menu that includes shrimp pasta, smoked brisket, sandwiches, gluten free offerings and a nice kids menu.
There’s an upcoming StreetFest in downtown DeWitt on August 7th from 3-9 pm with Be Kind Rewind performing for 4 hours, corn hole tournament, BBQ food and 20+ unique craft beverages from Looking Glass.
Located in downtown Lansing and part of the popular Social Districts, look to Midtown for a delicious Sunday brunch that comes with Mimosa flights (5 x 5oz mimosas in a variety of flavors) that are very popular. But the best seller is definitely the fish, whether it’s the fish tacos or the fish and chips. They’ve recently added a sriracha pork belly Banh Mi and a pulled pork sandwich to their menu – both good and unique. Heads up for the Pumpkin Cream on tap this fall as well as featuring three to five fall beers, ciders and meads.
Old Nation is located on Grand River Avenue in Williamston and it’s owners have been brewing for 17 years. Signature beers include the popular M-43 (New England IPA) Hazy IPA, Boss Tweed Imperial/Double New England,) B-43 (IPA brut with lower carbs,) Electron Brown (Brown Ale,) Vienna Lager, Pils Lager (North German style pilsner) and Helles Lager. You can find their beer sold and served throughout Michigan and beyond.Their menu includes burgers, sandwiches, fish tacos, a beef pasty, poutine, Reuben nachos, BBQ pulled-pork tots and their infamous Old Nation Pickle Chips. Saturday Family Night offers 50% off their huge kids menu from 2 pm – 6 pm for children 10 and under.
Ozone’s is located in Old Town Lansing (in the Old Town Social District) with 16 beers on tap: Sage of Ale (Cream Ale with Sage,) Totally Awesome #4 (American IPA,) Master Of Shadows (American Porter,) Tyranosaurus Razz (Raspberry Saison,) Roller Kooscher (Cucumber Kolsch,) Lemon Selter and cider Mini Malu.) Plus high gravity and barrel aged specialties. If you're hungry, Ozone’s Fire Food Truck offers appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and pastas. Vegan offerings.
This unique microbrewery/pizzeria proudly serves craft beer brewed in small batches and other house fermented products including craft seltzer, wine, and hard cider. With beers like Paranoia Destroyia DIPA, Oedipus Complex Belgian AStrong Ale, Night Terror Pumpkin Ale and Pet Peeve Porter, you can tell their inspiration came from Sigmund Freud’s New York Study and The Interpretation of Dreams. Food includes the wildly popular pizzas like Jagged Little Dill, Pear and Gorgonzola, El Chupacabra and more.
This is the most recent brewery to open in the area and is located north of Lansing in St. Johns. Trainwreck is their flagship beer and you can find16 of our regular craft beers on tap, 2 nitro beers, a cider, and a seltzer on rotation. The majority of the selection currently comes from their parent brewery, Mountain Town Brewing Co, but they are working on some local fan-favorites and St. Johns exclusives. Come for the beer but stay for the delicious food like their brisket (even burnt ends) and the Mother Clucker because of the sugar pearl explosions of flavor in the waffles with the delicious maple aioli drizzled on top of the smoked chicken plus sweet and spicy smokehouse pickles. Yum.
American Fifth is located in downtown Lansing’s Stadium District and opened their Tasting Room and Distillery in 2015. This was Lansing’s first distillery. They use world class local grains, gently mash, painstakingly ferment, precisely cut, appropriately age and hand bottle their own product. Bottles are available of their bourbon whiskey, their signature malt whiskey, gin and vodka (made from 100% Michigan sourced premium soft red winter wheat, resulting in a bright and crisp spirit with a remarkably clean finish.) This is a beautiful tasting room where they prepare the best cocktails for you. You can then purchase the bottles you want and go back home and make them yourself and impress your friends. Recipes can also be found on their website.
Michigrain is also located in the Stadium District on Shiawassee Street. They partner with farmers in and around the community to produce neutral grain spirits for the increased demands of the rapidly growing craft spirits industry. Their cocktail lounge is cozy with couches and a fireplace but also has a cool bar where they’ll serve you specialty drinks like the Michigrain Float (with Michigrain root beer vodka and Faygo Crème Soda) the Capital City Cosmo, the Michigrain apple pie and even more creations.
Red Cedar Spirits gets rave reviews for its vodka, gin, whiskey, bourbon and brandy. Attention to detail and scientific expertise results in smooth, consistent, well designed products. Red Cedar Spirits has high standards in their production of high quality spirits. Cocktails served include a Berry Mojito, Manhattans, Cucumber Coolers, their Thyme Collins and something called a Flamango with vodka distilled from apples, habanero-infused vodka, mango syrup, honey and lime. If you call ahead, distillery tours are available!
Sanctuary Spirits opened in 2013, starting as a small tasting room. They are the first and only licensed distillery in Grand Ledge. With 10 rotating beers on tap, various wines and ciders, rum, gin, vodka and whiskey. They also have some delicious cordials like Koffee Likker, Root Beer, Peach, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Spearrmint, and Butterscotch.
Step outside for food from Pancho's Taqueria! in the bright pink truck!
Photo Credits: American Fifth, BAD Brewing, Burgdorf's Winery