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How Sweet it Is! Michigan Beers Crafted with Locally-Sourced Maple Sap & Syrup


Michigan boasts a rich agricultural heritage, and maple sugaring is the oldest—dating back to the Native American’s early history in the state.

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Did you know that Michigan ranks 5th nationally for maple syrup production? Or, that it takes approximately 40 gallons of maple sap to make just one gallon of syrup? Learn more Michigan maple syrup facts here.

Michigan brewers are finding a sweet reward in crafting beers using maple sap and syrup to develop unique spring beers. Look for these beers in mid- to late-April.

Beards Brewery

Tree Blood (6.5% ABV | 28 IBUs). This is a traditional American stout brewed in an untraditional manner. All of the water is replaced with Maple sap that's fresh from the tree. As with any of our harvest beers through the season the recipe isn't adjusted from year to year, instead the conditions of the harvest make each year's batch unique. The sugar content of the sap will vary from 1-3% in the years we've done it while the mineral content of the sap can change dramatically. It gives each season's batch a special quality that represents the year for the maple tree stand. Since the sap hasn't been processed it doesn't lend the familiar maple syrup sweetness to the beer, instead it gives Tree Blood a wood barrel aged quality with subtle hints of maple and earth. ABV will vary as the sap will lend different sugars each season.

Brewery Vivant

Blandford Maple Amber (6% ABV). Made in partnership with Blandford Nature Center, this beer uses Belgian yeast and pure maple syrup made locally. Look for it sometime this spring.

Grand River Brewery 

Sappy Daze Maple Belgian Dark Strong. (8% ABV). This Belgian Strong Ale is infused with Michigan maple syrup and easy drinking, with a great yeast spice character.

Northport Brewing

Waukazoo Wit (4.9% ABV | 14.9 IBUs). This spring summer seasonal is a straw-colored Belgian style wit bier. Has a low to moderate bitterness and is slightly cloudy in color, due to its traditional wheat-heavy malt bill. Finishes with spicy yeast tones and savory coriander, as well as an earthy, citrus aroma. The first 2015 batch is brewed with 100% maple sap water.

Morazan Amber (5.5% ABV | 24.5 IBUs). This crisp, malty amber ale is brewed with Leelanau maple syrup and hops. It is light to medium bodied, with a faint honey-malt sweetness.

Pyramid Point Porter (5.7% AB | 33.4 IBUs). This crisp, creamy porter is brewed with Leelanau tart cherries, maple syrup and a touch of habanero pepper. Cherries complement this ale’s toasted-malt profile; the habanero accent at the end lends just enough heat to keep you sipping.

Right Brain Brewery

North Shore Iron Works (10.5% ABV | 25 IBUs). This Barleywine, brewed with five gallons of Michigan honey AND Michigan maple syrup, is a warming brew with rich, caramel flavors. North Shore Iron Works was incredibly helpful with the renovation and opening of Right Brain's brewery expansion in 2012. We made a strong, but complex beer in their honor. It's currently available in 22oz bottles, and on tap in the brewery.

Rochester Mills Beer Co. 

Michigan Maple Brown Ale (7% ABV | 20 IBUs). A full-bodied, malty Brown Ale brewed with pure maple syrup from Shepherd Bar & Restaurant in Shepherd—home of the 57th Annual Maple Syrup Festival, April 23-26. Available beginning in mid to late April.

Rockford Brewing

Ain’t Jemima (6.3% ABV | 22 IBUs). The brewers replaced 100% of their brewing water with fresh maple sap directly from locally tapped maple trees. Caramel and Munich malts help build complexity around the unique maple character. This truly seasonal drifter is the first release annually of our Permaculture Series. It’s brewed every spring as the snow melts and sap starts to flow through the Maple trees of West Michigan. No artificial maple flavor used, this is the real deal.

The Michigan Brewers Guild was formed in 1997 and held its first festival in July 1998. Today, the Guild hosts four festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan craft beer produced by its nearly 150 member breweries.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $277 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #5 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

The Guild exists to unify the community of brewers, to increase the sale of Michigan Craft Beer, to contribute culturally and economically throughout the state, and to monitor and assure a healthy brewing industry. By working collaboratively with proponents of craft beer, we strive to achieve a 10% share of all beer sold in Michigan by producing world-class events, increasing public awareness, educating consumers, and encouraging responsible consumption.

For Additional Information

Scott Graham
Executive Director
(517) 515-1444
Dianna Stampfler
Media Consultant
(269) 330-4228
Our mailing address: Michigan Brewers Guild • 225 W Washtenaw, Suite C • Lansing, MI 48933

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