The craft beer revolution has become an evolving and permanent feature of the Great Lakes State. Where a decade ago, the craft faithful would gather at microbreweries and brewpubs to sample the beers of specific small brewers, now you can get craft beer at such drinking shrines as Detroit's Hopcat, a 130-tap bar, grill and music venue, or even at your local Applebee's.
So what if you could have it all: a great tap system at home, pumping out quality brew from some of the state's best brewpubs and microbreweries? What would your dream tap look like? We don't mean to say that you can get kegs of all of these at home, or even that you're fixed for this at your place, but if wishes were horses ...
You'd definitely want something from Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., better known by the possessive Kuhnhenn's. People love taking away beer from that brewery so much that they have to enforce strict limits on how many six-packs a person can buy, and they usually sell out by noon. So imagine the possibility of getting your own keg! The brewery's core lineup includes the Fluffer Session IPA, DRIPA, or Double Rice IPA, or Simcoe Silly. We'd also choose some kegs from their year-round lineup, such as Imperial Creme Brulee Java Stout or Witbier. Kegs run between $70 and $150, but are so worth it.
Another local place to get some high-toned suds in a big, big can would be Dragonmead Microbrewery. Chances are good you can get a keg of Final Absolution Belgian-Style Trippel, a smooth, high-gravity beer with a nose of banana and clove. Chances aren't as high of snagging that keg of Castlebrite Apricot Ale, Dragonmead's first fruit ale, since the thirsty faithful at Hopcat have been chugging it down. You probably won't be able to get Crusader Dark Mild Ale either, but imagine if you could plug that into a less-filling nitro-fueled tap at home.
Lovers of Michigan craft beer would also want at least something from Founders Brewing. To be able to belt back a kick-in-the-face Black Rye rated at 78 IBUs (that's bitter, baby) or to start the day with a Breakfast Stout, seasonal to October through December, redolent of oats, chocolate, and coffee, that's a seasonal brew that may kill the day's productivity but is excellent for inspiring that morning nap.
Getting a little Detroit in the mix is important, and there are a few standbys from Motor City Brewing Co. that are reliable, such as the malty Nut Brown Ale or the English-style Ghettoblaster. Having one on tap at home would bring a little bit of inner-city hipness to your den. Now if we could just get a keg of that Barley Wine MCB used to make, we'd be able to drink until we drowse on a snowy day.
Then there's that other brewery from Warren, the slightly more malt-forward Falling Down Beer Co., which offers a Blood Orange Double IPA at 9.1 percent alcohol by volume and with more than 100 IBUs, this hoppy IPA is intensified with actual fruit. Don't be tricked by the black color; it's sessionable and smooth.
While we're at it, wouldn't it be great to take a truck out to Dexter to get a keg from Jolly Pumpkin of ... anything at all? Maybe La Roja, with its earthy caramel, spice, and sour fruit notes, or a golden farmhouse ale such as Bam Biere? Same goes for the hop-forward beers of Shorts or the flavorful brews of Odd Sides.
While we're at it, you might have to go through Powers Distributing to get it, but a keg of Griffin Claw's Platinum Blonde Lager would be good too.
But what if you have that friend who insists on bringing a sixer of industrially produced beer even though you've rigged the taps to flow with heavenly nectar? Devote one tap to New Holland Brewing Company, because their Kolsch-style ale, Full Circle, is light, refreshing, and may turn some stubborn tongues in the direction of craft beer at last.