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Detroit & Downriver

Detroit is Michigan's oldest and largest city, dating back to 1701, when the French established a trading post on the Detroit River. The city's primary claim to fame is its auto industry, which is why locals and out-of-towners alike call it the "Motor City." Detroit is famous for the Motown sound of Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and the Jackson Five, just to name a few.

The city was once home to the Stroh Brewery Company, a product still fondly remembered in these parts. The fight to change Michigan's liquor laws to include microbreweries and brewpubs also originated here.

If you follow the Detroit River to the south and east, you'll find the communities known as "Downriver."

Detroit and Downriver is home to six microbreweries and brewpubs.

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The same automobile that fueled Detroit's growth and prosperity proved the city's undoing. With cars came suburbs, complete with subdivisions, shopping malls, and commutes. And everyone who could afford it bought into the American dream of a house with a backyard and lawn. By the hundreds of thousands, they left the city behind.

Today the children of the people who left Detroit for places like Warren and Plymouth account for most of the state's population. They live and work in an area with sixteen microbreweries and brewpubs.

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Big Ten Country

We live in the heart of Big Ten Country, where people are serious about football. Saturday's in the fall means getting up early, grabbing a prime tailgating spot, then firing up the grill. Not to mention quaffing a few beers to set the mood for kickoff.

Michigan is home to two Big Ten schools, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. As you might have guessed, the two are bitter rivals. Harvard vs. Yale might be older, but for good old fashioned trash talking, this rivalry ranks as number one.

In planning our travels around the state, we noticed that if you take what we call the Great Circle Route from Ann Arbor, the home of U-M, to East Lansing, the home of MSU, and back to Ann Arbor, you'll pass within a short drive of eight great breweries.

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West Michigan Heartland

An oddity about Michigan us that most large microbreweries are found in the west. Some of this has to do with distribution. For a variety of reasons, it's tougher for a small brewery to crack the huge Detroit-area market than it is to break into markets in the rest of the state.

This area of Michigan has fourteen breweries for you to visit.

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The West Coast

Here's a factoid that might win you a bet: Michigan has more miles of shoreline than any other state except Alaska. And here's another: The state has more registered watercraft than Florida, some nine hundred thousand in all. All that shoreline means the potential for mishaps on the water, which is why more than a hundred lighthouses were built on Michigan's Great Lakes shoreline. Many of them are open to the public, and people plan vacations around seeing as many of these lighthouses as they can. We have to admit --- that's no stranger than our having visited all the state's breweries.

Michigan's west coast takes in ten breweries and a lot of shoreline.

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Northeast Michigan

In some parts of Michigan,breweries fit neatly into a region, like those of the Upper Peninsula. We racked our brains over what to call the region where eight breweries are scattered over an area extending from Port Huron to Mackinac City and westward from lake shore to the middle of the state. What we describing really includes several regions that today includes ten breweries.

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The Upper Peninsula

Michigan's Upper Peninsula (U.P.) is a state of mind. And, if some "Yoopers," as they're called, have their way, it would be a separate state. Many feel neglected by the politicians in far-away Lansing, so much so that there was a tongue-in-cheek effort to make the U.P. the fifty-first state, called Superiorland.

The U.P. was somewhat of an afterthought. In the 1830's, Michigan finally attracted enough seyylers to qualify for statehood. But Congress had to resolve a dispute between Michigan and Ohio over the "Toledo Strip." It did so by awarding the strip to Ohio and giving Michigan the vast Upper Peninsula as a consolation prize. That decision didn't console many Michiganders, who found little use for a eveb colder, more remote piece of land.

We'll just bet though that once you cast your eyes on this bountiful land, you'll call it heaven just like the Yoopers do. The U.P.'s six breweries are just some of the great things you'll find there.

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