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Best beers from the Michigan Summer Beer Festival

Dawn Riffenburg
The Detroit News

After two days of drinking, then thinking, at the annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival, I managed to weed out the best of the best of the more than 900 beers available. Disclaimer: I did not try them all! I tried to seek out beers new to me, although some were from favorite brewers.

This writer's favorite beer from the Michigan Summer Beer Festival was brewed by White Flame Brewing Co. of Hudsonville.

Some themes emerged over the two-day event: Sours rule. Fruit and beer is a thing. Ginger is the hot new flavor, and it mixes amazingly well with beer. I am predisposed to love ginger, so I'm willing to entertain alternate viewpoints.

My favorite 5 from Michigan Summer Beer Festival:

* Gilligan's Crush Ginger Pale, White Flame Brewing Co. In addition to the clever name, it had the perfect balance of ginger with a nice hoppiness that surprised me in a pale ale. It outscored the two other ginger-flavored beers I tried, Schmohz Brewing's Ginger IPA and Dark Horse's GingerPA. This is a road trip-worthy beer.

* Summer Wonder Imperial Helles Bock with peaches,  Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. My partner in drinking for the festival, Tom Gromak, liked this so much he had two in a row. I liked his so much I got my own.

* Juicy Imperial IPA, Perrin Brewing Co. Perrin, in Comstock Park, home of the Whitecaps, produces one of my all-time favorite IPAs, a Grapefruit IPA. Juicy tops it.

* Cucumber Lime Wheat, Grand River Brewing Co.

* Apripa, one of Dark Horse Brewing Co.'s fruit-infused IPAs. Creamy, sweet but with the hoppiness you expect from an IPA.

I only wish I had two more days to try more beers -- so many breweries, so little time! -- but I don't think my liver could take a 4-day festival. As luck would have it, the Detroit Fall Beer Festival  is just around the corner.