Like snowflakes, no two beers are the same. Our hometown breweries are born from the minds of Michigan Tech chemists and passionate brewologists (yeah, it’s a thing). From Michigan’s northernmost brewery located in Copper Harbor to the state’s oldest bar, we have some hangouts you’ll want to visit while you’re in the Copper Country. Read on for our favorite brew destinations.
Red Jacket Brewing Company
300 6th St, Calumet, MI 49913
What makes the Michigan House Cafe & Red Jacket Brewing Company an iconic Upper Peninsula brew-pub? Is it their famous Oatmeal Espress Stout, delicious burgers, or the old dairy chillers used during the brewing process? Or maybe it’s the fact that the business is located in a structure originally built in 1905 by the Bosch Brewing Company. No matter the reason, you’ll immediately be transported to the early 1900s as soon as you set foot inside.
Local Recommendation: Oatmeal Espress Stout with the Kalua Pig Sandwich
Keweenaw Brewing Company
408 Shelden Ave, Houghton, MI 49931
Probably the Keweenaw’s best-known brewery, the Keweenaw Brewing Company (KBC) taproom is nestled in the heart of downtown Houghton. Popular with Michigan Tech students and faculty, the KBC offers a relaxed environment with seasonal brews along with several long-term staples like the Pickaxe Blonde or the Widowmaker Black. Don’t be shocked if you drop in to grab a mid-afternoon drink and discover you’ve stumbled upon an impromptu lecture on aerospace technology!
During the summertime, the taprooms back deck offers amazing views of the Keweenaw Waterway and the Portage Lift Bridge, and during winter, the indoor fireplace draws a crowd. You’ll find KBC product stocked throughout most of the area’s retailers, so discover what suites your tastebuds and take a six-pack home!
Local Recommendation: Borealis Broo – a blend of cold-brew Borealis Coffee from Keweenaw Coffee Works (Calumet, MI) and the KBC’s Amber style Ale.
Copper Country Brewery (The Library Restaurant)
62 Isle Royale St, Houghton, MI 49931
Located in downtown Houghton, The Library has been serving some of the best Keweenaw cuisine since 1967 when an entrepreneurial Michigan Tech student saw an opportunity to turn a historic building into an innovative restaurant. With its walls and shelves lined with old books, visitors are immediately struck by the amazing view of Mont Ripley and the large stainless steel brewing tanks. In 2018, owners Aimee and Tom Romps established the Copper Country Brewery which offers local craft beer favorites like the Husky Ale, Bete Grise Brown Ale, and Redridge Rye Ale. Stop by for happy hour and grab a brew while listening to local live music legends!
Local Recommendation: Husky Ale with the Pan Seared Ahi Tuna OR their mouth-watering Library Prime Rib
64 Gratiot St, Copper Harbor, MI 49918
Located in Copper Harbor, Brickside Brewery lays claim to the title of Michan’s northern-most brewery! During the summer, Brickside is packed with mountain bikers from across the midwest due to Copper Harbor’s nationally-renowned IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center trail system. But this unassuming small-batch brewery is open year-round and makes for a perfect pit-stop during the leaf-peeping season and in the depths of winter. With friendly staff, laid-back atmosphere and $4 pints, Brickside is a great destination to find local tips on less frequented trails or scenic areas.
Local Recommendation: Uphill Both Ways double IPA
Thanks to the Keweenaw’s unique history and abundance of small communities, there’s no shortage of unique destinations to grab a drink and connect with locals. While these next few recommendations don’t brew their own beer, they’re definitely mandatory destinations for any beer enthusiast.
322 Sixth Street, Calumet, MI 49913
Next to the Calumet Theatre, this landmark saloon is a friendly and ungentrified local gathering spot that welcomes visitors from down below. Originally opened in 1890, it was an Italian saloon, Curto’s and some claim that this is the oldest operating bar in the state. Shute’s (pronounced SHOOT-eez) is the Croatian surname of Bernie Shute, still an occasional customer, and his father, who ran it for 76 years between them. Shute’s still has the magnificent original back bar, booths and all the trappings of boom-town saloons. The bar itself has a splendid stained-glass canopy with vines. Elaborate plaster caryatids frame the raised dance floor. Open daily, noon to closing (2 am or whenever no one’s there).
The Fitzgerald’s Restaurant
5033 Front St, Eagle River, MI 49950
The Fitzgerald is a restaurant, first, but with more than 100 different beers available, many from other Michigan microbreweries, The Fitz should be on any beer lover’s radar. These guys know their beer. A mainstay on any list of top Lake Superior restaurants, The “Fitz” serves of delicious barbeque, seafood and more while offering incredible views.
Dreamland Restaurant & Bar
46960 Bootjack Road. Lake Linden, MI 49945
A family-owned and operated establishment for over 60 years, the Dreamland Bar & Restaurant is best known from home-cooked meals, a beautiful bar, and ties to a bygone era. Originally an over-night lodging establishment frequented by participants in the logging industry during the early 1900s, the business is now popular with snowmobilers and ATV riders thanks to its proximity to the local DNR trail. During the fall/early winter, it’s not uncommon for patrons to observe deer herds as they migrate to winter “deer yards” of dense canopied conifer forests in order to avoid deep snow.
The Gay Bar
925 Lake Street, Gay, MI 49945
Today, the community of Gay, Michigan is famous for its bar. The building was originally the home of the Gay stamp mill superintendent Clement L. Adams. There were many owners of the home after he left and it became a center for socializing. It first opened as a bar after the end of the Prohibition era.
Norm and Mathilda “Tillie” Dicks bought the bar in 1973 to showcase Norm’s extensive gun collection. There were over 240 guns on display including some from the 1870s. In 1983, the bar was purchased by Chuck and Jan Gustafson. They added food including their famous cheeseburger. Current owners, Bruce and Christine Fountain, acquired the business and the bar has become a destination for history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts.