It’s (finally) summertime in Michigan, which means we can bust out the cooler, fire up the grill and kick back and relax with an ice-cold brew. Along The Pike, we have more than our fair share of craft breweries and distilleries to supply our favorite crushable beers, seltzers and cocktails.

With plenty of sunshine and balmy temps in the forecast, there’s no better time to crack open a cold one and raise a toast. Check out these five drinks made locally along The Pike.

*Warning — you’re going to want your bottle opener nearby.

Soft Parade Shandy

Short’s Brewing Company, Bellaire

Credit: Short’s Brewing Company

No summer is complete without sipping on Short’s seasonal fan-favorite — Soft Parade Shandy. This refreshing option is a blend of Short’s flagship fruit ale, Soft Parade — an ale brewed with pureed strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries — and homemade lemonade.

“I think we brewed it for the first time three years ago,” said Tony Hansen, chief innovation officer at Short’s. “We had a bunch of leftover lemonade when we produced Short’s Shandy, so we tried blending it with a few different beers. Once we put it in Soft Parade, we knew we had a home run. It went gangbusters! People love it so much we can’t keep it on the shelves.”

At 4.2% ABV, Soft Parade Shandy is a light option you can sip on all day long.

“You can actually have a few of these and still do all the summer things you love,” Hansen said. “For folks who love Shandy, we’ve got a Shandy Squad variety pack coming out on July 1, and for folks who love Soft Parade, we’ve got a Soft Parade Seltzer in our Refreshin’ Session variety pack all summer long!”

You can find Soft Parade Shandy at retailers across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and the southern and eastern parts of Florida.

Canned cocktails

Coppercraft Distillery, Holland

Credit: Coppercraft Distillery

In 2018, Coppercraft Distillery became the first Michigan distillery to offer premium canned cocktails, kicking off a trend that’s perfect for summertime.

“Our customers are explorers and they want a convenient and spirited option, whether it’s a day at the lake, a hike in the woods or a tailgate with friends and family,” said Ali Anderson, national brand manager for Coppercraft. “We knew we could create a first-class cocktail experience that would make it convenient and hassle-free for our adventure-seeking fans to enjoy and share.”

Coppercraft currently offers three flavors of their canned cocktails, all clocking in at 10% ABV: Gin & Tonic, made with Coppercraft Gin, house-made tonic and lime; Pink Bubbles, which carries notes of juicy pomegranate and sweet cherries mixed with lemonade and Coppercraft Vodka; and the popular Whiskey Lemonade, a grown-up twist on a timeless classic.

“One of the great things about canned cocktails is that there is something in the cooler for everyone to enjoy,” Anderson said. “The Whiskey Lemonade has been a huge hit for summer sipping with its subtle sweetness and smooth layers of rye and citrus over ice. We’re thrilled to be working up some new flavors to be revealed later this year!”

You can pick up a pack of Coppercraft’s canned cocktails at retailers across Michigan and the Midwest, including Meijer and Kroger.

Lake Michigan Light

Round Barn Winery, Distillery and Brewery; Baroda, Coloma and Union Pier

Credit: The Pike/Aaron Ogg

“The devil can’t find a corner to hide in a round barn,” is the old belief that inspired Rick Moersch and his family to transform a historic round barn into a space where people can discover great wines, enjoy cold brews and try classic spirits in Southwest Michigan.

Round Barn produces Lake Michigan Light — a light-bodied, super smooth blonde ale that’s idyllic for sunny days. At just 4% ABV, this ale is made using local Willamette hops grown by Hop Head Farms, and it’s perfect for any day-long activity.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy Round Barn and its handcrafted flavors — stop by one of its four locations and experience it for yourself!

Blueberry Lemonade Shandy

Saugatuck Brewing Company, Saugatuck

Credit: Saugatuck Brewing Company

Craving something light and refreshing, but also unique? Saugatuck Brewing’s got you covered. Blueberry Lemonade Shandy, first introduced in back in 2017, is a great summer sipper with its fruitiness and 5% ABV.

“We wanted to come up with the perfect beer to sip in the sunshine while watching a baseball game,” said Megan Scheerhorn, vice president of marketing at Saugatuck Brewing Company. “We had some good placements at stadiums and we needed to give them something that was unique, but easy to drink on a hot day. We bounced a few ideas around, and came up with the idea of doing a shandy.”

“However, we didn’t want to just make a regular ole’ shandy, so we made it even better by adding in the blueberries,” she said. “As I’m sure you know, blueberries are a huge staple of life in Michigan, so it made sense to highlight that flavor in our beer.”

Blueberry Lemonade Shandy has become the brewery’s No. 1 brand since its introduction.

“We first started canning this style in 2018, and it’s grown like crazy ever since,” Scheerhorn said. “Customers love it because it’s really delicious, crisp and easy to drink. Plus, anyone, even people who ‘don’t like beer,’ can enjoy our Blueberry Lemonade Shandy. I get all types of people hooked on BLS, from people who tell me that they never drink beer, to people who say they only drink imperial IPAs. It’s an enjoyable beverage for any type of beer drinker.”

Now available in 12-pack cans, you can grab a case of Blueberry Lemonade Shandy at many retailers across the Midwest and Michigan, including Meijer and Family Fare.

Lake Life Seltzers

New Holland Spirits, Holland

Credit: The Pike/Kelsey Smith

To say that hard seltzers have become popular over the last couple of years would be an understatement — America literally faced a shortage last summer. Many Michigan distilleries have hopped on this hot trend and started creating hard seltzers of their own, including New Holland Spirits.

New Holland Spirits, a division of New Holland Brewing Co., released a new line of hard seltzers in May featuring two flavors: Cranberry Lime and White Peach Honey. Made with Lake Life Vodka and fruit flavors, the 4% ABV seltzers contain 82 calories and 0 grams of sugar, and they’re gluten-free (not to mention, guilt-free).

New Holland describes the seltzers as “crushable and clean,” and said they “deliver a welcome switch-up for when the palate needs a break from craft beer.”

 “Lake Life embodies the idea of letting loose,” brand manager Adam Dickerson said in a press release. “Unplugging from the daily grind to step back and enjoy the weekend, the day or even just a moment of carefree vibes.”

Pick up a pack of seltzers at Michigan liquor stores and retailers, including Meijer.

Article written by Kelsey Smith, managing editor

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