Michigan’s Hidden Gem: The Second-Best Beer Garden in the US Nestled in the Woods

Nestled in the heart of Northern Michigan’s breathtaking landscapes, Suttons Bay is home to a beer garden that offers an unparalleled experience, merging the love for beer with the beauty of nature. This exceptional spot has earned the prestigious title of being the second-best beer garden in the United States, as recognized by USA Today through its annual 10Best ranking awards. The Hop Lot Brewing Company, situated at 658 S W Bay Shore Drive, has been placed just a step behind The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery & Biergarten in Charlotte, North Carolina, securing its position at the top of the nation’s favorites.

The Hop Lot Brewing Company is not just any beer garden; it’s a sanctuary where the wilderness meets the warmth of community. Even the journey to the brewery is an adventure, with a parking area nestled among the trees, setting the stage for an immersive experience in nature. According to USA Today, Hop Lot Brewing embraces its Northern Michigan heritage wholeheartedly. The beer garden is designed to be a haven where guests can gather around campfires, unwind at picnic tables, and savor their beers in the great outdoors. During the winter months, the brewery goes the extra mile by offering the unique option to reserve your own igloo, making it a year-round destination.

Since its inception in 2015, Hop Lot Brewing has been committed to creating a family-friendly atmosphere. The brewery boasts a selection of about a dozen traditional ales, catering to a wide range of tastes. The beer garden itself is a testament to this commitment, featuring campfires, picnic tables, outdoor games, and more, all designed to enhance the guest experience.

One of the co-founders, Drew Lutke, shared with MLive their vision of providing a space that captures the essence of Northern Michigan’s outdoors, leaving guests with lasting memories. As they approach their 10th year in business, the brewery is planning several enhancements for 2024. These include more landscaping, a new game area, a designated sandbox for children, and an additional outdoor bar and kitchen to serve guests more efficiently. Furthermore, live music is set to begin Memorial Day weekend, adding another layer of enjoyment to the Hop Lot experience.

USA Today’s 10Best lists are a result of nominations from a panel of experts, including editors from USA Today and, followed by a public vote to determine the top 10. With more nominations still being voted on, additional awards are anticipated in the weeks ahead.

As of now, the Hop Lot Brewing Company stands as Michigan’s proud representative in USA Today’s 10Best for 2024, showcasing the state’s commitment to quality, community, and the great outdoors.