Help choose a Pure Michigan beer

 If Pure Michigan were a beer, what would it be?

Vanilla Stout? Apple Ale? Wheat IPA?

It’s a question beer aficionados can help decide.

Founders Brewing Co. and Pure Michigan, the state’s award-winning tourism brand, are asking beer fans to select a brew that best represents Pure Michigan.

Through May 3, beer fans may choose from one of the three aforementioned styles. Founders, a leader in Michigan’s craft beer industry, came up with the choices; none of them is currently being made by the Grand Rapids brewer. (A Cherry Ale might seem an obvious Pure Michigan brew but Founders made a cherry beer in the past and wants to create something new).

The contest comes as the state’s craft beer industry is exploding and winning national attention.

USA Today this week named Michigan as among the Top 5 best craft brew states in the nation, saying, “You may not find the big name craft brews of other states, but what you will find is some hidden gems — and maybe your new favorite — at local institutions like Bell’s Brewery and Founders Brewery.”

Grand Rapids was named Beer City USA in 2012, an honor shared with four-time winner Asheville, N.C. Not too long ago, the Travel Channel and Draft Magazine selected Traverse City as among the nation’s top beer destinations.

Michigan ranks fifth in the nation in the number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, with more than 100. The industry here grew by 20 percent in 2012, outpacing the national average. It’s also helping drive tourism, bringing out-of-state visitors to check out the many breweries and brewpubs all over Michigan.

“On a given weekend in our taproom, our staff will check the IDs of people from Grand Rapids to Detroit to Chicago to Louisville and beyond,” said Dave Engbers, co-founder of Founders. “Having so many beer destinations in Grand Rapids and across the Great Beer State brings new people into down and keeps others coming back.”

The most popular beer on tap at Founders is its Centennial IPA, which also happens to be its best seller through distribution.

To vote in the beer contest, go to Rules and regulations are listed as well; participants must be 21 years old.

The winning style will be announced in May and will be on tap at Founders in downtown Grand Rapids as part of – you guessed it – Michigan Craft Beer Month. That’s in July.

Greg Tasker
Greg Tasker is Detroit News Arts and Entertainment Editor and has been writing about travel for more than a decade. His travel stories have appeared in AAA Living, Frommer's Budget Travel, Scouting, AMC Outdoors, Vermont Life and Island Life.