There probably aren’t many people who would reg­u­larly drive to a dif­ferent state to buy one certain beer. I am one who does.

I learned several years ago that many brews from my home state of Col­orado aren’t dis­tributed in Michigan (blame Michigan liquor laws), so I started making short pil­grimages to a liquor store in Fremont, Ind., to pur­chase the bubbly, bitter brews of the Rockies. When I make the trip again, I plan to stock up on my favorites like Left Hand Brewery’s Polestar Pilsner and New Belgium’s Fat Tire Amber Ale.

My ded­i­cation to the frothy nectar goes beyond an obsession with beers from the Mile High City. Some of my fondest mem­ories from my later years as a student at Hillsdale College involve making trips to Michigan brew­eries (like Bell’s in Kala­mazoo) to taste new brews, pair them with appe­tizers and sand­wiches, and build our own six-packs to bring back to Hillsdale and savor for several more weeks.

Though I don’t remember what my friends and I talked about on one spring night on the front porch of The Don­ny­brook my senior year, I do remember I was drinking a Bell’s Two Hearted Pale Ale. Now, my husband and I often fre­quent the Here’s to You…Pub and Grub in downtown Hillsdale, where there is always a good selection of Michigan and Midwest brews on tap.

To many, beer is a cheap bev­erage that allows one to become wildly drunk in a short amount of time. The only people really ben­e­fiting from these beer-filled garage parties are the folks who wander the streets around campus in the early morning, col­lecting empty cans and bottles to get a little bit of change in return.

A good beer is best enjoyed slowly, in a frosted glass, and in the company of friends. Over the time it takes to sip and savor your way through the drink, you may end up making new mem­ories. A good con­ver­sation and a special beer with friends from whom you may soon be miles apart are invest­ments. Venture out and find that inter­esting microbrew.

Buying beer made by local brew­eries will hope­fully will give you an appre­ci­ation for the art and craft of cre­ating an enjoyable and mem­o­rable beer. 

— Maria Servold is the Assistant to the Director of the Dow Jour­nalism Program at Hillsdale College