Best Brewery In Traverse City – There are too many for one visit, so here are some of our favorites in the Traverse City area to help you out.
TRAVERSE CITY – A bar serves beer made from honey bees that live on the roof. Alternatively, try fermenting rum with wild yeast from Grand Traverse Bay.
Best Brewery In Traverse City
And as you pass through this northern Michigan getaway, don’t miss the brewery’s real cherry pies. Traverse City, known for its proximity to the peninsula’s wineries, punches far above its weight in breweries and bars.
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It’s too much for one visit, so here are some of our favorites in the Traverse City area to help you out:
This is the only brewery I visit on any trip to Traverse City. Admittedly, home-brewed beer isn’t always the first thing I order.
Rare Bird, founded in the fall of 2013 by 31-year-old Tina Schuett and 35-year-old Nate Crane, bottles sought-after beer from companies like Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, and their delicious beer – sometimes made with honey on the roof.
The relaxed atmosphere of the beer pub includes slabs sawn from local poplar for large counters. The walls are clad in wood from former apple crates.
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Of the area’s 35 taps, about six are made in their own brewery. Big Marge (7.3% alcohol by volume) is soft and sweet, with sweet notes of banana bread and sweet aromas of Belgian spices. It was a mistake, said Schütt, who is also a brewer.
It was supposed to be a Belgian wheat beer, but the brewing process was more efficient than expected, resulting in a larger and stronger result. His friends liked it so much that he decided to market it as a “special Belgian dish”. Other domestic brands in the rotation include Son of the Bee! Honey Blonde (6% ABV) made with local honey, various IPAs and more.
Because the 3½-barrel brewing system is so small, it uses honey—from the attic or elsewhere—to fill the beans and increase the alcohol. Sometimes they even serve whole pieces of edible honeycomb with cold pastries and cheese.
For some reason, it seems that rare beer is always on the draft beer list. On one of my visits, it was the ever-mysterious Canadian Founders’ Stout (10.6 proof). Infused with coffee and chocolate, this amazing royal stout is aged in bourbon barrels that previously held Michigan maple syrup. I once drank a Bourbon County Brand Stout (15% ABV) from Goose Island Brewery. A beer of this type disappears shortly after appearing on the Detroit subway.
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A quirky brewery that uses unusual ingredients like pig’s heads, fruit pies and asparagus, this artfully decorated bar that also has a barber shop is unforgettable.
On our recent trip, we sampled an Alemone beer that was being tested by owner and executive producer Russell Springsteen. The recipe used both lemon zest and juice, and it was delicious—a refreshing, natural flavor unlike the overly sweet shandies (lemon mixed with beer) that are gaining popularity.
Right Brain and Short’s Brewing Co nearby. (including, for example, Nicie, a wheat beer made with orange and lemon zest, coriander and a little pepper) are some of the most tested in the province. Both brewers received national gold medals in the “experimental beer” category of the Great American Beer Festival (see here and here).
But Right Brain goes a little deeper into mad scientist territory. The Gold Awarded Mangalista Pork Porter (7% ABV) contains pork heads and bones as ingredients. It has a smooth texture, with aromas of chocolate, smoky and sweet notes, and a dry, slightly bitter aftertaste.
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Cherry Pie Whole (5.2% ABV) is an amber-colored beer made with the crust and filling of real cherry pie, with a completely different taste. This is part of a series that includes a variety of blueberry, pecan, and apple pies.
As founder and owner Russell Springsteen explains to many of his customers, “They want to experiment, they want to push their boundaries, and they want to explore flavor profiles.”
Short’s, the largest brewery north of Grand Rapids, is known for its variety of beers such as Melt My Brain (3.8% abv), a gin and tonic style golden ale made with coriander, juniper berries, lime and tonic water, available until September of this year.
To go to Short’s Brewing Co. It usually takes about an hour to get from Traverse City to Bellaire. We’re including it on this list because new this summer, you can drive half that distance to enjoy a beer outside and visit the Elk Rapids brewery.
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The Elk Rapids store offers 10 beers and five ciders (from related brand Starcut Ciders) on tap, as well as prepackaged drinks and merchandise for sale. Seating is at picnic tables outside and there is a Vendetti’s Spanky Wagon food truck.
Daily hours of operation for the Pull Barn will be posted on the Elk Rapids facility’s Facebook page and are expected to continue through at least Labor Day. Inside is probably the busiest boathouse I’ve ever visited, open 24/7 with plans to extend 24/7. The aim is to bring 46 different beers to market this year.
The brewery was founded in 2004 by Joe Short and production opened in 2009. Jack Archiable, 64, showed us around the brewery. Archiable hired Joe Short from his now-defunct Traverse Brewing Company, which opened in 1996. He currently works for Short (Springsteen, Right Brain, formerly Archiable).
“Joe’s right,” said Archiable. “When he came to work for me, I tried one of his beers and immediately hired him. Whatever he thinks, he gives it 180%.
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Last year, the brewery released Psychedelic Cat Grass (7.6% ABV), a brand new IPA that took less than 24 hours to brew. Archiable said Short was one of those who didn’t sleep for about 48 hours for this to happen.
With a long, open bar and a trained CEO beer taster, this place offers the best craft beer selection in town.
The tap list includes approximately 42 beers, two wines and two ciders with well-chosen flavor combinations across the board. Within a short walk, there are beers from all over the country, chosen for style and fashion.
Jason Kasdorf, general manager and Cicerone certified, said the bar opened in 2011. At that time there were seven Trappist monasteries (six in Belgium, one in the Netherlands built in the late 1500s) where the monks produced world famous beer. Today they are 11. And the 7 nuns added taverns in Boyne City and Grand Rapids.
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While at Traverse City Restaurant, don’t miss the delicious Abbey Burger ($13.50). Made with Anders beef, caramelized onion and bacon marmalade, arugula, Gruyère cheese mix, bay leaf and sesame bun, and served with French fries and garlic aioli.
Take the elevator down to the 7 Monks Taproom and you’ll find a dark speakeasy where candlelit candles lead you down a hallway to a windowless basement hallway.
You walk past the cabinets of Pappy Van Winkle and similar rare spirits to a bar filled with hundreds of bottles of liquor.
There is a nice and comfortable place to stay. They also make their own bitters, simple syrups and infusions. This is a bar stocked with rare spirits (400-500 different bottles, including over 280 bourbons) and a menu of 40 cocktails, including wines, nine draft beers and ciders.
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A local specialty drink, Red 8 Rum ($8) from Steam Devil Spirits, is made from yeast harvested from the famous buoy site in West Grand Traverse Bay. This white rum was mildly flavored, but had an unusual, almost olive flavor.
For dessert, I recommend the Ship Show Shake ($8), made with Shipwreck Coffee rum, spiced pumpkin beer jelly, apple pie crust, and whipped cream and served with Peychauds bitters. Traverse City general manager Josef Hess, 37, said the forest, drinking vinegar, gives the illusion of brine. It’s a drinkable drink but with a creamy, cheesecake-like texture.
We asked the locals to point us to their favorite diving spots. This watering hole is too respectable to be called a dive bar – the floors and counters are clean, the drink selection is decent and there are no odd smells – but it’s full of friendly characters who say it like it is.
“This is a group of moms with a big kitchen, a big living room and a liquor license,” said Wendy Blodgett, 53, who has been selling beer and burgers here for more than 26 years. “The food is better than the service.”
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The walls are the color of billiard green and lots of wood. Shadow boxes contain pictures of fighters, guns, bottles, knives, historical photos and hockey jerseys. Keno is played on television; another ESPN feature.
Blodgett said it is one of the few “working bars” left and regrets that one like it is “martinized” and more expensive. Brady’s has happy hour from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. for $1 Pabst Blue Ribbons (4.6% ABV) and $5 Bud Light Pitchers (4.2% ABV). There is also a craft beer fridge and candy machine.
It’s a cozy getaway from the many trendy spots that have popped up in Traverse City. and offers several