While those from Traverse City have long been proclaiming their tart cherries and wine orchards on equal footing with engine pistons and serpentine belts, it is the craft beer scene taking shape in northern Michigan that really has outsiders taking notice. Keep reading to find out more about the 7 essential breweries in Traverse City, MI!
With its vast fruit orchards and scenic views of Lake Michigan, Traverse City is well-positioned to be a craft beer hotbed.
Here are 7 of the most important to visit:
- MiddleCoast Brewing Company
- Right Brain Brewery
- The Workshop Brewing Company
- Brewery Terra Firma
- Mackinaw Brewing Company
- Silver Spruce Brewing Company
- The Filling Station Microbrewery
Now, let’s learn more about each one below.
Located in downtown Traverse City, MiddleCoast Brewing Company offers a wide selection of craft beers, hard seltzers, craft spirits, and pub fare. It also has a mug club loyalty program, in which members get special discounts, preferred access to craft beverages, and invitations to private mug parties throughout the year.
As for what’s on draught, the Stone Skipper IPA should top any list of what to try. Aptly named based on the city’s proximity to the Lake Michigan shore, this low calories IPA still manages to fit in five different varieties of hops, making it an ideal choice for those who want to taste their beer without feeling guilty about tossing back a few.
Right Brain Brewery believes in experimenting with unusual ingredients and styles not typically used in the beer brewing process–perhaps a result of master brewer Russell Springsteen’s creative background as a hairstylist. With over 30 beers on tap at all times, you should have no problem finding a beer that suits your palate.
When sifting through this smorgasbord of craft beer innovation, one name that stands out is the Decade in Blue fruited sour. Using 100% blueberry juice as the liquid, the brewery then adds hops, malt, oats, and yeast–but no water. The result is an easy-drinking beer for those who like their libations a little on the sweeter side.
The Workshop Brewing Company has a refreshingly grounded philosophy. If a beer does not preserve or enhance Michigan’s natural environment, foster the warm and vital Traverse City community, and stick close to the roots of traditional craft beer ethos, then that beer will not be long on tap.
With this in mind, the Cold Chisel Biere Blanche is one of the brewery’s most indispensable year-round taproom selections. This aromatic and refreshing Belgian-style white beer is brewed with a hint of:
- Orange peel
- Great Lakes malting wheat
The result, as one drinker puts it, is a “nice, light Belgian white” that will pair nicely with any of the offerings from Archie’s Food Truck, the locally owned, grown, and freshly prepared food truck with which The Workshop partners.
Brewery Terra Firma
If you prioritize supporting sustainable brewing practices, you will not find a better option in Traverse City–or possibly anywhere in the United States–than Brewery Terra Firma. Among the sustainable innovations they use to produce their delicious, culinary-inspired beers are:
- State-of-the-art water capture system that allows them to reclaim over 230,000 gallons of water used during the brewing process as irrigation and fertilization for their adjacent farm crops
- Waste BTUs from their fermenters to heat the brewery during colder months
The brewery’s Manitou Amber Ale is widely recognized as a northern Michigan classic, a true pioneer in the state’s microbrew landscape. The beer’s rich, soft malt body and beautiful deep amber body are finished with a bouquet of whole cone hops, giving the beer an earthy quality that plays well when looking out across Michigan’s vast waters.
Mackinaw Brewing Company serves a wide selection of craft beers to pair with its full menu of savory homestyle pub food. As part of the Mackinaw Mug Club, members will receive 10% off of all orders, $3 draughts every Tuesday–and your name engraved on a brass plate hanging inside the brewery.
As Mackinaw doubles as a brewery and pub, there is no better beer to select than the Peninsula Pale Ale. This American-style pale ale is a perfect complement for drinkers who want something light to wash down wings or pizza. However, it is far from just a thirst quencher, as it packs in a surprising amount of hops and floral aromas despite its light appearance.
For those who crave the rustic ambiance that comes to mind when speaking of breweries, then Silver Spruce Brewing Company is the place for you. A collaboration of clean, crisp, and conditioned stainless steel fermented lagers and ales, alongside mixed culture wild beers aged in wooden vessels, there is something undeniably “sprucey” about Silver Spruce Brewing.
As if this scene isn’t cozy enough in and of itself, warm it up a little more with the brewery’s hand-crafted stout. Rich and chocolatey with toasty notes of burnt marshmallow, some drinkers have gone so far as to declare this the best beverage from Traverse City’s best brewery. You have been put on notice.
What is there not to love about a microbrewery called “The Filling Station?” And with its extensive selection of hand-crafted brews and its quaint location abutting the railway, the name more than meets the mark. With its beers listed in the style of a train station schedule board, there is no shortage of “routes” to take when stopping at The Filling Station.
When looking for the quickest way to arrive at bliss, look no further than Track 2 and the Union Brown. With local base malts from Great Lakes Malting Company and locally grown copper hops, this medium-bodied, well-balanced, roasty, brown ale is sure to warm passengers’ bones in the midst of nippy northern Michigan evenings.