Traverse City Microbreweries: Us Northern Michigan folk know our growing craft beer scene is something special. With Northern Michigan microbreweries like Short’s, Founders and Bell’s (just to name a very few), craft beer makers are elevating local suds to a respected foodie level in line with the award-winning Northern Michigan winery and Traverse City restaurant scene. Traverse City alone has been raising the bar for local craft beer so much, that in a recent article, Travel Channel writer Jimmy Im named Traverse City as one of the country’s Top 7 Beer Destinations. (A moment to raise our pints!)
So who’s responsible for Traverse City’s microbrew scene receiving national acclaim? Let’s take a Traverse City craft beer tour, as we look at Traverse City microbreweries revving up the local beer scene:
This Traverse City brewpub brews handcrafted beer on-site, and is located in an historic downtown TC building within walking distance of the Grand Traverse Bay. Try the Diabolical IPA, an aggressively hopped IPA, with a nice caramel sweetness or their Shirley’s Irish Stout, a dry stout with lots of roasted barley and a long finish that is nitrogen dispensed for extra creaminess. Need some food with that beer? Their pizzas are a must!
With a focus on open fermentation, oak aging, and bottle conditioning, Jolly Pumpkin is dedicated to elevating the craft of brewing into an art. Located on Traverse City’s beautiful Old Mission Peninsula, the drive is worth the beer; and if you’re hungry upon arrival, JP offers up inspired pub cuisine, too. Try their award-winning Oro de Calabaza, brewed in the Franco-Belgian tradition of strong golden ales; spicy and peppery with a gentle hop bouquet and the beguiling influence of wild yeast or the Bam Bière, an artisan farmhouse ale that is golden, naturally cloudy, bottle conditioned and dry hopped for a perfectly refreshing balance of spicy malts, hops and yeast.
With flavor profiles truly derived from the right side of the brain, their brew list is ever-evolving with unique craft brews like the Spear Beer Asparagus Ale, Firestarter Chipotle Porter and the Looping Owl Amber Ale aged in whiskey barrels. To start out, try the Will Power Pale Ale, featuring all locally-grown hops this American style pale ale has lots of crop hop flavor, smooth with just a tinge of bitterness, a regular go-to of many patrons. Check out their new space opening soon at 225 East 16th Street in the Sofo District of Traverse City.
Located smackdab in the middle of downtown TC on the corner of Front and Cass, Mackinaw Brewing was the first brewpub to open up in downtown Traverse City. The list of handcrafted house-brewed ales and lagers are as mouthwatering as their smoked meats. Try the Red 8 Ale, a rich malty red ale that is a Mackinaw Brewing favorite or the Belgian Whitecap, a true example of a Belgian style wheat ale, brewed with coriander for a unique aroma and a delicate fruity finish.
Handcrafted ales by the rails and wood-fired flatbreads. Located in Traverse City’s historical railroad district right off the TART trails with picturesque views of Boardman Lake, The Filling Station is the newest addition to Traverse City’s microbrew scene. Creating small batches of craft brews in a variety of styles, there are always at least eight beers on tap that rotate for diverse flavors and styles. Try the Manhattan Rye Pale Ale, all American malts and a very dry finish, enhanced by the smooth bitterness of Magnum hops, with a bit of Cascade for a hint of citrus or the London Porter, English pale, brown, and black malts, UK Goldings hops an older style porter with a roasted malt flavor.
Read Jimmy Im’s article, “Top 7 Beer Destinations,” to hear what the Travel Channel has to say about the Traverse City craft beer scene, and to see what other cities made the list.