Traverse City has long been known for its outstanding wine, but each November, beer lovers unite to toast Northern Michigan’s craft brew scene. November 8–15, visitors and locals alike will celebrate Traverse City Beer Week (TCBW) with special events, behind-the-scenes tours and beer tastings that challenge even the most sophisticated palettes.
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is kicking off the week in style on November 9 at the sixth annual Great Beerd Run, which combines beer, beards and a dash across resort grounds.
“This is an untimed 5K fun run,” says Kelly Yauk, race director. “We want people to come out and have a great time and taste a little beer along the way.”
The race takes place at 10 a.m. at the resort and includes on-course tastings from brewery sponsors—Short’s, Right Brain and Beards Brewery—a keg couch (yes…a KEG COUCH) and an after party with live music from the Broom Closet Boys. But Yauk’s favorite part of the day is the best beard contest.
“We have natural and assisted categories for our grand prizes,” she explains. “So if you can grow an amazing, Gandalf-style beard, go for it. Otherwise, get creative. We’ve had people create beards from bottle caps, bread, yarn…you name it.”
After the race, Yauk recommends throwing on some plaid and heading to the Flapjack and Flannel Festival at The Little Fleet for beer and pancake pairings from local breweries. “You’ve burned off all those calories, so of course it’s time for pancakes!” she jokes.
Dozens of events take place during Traverse City Beer Week—including a special edition of music bingo at Right Brain and a release party at Acoustic Tap Room for an all-new mead. On the final night of TCBW, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa bookends the celebration with the ultimate North vs. South Brewery Battle on Friday, November 15.
Short’s Brewing Company will be facing off against Greenbush Brewing of Sawyer, Michigan, in a one-night-only showdown at Aerie Restaurant & Lounge. Six tasting stations will pit the breweries’ top beverages against one another alongside seasonal food pairings.
“It’s the perfect fall event,” says Alex Truck, Aerie Restaurant manager. “You get to sample great beer and enjoy dishes straight from Aerie’s kitchen, like honey bourbon smoked brisket. One of the stations is basically a gourmet Thanksgiving dinner. It’s incredible.”
At each station, guests vote on which beer performed best, leading up to the winner at the conclusion of the event. Truck says it’s always a surprise who wins.
“We’ve held this event several times over the years, and some years it’s neck and neck, while other times we have a runaway victor. I’m excited to see how things pan out this time around.”
Tickets for the Brewery Battle are $25 and available at MyNorthTickets.com.
Provided by Jillian Manning, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa