From the ultimate Torch Lake tour to Charlevoix’s best breweries, explore Northern Michigan’s leading wineries, breweries, distilleries and more. Let us show you how to sip like a local in the Charlevoix & the Torch Lake region.

This article was featured in the 2021 Traverse Magazine Vacation Guide. Download your free digital issue today or get the Vacation Guide in print each year for free when you subscribe to Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, delivered to your door each month.

Your Torch Lake Beer, Wine & Cider Tour

Against the breathtaking backdrop of Torch Lake, a tasting tour is a winning day. With two breweries, a distillery and multiple wineries and cideries, the Torch Lake Tour has something for everyone. Find a map at the official Torch Lake Tour website.

Image of Townline Ciderworks in Charlevoix Area.

Townline Ciderworks in Williamsburg.

Williamsburg Area Cider, Craft Cocktails & Beer
Starting in Williamsburg, Townline Ciderworks sits on an expansive property with wide-open orchard views and plenty of outdoor seating. Ciders range from dry to sweet and everything in between. Not far from Townline, the industrial-chic distillery and tasting room at Ethanology in Elk Rapids has live music and cocktails resembling works of art. Owners Nick and Geri Lefebre source ingredients from local farmers to provide flavor profiles that encompass the Torch Lake area. New in Elk Rapids, Short’s Brewing Company is welcoming guests to its indoor taproom at The Pull Barn, and Old Mission Eats food truck is slinging good eats onsite spring through summer.

North Torch Lake Wine, Beer & Cider 
Heading north, don’t miss WaterFire Vineyards on the west side of Torch Lake in Kewadin, the first certified sustainable vineyard in the Midwest. The property’s name pays homage to Torch Lake—water, referring to the lake, and fire, referring to the torch-shape of the lake. Royal Farms on US-31 in Ellsworth is a cherry-filled oasis, complete with a wine tasting room and market with homemade baked goods. Bier’s Inwood Brewery, also on US-31 (about seven miles south of downtown Charlevoix), is tucked in a white Victorian home behind the bright red schoolhouse that’s home to Bier Art Gallery and Pottery Studio. The brewery features 12 taps along with cider and wine.

Downtown Charlevoix Taproom, Cantina, Taverns & Bars
While not an official stop on the Torch Lake Tour, downtown Charlevoix has several great spots to enjoy a bevie including Bridge Street Taproom with its 32 taps of Michigan brews and bistro-style menu (hello, smoked brisket nachos), and The Cantina Tacos & Tequila where the bar is home to a wide selection of artisan and small-batch tequilas. Town House Bar, The Villager Pub and East Park Tavern are also favorite hangouts.

East Torch Lake Wine, Beer, Cider & Craft Cocktails
Now, going south on the east side of Torch Lake, swing by Cellar 1914 in Central Lake. It boasts a winery and tasting room on a farm owned by the same family since 1914. In nearby Bellaire, grab a bite at the well-loved Short’s Brewing Company and when you’re finished, sip across the street at the equally tasty Bee Well Mead & Cider and Hello Vino. Also not an official stop on the Torch Lake Tour, but a fun destination, Mammoth Distilling has tasting rooms in Central Lake and Bellaire (Traverse City and Bay Harbor, too, if you’re traveling that way). Not far from downtown Bellaire sits Torch Lake Cellars, where wines are named after local attractions, like Sandbar Chardonnay. Continuing south, your last stop is in the quaint town of Alden at the downtown tasting room Crushin’ It at Vista Ridge Vineyards.

Designated drivers are always necessary. If you need a shuttle, check out the Brew Bus, Road Runner Tours and Traverse City Wine & Beer Tours.

People sitting at a bar in Northern Michigan.

Bee Well Mead & Cider in Bellaire.

Sipping on (Beaver) Island Time

Beaver Island is a must-visit for its miles of sandy shoreline, two historic lighthouses and super chill vibes. It’s also home to Whiskey Point Brewing Company. Have a cold beer or a glass of wine while you look out at Paradise Bay and, yeah, it’ll feel like paradise.

Find this article and more in the free, digital edition of MyNorth’s 2021 Northern Michigan Vacation Guide below; or get the Vacation Guide in print each year for free when you subscribe to Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, delivered to your door each month.