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5 Best Traverse City Breweries

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Traverse City breweries scene has been awarded 7th position by USA Today for their excellence in “Small Town Beer Scene”.

This is one more award added to the growing list for the ever-growing breweries business in Traverse City.

In this cherry capital, you will find quirky beers made from real cherry pies & smoked pig bones to the traditional beers, Tart Cherry Ale & Blond Ales. Whatever your established palate taste is, don’t forget to try something quirky but excellent, which you will find in plenty here.

Here are 5 must-visit Traverse City Breweries

1. Right Brain Brewery

traverse city breweries
Photo Courtesy: Scottb211

The Right Brain Brewery is the most rated of Traverse City breweries. The brewery is a long-awaited but now a fulfilled passion of its founder – Russell Springsteen. He always wanted to mix brewing with his successful trade of hair salon, which he did in 2007 at Traverse City Warehouse District.

His passion for making distinguished and interesting beer is evident through his unique but delicious brews. Well, what can be more unique than brewing beer with actual peanut butter, pies, asparagus, and smoked pig & bones?

Whatever established tastes, you might usually try, don’t let it come in the way of getting these three quirky brews.

  • Pig Porter, ABV: 6.8% – This rich chocolatey porter is brewed with real smoked Mangalitsa Pig. Also, I won the Gold Medal for the “Best Experimental Beer” at the Great American Beer Festival in 2011.
  • Thai Peanut, ABV: 7.9% – A spicy Brown Ale, one of their flagship beer. Inspired by Pad-Thai dish, which you will definitely find in the taste. It’s a custom blend of real peanut butter, coconut oil, flaked coconut, dry-hopped cilantro, and Thai chili peppers.
  • Cherry Pie Whole, ABV: 5.4% – An Amber Ale made with real cherry pies.  Its rich cheery notes will remind you of your grandma’s cherry pie!
  • Spear Beer, ABV: 5.3% – This hazy straw-colored Asparagus Ale brewed with real asparagus, real lemon peel has sweet, nutty, and earthy notes. You will find this beer very refreshing & light.

Some of their flagship beers are:

  • CEO Stout, ABV: 5.5% – CEO stands for coffee, espresso & oatmeal; this Coffee Stout is the brewery’s best-seller. Scored 86 at the Beer Advocate, this beer is an excellent combination of roasted espresso beans, dark chocolate, malt, vanilla beans combined with the creamy feel of oatmeal. Heavy on the espresso side, this beer will tempt you to replace your coffee with it!
  • Northern Hawk Owl, ABV: 5.8% – This medium-bodied Amber Ale has notes full of toffee & caramel with earthy hop as an aftertaste.
  • Smooth Operator, ABV: 3.8% – This Cream Ale was the winner of “The Best of Show” at the World Expo of Beer 2015. It’s best for someone new to craft beer, as it’s very light with a bit of corn sweetness and slight vanilla flavor. Biscuity malt flavor is a little bit prominent, while hops giving it a slight bitterness.
  • Cakewalk, ABV: 4.5% – Another good creamy ale-style beer by this brewery. Nice balance of vanilla, pale malt, and earthy hop flavors. This extremely light brew is very smooth, crisp, and easy to drink.

2. The Filling Station Microbrewery

They opened the converted train station brewpub in 2012. This one-of-a-kind Traverse City brewery attracts visitors all the time. Their outside patio area is right on the platform with lots of seatings. Also, they have sandboxes which are perfect for entertaining kids while you enjoy your drinks.

The Filling Station Microbrewery has both indoor & outdoor bars with 20 beers on tap, and flights are served on locomotive trays. They’re also famous for their flatbread pizzas.

The brewery aims to brew classic-styled beer with a local twist. Some of their best brews which they call ‘tracks,’ are:

  • Walla Walla IPA, ABV: 7.0% – This crisp, light-bodied brew has a grassy, floral, and grapefruity aroma with a nice balance between malt & hops.
  • Huntington IPA, ABV: 7.1% – Brewed with six different malts, which nicely balance the hop bitterness with the herbaceous nose. It finishes dry with resin & pine flavor.

3. The Workshop Brewing Company

traverse city breweries
Photo Courtesy: Innisfree Hotels

Classic & traditional stuff never goes out of fashion. Whether it’s in the case of music, wardrobe, or craft beer, on this same value, The Workshop Brewing Co. works. They don’t believe if some beers are being made from generations, they get boring or old.

You can get a glimpse of it in their offerings like Blond Ale, Session IPA, Porter, and Tart Cherry Ale. Also, they have seasonals like Belgian Triple, Marzen Beer, and Nitro IPA to keep it interesting.

They follow their motto: Nature, Community, Craft very closely. They use every possible ingredients organic while brewing. To appreciate the community which gives them so much, they organize local events three to four times a week. As for craft, they try to produce their best beer in a sustainable way which means very little waste.

Pair your flights with their mouthwatering, made from scratch Empanadas, and enjoy a relaxed evening in their local friendly and spacious taproom.

4. Brewery Terra Firma

traverse city breweries
Photo Courtesy: farlane

Amongst the whole Traverse City Breweries, Brewery Terra Firma is the only farm-based brewery in Michigan. Spread across 10 acres of farmland, they’re one of the greenest Traverse City breweries. They put all organic wastes back into the farm and reclaim 230,000 gallons of water through their innovative water capture system.

With 1,000 original beer recipes under the belt, brewery’s president & brewmaster John Niedermaier has created every impressive beer lineup in his brewery. 

Some of their best brews are:

  • Manitou Amber Ale, ABV: 5.7% – Brewery’s first classic flagship beer. Very different aroma and flavor compared to normal Amber Ale but in an excellent way. With caramel malty, toasted wheat bread, and herbal hoppy aroma. You will taste caramel and sweet malted grains straight out, then light notes of raisin & dates, ending with a light but lingering bitterness of herbal hops.
  • Ancho Chili Dutch Double Chocolate Porter, ABV: 5.3% – Rich Porter brewed with dutch chocolate, chocolate malt, and ancho chilies.
  • Soul Butter Triple IPA, ABV: 8.0% – Brewed with six different hops, but sweet caramel malt kept the bitterness well balanced with strong spicy, floral, and hoppy flavors. Well appreciated brew by the beer lovers.

5. Rare Bird Brewpub

traverse city breweries
Photo Courtesy: farlane

This Traverse City brewery offers its award-winning beers and the best beers from around the world. Apart from beers, they also serve cocktails, wines, and other alcoholic drink options.

These various options combined with Live Music and delicious food make Rare Bird Brewpub a perfect place to chill out.

Some of their best brews are – Rare Bird No Pressure – three times winner of the Traverse City Stout Challange, Her Name Was Amber – an Amber Ale, Whip-Pour-Will Wit – Light Belgian Wit, Schadenfreude Chocolate Milk Stout, and more.

Whatever your palate demands, you will find it all and some more in these 5 must-visit Traverse City breweries. Don’t forget to check these best breweries out on your next visit to the Traverse City, Michigan breweries tour.

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