14 Northwest Michigan Breweries You Should Check Out For Michigan Craft Beer Month
Michigan Craft Beer Month 2015 is only a little more than half over, which still gives you plenty of time to get out and support local breweries and see why Michigan craft beer continues to earn nationwide recognition. We’ve already profiled 6 Upper Peninsula Breweries and 10 Grand Rapids Breweries You Should Check Out, and now we turn our attention to the Northwest part of the Lower Peninsula – Petoskey, Traverse City and the surrounding areas. We’ve included our favorites as well as a few others that have consistently been honored for their offerings.
Petoskey Brewing, 1844 M-119, Petoskey
This is one of the most beautiful brewery buildings in the state, as an old brewery building from the early 1900s has been transformed into a successful microbrewery just down the road from Petoskey State Park. There’s a beer for everyone here, as the brewery features everything from Sparkle (lager), Mind’s Eye P.A. (IPA), North 45 (amber) and Horny Monk (Belgian dubbel). Seasonal offerings like Michigan Cherry Wheat, Brain Freeze Waffle Cone Raspberry Cream Ale, Hopsessed Double IPA as well as Red Brick Hard Cider and Brad’s Hard Root Beer show that this is a place that doesn’t hold back from experimenting a bit. The menu includes soup, salad, sandwiches, hot dogs and appetizers.
Beard’s Brewery, 207 Howard St. Suite A, Petoskey
Located in the heart of downtown Petoskey, Beard’s is a fairly small operation. That gives them the opportunity to focus on the quality of each batch as they roll out favorites like Tree Blood Maple Sap Stout and Kickback Amber Ale. A food truck stops by some nights, and there is a large seating area with a lot of board games for entertainment. While you sip on some of their tasty beers, you can also watch the next batch being made.
Mackinaw Trail Brewing Company, 3423 US-131, Petoskey
This is only the second summer of operation for the brewery at Mackinaw Trail, but they’ve already shown a knack for rolling out great brews. We enjoyed trying out the Breakfast Stout and the U.P. Yours I.P. – “Eh.” There is a small menu that includes salads, sandwiches and appetizers and one of the best parts about this location for those who aren’t crazy about beer is the large selection of wine.
Right Brain Brewery, 225 E. Sixteenth St., Traverse City
The folks at Right Brain don’t shy away from experimentation, but the praise for their “weird” brews shows that’s a good thing. Maybe you’ve heard of their Mangalista Pig Porter or Cherry Pie Whole, or you’ve picked up a can of CEO Stout or Northern Hawk Owl at a local bar or retail outlet. At their brewery you’ll find a healthy selection of IPAs, as well as fruit beers, barrel aged options and variations on their signature brews. We can’t say enough good things about the CEO Stout, which is a delightful blend of Coffee, Espresso and Oatmeal.
Brewery Terra Firma, 2959 Hartman Rd., Traverse City
We loved finding Brewery Terra Firma during our visit for Traverse City Beer Week 2014, and were impressed not only with the selection and quality of beer, but also with the sustainable way their beer is produced. Located just south of town, BTF’s tasting room is right next to the farm where many of their ingredients are raised. The Karma Palace IPA and Sleeping Bear Brown Ale were among our favorites when we visited.
North Peak Brewing Company, 400 W. Front St., Traverse City
There’s a decent chance you’ve seen North Peak’s beers at your favorite store, whether it’s the Diabolical IPA, Siren Amber Ale or Dubious Chocolate Stout. Their downtown location was once a candy factory but is now home to a brewpub that serves up a full menu and a handful of their well-crafted beers. Check their website for happy hour specials and a schedule of live music and special events.
Brewery Ferment, 511 S. Union St., Traverse City
Located in Traverse City’s Old Town District, Brewery Ferment offers up beers with a focus on local ingredients. A small food menu compliments favorites like 45th Parallale, Mitten Wit and Old Town Brown. BF also offers a selection of handmade jewelry for sale, some of it featuring encased Michigan hops.
Rare Bird Brewpub, 229 Lake Ave., Traverse City
In addition to offering their own beers on tap, Rare Bird also serves up Michigan, national and international favorites on a total of 32 taps. A menu of “eclectic fusion fare” includes appetizers, salads and entrees. Live music is offered on Monday and Thursday nights as well as special occasions the rest of the week.
The Filling Station Microbrewery, 642 Railroad Pl., Traverse City
An old train depot is home to this fantastic microbrewery that serves up brews like Walla Walla IPA and a fantastic London Porter. The highlight of the food menu is the wood-fired brick oven pizzas, and for dessert the S’More Caboose – a pizza with graham cracker crumbs, Nutella, marshmallow and a chocolate/caramel drizzle – is an absolute must-try.
The Workshop Brewing Company, 221 Garland St., Traverse City
With a focus on Michigan ingredients and an approachable beer menu, The Workshop is off to a great start. Easy-drinking options include the Ball Peen ESB, Tenpenny American Blonde and Pry Bar Porter. A small plate and sandwich menu changes seasonally, and live music is a frequent entertainment option.
Hop Lot Brewing Co., 658 South West-Bay Shore Dr., Suttons Bay
A name like Hop Lot might imply a beer menu that is very heavy on IPAs, but that is not the case with this new brewery in beautiful Suttons Bay. Fruit beers, stouts, ambers and browns also deliver here, and you can catch live music while enjoying food from a small but solid menu.
Short’s Brewing Company, 121 N. Bridge St., Bellaire
With an ever-changing menu of seasonal beers and a solid group of mainstays, Short’s has continued to grow and now trails only Founders and Bell’s in terms of production in Michigan. At their brewery in Bellaire you’ll find favorites like Huma Lupa Licious and Bellaire Brown, as well as seasonals like Key Lime Pie and Strawberry Short’s Cake. The food menu is also impressive, and we recommend checking out the mac and cheese special, which changes daily (it was pizza mac & cheese when we visited). Have a flight or two here and sample some of their great offerings as well as their new line of Starcut ciders.
Mackinaw Brewing Company, 161 E. Front St., Traverse City
In operation since 1997, Mackinaw is one of the area’s older breweries, and the couldn’t be in a more perfect location than in the heart of downtown in a building that dates back to 1892. They offer a full menu for lunch and dinner, as well as great beers like the Peninsula Pale Ale and the Red 8 Ale.
Lake Charlevoix Brewing Co., 111 Bridge Park Dr., Charlevoix
One of the newest breweries in Northwest Michigan, Lake Charlevoix Brewing Co. recently opened in Charlevoix and offers eight taps, pub food, an outdoor beer garden and occasional live music. The Pine River Porter and Up North Pale Ale are among the early favorites of reviewers on untappd. The red lighthouse that guards the pierhead on Lake Michigan is prominently featured on both the brewery’s logo and its tap handles.