TRAVERSE CITY — One step inside Brewery Ferment, and you might think you’ve walked into a coffee shop.
Instead, this laid back, bright atmosphere is home to Traverse City’s newest brewery.
Located right down the street from a coffee shop, local meat market, and in a district known as “Old Town,” Ferment has big aspirations for the future, and some great, bold recipes that co-owner and brewmaster Dustin Jones is already showing off.
“I try to put some of my culinary experience into the brewing, so I use a lot of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices,” says Jones. “In the end we like to play around with it…we like to have fun.”
In addition to the brewery’s staple beers — Logger Lager, Worker’s Daily, Mitten Wit, The 45th Parallale, Bookstore Bitter and Old Town Brown — Ferment highlights a few seasonal or specialty beers available daily.
And those specialty beers are anything but ordinary. Jones points to his brews he’s undertaking at the moment — a barleywine with merrell mushrooms, a chocolate chipotle imperial stout and a brew called Cornucopia Ale — a cranberry orange wheat beer being released for Thanksgiving.
But what sets Ferment apart is its willingness to work with other local craftsmen — farmers and hop growers. ”We’re trying to work with all the guys on this block, kind of what we call the ‘New Old Town’ — a revitalization of this whole neighborhood.”
Take, for instance, one of Jones’ favorite creations — The 45th Parallale. This mix between a pale ale and an IPA is malt-heavy, but still well-balanced — and is made with 100 percent local hops.
Jones says he has plans for even more drinks down the road — mead and cider are on the agenda, as are collaboration beers with some of the city’s new breweries. He’s also working on establishing bike/brewery and kayak/brewery tours throughout the city.
“It’s got a lot to do with the local food movement. Quickly behind that were the wineries, and now the breweries.”