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Traverse City quickly becoming a craft beer mecca

on May 9 | in Features, Northern | by | with 3 Comments

We’ve all the heard the expression “Go west young man,” yeah? Well, now there’s “go north young man.” Why? Because gold prices are crashing and folks love beer.

Traverse City, and the surrounding Grand Traverse region, have been making massive headlines lately. Top 10 lists across the country have been singing Traverse City’s praises. Want to feast within one of the top five foodie towns in the USA? Come to TC. Want to hit up one of the nation’s top 10 beach towns? Hit up TC. Feelin’ a trip to one of National Geographic’s top 10 summer trips? Feel TC.

(I know! National Geographic?!? That’s some serious buzz!)

Are we beginning to get the picture here? Traverse City is a happenin’ place to be!

And for beer, well, Traverse City has a list for that, too — Top 3 Emerging Beer Towns (in the nation). That honor comes from Draft Magazine.

An emerging beer town requires one thing, and one thing only — excellent brewing creativity producing outstanding beer. Simple as that. And Traverse City isn’t merely emerging, it’s exploding.

Rumors of new breweries and brew pubs run rampant. So much so that a long anticipated brewery (proprietor unknown) that was supposedly about to set up shop within the historic grounds of the foodie paradise of the Grand Traverse Commons (old State Psychiatric Hospital) has chosen to hold off opening because of the rumored nearly one dozen new breweries opening within the next year. This includes a possible tropical-themed brew pub. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but, were they to promise some Jimmy Buffett, I would be there.

All of that aside, I’m not sure about the “dozen breweries and brew pubs” rumor floating around. But I am certain of five that I cannot wait for. Interested? Tantalized? Intrigued? Hanging on my every word? Well then, by all means, check out my list of upcoming awesomeness.

Brewery Terra Firma

This one took a while. They had to cut through some serious red tape. But, in October of 2012, former Right Brain brewing genius John Niedermaier finally got Brewery Terra Firma moving.

This brewery is not only promising grand brews, but grand brews tailor made to tip a glass to Mother Earth. Niedermaier’s reputation is one of creating beer from scratch. His faithful following (and those eager to become part of that following) will certainly adore the opportunity to savor the fruit of the hop whilst sitting within a facility utilizing highly sustainable operational practices such as harvesting excess BTUs from the brewing process to heat the facility while using the clean process water and spent grain for composting and fertigation of crops (the application of fertilizer/recycled nutrients through an irrigation system).

Bravo Zulu

Take one hardened war veteran with one hell of a back story (think PTSD, alcoholism, the whole nine yards. This guy’s seen it all, handled it all, conquered it all), add in a bit of brewing passion and a dash of Traverse City and you have yourself a recipe for some severely authentic pulls.

This brewery will be located in Acme, just north of Traverse City. With its pin-up girl labels, hardwood bar and working man’s atmosphere, this place is certain to be a brewery that harkens back to the days of old, when hard working men and women ventured into their local pub, ordered up a pint and lost themselves in the conversation of folks who understand how hard earned that glass full of brew really was.

I’ll be checking this joint out, but I’m not sure if I’m man enough to make it a regular thing…

Workshop Brewing Company

Remember where Traverse City’s Right Brain Brewery once was? The Warehouse District, old school, slightly little, but still fun. Not anymore. Now Right Brain is situated within a massive building serving some supremely delicious brews. What’s happening at their old space? Workshop Brewing Company is happening.

Pete Kirkwood, the founder of said brewery, is no stranger to brewing success. He is also the founder of the Shawneecraft Brewery in Pennsylvania. Seven core beers will make up this primely located brewery. Beers will be named after hand tools, but will be served up with a mind toward sustainability and organic goodness.

Think Pure Michigan Tim Allen, with a touch of Tool Time.

Beggars Brewery

Mike Rizik is the man behind Beggars. His mantra is “the more the merrier” as far as breweries go. “This is definitely a community of craft brew drinkers,” he says.

Rizik is certainly correct. And those craft brew drinkers will no doubt be flocking to his American and European style ales and stouts, set to be pouring by Memorial Day.

Rare Bird Brewery

Shall we say a selfish “I’ve saved the best for last?” Why yes. Yes we shall. Way out in Cedar stands a fine dining establishment by the name of Sugarfoot Saloon. Within this eatery rests a few taps, guarded by an old knight. These taps are marked Miller, Coors, Bud Light and so on. But, near the middle are two that don’t quite look like the others. Should you choose either “Pale Ale” or “Liquid Sunshine,” the old knight will look to you and say “You chose…..wisely.”

A bit of an exaggeration, I’ll grant you, but drinking Liquid Sunshine is akin to watching Indy conquer the Nazis for the first time. It is that good. And the creator of that brew, and its equally tasty sister, Pale Ale (one Tina Schuett), will be opening Rare Bird Brewery in downtown Traverse City. It will be spacious, it will be welcoming, it will be grand. All of that matters not. What matters is her beer. And I dare you to beat me to the bar at the grand opening.

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3 Responses to Traverse City quickly becoming a craft beer mecca

  1. Incredibly excited for all of these, but extremely excited for Rare Bird.

  2. laFreeland says:

    Rare Bird is open and what a great place! Beer, beer, beer … and SERIOUSLY good food!!!

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