TRAVERSE CITY — Sure, you’ve driven to your favorite brewery and walked to explore a new brew, but have you ever paddled to your next pint? Paddle for Pints kicked off summer in Traverse City on Saturday with a unique pub crawl.

Paddle for Pints is a new and fun way to experience the breweries on the TC Ale Trail. Instead of visiting each brewery on the trail separately, or on a traditional crawl, those participating are able to paddle by kayak, canoe or SUP along the way.

“The idea came from an article written by the MyNorth magazine a few years back. Kevin Farron and I talked about making it into an Ale Trail event and thought it would be a good idea. The rest is history,” Troy Daily, co-founder of the TC Ale Trail explained.

Daily and Farron co-founded the TC Ale Trail last year as a way to bring together the expanding beer community in Traverse City. The first Paddle for Pints was held last summer and had over 90 participants.

This year, Daily and Farron have planned four separate events and some are already sold out. Daily himself was surprised. “I did not expect this response at all! It’s great and I’m glad that the TC Ale Trail has some leverage to justify such a great event.”

The first of four Paddle for Pints sold out well in advance. Two waves of 100 people launched from Hull Park, behind Filling Station Microbrewery. Participants paddled across Boardman Lake to Right Brain Brewery for the first stop of the tour.

After kayaking across the lake in the summer sun, I was looking to have a lighter beer at Right Brain Brewery. They were out of one of my favorites, Spear Beer, so I opted to try something new. I went with a Stowaway Reclaimed Shandy, which combines Right Brain’s Stowaway Reclaimed Saison with Balaton Tart Cherry Soda. The brew had a light, crisp flavor that pair perfectly with cherry soda. The combination was a light and refreshing way to start a paddling adventure.

After Right Brain, Paddle for Pints headed downtown by paddling along the Boardman River. The second stop was at Brewery Ferment. I, again, searched for something crisp and refreshing and found the Summer Sencha — a lemon green tea ale brewed with honey and grains of paradise. It had a crisp flavor with hints of lemon and green tea and was perfect for a trip down the river.

The adventure continued to North Peak Brewing Company and ended at Workshop Brewing Company. After Workshop, paddlers got back into their kayaks and canoes and paddled down the remainder of the river into the Grand Traverse Bay.

There are three more Paddle for Pints this summer on July 5, July 8 and August 16. Tickets are still available for all, with a third wave recently added to August 16. If you plan on paddling, be sure to order tickets early!

If you don’t get a chance to paddle this summer, Paddle for Pints will be back next summer. “I have a great team behind me and hope to add even more events next year,” Daily stated. Daily hopes to host at least six Paddle for Pints next summer.

Paddle for Pints creates a unique experience by combining some of the best things Northern Michigan has to offer. There aren’t many places where you can easily paddle down a river to grab a pint of your favorite microbrew. If you’re looking for a new way to experience Northern Michigan, this is it.

Follow TC Ale Trail on Facebook for more Paddle for Pints information and to find other TC Ale Trail events.

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery