TRAVERSE CITY — With much persistence and dedication, Rare Bird Brewpub was finally able to open its doors on June 27 in Traverse City.

Owners Nate Crane and Tina Schuett have spent the last two years overcoming various obstacles to open the highly anticipated brewpub. When a traditional route of entrepreneurship fell through, Crane and Schuett gained support on Indiegogo and put in a lot of their own work.

They have transformed an old cannery into a vibrant brewpub, completing many of the renovations on their own. “We took it down to the existing four walls,” explained Schuett. “We became the general contractors and builders.”

The result is a comfortable, yet sophisticated brewpub. I was expecting a smaller taproom, but was rather impressed with size, decor and overall atmosphere. The taproom is open and inviting with a large selection of seating, high ceilings and plenty of natural lighting.

And let’s not forget the beer. Schuett began homebrewing in college. She then spent some time as a park ranger in California and New Zealand, but returned to her passion for beer. She began brewing for Sand Creek Brewery in Wisconsin, and eventually landed in Traverse City at Right Brain Brewery. She has since branched out on her own, proving that women can create outstanding beer.

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Even though only open for a week, buzz about the quality of Rarebird’s brews has spread fast. The taproom has been busy each day, with a few regulars already returning. And there has been so much excitement about one of its brews — Pants Party American Pale Ale — that sold out within the week.

“It’s clear this is already a favorite and we will need to make more,” Schuett stated with excitement.

With Pants Party Ale sold out, I chose to try Whip-Pour-Will Wit on my first visit. This Belgian-style wit was light bodied and had a refreshing balance of citrus and spice.

Schuett also recommended the Shadenfreude Chocolate Milk Stout. “Those that don’t normally like dark beers, love this one.”

While boasting a quality selection of their own beers, Crane and Schuett have taken things one step further. Rare Bird not only features its own beers, but also has a large selection of other craft brews on tap. There is also a delicious food menu featuring appetizers like flash fried cheese curds and entrees such as pork belly sliders and fish tacos.

“We modeled our business after HopCat,” explained Schuett. “We have the best of the best available. Why not feature those brews and then focus on what we can do well?”

With such a strong passion for beer and a such a successful start, Rare Bird Brewpub has already found its place within the Traverse City craft beer scene. If you are visiting the area this summer, this is a stop you must make.

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