TRAVERSE CITY, Mich — Michigan has made a name for itself as one of the premier craft brew states in the country, and considers itself the “Great Beer State”® with more than 200 breweries throughout two peninsulas, according to the Michigan Brewers Guild. What better way to partake of these fine beverages than from the deck of the Schooner Manitou, while sailing in the fresh waters of Grand Traverse Bay (and northern Lake Michigan, weather permitting).

tall ship manitou

The Traverse Tall Ship Company is offering a 4-Day Michigan Craft Beer Cruise (Sept. 15-19) with chef and craft beer aficionado Amy Sherman, who will serve as host and tasting guide—serving up hors d’oeuvres, followed by specifically designed food pairings with dinner. The cost is $769 per person and includes overnight accommodations aboard the tall ship, meals, beer education and plenty of time for relaxing.

After graduating from Aquinas College, Amy Sherman found her true calling in the kitchen. A 20-year restaurant veteran, she’s held every job possible, from ravioli runner, prep chef, book keeper, waitress, to manager, sous chef and pastry chef.  She has taught cooking classes throughout West Michigan, runs a catering company called Two Chicks and an Oven, and with her husband runs the local food company, Farmlink. As the host of the Great American Brew Trail, she drank her way across Michigan, one pint at a time. She currently hosts a podcast called “Behind the Mitten” with MLive’s John Gonzalez and was recently added to the Mlive “Best Of…” Team. She also leads culinary adventures here in the states and Europe.  Her main job, however, is being mom to three ruffians in Grand Rapids.

As one of the largest sailing ships on the Great Lakes, the Manitou is a replica of an 1800s “coasting” cargo schooner. A traditional two-masted, gaff rigged, topsail schooner, Manitou measures 114 feet in length with more than 3000 square feet of sail.

There is plenty of space for sitting and moving around the decks while under sail. While aboard the Manitou, passengers are free to leave the sailing to the experienced crew or lend a hand and learn the arts of the sailor. An excursion aboard the Manitou allows you to remove yourself from the trappings of modern life: no TV, phone (cell phones are discouraged), internet, email and definitely, no itinerary.

Trips are limited to 22 individuals, with accommodations provided in 11 double-bunk cabins. Fare includes lodging, all meals and sailing activities.

To make reservations for the 4-Day Michigan Craft Beer Cruise, call toll free 800-678-0383 or order tickets online. Gift certificates are also available. For additional information about the Manitou, including its corporate charters, log on to

Traverse Tall Ship Company is located at 13258 S.W. Bay Shore Drive (M22) in Traverse City and shares a dock with the fleet from the Maritime Heritage Alliance, creating a unique nautical experience for the area.

Summer means salad time — the vegetable are at their peak, it’s hot out and you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. Salads just honestly hit the spot on a summer day, but we can tend to fall into a salad “rut”. Anyone else out there sick of iceberg, tomato, cheese and croutons? And don’t get me started with bottled dressings….unimaginative, full of corn syrup, and just downright lame.

This salad has several things going for it, including magical roasted beets and a homemade vinaigrette made with my favorite ingredient, BEER. By reducing the beer down to an almost syrupy consistency, you get all that great flavor in a concentrated form. Pick a malt-forward beer for this technique, as any bitter flavor the beer has will just be amplified by reducing it.

We don’t want to overwhelm the salad, we want a great balance of flavors. I picked Arcadia Ales’ Whitsun, which has a bit of orange and coriander in it, ingredients that you can amplify in the dressing, layering flavors.

With the slight bitterness of the beer offset by a bit of honey (for natural sweetness), we can get perfect balance. Add some zing by using frozen orange juice concentrate — its intense flavor won’t water down the salad. I keep a can in my freezer specifically for cooking, and use it in dressings and marinades all the time.

This dressing can be made up ahead of time, and will keep in a mason jar in the fridge for about two weeks.

Chefs talk about balance in a dish all the time, and home cooks should too. The roasted beets will provide sweetness and earthiness, contrasted by the crispness of the lettuce, crunchiness of the nuts, and creaminess of the goat cheese. When you toss the whole thing with a beer dressing, it’s the perfect summer salad.

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Whitsun Beet Salad

For the salad:
4-6 beets, trimmed
6 cups mixed greens
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (optional)
1/4 cup chopped toasted pistachios
1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese

For the dressing:
1 bottle wheat beer (like Arcadia Ales Whitsun)
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coriander
salt and pepper

For the salad: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beets, then wrap them up in foil, and place in a baking pan. Roast the beets until tender. Depending on the size of the beets, this could take up to 1 1/2 hours. When done, let cool, then peel the beets. Slice into wedges.

Meanwhile make the dressing, pour the beer in to a saucepan, and over medium heat, reduce down to 1/4 a cup. Whisk everything else together, except the oil. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking. The dressing should start to thicken up into an emulsion. Check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed.

Toss the greens with the dressing and layout on a platter. Then toss the beets with some of the dressing and place them on top of the greens. Sprinkle on the mint if you are using it, the pistachios, and crumble the goat cheese all over. Add another couple grinds of pepper. Serve the salad right away, with another cold Whitsun to pair it with.