From hoppy and crisp to dark and nutty, Traverse City has a brew suited for everyone—even the most selective beer drinkers. Just because it's chilly outside doesn't mean the fun has to stop.
This holiday season, take a short drive and stay warm with a cold brew at one of these stellar Traverse City breweries. You could even create your own beer crawl to see what special flavors each establishment has to offer. They're open year-round and ready for you!
Big Cat Brewing Company | Cedar
Owners Aaron and Nikki Ackley have a deep passion for brewing and turned a hobby into their own business. Check out live music there every Wednesday, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., and grab some grub during their all-you-can-eat family-style breakfast, Sundays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
TRY: Greyfriar's Bobby, a Scottish wee heavy ale brewed with peat-smoked malt.
Brewery Terra Firma | Traverse City
A production brewery, taproom and MAEAP-certified farm located on 10 acres, Brewery Terra Firma offers culinary-inspired beers using sustainable methods, such as a water capture system allowing the brewery to reclaim over 230,000 gallons of water for reuse as irrigation and fertilization on farm crops.
TRY: Temple of Heaven Honey Ginger IPA, brewed with fresh-ground whole root ginger, honey from their south field beehives and local hops.
CraftHouse Brewery & Boutique | Traverse City
An elegant, but casual neighborhood brewery and boutique, Crafthouse brews with Northern Michigan ingredients when possible and offers a wide range of handmade merchandise—drink and shop away! Even catch a craft demo here and there.
TRY: Harvest Ale, a wet-hopped ale with Great Lake Malt and freshly picked Chinook hops from Hoppy Bear Farm.
Earthen Ales | Traverse City
Earthen Ales was born when Jamie and Andrew Kidwell-Brix decided to share all the tasty beer they were making with their friends, old and new. They've got some simple snacks available, in addition to fun special events like ale and cheese pairing and more.
TRY: Juniper Rye, a balanced "up north" IPA with juniper berries and a hint of pine.
The Filling Station Microbrewery | Traverse City
A family-owned and -operated business, The Filling Station is located just off the TART Trail in the historic railroad district. Visitors will enjoy views of Boardman Lake from inside the pub or out on the patio, live music, and the occasional train passing by while sipping small-batch brews or chowing down on a house-made wood-fired pizza.
TRY: Smoke and Fire Bourbon Stout, Allegheny Smoke and Fire Stout aged in Iron Fish Distillery bourbon barrels—smoky and spicy with upfront bourbon flavors.
Hop Lot Brewing Company | Suttons Bay
Hop Lot is a great stop if you're between touring the peninsula, biking, hiking, boating, ice fishing or snowmobiling. This family-friendly destination lets guests enjoy the season in comfort with their heated and lit igloos or campfires in their three-quarter-acre, four-seasons beer garden.
TRY: Bayshore Brown, a brown with malty flavors of caramel, biscuits and sourdough bread blended with just a touch of roasted English chocolate malts.
Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant, Brewery & Distillery | Traverse City
Jolly Pumpkin has always prided themselves on the creation of fantastic beers of truly outstanding artisan quality. If you love a good sour beer, this is your place. They use traditional Belgian brewing methods of open fermentation, oak aging and bottle conditioning, which allows the influence of wild yeast and bacteria to work their way into the beer.
TRY: Aquamarine Dream, a sour fruit Saison brewed with blueberry, blackberry, lime peel and salt.
Kilkenny's Irish Public House | Traverse City
Offering house ales and lagers craft-brewed on-site with great care, Kilkenny's will have you saying "Sláinte!" Feast on one of their many menu offerings, from Root Beer Pulled Pork and Corned Beef Reuben to Gaelic Eggrolls and Cheddar Fondue.
TRY: Marble City Red, a nitrogenized Irish Red Ale with just a smidgen of hops to compliment the robust malt character and smooth finish.
Lake Ann Brewing Company | Lake Ann
After being a homebrewer for 20 years, Matt Therrien was eager to share his craft with Lake Ann locals and guests. Besides servings some awesome beer, Lake Ann Brewing Company also offers ciders, mead and wine, along with a light snack menu.
TRY: Auggie's Garden Glo, a citrusy summer wheat brewed with orange and lemon peels along with coriander.
Mackinaw Brewing Co. | Traverse City
A local favorite since 1997, Mackinaw Brewing boasts fine smokehouse meats, fresh seafood and creative Great Lakes fare. You can even join their mug club and get perks for life!
TRY: Harvest Moon Oatmeal Stout, a dark roasty beer with a silky smooth finish—almost a meal in itself.
Mitten Brewing Company | Northport
Nestled in the center of historic Northport, Mitten Northport offers guests a chance to enjoy their favorite Mitten tap selections while taking in the view of Grand Traverse Bay and Northport Marina. Guests are encouraged to bring food from neighboring eateries along with them if they wish.
TRY: MVP(umpkin) Ale, an amber ale brewed with pumpkin pie filling, lightly spiced and finished off with vanilla and a hint of lactose.
Monkey Fist Brewing Company | Traverse City
At Monkey Fist, their mantra is to "take our beer more seriously than ourselves," so you know you're in for some quality and likely a good laugh. Even step back in time and play some old-school arcade games while you're there.
TRY: Weizen Shine, A German-style Hefeweizen using Safir and Willamette hops.
North Peak Brewing Co. | Traverse City
Located in a historic building that was formerly the Big Daylight Candy Factory, North Peak has an abundance of flavors to share with visitors—whether in beer or meal form. Chow on some Corn Dusted Calamari, The Peak Burger or choose an option from their gluten-sensitive menu.
TRY: 2 Hop Chop, an IPA with a medium caramel sweetness that meets a piney/citrus hoppy flavor from Centennial and Chinook hops.
Rare Bird Brewpub | Traverse City
A concept born of Tina Schuett and Nate Crane's mutual love for rare birds and beer, Rare Bird Brewpub provides a dining and drinking experience that makes you feel like you're up in the trees! Enjoy a brew in intimate reclaimed wood booths or in the German bier hall-style seating made from sustainably harvested massive wood slabs.
TRY: Rose the Riveter, a Rose Blonde Ale brewed with raspberries and pomegranate.
Right Brain Brewery | Traverse City
This family-friendly pub believes in experimenting with unusual ingredients not typically used in the beer brewing process—from whole pig parts and asparagus to real cherry pie; no extracts found here. Pop in for some occasional live music, trivia and other special events.
TRY: Naughty Girl Stout, a combination of rich chocolate flavors with an infusion of Biodynamic Peppermint from Light of Day Organics.
Short's Brewing Co. | Bellaire
Thought Short's has grown to be one of the largest craft breweries in Michigan, they still take pride in their hands-on, mom-and-pop approach to brewing. Want to do yoga and then have a beer? During some of Short's special events, you can. Don't forget to take a free tour while you're there.
TRY: Mule Beer, an Ale brewed with lime and ginger accompanied, by a biscuit-like maltiness and a creamy body.
Stormcloud Brewing Co. | Frankfort
Located just two blocks from Lake Michigan, Stormcloud specializes in brewing Belgian-inspired ales, including the traditional Dubbel, Tripel and Strong Ales, along with classic beer styles. Grab a brew and a sit on the patio bleachers to watch a match on their outdoor curling sheet—even take curling lessons!
TRY: Windhand Wit, a traditional Belgian Wit, brewed with coriander, chamomile and orange peel.
The Workshop Brewing Company | Traverse City
Nature. Community. Craft: the three components to Workshop Brewing's commitment to their customers. They welcome craft beer newcomers with approachable offerings as well as the craft beer aficionado with high-gravity and barrel-aged beers (and the occasional firkin.) Their menu is specifically designed to compliment particular beers, leaving much to explore.
TRY: Uncapper, a crisp and dry Honey Stock Ale.
*Be sure to check out each brewery's social media pages or websites for current draft selections, as they are subject to change.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.
Photo courtesy of Hop Lot Brewing Co.