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Home Feature Where to drink next: Traverse City, Mich.

Where to drink next: Traverse City, Mich.

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Mission Table

When it comes to the mitten, all the action’s in the pinky: Northern Michigan’s largest city puts out plenty of beer and some sweet spots to sip it in.

By Carolyn Malcoun

 

Right Brain Brewery

Craft beers made with creative ingredients are the name of the game at this Warehouse District brewery. Brewer Corey Wentworth was a chef for 20 years, so he isn’t afraid to put everything from cold-smoked pig bones to roasted asparagus and whole cherry pies into his beers. He aims to have at least 12 beers on tap every day, including standbys like Black “Eye” P.A., a hoppy stout, and Northern Hawk Owl Amber Ale, along with a handful of crazier beers. Business is so brisk, plans for a bigger brewery are in the works. 221 Garland St., rightbrainbrewery.com

Brewery Terra Firma

Brewer John Neidermaier cut his brewing teeth at Traverse Brewing and Right Brain, all the while dreaming about opening his own farm-to-bottle brewery. With his new operation located on the outskirts of town, Niedermaier plans to grow most of what he needs to make his one-of-a-kind beers on the 10-acre property, and what he doesn’t grow himself he’ll source from local farms. Right now, look for his take on a colonial ale, brewed with honey-baked parsnips, Indian corn, roasted pumpkin, black walnut and spices, and his fire-roasted sweet corn cream ale in the summer. 2951 Hartman Rd., breweryterrafirma.com

The Shed

The Shed

A trip to Traverse City isn’t complete without a visit to this airy, comfortable bar. The Shed prides itself on carrying at least one beer from every microbrewery in the state, including a handful on tap. If your stomach’s growling, order a juicy burger, creative sandwich or a plate of smoked meat from the attached Blue Tractor Cook Shop. Don’t miss the ultracreamy mac and cheese with smoked chicken, chilies and jack cheese—it’s fantastic paired with Short’s Huma Lupa Licious IPA. 423 S. Union St., bluetractorcookshop.com

Mission Table

If you’re in the mood for a fine meal paired with local beer, wine and spirits, hop up the Old Mission Peninsula to Mission Table. Grab a seat on the expansive patio overlooking Grand Traverse Bay or dine inside—either way you’ll be treated to a divine meal inspired by the bounty of local fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood created with an expert touch by Chef Paul Olson. If it’s on the menu, don’t miss the local lamb loin with house-made kimchi, a perfectly poached egg and potato puree—it’s just right with a glass of Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire, straight from the brewery’s satellite location on the property. 13512 Peninsula Dr., missiontable.net

North Peak Brewing

North Peak

North Peak has been brewing classic session beers like Diabolical IPA and Siren Amber Ale along with some inspired seasonal beers since 1995. Depending on the time of your visit, grab a pint of Archangel (summer wheat) or Darkangel (porter), both brewed with local sour cherries. Don’t miss Hoodoo if it’s on tap; the brewers pick their own fresh hops for that one. Many of the brewpub’s dishes feature North Peak’s beer, too; try a bowl of cheddar-ale soup with mustard-pretzel croutons, or a slab of ribs glazed in cherry porter barbecue sauce. 400 W. Front St., northpeak.net

Tandem Ciders

A visit to this artisanal cidery is well worth the 30-minute detour out of Traverse City up the West Bay. Belly up to Tandem’s comfortable bar and let Dan Young or Nikki Rothwell, the dynamic husband-wife duo who run Tandem, pour you a glass of one of their many fine ciders made solely from locally grown apples. Sip on Pretty Penny, made from heritage and heirloom apples, or Cyser, a dry, lip-smacking cider, while you play darts with the locals or nosh on a plate of Leelanau Cheese Co. raclette and bagel chips from a local baker. 2055 N. Setterbo Rd., Suttons Bay, tandemciders.com

Michigan Hop Alliance

Representing 10 hop growers, mostly from the Grand Traverse area, the Michigan Hop Alliance promotes brewing Michigan beers with Michigan hops. Members of the alliance sell their hops directly to breweries like Right Brain, Short’s and Jolly Pumpkin as well as local homebrew stores. About half of the hops are certified organic, and 14 varieties are available with more on the way in 2012. michiganhopalliance.com

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