Northern Michigan is known for its beer, and Traverse City is one of the best places to find craft breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs. In fact, the city has been named one of the top beer destinations on the continent. Offering plenty of options all year round, here’s a look at some of our favorite microbreweries & craft breweries in Traverse City.
Unique Microbreweries & Craft Breweries in Traverse City
Brewery Terra Firma
John Niedermaier is the brains behind Brewery Terra Firma, the first “farm-to-mug” brewery in Traverse City. After finding out that he loves cooking, he realized that brewing is very similar and discovered a passion. With more than 25 years of experience with brewing and more than 1,000 original recipes, he has established a Traverse City brewpub just south of Grand Traverse Mall on a 10-acre farm. However, it’s more like an inviting tasting room full of well-balanced brews. You can enjoy snacks and sodas with your samples.
Right Brain Brewery
With a passion for brewing beer and cutting hair, Russell Springsteen combined both with Right Brain Brewery and the hair salon next door in 2007. Located in a large warehouse on East 16th Street, this innovative Traverse City microbrewery has an industrial style and family-friendly atmosphere. It hosts more than 150,000 patrons every year, and there are at least 30 beers on tap all the time. Some of the ales, IPAs, porters, and stouts contain special ingredients, such as asparagus, cherry pie, chocolate, coffee, and even pig parts. While you drink, you can grab a bite of food from a featured local restaurant.
MiddleCoast Brewing Company
Formerly called Monkey Fist Brewing Co., MiddleCoast Brewing Company is a family-owned brewery on East State Street in Traverse City. Taking beer more seriously than themselves, the team makes ales, IPAs, and hard seltzers in a variety of flavors. It offers a range of beer sizes: 12 ounces, 16 ounces, and kegs for restaurants and bars. If you want to support the brewery further, check out the hats, shirts, and hoodies in its shop.
The Workshop Brewing Company
Although Pete Kirkwood originally founded The Workshop Brewing Company in Pennsylvania, the business has become one of the top breweries in Traverse City. Its mission is to preserve the natural environment in Northern Michigan while honoring the traditions of craft brewing and reinforcing the local community.
With a view of Grand Traverse Bay from Garland Street, you can enjoy an array of seasonal brews, including Belgian Tripel, Marzen beer, and Nitro IPA. New brews are available as well, such as Tart Cherry Ale and Session IPA. Also, The Workshop has a delicious menu of empanadas, all of which are made from scratch with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Rare Bird Brewpub
In downtown Traverse City, Rare Bird Brewpub was created through a partnership between Tina Schuett and Nate Crane. It resides in a restored 1931 brick building and aims to deliver an unrivaled drinking and dining experience. The interior boasts German beer hall seating and a cool lounge.
The brewpub pours a long menu of its own beers and others from the taps. It has a selection of ciders, wines, and spirits too. If you need a snack, a variety of appetizers, salads, and tacos are available. Some of the items can be made gluten-free and vegan.
The Filling Station Microbrewery
Located in a former railroad station just off the TART Trail, The Filling Station Microbrewery is a family-owned brewery and Traverse city restaurant that’s dedicated to serving high-quality craft beers and pizzas. There are always at least 10 beers to order, and they all pair wonderfully with the menu of fresh salads and wood-fired flatbreads, which are handmade. Whether it’s summer or winter, The Filling Station is a great place to meet with family and friends for a meal inside or on the patio with views of Boardman Lake.
North Peak Brewing Company
Since 1997, North Peak Brewing Company has been established in Traverse City. It’s located in a historic building formerly known as the Big Daylight Candy Factory and still has a factory-like atmosphere. When the brewery was first opened, the focus was food and brews of uncommon quality.
The company expanded over the years, and the headquarters moved to Dexter, Michigan, to support demand. However, you still get the quality and great taste that North Peak is known for no matter where you grab a drink. Along with beer, there are full lunch and dinner menus with appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, large plates, and desserts.
Silver Spruce Brewing
After meeting in North Carolina in 2013, Silver Spruce Brewing owners Scott and Leah moved back to Michigan, their home state, to start the brewery. Scott has degrees in molecular biology, and Leah has a degree in brewing technology. Together, they join the vibrant beer scene in Traverse City with craft brews that you don’t want to miss. Check out the brewery on East Eighth Street.
One of the newest breweries in Traverse City, Farm Club is more than just a brewery. It’s also a bakery, farm, marketplace, and restaurant that celebrates the community and honest food. The brewery is located near the base of Leelanau Peninsula with Lake Leelanau to the west and Grand Traverse Bay to the east.
Alongside beer, you can order ciders, wines, snacks, small and large plates, and desserts. The marketplace offers daily essentials, including fresh produce, pantry staples, and prepared foods. Additionally, there’s a curated lineup of Northern Michigan-made housewares and ceramics, cookbooks, body care, and kids’ toys.
At Earthen Ales, you get to see what happens when a couple of brewers fall in love. Andrew and Jamie Kidwell-Brix quit their day jobs and created the brewery when they began making more beer than they and their friends could drink. They seriously love to brew and make beers that remind them of the places that they’ve lived and visited over the years. You can get snacks, sodas, and more at the Gray Drive brewery in Traverse City.
Mackinaw Brewing Company
As one of the original brewpubs in Traverse City, Mackinaw Brewing Company rests in a 19th-century brick building at the corner of East Front Street and North Cass Street. Since 1997, it has become a local favorite for handcrafted beer and delightful food.
The malty brew is one of the most popular, but the brewery makes Belgian-style wheat ale, fine pale ales, and a seasonal tart cherry-flavored lager too. There’s a full food menu of appetizers, burgers, salads, soups, seafood, sandwiches, and dinner entrees. As a family-friendly establishment, the brewpub even has a children’s menu.
Fresh Coast Beer Works
In 2016, Chuck Green and Aaron Spangler founded UBrew Homebrew Supply intending to operate an on-site microbrewery in Traverse City. The following year, the company obtained the required state license and started brewing under the name UBrew NanoBrewery. The brewery changed to Fresh Coast Beer Works in 2019 and demonstrates the fresh beauty of Northern Michigan in its tasty beer. If you like a specific beer and want to brew your own, you can request the recipe and purchase everything that you need from UBrew Homebrew Supply.
Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant & Brewery
Since summer 2004, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has been brewing in Dexter, Michigan, with Ron Jeffries at the helm. However, you don’t have to make the four-hour drive to get a taste of the beers that have made the brewer stand out among the crowd. Instead, just drive up Old Mission Peninsula, where Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant & Brewery rests along Grand Traverse Bay.
The Traverse City brewpub sits behind Bowers Harbor Inn and features its own rustic country-style brews as well as brews from North Peak Brewing Company. The food menu includes a range of appetizers, salads, artisan pizzas, sandwiches, and plates.
Tours of the Best Breweries in Traverse City
If you want to visit more than just one brewery in Traverse City, there’s no better way to do it than to hop on a Traverse City brewery tour. Here are a few companies that offer unique and traditional brewery tours throughout the city as well as along Leelanau Peninsula and Old Mission Peninsula.
Kayak, Bike & Brew
Sometimes referred to as KaBrew, the Kayak, Bike & Brew company offers biking and kayaking tours through Traverse City. During your four-hour adventure, you could stop at The Filling Station Microbrewery, Right Brain Brewery, Rare Bird Brewpub, The Workshop Brewing Company, and other spots.
TC Cycle Pub
The ultimate way to enjoy biking and drinking beer is to do them at the same time, and TC Cycle Pub supplies this one-of-a-kind opportunity. The pedal-powered pub rides through downtown Traverse City and stops at breweries, wine shops, and cider houses along the way. On the other hand, you can reserve the orange or circle cycle to choose your own route.
For a more traditional brewery tour experience, make a reservation with the Brew Bus. You can take a tour with other people or book a private outing. It stops at breweries throughout downtown Traverse City and along the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas.
More Things to Do in Traverse City Michigan
Whether you’ve visited these unique microbreweries & craft breweries in Traverse City or want to diversify your adventures, there are tons more things to do in Traverse City. For more drinking adventures, you could sample wines at Traverse City’s many wineries and vineyards. Or bring the family and enjoy the best family things to do in Traverse City!
Let us know in the comments which local Traverse City microbreweries and craft breweries are your favorite(s)!