If you’re having a rough day, love the Michigan brewery scene, or just want to try something new, check out Right Brain Brewery. The taps are always rotating, but there are definitely some favorites that are branded and available outside the establishment. Try a Will Power Pale Ale, Northern Hawk Owl Amber, Dead Kettle IPA, Black “Eye” PA, and the Shadow Watcher Stout all over the area. These beers are brewed using local hops from Empire just miles away. Northern goodness in each sip!
After almost fifteen years of planning, Right Brain opened its doors and its taps to the beer drinkers of Northern Michigan. Russell Springsteen had an innate desire to brew and distribute truly awesome beer. He started his career in brews after twenty years of haircutting resulting in Salon Saloon (a space to get a new ‘do and have a brew), which was created to pair with Right Brain’s original, unique brewing. After years and years of planning, Russell met with SCORE (a nonprofit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses) and they helped his idea come to fruition.
Every week is an experience at Right Brain with specials ranging from $12 pitchers all day Sunday to Team Trivia Tuesdays to a beer education “Every Firkin’ Thursday” to Sampler Saturdays. This is just a peek into the great things they have going on in a regular week. After Christmas, adults can even go to Right Brain and relive their youth with Pintwood Derby Raceson Wednesday nights.
Right Brain sponsors tons of events such as Peak2Peak Mountain Bike Classic and Mud, Sweat, Beers Fat Tire Fest (just to name a couple)—they are dedicated to helping out the community and to keeping people active through local groups like Mt. Holiday and the TART Trails. Russell moved to Traverse City in 2000, and smiles, “It’s a good place to be!”
It doesn’t matter who you are, you will find a place at Right Brain. Men and women ranging from 21 to 81 of all backgrounds find a common ground with the great beer offered. On Saturdays, families come to hang out during the day and play board games with their kids. It’s a place to meet, it’s a place to drink beer that, “Makes you feel good—in moderation,” Russell laughs.
There is a particular challenge in making beer in Northern Michigan. It is a foodie destination bringing in an educated crowd with high expectations. Russell says, “There’s always a challenge to make funky, crazy beers.” People like them, though. He smiles, talking about how each weekend is “throttled with tourists”—for Right Brain, February is just as busy as July. This isn’t just a tourist spot, though. The locals love the flavors of Right Brain and constantly keep demanding more.
Sooner than later, Russell wants to move into a bigger space—a 3,600 square feet space. This will still be within the downtown Traverse City atmosphere, but in a much larger space near 16th Street and Cass. Russell explains, “We’re trying to recreate the pub experience while increasing production.” While the Right Brainers currently distribute to the surrounding seven counties and are looking to expand toward the bridge, that new space will make those dreams possible.
When Russell was a senior in high school, a creative writing teacher told the students they would be taking a test that you couldn’t do right, or wrong. After taking the quiz, it was determined that Russell was “Right-Brain”. However, his teacher said he did it wrong—well Russell is not doing beer wrong to say the least. In his opinion brewing is awesome because, “We can extrapolate so many different flavors.” Right or wrong! ~Joanna Dueweke, Regional Director