Six TOP Traverse City Breweries: Our Favorite Don’t-Miss Spots by Stouts With My Spouse Podcast Craft Beer Experts
Looking for the best Traverse City breweries? We took an adventure through the Traverse City area, and found a variety of breweries worth exploring. Craft brewing is alive and well here, and we discovered that while Traverse City beer comes in many styles, they’re all worth checking out.
The Traverse City area, set on picturesque Grand Traverse Bay, is a true paradise for outdoors-lovers filled with hiking trails, biking trails and miles of Lake Michigan beachfront. In the winter, both downhill and crosscountry skiing bring in visitors eager to partake in outdoor adventures.
This growing city, the county seat of Grand Traverse County, is also a paradise for foodies and craft-beef aficionados. You’ll find farmers markets overflowing with fresh produce and other hand-crafted goodies; Old Mission Peninsula’s wineries; top restaurants and a gourmet food truck or two; and a wide selection of spots offering up the latest craft brew.
In fact, there’s a whole sector of the Traverse City tourism scene focusing on beer tours and wine tours (mixed in with boat tours) dedicated to celebrating another one of northern Michigan’s delights.
Whether you’re looking for brew pub or a brewery tour, you’ll find it in Traverse City.
Here’s our take on some don’t-miss breweries in the Grand Traverse area, and a list of a few more special spots you’ll want to check out.
Stouts with My Spouse is a podcast hosted by Kerry Neville & Patrick Palmateer, exploring craft beer throughout Michigan. We enjoy celebrating businesses small and large throughout the mitten state. Our motto is to take in nature & brews with a smile and to giggle with the people we love most.
Looking for a Brewery in Traverse City? Start HERE:
Silver Spruce Brewing Company
439 E Eighth St., Traverse City MI 49686
Silver Spruce Brewing Company, located on 8th street in downtown Traverse City, just a shot walk from Front Street, is a great stop for craft beer lovers.
While we enjoy a quirky dive bar, that is not the Silver Spruce’s look Inside, the aesthetic is a light and airy warehouse vibe equipped with high ceilings, simple sharp finishes, and garage doors on the side walls.
It is a joy to feel like you have access to the beauty of Traverse City while sitting in the space. While Silver Spruce is not on the waterfront, being in Traverse City, is knowing we are surrounded by beauty.
Sitting in an open space, the vibes are steady for the craft beer lover in all of us.
We tried the Stout, Farmhouse Ale, Little Spruce IPA, and Cider. The Stout & Farmhouse Ale were our top choices.
The Stout, our beer of preference, is a lovely drinkable stout. It is balanced and easy to drink. It is not a dessert stout, but rather a stout that pairs well with a meal. The light-feeling of this dark beer makes it a slam dunk to have with a pizza.
The Farmhouse Rye was another star. This rye ale paired well with our charcuterie board at home. The little bite the rye brings was delicious while we munched on snacks and played board games one evening.
Silver Spruce Brewing Company brings a variety that can please the entire crowd. All of our friends could find a beverage to enjoy there. Cheers!
The Rare Bird Brewpub
229 Lake Ave., Traverse City, MI 49684
The Rare Bird in downtown Traverse City provides a foodies delight and craft beer one-two punch.
We selected a special menu that paired three meal courses with three beer samples. This is a great way to try a few brews along with a carefully crafted meal.
This included an artful cheese board, buttery scallops, and a rich brownie. All were delicious!
We ordered a smattering of their menu and especially enjoyed the garlic sauce with french fries. Standouts include the Imperial Stout, Nuts to Butter, and Homeschool Dropout.
The Imperial Stout was paired with the dessert brownie and the combination was a delight. The stout’s consistency, the right amount of flavor, and the beautiful color make this award-winning stout picture perfect.
The Homeschool Dropout, a gluten-reduced item, is self-described as a happy American red ale. That description hits the nail on the head and the Homeschool Dropout did not disappoint.
We’ve never tasted a beer like the Nuts to Butter. Initially, we did not know what to do with its taste. We fell in love with this very interesting brown ale made with a generous amount of peanut butter.
After trying many craft beers from across the country, it’s cool to say that a beer surprised us with its taste and it’s a great option for people who enjoy a darker beer.
The food and ambiance make the Rare Bird a great experience for the entire group right in downtown Traverse City, Michigan.
3842 Jupiter Cresent Dr., Traverse City, MI 49685
Cultured has a taproom and brewery outside of downtown Traverse City. Kombucha (booch) is a fermented tea brewed very similarly to craft beer. This booch brings flavors to tickle the foody palate without a gut-busting sugar high.
Approachable and affordable, the certified organic and vegan kombucha will satisfy long time booch lovers and first-time triers.
Half of our crew is a staunch meat and potatoes guy, who is cautious yet willing to try new things. We picked up some growlers after a long winter hike. We fell hard for the fizzy booch, and we’re hooked.
Courtney Lorenz, founder & owner of Cultured Kombucha trained as a chef and studied nutrition. Her products reflect the care and thoughtfulness of her culinary background. The lovely, straightforward taproom allows for the booch to be the star of the show.
You can BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) and enjoy a fizzy booch brew with a meal. The OG was a personal favorite because it gives the nostalgia of apple mill cider sans thickness, and Namaste Nectar is their top seller.
Lake Ann Brewing Company
6535 First St Lake Ann, MI 49650
Lake Ann Brewing Company is about a twenty minute drive west from Traverse City. It is nestled in the middle of the Village of Lake Ann. Its idyllic location is placed between shops and a community park.
After ordering our drinks, we headed to the patio. Lake Ann Brewing has a spacious patio equipped with an outdoor bar, and a small stage for live music.
The staff was welcoming and knowledgeable. Overall, it feels like a cool neighborhood backyard party.
The beers were delicious. A regular favorite is the Jungle Fungus Session IPA. We tried the Coffee Vanilla Blonde, Auggie’s Garden Glo Summer Wheat, Lake Ann Amber, Burnt Mill Brown, Platte River Porter, and the Chocolate Orange Cream Stout.
All of these beers were worth having again. The winner for us, was the Chocolate Orange Cream Stout, we loved the citrus infusion with a dark brew.
This flavor combination is something we haven’t seen much of in our travels, and we were excited to try the invention.
Lake Ann Brewing Company is a place to have delicious craft beer and relax on the patio in the sunshine.
Stormcloud Brewing Company Pub
303 Main St.
Frankfort, MI 49635
Just about an hour west of Traverse City in Frankfort, Michigan, sits Stormcloud Brewing Company. The taproom and patio are situated on Main Street and just a short walk to beautiful Lake Michigan.
We loved items on the food menu like, house-made popcorn, and brat bites. These are perfect munchies to have with a beer and a small group to share. The menu also hosts a selection of flatbread pizzas and sandwiches.
We enjoyed the tastes and the service Stormcloud offered. We tried the Imperial Star-Off Machine, 2020 Harvest Tripel, The Nightswimmer Stout, and the Birdwalker Blonde.
The Birdwalker Blonde was the star of the group for our taste. We enjoyed the lightness of the hops and the light fruity esters.
The Birdwalker would be a great beer to try out if someone was interested in dipping their toes into craft beer land. It has a lot of flavor and would be a nice introduction to hops before trying any heavily hopped drinks like IPAs.
The location of Stormcloud Brewing Company’s Pub cannot be beat. After our meal and drinks, we walked straight to the beach and soaked up the vibrance of Lake Michigan.
Suttons Bay Ciders
10530 E Hilltop Rd., Suttons Bay, MI 49682
On a winter’s day, we pulled our truck up a winding driveway to Suttons Bay Ciders. We dodged a very confident chicken in the driveway before we parked. We stepped out of the truck to see the glorious view from the hilltop of Suttons Bay. It feels like a magical place, and it’s kid friendly, too.
Walking up the steps, we saw charming outdoor seating areas and headed toward the entrance perched on the top of the hill. We were struck by the huge window behind the barback.
The window displays the same beautiful view of the bay. The rest of the decor is subtle, allowing the view to be the space’s showpiece.
We picked up the Smitten, Highlander, Barrel Rider, and I Spy Ginger. The Smitten was a classic cider, a taste semi-sweet that would appeal to most. The Highlander was made with lavender.
The lavender-infused cider provides a savory taste to sip and enjoy. The Highlander was our personal favorite. The Barrel Rider would be a great drink for a bourbon lover who may have a streak of cider skepticism.
The bourbon flavor was subtle and tickled the back of the throat on its way down. The I Spy Ginger is another great choice for those looking for a savory flavor.
With the ginger-forward taste, the I Spy drinks like a cocktail. The taste of the ginger was reminiscent of a classic G & T or a Moscow Mule.
An added bonus is the Hilltop Maple Syrup. We picked a jar up to take home and poured it on our flapjacks and waffles alike.
Between the gorgeous view and the variety of hard cider, Suttons Bay Ciders is a fabulous spot in the Traverse City Area.
Other Traverse City MI Breweries to Check-out:
- Jolly Pumpkin
- Hop Lot
- Monkey Fist Brewing Co
- Workshop Brewing Company
- Mackinaw Brewing
- Bravo Zulu Brewing
- Northport Brewing
- Brewery Terra Firma
- North Peak Brewing
- Filling Station Microbrewery
- Right Brain Brewery
- Middlecoast Brewing Company
- Beggars Brewery
- Brewery Ferment
- Earthen Ales
- 7 Monks Taproom
- Short’s Brewing
- Farm Club
- Kilkenny’s Irish Public House
About the Author
Kerry Neville, a born and raised Michigander, is one-half of the “Stouts with my Spouse” podcast team. She has an adventurous spirit with a passion for life. Kerry loves uncovering new experiences throughout Michigan while appreciating and learning about the history of the Great Lakes State. You can hear Kerry and her husband sharing their takes on the latest offerings from breweries throughout the state of Michigan.