11 Places to Quench Your Thirst in Northern Michigan and the U.P.

Northern beerNorthern Michigan may be known for their amazing wineries, but that’s no reason to overlook a thriving beer scene. Here’s a quick look at some fine establishments that have opened up within the last couple years, or so. You might want to check one or all of them out if you’re heading north. Plan on a designated driver, especially if you’re visiting Traverse City, where a beer boom has been taking place.

Beards Brewery (Petoskey): “Beards Brewery was started by two friends who had a common passion: beer. It began as a home-brewing partnership, that, fueled by demand, led Ben Slocum and Peter Manthei to take the plunge into commercial brewing.”

Big Toe Brewery (Traverse City): Located inside the Om Café, “Big Toe is a Michigan beer company specializing in small-batch, hand-crafted, bottle-conditioned beers. Come on in and experience beer the way beer was intended.”

Brewery Ferment (Traverse City): “An inviting, casual, neighborhood brewery that is truly all about the beer. We blend traditional styles and techniques with a new world approach to brewing, influenced by traditions throughout the world while remaining true to Northern Michigan.”

Brewery Terra Firma (Traverse City): “Brewery Terra Firma is unique in its approach as a brewery and as an agricultural destination. Through the integration of sustainable production methods, environmentally conscious waste management and innovative water recycling/reclamation techniques, we hope to become a model for breweries and agricultural destinations throughout the nation.”

Brickside Brewery (Copper Harbor): “Copper Harbor’s first and only microbrewery, and the first in Keweenaw County in over a hundred years. Bringing hand crafted beer to you is our goal while infusing it with the fun and beauty of the surrounding area.”

The Filling Station Microbrewery (Traverse City): “The Filling Station Microbrewery is a family owned and operated business, dedicated to providing friendly and knowledgeable service and the highest quality of hand-crafted brews and edibles. Located just off the TART Trail in the historic railroad district, the Filling Station Microbrewery features a rotating list of at least ten craft beers, which pair perfectly with our wood-fired flatbreads and fresh salads.”

Ore Dock Brewing Company (Marquette): “As a microbrewery, our focus is on providing a wide variety of beer styles in addition to fostering the local interest in the brewing of craft beer. We consider brewing to be a craft and whether you are brewing in your garage or on a huge production system, brewing a good beer and sharing it with others is a great way to bring together friends or even an entire community.”

Petoskey Brewing (Petoskey): Located in a building constructed in 1898 that was formerly home to a brewery that ceased operating in 1915, the drafts are flowing again at this historic site.

Rare Bird BrewPub (Traverse City): “Situated in a beautiful 1931 red brick building, Rare Bird’s mission is to provide an unsurpassed dining and drinking experience in Traverse City. The food menu features simple, familiar items served with a unique and exciting flair. Our ingredients are sourced locally when possible. Keeping with the local theme, our beer ingredients will include malt and hops grown in Michigan whenever possible. All of these qualities together make Rare Bird stand out in the crowd.”

Stormcloud Brewing Company (Frankfort): Just two blocks from Lake Michigan, this small brewery is “crafting ales within the time-honored Belgian brewing tradition of ignoring time-honored brewing traditions.”

The Workshop Brewing Company (Traverse City): “We are in business to preserve Northern Michigan’s natural environment, to reinforce Traverse City’s warm and vital community, and to honor traditional craft.”

Quotes gathered from brewery websites and/or Facebook pages.

Photo credit: Nicki Pierski



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  1. How did you miss these three outstanding breweries?: Short’s Brewing in Bellaire, Keweenaw Brewing Company in Houghton, and Red Jacket Brewery in Calumet.

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