A 2016 Oxford University study found that people who enjoy a pint at a local brewery or brewpub tend to be significantly happier, more engaged with their community, have better social skills, and are likely to have more friends. This may not come as a ground-breaking discovery for beer drinkers, but it could explain why people in Traverse City, Michigan are tilting the scale on the happy meter. Landed at spot #2 on Coastal Living Magazine’s Top 10 List of the “Happiest Seaside Towns in America” for 2018, Traverse City is home to over twenty craft breweries, brewpubs and taprooms and is the birthplace of some of Northern Michigan’s most interesting suds.
What makes Traverse City beer so interesting? According to popular beer and travel writer, Trevor Morrow, Traverse City has had success growing their beer scene because of a community that supports creativity and innovation in their beer making. Much like Traverse City wines are uniquely complex because of local grapes, the Cherry Capital’s daring brew masters explore the limits of flavour and how regionally-sourced ingredients can be thoughtfully incorporated into beer.
Living up to their motto, “keep beer curious”, Right Brain Brewery’s Cherry Pie Whole is brewed using real cherry pies from Grand Traverse Pie Company. While Brewery Terra Firma, Michigan’s first agricultural brewery, produce their own ingredients on a 10-acre, sustainable farm and turn out deliciously curious brews like the Brown Donkey Smasher and Man in Black American Oatmeal Stout – a frothy nod to American music legend Johnny Cash.
Being the true beer-centric community that they are, Traverse City hosts a celebration of hops and barley each year that is filled with fun beer-related events and food. Held November 8 th to 15 th , Traverse City Beer Week (TCBW) showcases local breweries, restaurants, bars and shops and reinforces why the Northern Michigan town is considered among the top beer destinations in Michigan (which is the fifth-largest craft brewing state in America).
In the good-times spirit of beer, TCBW offers a fun twist on beer tasting through events like:
The Great Beerd Run is a 5K fun run event for participants 21 years of age or older. With their entry, Beerd Run racers get a knitted beard beanie, bottle opener race medal, three beer samples during the race and entry into the post-race party.
The IPA challenge is a “Best IPA” competition between eleven Traverse City breweries. Event attendees can participate in a blind tasting and choose their favourite brew.
A wear-your-best-flannel beer and pancake pairing that boasts thirty-plus beer options, games, live music and more. Taste sweet, savoury and beer-infused creations from local chefs and explore beers that taste the best alongside them.
Whether it’s during TCBW or any time of the year, Traverse City is a pretty great place for beer-lovers to experience Northern Michigan’s craft brewing movement. Learn more about all things TCBW here. Book a Traverse City Beer Week lodging package and receive a fanny pack full of TCBW goodies, an essential Brew Tour Guide and coupon books to save on dining, wineries, shopping and entertainment. There are plenty of convenient places to stay close to downtown Traverse City and TCBW events.