Northern Michigan Craft Beer Vacation Guide

Barrel Back Walloon Lake Craft Beer

July 8th, 2016

Anyone who has been to northwest Michigan has likely noticed the expanding variety of breweries in the area. Michigan is quickly becoming one of the top states for microbreweries. Hotel Walloon is centrally located between several of the area’s largest cities, including Traverse City, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs and the Mackinaw area that all host a wide range of unique home town brew pubs.

With all of the craft brewery options available in northern Michigan, it is no surprise that Hotel Walloon is often considered the perfect vacation spot for those looking for their “next favorite” craft beer. Below is a short summary of some of the local breweries in this area. We’re not exaggerating when we say that you’re not likely to find a better selection of breweries anywhere in the state, especially in such a naturally beautiful area.

Boyne City: The Latest Addition to the Northern Michigan Craft Beer Community

Boyne City Craft Beer Tours

Boyne City Taproom opened in 2016

Boyne City, a charming little town new to the craft brew scene, is perfectly positioned along the shores of Lake Charlevoix. Boyne City is a short 10-minute drive from Hotel Walloon and offers guests two new taprooms and a brewery , including the well-known 7 Monks Taproom.

7 Monks Taproom, which originated in nearby Traverse City, has over three dozen beers on-hand, as well as ciders, wines and even cocktails. There are also food options, including burgers and pizza, which will create a popular and stylish destination for the beer lover. Boyne City Taproom, which opened its doors June 30th, is located less than a block away from 7 Monks Taproom on Boyne City’s Lake Street.  In addition to having over 40 beers on tap, Boyne City Taproom offers up a unique menu and hosts  live music on the weekends.

Be sure to visit  Stiggs Brewing Company once it opens up in later this summer in Boyne City.

Petoskey: Home to Many Breweries and Wineries Alike

Petoskey Brewing and Beer

Petoskey is home to a variety of well-respected breweries, including The Petoskey Brewing Company. This destination has 15 different beers on tap, including brews like the Saison Du Berg—a rather light beer—and the rich Quad-Ratic Equation Belgian Quad that exudes a local cherry flavor.

Beards Brewery is a popular destination for the hip and young beer fans in the area. Regular events, a diverse food menu (including Happy’s Taco Shop, a favorite local food truck) and craft beers such as the Boulevardier and the PomeGalactic make this a great stop for any visitor.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Mackinaw Trail Winery. This elegant and old-fashioned stop includes some delicious local and state-based brews, such as U.P. Gold, Apple Cranberry Cider and Red Flannel Ale.

All these options are just a 15-minute drive from Hotel Walloon!

Charlevoix: Craft Beer Festival and Taproom

Charlevoix Craft Beer Breweries Tour

Charlevoix, which is a 30-minute drive from Hotel Walloon, is home to the Charlevoix Craft Beer Festival. It’s a great one-stop destination for Michigan craft beer fans!

Lake Charlevoix Brewing is a lakeside brewery that offers you access to several specialty brews, including Perrikus, a malty black lager and The Inner Ed, made with tart cherries.

Bridge Street Taproom is filled with 31 craft beers, wines and spirits, including Dark Horse Raspberry Ale and Perrin Grapefruit IPA. It also has a nice breakfast and lunch menu, including burgers, Naan pizza, wraps and more.

Harbor Springs: Tunnel Vision Brewery and Beer Festival

Harbor Springs Craft Beer and Breweries

Tunnel Vision Brewery, located at Pond Hill Farm, offers unique and original recipes, including the Fuggled-Up Cream Ale and 5 Mile Crick Pale Ale. Although the brewery is barely two years old, they were awarded “Best Of The Fest” at the 2015 Harbor Springs Beer Festival.

While you’re at Tunnel Vision, check out the Pond Hill Farm winery, where you can order white and red wine of multiple varieties, including award-winners:

  • 2014 Pinot Gris – “The crisp, light, steely mouthfeel finishes with great acidity.”
  • 2013 Barrel Reserve Regatta Red – “Bordeaux style Michigan red was aged 16 months in Hungarian, French and American oak”
  • 2014 Pond Hill White – “This semi-sweet white will reveal a citrusy white pineapple nose.”

This year’s Harbor Springs Beer Festival takes place on October 8, 2016, and includes beer from all around Michigan. It’s one of the season’s last beer festivals in the area, so make a reservation with us soon to guarantee you have a place to stay for the weekend’s festivities.

Bellaire: The Top Brewery in Michigan

Short's Brewery in Bellaire, Michigan

Short’s Brewery in Bellaire, Michigan

When people think of Bellaire, most immediately remember that Short’s Brewery is located in this relatively small and peaceful town. Short’s, ranked #1 brewery in Michigan by Mlive.com, has already become one of the most popular and legendary breweries in Michigan. Owned by Joe and Leah Short, they offer some of the most creative and delicious craft beers in the area.

  • Some popular favorites include:
  • ControversiALE – from highly-sought Simcoe hops
  • Bellaire Brown – toasty with hints of chocolate and caramel
  • Autumn Ale – a London Extra Special Bitter (ESB)
  • Soft Parade – berry-loaded rye ale

Built from the ground up, Short’s has the kind of dedication and love for craft beer that makes Michigan such a legendary destination for their unmatched style.

Best of all? They’re located only 45 minutes from away from Hotel Walloon.

Traverse City: One of the Midwest’s Top Craft Beer Vacation Destinations

Traverse City Brewery Tours

Traverse City, located a little over an hour away from Hotel Walloon, is home to numerous breweries. Some of the most popular of them include Right Brain Brewery, Rare Bird Brewpub and North Peak.

Right Brain offers a family-friendly atmosphere, including multiple board games, old-school arcade games and some of the most popular beers in the area, like the CEO Stout (American style coffee stout), Willpower and Spinal Tapper (highly hoppy IPA). It is also home to unique sandwiches that are made on waffles!

Rare Bird, located on the outskirts of downtown Traverse City, may be easy to miss, but is definitely hard to forget. With friendly staff, open mic nights, and its own delicious brews— like Rare Bird Hopricot and Rare Bird Schadenfreude, a milky stout- this destination is a favorite of many locals.

North Peak, which is also a popular dining location, specializes in a variety of beers, including Mission Point Porter (made with chocolate) and the North Peak Pale Ale. During the summer, it hosts a variety of outdoor musical events, making it an unforgettable place to try some delicious craft beer.

Mackinac Island: An Island Brewhouse

Though Mackinaw Island is an hour’s drive plus a ferry ride away, many guests make a day trip to the island during their stay with us.

The Mackinac Island Brewhouse is located on the island and offers visitors access to a wide range of Michigan brewed beers and its own unique flavors. Visiting this brewery is nearly impossible in the winter, due to the difficulty of getting to the island, but this is one stop you will not want to miss in the summer!

Walloon Lake: Drink with a View

Barrel Back Walloon Lake Craft Beer

One of the best thing about staying at Hotel Walloon is that you are only a few steps away from enjoying some of Michigan’s most popular craft brews while overlooking beautiful Walloon Lake. Located directly adjacent to Hotel Walloon is Barrel Back, one of Northern Michigan’s most popular restaurants. Barrel Back offers several international and domestic beers, but goes out of its way to offer local micro brewed craft options, such as:

  • Short’s Space Rock
  • Bell’s Two Hearted
  • Petoskey Brewing Barrel Back
  • Paw Paw Brewing Co. Citra Melon

End your day at Barrel Back, sipping beer while watching the sunset over beautiful Walloon Lake. Or enjoy the Walloon Lake Inn, which offers a selection of craft beers, an extensive wine list and the best fine dining on Walloon Lake.

With the exception of a few places, the majority of breweries are open all year round, even in the winter. While they tend to offer more events and unique brews in spring, summer and fall, don’t forget the great skiing and snowboarding daytrips to be had while hopping breweries on a winter’s night!

No matter what time of the year, Hotel Walloon’s concierge staff can plan a craft beer tour that you and your family/friends will never forget. Additionally, Hotel Walloon is the perfect place to host a business meeting or conference. After a long day in meetings, spend the evening on a local craft beer tour that everyone in your group will surely enjoy!

Drinking responsibly is a must. If you do not have a designated driver, our concierge staff will be delighted to set your party up with safe travel options.

Due to our commitment to luxury, comfort, and impeccable customer service, our 32 room boutique hotel fills up quickly, especially during northern Michigan’s peak travel seasons. Be sure to plan your trip well in advance to reserve the accommodations that best suit your needs.

For more information on planning your Hotel Walloon based Northern Michigan Craft Brew Vacation call us today at (231) 535-5000. We look forward to having you stay with us and exceeding your expectations.

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