In the summertime, there is nothing better than visiting Traverse City. This bustling little town on the waterfront has so much to offer during the summer months! I took some time to breakdown some of our favorite wineries in our previous posts called, Exploring Wine Country Part: 1, and Exploring Wine Country Part: 2. Even though, we are technically still exploring wine country, we are expanding our horizons and exploring popular craft breweries and cideries in Traverse City.
When my mom and I first arrived in Traverse City, we headed straight to MAWBY Vineyards and Winery. Located in the rolling coastal hills of Leelanau County, this unique winery specializes in sophisticated sparkling wines. In today’s world, most wineries are requiring patrons to make a reservation prior to visiting. When my mom and I arrived at our 3pm reservation, we were cheerfully seated outside by a masked hostess. MAWBY is known all around Michigan for their SEX wine. It’s so naughty to say out loud, but this wine makes you question which is better.
Right when we were seated, our server brought us a complimentary sample of their Sandpiper sparkling wine. This turned out to be one of my favorites. MAWBY offers three different flights, you can pick your own flight, or you can choose a glass. I opted to try the Staff Pick flight, which featured: Sandpainting IX, Grace, and Tropic.
- Sandpainting IX (Brut): Sequential series, small lot, wine art, never duplicated – Vignoles, Pinot Noir
- Grace (Rosé): Ripe pinot aromas overlaying yeasty bouquet, simply elegant – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Regent
- Tropic (Dry): Infused Rose Bubbly made from Marquette grapes, passionfruit juice and a blend of organic jasmine green tea and dried flowers.
Tropic was my favorite out of all three, so of course I had to purchase two cans to go. On Sundays, MAWBY offers their ridiculous amazing mimosas that contain orange juice and two of their sparkling wines. Such a great way to start the day.
Next, we headed to Shady Lane Cellars. First of all, I am obsessed with their outdoor seating area. Huge outdoor wine bar, a wide variety of seating options, and a perfect view overlooking their vineyard. We sat on the edge of the vineyard and enjoyed three wine tastings. Pictured, is their Moscat, Pinot Noir Rose, and their 2016 Merlot.
- Moscat: Aromas and flavors of orange and apple blossoms, tangerine and guava with a crisp, refreshing finish.
- Pinot Noir Rosé: This wine brings ripe strawberry, fresh orange peel, notes of vanilla and smoke that close with a touch of minerality.
- 2016 Merlot: Finished in French Oak for approximately 10 months the 2016 Merlot has a velvety texture and notes of vanilla, ripe cherry and cocoa
Recently, Shady Lane Cellars launched their new brand called, Brio. This new label will mark the first time that Shady Lane Cellars has released wine in a can. In my opinion, a can is the ideal vessel for the northern Michigan lifestyle, as you cannot put a wine bottle in a koozie. Each 12oz can will be sold at $7 each, and Shady Lane will offer three flavors:
- Rosé brings “flavors of fresh berries, white peach and tangerine.” Its alcohol by volume is 11%.
- Bubbly Vibes is “strawberries and cream ride on a melody of crisp bubbles to a key lime finish.” Alcohol by volume is 10.5%.
- Cider is 6.7% and is “crisp, clean and made from heritage Michigan apples. Aromatics of orchard blossoms from into flavors of tart cherry and vanilla. It finishes with subtle pear-like tannins.”
We did not get a chance to try any of these canned wines, but we look forward to trying them next time. Perfect for kayaking in Michigan!
Located in Suttons Bay, Two K Farms is the first cidery and winery on the Leelanau Peninsula to commercially grow traditional cider varieties. Unlike many other Cideries, Two K Ciders are produced with cider-specific apple varieties, including bittersharps and bittersweets. These apples provide tannin and acidity that culinary apples cannot. In essence, their ciders are much like white wine.
As I am not much of a cider person, I was urged to try a couple of their ciders as our server stated, “Many people who drink wine end up loving our ciders over our wines”. Okay, so I ordered as many ciders as a could try. One that caught my eye was the Sangria cider. Very fruitful and tasted exactly like Sangria! My list all together consisted:
- 2017 Cille Rosé: Full-bodied, rich, and soft with low acidity. Aromas of cantaloupe, pear, and floral (rose). Luminescent pale copper and pink coloring. 12.5%
- Colonnade: A classic apple wine with crisp apple flavors and aromas. 9.5%
- Norman: A delicate blend of bold and fruity French heritage cider apples brings the shores of Normandy and Brittany into your glass. 7.5%
- Sangria: The perfect blend of American apples are chosen and blended with natural fruit flavors of tropical fruits, berries, and spice. 5.3%
- Leelanau Radler: A blend of heirloom apple juice and Estate Riesling. This refreshing drink has hints of spice, lemon and fresh apples.
I highly recommend that you sit outside on their porch that wraps around their estate and overlooks Lake Michigan. My mother and I sat in big rocking chairs and enjoyed our wine and cider tasting in the shade. Very lovely!
Our next stop was Taproot Cider House. I have always wanted to go to Taproot because they offer farm to table menu items, fresh made cocktails, and a rotating tap list of Michigan made ciders from all around Michigan. It was very hard deciding what ciders I wanted to try. From left to right:
- Northern Natural Lavender cider: 6.5% Semi dry. Floral on the nose, a soft hint of lavender on the palate.
- Verterra Peach cider: Semi-sweet. A blend of 80% hard apple cider and 20% peach juice, lightly effervescent, golden color, nice peach aroma, tart apple and plenty of peach.
- Uncle Johns Sidra De Tepache: 6.9% Sweet. Mexican style cider fermented with pineapple, re-fermented with apples and finished with cinnamon and clove.
I highly recommend trying something on their menu because their food is very fresh and flavorful! My mom ordered their Cider House Burger, and ordered their chicken and veggie tacos with a side of the watermelon by the slice. Very refreshing and healthy, so you feel less guilty consuming more cider.
Other honorable mentions to try for ciders in Traverse City are:
- Tandum Ciders
- Left Food Charley
- Acoustic Tap Room
I have always wanted to try Rare Bird Brewpub because I have heard awesome things about their food and their beer. Rare Bird Brewpub brews their own beer and also offers a wide range of beers & beverages from other great breweries, wineries & distilleries from Michigan and around the world.
I opted to try their Rare Bird Rosé the Riveter: Rosé Blonde Ale. Brewed with raspberries and pomegranate to provide a crisp, fruity finish that’s not too sweet. Delicious! Almost reminded my of Soft Parade by Short’s Brewery, but this beer was more subtle and floral in taste. Pictured is their chicken tacos because if tacos are on the menu, why not order them?!
Other honorable craft brewery mentions to visit in Traverse City are:
- Right Brain Brewery
- The Workshop Brewing Company
- The Filling Station Microbrewery
After a full day of drinking and eating, my mom and I were exhausted! We stayed at the West Bay Beach, a Delamar Resort and enjoyed the music, outdoor tiki bar, and the scenery of the sunset over the Leelanau Peninsula.
While on furlough, I hope to visit Traverse City again. What other places should I try in Traverse City? I would love to hear your favorites!
“Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.”