North Peak Brewing Company
400 West Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan
Visited on May 28, 2011
This week I’m posting a lot of beer reviews from North Peak Brewing Company in Traverse City, Michigan, so I figured now was a good time to go ahead and get the review of their actual brewpub up and on the site. Located just a hop, skip and a jump away from the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay in Lake Michigan, the building is a revived grey stone relic of a beautiful, historic downtown. They’ve done a magnificent job restoring the interior with hardwood floors, exposed brick, a giant bar smack in the middle and a nice patio out back. This is how restored historic old buildings are supposed to be renovated.
I had just completed getting washed up after completing the Bayshore Marathon, so I might not have been completely cognisant at the time. I remember the menu being fairly large and with a nice amount of creativity in the dishes. I think I had some sort of an appetizer along with a pizza, though the original review will tell for sure in a second. Whatever it was, it’s an indication that it didn’t blow me away. They featured several taps that were brewhouse specialties – not their regular lineup that is easily found in stores throughout Michigan – which I always appreciate. I remember they concentrated more on light ales like pales and IPAs. While everything was solidly good, I did not find an excuse to pick up a growler. So again solid, but not very memorable.
Packed after a long morning run (I’m talking the Bayshore Marathon), my girlfriend and I diligently waited for a couple of seats to open around the bar, which is large and in charge and in the middle of the establishment, curving around to the back. Though the building doesn’t look like much from the outside – a giant white brick, three-story building, it’s done-up right on the inside. Besides the aforementioned bar, exposed brick, dark wood, televisions and a friendly atmosphere beckon inside.
I was starving after the race, so I immediately dug into the menu. Corn dusted calamari started us off before my main course of a burger appeared. Everything was decent, but the real winner of dinner was my girlfriend’s pizza. Topped with pesto, grilled chicken, sundried tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan and fresh spinach, I was glad she couldn’t finish it. Local and fresh, the food is above average, but also nothing to go out of your way for.
The beer is better than the food, though not up to par with some of the state’s best breweries, it would definitely top the list in more than half of the other states in the union. Already familiar with 6-packs of Diabolical IPA and Siren Amber, I was glad that they had many small-batch options to choose from, including some cask conditioned ales. Though everything was tasty, North Peak definitely specializes in the highly hopped varieties and tend to have more IPAs than other types of ales.