The beverage business is booming in Michigan. And everyone from visitors to lodging personnel to locals wants to keep up with what’s new in the world of wine, beer and spirits in Northern Michigan. So here are some highlights from our customers in the industry.
Right Brain Brewery
90 lbs of asparagus were grilled and turned into what has become a springtime favorite at RBB: Empire Spear Beer. Don’t worry if you missed it at the Empire Asparagus Festival, it’s on tap at the brewery. And for all the gluten-free customers out there it’s time to send up a cheer for the first ever gluten-free beer at RBB. "Katy Bar the Door" is an ode to the Red Wings #1 gluten allergy advocate, Mickey Redman. It’s made with roasted chestnuts, local honey, and 100% local hops.
Black Star Farms
Just fresh from bottling is the ’09 Riesling at Black Star Farms. The winemakers notes will tell you, "This wine presents classic Riesling aromas of delicate white flowers and stone fruit. Ripe flavors of citrus, peach and apple follow on the palate. It is a lovely off-dry medium bodied white wine." And if you’re looking for a great date night or fun place to meet up with friends, why not check out the Matterhorn Grill at Tastes of Black Star Farms inside the Mercado at The Village. Sit around a miniature grill dining on melted Raclette, meats and veggies will sipping something tasty. Yum.
Bel Lago Vineyard & Winery
Bel Lago Winery’s 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling has been judged BEST WHITE WINE at the 2010 Pacific
Rim International Wine Competition, held in San Bernardino, CA. Bel Lago 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling won a Gold Medal and the Best of Class award for Off-Dry Riesling, and then competed against all the other Best of Class White Wine varietal winners, and was judged Best White Wine overall. Stop by their tasting room across from beautiful Lake Leelanau and taste for yourself. Congratulations Bel Lago.
Left Foot Charley
Despite a challenging ’09 growing season Bryan has pulled together an interesting vintage from their fruits of last year. The ’09 Pinot Blanc is from Island View Vineyard on Old Mission Peninsula. In his own words, "Island View came through again in the tough ’09 vintage. We made the crew sort the grapes into golden and green clusters then the two lots were pressed and fermented individually and carefully blended back together to form this complex bright dry wine. Great apple notes with a striking citrus finish. Very limited production – you snooze you lose." Also check out their Sparking Hard Apple Cider and The Cobbler; a double fermented cider with a cinnamon flavor. Try it served ala mode with Moomers ice cream on the side.
2 Lads Winery
Bring on the bubbly. Two Lads is ready to release their 2002 vintage bubbly. "The 2002 Dry Sparkling Wine has been in the cellar doing extended aging en tirage (on the lees). This June will be the last time you will be able to purchase and enjoy this rare and spectacular gem. A non-traditional blend exhibiting an exotic, vibrant bouquet and a seductive mouth feel. When released, this wine will have seen seven years en tirage and is exemplary of Northern Michigan’s potential to be the United States’ preeminent sparkling wine region." With less than 500 bottles left in the cage there’s no time to waste in making a trip up to 2 Lads for a bottle.
In case you missed it, Peninsula Cellars was among several local wineries who made the B-list according to a recent article in Food & Wine magazine. The article certainly reinforced the fact that you can’t judge a winery by it’s apparent size or location on a map. And it highlighted one of my family’s favorite easy-drinking reds; Detention. Speaking of easy-drinking, don’t leave this little schoolhouse without a bottle of Homework, their Pinot Noir Rose.
Grand Traverse Distillery
If you haven’t been out to visit the George and Kent now’s the time. At their production facility they’ve expanded the tasting room area to accommodate all the new visitors we’re sending their way. You’ll also find some new spirits that will hopefully raise yours. Check out Ole George Whiskey, 100% Rye whiskey now available in the tasting room. I also discoverd a limited bottling of Chocolate Vodka. Sounds like cocktail hour is going to get crazy this summer at Grand Traverse Distillery.
Uncorked Wine Bar
If you’ve stepped inside the Cherry Stop lately you can’t miss what’s going on with Uncorked. In order to create two separate spaces for visitors to enjoy they are remodeling and moving the wine bar up front. When they’re finished with the upgrade customers there to visit Uncorked will come in a separate entrance that leads straight to the bar, located under a pergola inside the building. The seating and beautiful Grand Traverse Bay views are still in the back. And plans for another Meet the Winemaker event in June are in the works. So stop in for a sample or pick up a bottle of your favorite local wine while you’re shopping downtown Traverse City.
Upcoming Festival and Events
One of the best ways to enjoy summer in Michigan is spending an afternoon at a Wine Festival, or Beer Festival or a combination thereof. So here’s a list of some of the upcoming festivals in Northern Michigan and throughout the state.
May 21-22 | World Expo of Beer, Frankenmuth, Michigan
May 29 | Michigan Beer & Brat Festival, Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Michigan
June 12 | Leland Wine & Food Festival, Leland, Michigan
June 26-27 | Michigan Wine & Brew Festival, Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan
July 23-24 | Michigan Summer Beer Festival, Ypsilanti, Michigan
August 6 | Old Mission Peninsula Wine & Food Celebration, Bowers Harbor Park on Old Mission, Traverse City, Michigan
August 14 | Leelanau Peninsula Wine & Food Festival, Northport, Michigan
August 21 | Traverse City Wine & Food Festival, The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, Traverse City, Michigan
August 27-28 | Traverse City Summer Microbrew & Music Festival, The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, Traverse City, Michigan