By Dianna Stampfler
Traverse City has long been known as a recreational destination, with its 100-plus mile TART Trail system, the scenic Boardman River and the east and west arms of Grand Traverse Bay. In recent years, the region has also become a mecca for craft beverages like wine, beer, cider and spirits. It only makes sense that blending such activities would deliver a unique and exciting experience for locals and visitors alike.
Entrepreneur Troy Daily launched his first Traverse City business, Daily Medias, in 2012. Since then, he has focused his attention on the growing interest in culinary tourism, balanced with low-impact activities like biking, kayaking and snowshoeing.
The TC Cycle Pub began operation in 2013, the same year Daily introduced the TC Ale Trail—a passport program which encourages craft beer lovers to visit 10 participating breweries, with a reward of a free commemorative silipint glass for those who do.
Next came the TC Brew Bus, with its private and join-in year-round tours, and “Paddle for Pints,”
which had sold out its 20 dates and 4,400 open spots for 2017 before summer even began. Essentially an urban paddling pub crawl, this six-hour, six brewery trip was recently presented the “Most Innovative Tourism Collaboration Award for Experience Development” at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
“Kayak, Bike & Brew” was created in 2015 to tackle the overflow as “Paddle for Pints” sold out so quickly.
“We welcome all size groups and offer up to five tours a day, seven days a week, between May 1 and October 15,” Daily says. “In 2016, we hosted nearly 2,900 people and we have over 2,400 reservations in the system for this summer already.”
The tour starts downtown with a 1.3-mile bike ride through the city’s historic neighborhoods to Right Brain Brewery, followed by a 1.5-mile pedal to The Filling Station Microbrewery, located in a former train depot building.
From there, kayaks are launched on the quiet Boardman Lake at nearby Hull Park where a guided paddle follows the winding Boardman River toward the main downtown city center to Rare Bird Brewpub. The last leg of the three-mile kayak portion includes a casual float to Clinch Park Beach, along the shores of West Grand Traverse Bay. It is just a short walk to the final stop of the tour—The Workshop Brewing Company, in the popular Warehouse District.
Tours are $69 per person for a single or $129 per tandem, and includes the bike and kayak rentals, as well as a drawstring backpack, sunglasses, stickers, temporary tattoos, granola bar, TC Ale Trail brochure, $5 gift card to Pangea’s Pizza Pub and a $5 off growler card for The Workshop. Participants are responsible for their own drink and food purchases at each location.
Interested in something a bit more spirited? A whiskey-themed trip is also available, including visits to Traverse City Whiskey Company, The Little Fleet—with its locally-infused libations and gathering of food trucks, and Rare Bird Brewpub.
For a unique winter experience, Suds & Snow features more than two dozen Michigan breweries, wineries, cideries and meaderies, as well as local food and entertainment. Held the first Saturday in March at Timber Ridge RV Resort in Traverse City, this long-standing winter festival is set amid the scenic woodlands and is accessible via hiking or snowshoeing.
PLAN YOUR OWN TC BREWERY TOUR:
(Reprinted from the Summer 2017 issue of Michigan BLUE Magazine)