Monday, November 26, 2012

Traverse City Food & Brew Tour: Part I - The Filling Station

Michigan Expats - Commentary - See All Commentary
By Doctor

The Logo is Awesome
I still consider Traverse City the town I grew up in. I may have been born and returned to go to high school outside of Grand Rapids (Lowell, MI), but Traverse City is where I spent my formative years.

Consequently, I always why I look forward to going to Traverse City; I still have family and friends there, nostalgia, and duh, it’s beautiful Northern Michigan. So naturally I looked forward to going up to Traverse City for BRIM (Bringing Relentless Innovation to Michigan) – I did a two part recap summary check it out here and here.

I saw friends and family which is always nice, but I doubt our readers want to read about my visit with my grandmother or how my uncle feels about the latest Star Trek movie. If you’re here, you’re probably interested in the food and beer scene in Michigan and therefore Traverse City. I may have spent just under 48 hours in Traverse and most of that at a conference, but I still managed to visit three breweries, two restaurants, and a brew pub. Here's the first of the series of my Traverse City Food & Brew Tour.

Part I: The Filling Station Microbrewery
Ales by the Rails

I’ve been looking forward to visiting The Filling Station all year or as soon as it came on my radar: new brewery in Traverse, unique location in the old train depot, delicious sounding flat bread pizzas, and oh yeah, a new brewery in Traverse City. Yes, my visit was about seven months overdue since their spring opening. I’m ashamed I haven’t made it to Traverse sooner, but I did talk my dad into visiting sooner.

Good beer. Cool bistro tables.
Was it worth the wait? Yes. Located in the old Traverse City train depot along the northeast corner of Boardman Lake is a great unique location for a brewery. Inside features a welcoming renovated depot décor of the brick walls, hardwood floors, bistro tables made out of old railroad ties, and the original depot lights hanging over the bar. I look forward to coming back on a warmer day and sitting outside on the platform where you can sit and enjoy a locomotive sampler tray and look out over Boardman Lake.

Mr. Sig and I founded Michigan Expats because we wanted to represent the Michiganders who left the Mitten State to pursue economic opportunities, but ultimately would like to return home. Well, I must admit, the story behind The Filling Station may well be the best story of attracted Michiganders to return home I’ve heard yet.

The brewery is an idea of a retired of a mechanical engineer who missed his daughters who had both pursued careers outside of Michigan. What’s a paterfamilias to do? Buy his baker/part-time brewer son-in-law a thirteen barrel brewing system to start a brewing in Traverse City, that’s what.

That’s right, the dad’s the owner, the son-in-law, David Cannizzaro, is the brewer and, I didn’t confirm, but also the head chef, while one daughter, Amanda, was the one behind the bar, and from the picture of the new-born baby on the bulletin board next to the bar, the other daughter had responsibilities at home but that hasn’t stopped the little one from stopping bye.  I’ve heard a lot of cool stories about the founding of Michigan breweries, but this is now my favorite. Re-uniting daughters from opposite coasts to return home to Michigan to run a brewery. Now, that’s a way to re-patriot Michigan.
I was bummed I had a late big breakfast

Now, the moment I saw the pizza oven, I was disappointed that I had eaten a big lunch late in the morning. The pizza and the descriptions looked delicious. My dad and I each had an IPA (between us sampling two of three IPA’s available), but since we were on our way out of town didn’t have much time to get through the other ten beers on tap. I look forward to visiting The Filling Station again and I will be sure to come hungry and thirsty.

I may also have to pick up some merchandise. I really like the logo. Check out The Filling Station for yourself next time your in TC.

Still coming up from my Traverse City food and brew tour: a visit to the new Right Brain Brewery location; new Traverse City brewery, Brewery Ferment; and soul food finds a home in Northern Michigan at the Soul Hole.

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