I'm slowly rolling out my recap of my last visit to Traverse City in November where I attended the BRIM conference (recap here and here) as well as a personal mini-food and brew tour of the Cherry Capital. In Part I, I wrote about my first visit to The Filling Station microbrewery. Today I'm highlighting my visit to Right Brain Brewery, a personal favorite, and my first visit to their new location in TC.
Right Brain Brewery
A family favorite spot for a few years now, I’ve been looking forwarding to a return visit to Right Brain for months to see how Traverse City’s most interesting brewery fit into their new space just south of downtown.
In many ways, Right Brain hasn’t changed much. The original concept and inspiration Salon Saloon relocated along with the brewery and you can still have a beer and get your haircut. The pub still doubles as a local art gallery propagated by fun and creative works by local artists. There is still a table full of board games that you and your friends can set out and play while you sit and enjoy your beer. Yes, the beer is still fantastic (more on that in a bit) and with over twenty taps on site, there is always something new to try.
But the space is cavernous. The good news is that you shouldn’t have a tough time finding a seat, but it does lose the coziness that the original brewpub had, but it wasn’t quite as bad sitting at the bar.
I was able to catch Right Brain founder, Russ Springsteen, and ask for a beer recommendation. He quickly suggested I try Steve the Imperial Brown, a cask conditioned imperial brown ale, and noted that it may be the best beer they’ve ever brewed. I can’t comment on whether it’s their best ever, but it was damn good, a strong, yet surprisingly smooth, flavorful imperial brown.
I also had to try a small sample of the Mangalista Pig Porter. Right Brain puts smoked mangalista pig headed right into the brew. The result, the beer won a gold medal at the Great American Brew Festival. My impression: the porter has an incredible aroma. It smells like bacon. Yes, bacon beer. You have to try it to believe it.
I also want to congratulate Right Brain and their C.E.O. Stout (Coffee. Espresso. Oatmeal) for being voted Michigan’s #1 stout on DrinkMichigan.org on Stout Day, November 8. I was actually talking with Leif Kolt, Right Brain’s Kickdog (Michigan brewer employees have the best titles, Leif does events, branding, and marketing) about the poll that night at the BRIM reception where he was serving up WILLpower Pale Ale and how Right Brain was excited to have C.E.O. in the top 5. Then the next morning, I see that C.E.O. Stout made a late push to come out top in the poll.
Congrats to Right Brain Brewery on the Michigan Stout title and the new space. I look forward to my next visit to Traverse and the brewpub which should come around Christmas time. I’ll definitely stop by for some C.E.O. Stout.