Why We RecommendMuch of what is said these days about craft brewing revolves around what’s hip and cutting edge. But The Workshop Brewing Company doesn’t care about gimmicks—it focuses on doing traditional beer right. And it’s working. Owner Pete Kirkwood recently explained it best to a crowd: “People have been making beer for millenia. We figure a lot of the kinks have been worked out of those recipes by now. There are some great, great beers that are to be found in the pantheon of traditional styles, many of which are relatively unknown these days.” He added, “We’re going to blow your mind with amazing tradition.”
Pete, a jack-of-all-trades, founded the brewery with three tenets: nature, community and craft. These ideas are encapsulated in the trifidelity symbol, the Venn diagram-like shape painted on the bar walls and etched in the beer glasses.
The Workshop supports its mission of nature—and sets itself apart from other breweries—by using almost 100% local hops and almost 100% organic grains in their beers: they’re helping support small farmers, organic values, and making better beers (lest we forget that brewing is an inherently agricultural enterprise). Plus, the company has been a zero-waste facility since day one.
The concept of community is strong in this one. As soon as you enter, check the “Brew Unto Others” chalkboard for your name to see if a friend has bought you a beer in advance. Or pay a beer forward by buying a “Stranger Brew” and leaving instructions, say, for the next guy who walks in with a burly beard or the next person who claims to be super Irish.
Further supporting the sense of community are the countless nights of free, live music in the space, and The Workshop’s "No Cover" policy. All they want is people gathering, enjoying life, and exchanging ideas here in Traverse City's Bohemian Warehouse District. Could there be a better oasis for “blue collar cool” than this place?
The Workshop honors the tenet of craft with the tool-inspired names of its beers, ciders and wines. Enjoy a swig of Ball Peen ESB (not too hoppy!), 20 Pound Sledge IPA (hoppy as you like!), or Monkey Wrench Belgain Dubbel. Everywhere you look you find relics of traditional craft: cocktail tables made of old tablesaws, Pete's Granddad's Spirit level hanging over the bar- even a wine named Studfinder!
So park yourself in a reclaimed church pew and savor a meal made with the in-house meat smoker, or waltz out the garage door onto the patio to take in the sunset with your Cold Chisel wheat beer. No matter your pay grade, you’ll feel like a winner here.
What's Up RecommendationStart your visit off right with a glass of Plumb Bob, a breakfast stout made with local coffee and organic oatmeal. Score extra points by playing one of the vintage pinball machines and feel good knowing that all proceeds go to All Hands Volunteers, a global disaster relief organization that Pete co-founded.