North Peak Brewing Company
Traverse City, MI
Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)
During a recent weekend of debauchery with a few of the lads “up north” in Traverse City, Michigan, we decided to take a break from our typical “guys weekend” hijinks to enjoy a bit of culture … we toured a few breweries!
North Peak’s production facility is hosted in the former Bowery, behind the Bowers Harbor Inn, which had been a semi-famous tourist inn on Old Mission Peninsula, just north of town. Now a brewery and pub, they opened up the former casual dining spot and built a brewery next door, which produces and packages both North Peak’s brews and Ron Jefferies Jolly Pumpkin products. Both are served on tap in the pub.
Both the former institution and the newer venture are owned by restaurant and brewpub veterans. Schelde’s, original parent company of the Grand Rapids Brewing Company and other Michigan brewpubs, owned the Bowery and the Carlson, Czoplicka and Lobdell families, who own North Peak Brewing Company, have a long history as owner-operaters in the state. They also own a full service brewpub in downtown Traverse City by the same name, which has been around for well over a decade.
I brought home a few labels for more sober-minded sampling, including their IPA.
The first thing I must comment on is their package. Their brews use simple one word names, with a bit of thought behind them, such as the “Diabolical” IPA, because, in their words, “the devil made them do it.” They use stubby bottles, similar to Red Stripe, which are absolutely cool in every sense. They stand out in a crowd of typical long-neck packages favored by everyone else. The only draw back seems to be an 11.5-ounce serving, rather than a typical 12-ounce bottle.
Plenty carbonated, this guy pours a deep copper color with large, soft bubbles to cap off the pour. Strong pine and citrus notes are evident from arm’s length before getting anywhere near the glass. The body is also soft, relatively thin, and jumps immediately to a sharp hoppy bite and long lingering dryness. The Cascade and Willamette hops are firm thoughout and linger long afterward with a piney bitterness.
The body is probably a little lacking for my personal preference, but this is still a decent effort that will probably please most IPA fans.