Sunday, June 17, 2012

Traverse City

 Recently, we took a family trip to Traverse City, MI.  Other than an 11 hour car ride, it was a great trip.  We saw beautiful beaches, and very cold Lake Michigan, stayed at a great waterpark hotel, had some good food, and discovered some great beers.

To the right, you can kind of make out my wife and son climbing the Sleeping Bear Dunes (110 ft tall.)  If you like nature, food, beer, or wine, you need to visit this place, I wish we had an extra week to explore more.

After the dunes, we headed back to town for lunch and North Peak Brewing.  The food was great, the beer was a bit of a mix.  Half of my 8 beer sampler was pretty plain, but the other half was pretty damn good.  I especially liked the Blueberry Rye (front left in picture below,) and the barrel aged IPA (front right below.)

 If you're in Traverse City, and you want to buy some beer or wine to take home, you have to go the the Beverage Company.   The beer selection was amazing, and the service was even better.  They spent 1/2 hour with me pointing out must have Michigan beers.  I picked out a 6 pack sampler, and 2 large bottles that they recommended.  I can't wait to try the Neapolitan Milk Stout from Saugatuck Brewing and the Triple Goddess Kombucha Ginger Beer from Unity Vibration.

My other favorite stop was the Grand Traverse Distillery.  You can actually buy un-aged whiskey and a small barrel to take home.  So that's exactly what I did.  Since I'm such a fan of rye whiskey like Templeton Rye or Russell's Reserve, I figured I would buy their rye whiskey.  After a quick sample, I decided not to go that direction.  Don't get me wrong, it was a good tasting rye whiskey, but after drinking Templeton Rye and Russell's Reserve, it just couldn't measure up.  Their Bourbon, on the other hand, was fantastic. Great flavour, aroma, and extremely smooth.
This place is worth checking out.
Right now, I'm curing my barrel.  Basically, I filled it with distilled water, and let it sit for 1 week.  This will allow the barrel to absorb some of the water and expand the wood.  After that, I'll put in the Bourbon, and let it sit for 2-3 months.  The best part about this, after I'm done using the barrel for the bourbon, I can start adding my homebrew to it, and make small barrel aged batches whenever I want.

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