7 places to catch fall colors and a beer

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As the fall colors peak over the next few weeks on the Lower Peninsula, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the Michigan fall kaleidoscope. What could be nicer than snagging a seat on the show while enjoying a handcrafted Michigan drink?

Not much honestly, so we put our drinking caps on and found some of the best places in Michigan to have a brew while enjoying Pure Michigan.

Now head north to the Northern Lower Peninsula where the colors still look great and the weather is still comfortable enough to sit outside and enjoy it all.

Hop Lot Brewing in Suttons Bay offers an incredible year-round outdoor experience. Try the North Porter for a dark and rich pint in the fall. (Hop Lot Brew / Courtesy Photo)

Hop Lot Brewing Company, located in Suttons Bay on the Leelanau Peninsula, is a lovely visit any time of year, with their unique outdoor setting that spans each season. In autumn, the twinkling lights that span the courtyard vie with the autumn foliage of the woods that surround the room in a cocoon of warmth and welcome. A fire will cackle in the middle and you can order a round of s’mores to roast. You can scan the code at your table and food and drink will be delivered straight to your table or you can go inside and order from the bar for pub style service. Try the North Porter, a dark and malty brew that really reflects the time of year and goes well with some of their warm pretzel sticks and jalapeno cheddar dip. This is a very family friendly place with a simple but welcome kids menu and lots of space to run around and play. It gets very busy here on weekends, and first-serve-first seating. Look forward to winter when Hop Lot builds charming igloos to enjoy the winter.

Iron Fish, in Thompsonville, has plenty of outdoor dining and drinking options on its beautiful farm.  (Iron fish distillery / photo courtesy)

Iron Fish, in Thompsonville, has plenty of outdoor dining and drinking options on its beautiful farm. (Iron fish distillery / photo courtesy)

Would you like to hug autumn a little harder? Iron Fish Distillery can help you with that. They offer a full range of artisanal spirits made right on their 120-acre farm in Thompsonville, Michigan – just a few miles from Crystal Mountain on the Betsie River.

Relax in a yurt or play lawn games at the Iron Fish Distillery in Thompsonville.  (Iron fish distillery / photo courtesy)

Relax in a yurt or play lawn games at the Iron Fish Distillery in Thompsonville. (Iron fish distillery / photo courtesy)

The fall colors can be seen both near and far here as you peer out of your cozy yurt, chew a wood-fired pizza and sip a craft cocktail. In the fall season, try Farmshine with UP-inspired Copper Queen whiskey, apple cider, and a fall-flavored syrup. Or the Pumpkin Patch, which is edged with graham-flavored sugar and mixed with winter wheat vodka with pumpkin seasoning, a sweet, flavored syrup, and a farm-made coffee liqueur. Or try the non-alcoholic caramel cider – either hot or cold.

Fall says little more than a visit to an apple orchard in Michigan, and at Blake’s Hard Cider in Armada you can sit among the changing colors of the fruit trees and enjoy a fortifying drink or two. Of course you can enjoy all the usual orchard dresses here, like picking apples and the pumpkin patch. You can also stop by the tasting room to enjoy fresh cider, cider slushies, and craft beers. Try the Darlin ‘, a wheat beer with the welcome addition of tangerine peel, or the For Sure !, a steamy and juicy IPA. They change the slushie menu every day, and frankly, when the sun is shining, it’s a delicious option. I love the fall flavors on offer, like flannel mouth, a classic hard cider with late season apples. Or Apple Lantern, a roasted pumpkin cider. Find these deals, as well as Caramel Apple Spice Cider and Apple Pie Cider, not just in the orchard but in a limited additional variety pack available in better bottle stores across the state this fall.

Located in the former Northern Michigan Asylum, the Grand Traverse Commons spans 400 acres of protected parkland and is dotted with fabulous shops, restaurants, and a great winery and cider in Left Foot Charley.  (Traverse City Tourism / Courtesy Photo)

Located in the former Northern Michigan Asylum, the Grand Traverse Commons spans 400 acres of protected parkland and is dotted with fabulous shops, restaurants, and a great winery and cider in Left Foot Charley. (Traverse City Tourism / Courtesy Photo)

Traverse City is a hub for fall activities, from scenic drives to fun festivals. An absolutely lovely place to walk around and enjoy the season is the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Just minutes from downtown, on the former site of the Northern Michigan Asylum, amid 480 acres of protected parkland, the Commons is not only home to colorful foliage, but hiking trails, historic buildings, shops, restaurants, and more. You can go on a haunted tour or stop by one of the most delicious Italian restaurants in the state, Trattoria Stella. Visit Left Foot Charley, where you can sample both wine and cider while looking out the huge windows over the Commons. Reserve the tasting room or a more private barrel room and try a flight with some of their award-winning offerings. The dry and sparkling Cremant wine is a nice prelude, then it goes on to the rare Kerner, which comes up with floral aromas. The dry red wines include Roots and Rock, a ready-to-drink wine with a lot of jammy taste. In the world of apples, the Spitzenburg Hard Cider contains old apples and is only produced in very limited quantities. The only winery right in town, Left Foot Charley, is a great stop for tastings and buying bottles to enjoy at home later.



Sponsored: Some breweries listed on this map may be advertisers.

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Incredible views rival the award-winning beer at Jolly Pumpkin in Traverse City, perched on a hill on the west coast of the Old Mission Peninsula. Put on a blanket outside and take in incredible views of Bowers Harbor on the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay. Deep blue water meets the light blue sky, all caught by the rainbow of colors of the trees. You can lounge around and try not only Jolly’s openly fermented mixed sour beers, but also North Peak Brewing’s classic American ales and civilized spirits in a classic cocktail. My favorites include Jolly’s amber and tart La Roja Ale, North Peak’s fun seasonal offerings like Piney, a spruce topped IPA, and Civilizeds Gin mixed with a tonic. Share them with a sausage board or the delicious french fries soaked in truffle oil and sea salt, and a side dish of rich and creamy amber ale aioli.

A glorious Michigan fall calls for some great Michigan libations.  We've provided you with cool places to enjoy both a drink and the fall colors this year.  (Amy Sherman / For Hearst Midwest)

A glorious Michigan fall calls for some great Michigan libations. We’ve provided you with cool places to enjoy both a drink and the fall colors this year. (Amy Sherman / For Hearst Midwest)

Third Nature Brewing, a newer brewery north of Grand Rapids, has the most beautiful, expansive terrace in the middle of a waterfall in West Michigan. You can bike or walk here as the brewery is right on the White Pine Trail in Kent County. Make yourself comfortable at one of the numerous fire pits, plenty of seating and plenty of space for you and your four-legged friends to stretch out. Try Hazy Harvest, a wet-hopped beer brewed with mackinaw hops grown locally, or the Seoul Stout, a unique offering with notes of vanilla, milk chocolate and the nice addition of rye. Food ranges from handhelds like a popular spicy chicken sandwich and a top-notch Cubano, to healthy bowls of grains and vegetables, to handmade perogias and a homemade brisket chilli.

The Treetops Resort is not a distillery or a brewery, but a place with incredible views of the rolling hills from the highest point of the Lower Peninsula Michigan beer fanatic. Visit the Sports Bar, where you can grab a pizza and enjoy it by the fireplace or look out over the treetops through large windows with seating right in front of the glass. High up on the ski slopes, you can see the fall colors for miles as you sip on a Blackrocks 51K IPA, Austin Brothers Woody Wheat, or Frankenmuth The Hef. Pro Tip: Book a rafting trip on the Sturgeon River with Big Bear Adventures for even more fall colors and adventure.

Hop Lot Brows

658 W Bay Shore Dr

Suttons Bay, Michigan

231-866-4445

Hoplotbrewing.com

Iron fish distillery

14234 Dzuibanek Street

Thompsonville, Michigan

231-378-3474

Ironfishdistillery.com

Blake’s hard cider

17985 Armada Center Road

Armada, MI

586-784-5343

Blakeshardcider.com

Left foot Charley

806 Red Drive Suite # 100

Traverse City, MI

231-995-0500

Leftfootcharley.com

Jolly Pumpkin Traverse City

13512 Peninsula Dr

Traverse City, MI

231-223-4333

jollypumpkin.com

Third nature brows

7733 Childsdale AVE NE

Rockford, Michigan

616-512-9314

Thirdnaturebrewing.com

Treetop Resort

3962 Wilkinson RD

Gaylord, MI

866-348-5249

treetops.com


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