The Workshop Brewing Company
Our last day in Traverse City we kept a little low key. The family we traveled with wanted to do some shopping downtown, so they went off on their own. We finished up our stay at Great Wolf Lodge by playing some MagiQuest in the hallways before checking out around 11:00.
We decided to eat in Traverse City before getting on the road. I had a couple of options for stopping along the way in Big Rapids or Cedar Springs, but J wanted to eat before the car ride in hopes that we wouldn’t have to stop at all on the way home.
I had a couple more options for breweries in Traverse City but neither opened until noon. We had about 45 minutes to kill after we got things loaded up and got the kids in the car. I headed towards downtown and found my way to northwest side of downtown to a narrow street just north of the Boardman River known as the Warehouse District where we found The Workshop Brewing Company.
The Workshop has been open for about three years and it’s actually the second brewery started by the owner. The building on Garland Street has seen life as a brewery before. It used to house Right Brain Brewery before their move to the SoFo District.
We were a little early and the brewery wasn’t open yet, so we headed to a parking lot next to the Antique Store right next to the brewery. We weren’t 100% if it was open public parking or not. The sign mentioned permit only but only Monday thru Friday. It didn’t say anything outside of those times, but we took the chance and figured parking enforcement wouldn’t be out on a Sunday anyway.
We walked up to the door right at noon. An employee was unlocking the door and setting out signs so we waited for her to finish before we went in.
There’s a hostess stand at the front but it’s just used to hold the menus. The sign says to grab a menu and order both drinks and food at the bar. I grabbed a couple of the food menus for J and I plus a drink menu for myself.
The space at The Workshop is kind of awesome. Near the front they have some old church pews lined up as seating near a garage door that opens to a small patio.
There are also tables made from old table saws which were incredibly cool. They just put a glass top on to the saw and put some chairs around it.
We took one of the church pews and started looking over the menu. L didn’t like the fact they opened the garage door and complained about being cold. I asked her to deal with until after I ordered and I would go get her coat. By the time I got back, she was fine. It really wasn’t that cold. In fact, the breeze actually felt really nice.
Once we figured out our orders, I headed to the bar. I started with J’s drink. Again, The Workshop had their own cider, so that’s what J chose. She picked the Special Cinnamon Cider. This thing smelled like applesauce cooking on the stove and tasted like it too. She really enjoyed it. I thought it was tasty.
I ordered myself a flight which consists of four eight ounce pours. I’m not a huge fan of flights this size. I don’t get to sample as many beers and I feel like I’m drinking a lot. The eight ounce pours are pretty large.
I had to be selective since I only had to choose only four beers. I started with Tap & Die which was described to me as their Oktoberfest beer. It’s listed as a Marzen and was actually quite tasty. It’s a solid beer and the marzen style is one of the few lager styles I really enjoy.
The second beer was a Nitro Porter called Pry Bar. This one was a very smooth, rich, chocolaty porter. The nitro always makes porters seem like your drinking deliciously flavored air. It makes the beer so smooth.
Beer number three was Plumb Bob. This stout is brewed with oatmeal, but they call it a “breakfast stout” due to the coffee flavor that dominates the palate. Another very tasty selection and one I could drink more of.
The last selection was Twenty-Pound Sledge. Ol’ predictable me. Always saving the IPA for last. This beer is an American Midwest style IPA with a really hoppy and citrusy flavor. I really enjoyed this one and would not hesitate to make this my go to if we were regulars at The Workshop.
The food at The Workshop is also considered craft. They use seasonal ingredients from local suppliers. The menu has a handful of sandwiches and pizzas as their marquee items, but it also includes some salads and a pretty good size appetizer menu.
I ordered the Beef Handheld. This sandwich starts with a green chili bun that is filled with an IPA braised smoked beef brisket, haystack onions, and a smoked cheese sauce. I left the onions off and was left a delicious, tender, juicy brisket sandwich. The meat was chopped up in to smaller pieces and was covered in a thick, smokey cheese sauce. The sandwich was constructed different than I expected. It was more of a pulled pork type of sandwich made it a little bit messy but it was quite tasty. The sandwich was served with choice of slaw or tortilla chips. I took the chips which also came with a small cup of salsa.
J went with one of the pizza options. She got a BBQ Pork Pizza. The 12″ scratch made pizza is topped with smoked pulled pork, bacon, caramelized onions, tomatoes, BBQ sauce and a house blend of cheese. She left the onions and tomatoes off and this pizza came out amazing. The crust is pretty thin and just cooked perfectly. It’s got a little bit of a snap to but it’s still soft and chewy. The pork and bacon added to the smokiness of the crust while the BBQ sauce brought some sweetness. This was a big hit between all three of us as well as B who went to town on some pieces of crust with the four teeth he has.
There is a small kids menu for L and while it didn’t have the Mac & Cheese she wanted, we talked her in to a cheese quesadilla. I’m a little confused by what they call a quesadilla because what we got looked more like a grilled cheese sandwich. Not sure if something got mixed up in the order process or if that’s what they consider a quesadilla. It took some talking to get L to just eat it and once she did, she was fine. The sandwich was a mixture of cheeses on a toasted artisan bread. It was good and L ate most of it, so no complaints there. Her sandwich came with a Go-Go Squeeze applesauce which I misinterpreted as a Go-Gurt for some reason, so there was more arguing there as L thought she was getting a yogurt…that was my screw up and she did eventually eat the applesauce as well.
The Workshop was a great way to end our weekend in Traverse City. The meal cost us a little over $53 before tip so it wasn’t a cheap meal, but it was a delicious meal at another great brewing. The atmosphere of The Workshop makes it a place you really need to check out, but the craft beer and locally sourced artisan food make this another stop along the crowded Michigan brewery highway that you don’t want to miss.