3423 US Hwy 131, Petoskey, MI 49770, (231) 487-1910
103 W Lakeshore Dr., Manistique, MI 49854, (906) 341-2303 http://www.mackinatrailwinery.com
A Barleywine, an IPA, and then an even better IPA.... At a winery? INDEED!!!!
Mackinaw Trail's beer is actually brewed at their Manistique location and shipped down state. Which just added to my love of this beer. Spending some of my formative years living in the U.P., I've become a big supporter of all things Yooper. Like beer, pasties, my ex wife....
Mackinaw Trail wasn't a planned stop on my weekend trip. Just happen to be driving by the Petoskey tasting room. All it took was the word "Brewery" on a sign and my itinerary immediately changed. Pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.
Let me start with the people I met. Anytime you get to meet the owners of a brewery (or winery) it usually ends up being an informative stop. Ralph and Laurie Stabile could not have been more welcoming. Laurie was all smiles and the first person to greet me when I walked in. Poured my barleywine and called her husband over to introduce me. "Grab your beer and follow me" he said. Ralph gave me a tour of the production side of the winery. Filling my head with way too much information for me to remember. Immediately I recognized his passion for the work he does. It's always fun for me to learn what goes on behind the scenes. Whether it's beer, wine, or cider I love to see and hear how it get's from those big shiny tanks into a bottle. Then ultimately my belly! Kelly was the third person I met. Again with the smiles. Everyone here was so happy to help you and talk about their wine and beer. Kelly is the event and tasting room manager. So if you want your wedding or any event set in a vineyard, Mackinaw Trail Winery should be your choice. 30 acres of Northern Michigan rolling hills, a 40x80 pavilion, and some of the best beverages around. I may even get married here. HA!!! Screw beer blogging, I need to be a comedy writer. That'll only be funny to those of you that know me.
Getting to the beer. For starters they have 12 on tap. Which in my opinion is great. I can think of plenty of breweries that don't ever have double digits. Add the award winning wines plus ciders, and they have something for everyone. I started with the Barleywine 9%, super malty just the way I like it. Then the Sterzik IPA 4%, and finished with the overly hoppy U.P. Yours IP "eh" 5.5%. Which is now my new favorite beer name. Each beer better than the last. I'm hoping to meet the brewmaster on my trip to the U.P. in September. Ralph raved about his talent and love of brewing beer. Also using the word "eccentric" to describe him. Kinda like a mad scientist. I can't wait to get back to either location to try the rest. A Smoked Porter, Rhubarb Wheat, Fudged Up Stout. Yes Please!
Now I'll never be known as a relationship expert, but guys if you try this line with your wife or girlfriend I don't see how you could go wrong.
"Hey babe I was thinking we should go wine tasting for date night. I hear Mackinaw Trails makes some of the best in Michigan." You tell me who doesn't win here. She gets to sip on some great wine, thinking you're the cat's pajamas. You get to have a few pints of some epic beer. And if all goes well you may get that twice a year treat...
My hope is to see these beers on store shelves someday. If not I've added another destination for some great beer and conversation.
Mackinaw Trail has a great menu of small plates and appetizers. Pretzels, Italian sub, seasonal Cherry Chicken Salad, Farmers Board (meats and cheeses), Black Olive Hummus with flatbread are just a few options. They also have a third location, Mackinaw City Tasting Room. 180 South Huron, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, (231) 436-6111.