New ale trail promotes Leelanau, Benzie brewpubs

Six brewpubs in Leelanau and Benzie counties have banded together to offer a new ale trail that will help guide visitors through the area's tasting opportunities. The trail includes St. Ambrose Cellars Meadery and Winery in Beulah. (File photo)

Six brewpubs in Leelanau and Benzie counties have banded together to offer a new ale trail that will help guide visitors through the area’s tasting opportunities. The trail includes St. Ambrose Cellars Meadery and Winery in Beulah. (File photo)

By DANIELLE WOODWARD
The Record-Eagle

TRAVERSE CITY (TNS) — Six brewpubs in Leelanau and Benzie counties have banded together to offer a new ale trail that will help guide visitors through the area’s tasting opportunities.

The breweries formed the Sleeping Bear Ale Trail, taking cues from the traditional TC Ale Trail in hopes of getting their names on the map.

“There were kind of a lot of outlier breweries to the west of the city in the rural area when we opened,” said Matt Therrien, owner of Lake Ann Brewing Co., who helped put the trail together. “We couldn’t be part of the TC Ale Trail, so we thought it might be best to form our own thing that ties us all together.”

The Sleeping Bear Ale Trail lineup includes: Stormcloud Brewing Co. in Frankfort; St. Ambrose Cellars Meadery and Winery in Beulah; Lake Ann Brewing Co. in Lake Ann; Big Cat Brewing Co. in Cedar; The Hop Lot in Suttons Bay; and Green Bird Cellars in Northport.

Aaron Ackley, of Big Cat Brewing Co., said he and his wife, Nicki, began talking about the idea and approached other brewpubs west and north of Traverse City.

“It’ll be cool,” Ackley said of the trail concept. “Everything is going to be in the form of a rack card. We’re not as evolved as the Traverse City Ale Trail.”

The Traverse City Ale Trail launched in 2013. It includes nine brewpubs in and near Traverse City.

Each of the six properties participating in the Sleeping Bear Ale Trail will be responsible for distributing rack cards, Ackley said. The brochure-esque flier lists the breweries and their information and includes a visual trail to show where they are in relation to one another, Therrien said. The cards soon should begin showing up across the region.

“It’ll basically be a map,” said Benjamin Crow, of Green Bird Cellars, “We’ll see how it goes this summer.”

The brewpub owners are hoping that their ale trail will recruit new customers to their businesses this summer.

“We’ve had a great run so far, but being in Lake Ann there’s not much else out here,” Therrien said. “It certainly will help the smaller breweries more than the bigger ones, but it should help everyone.”

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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