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Right Brain Brewery

Right Brain BreweryRight Brain Brewery

Beer Stats:
Active Beers: 87
Beer Ratings: 904
Beer Avg: 3.72

Taps: 15 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
very good

74 Ratings
Ratings: 74
Reviews: 45
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 15.7%
$$ - reasonable

[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

225 E Sixteenth St Ste E
Traverse City, Michigan, 49684-4181
United States
phone: (231) 944-1239

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @rightbrainbrew

None, yet.

(Place added by: Mitchster on 12-15-2007)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 74 | Reviews: 45 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Anitrak


4.73/5  rDev +19.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | $$

I come to Traverse City a couple times a year and always make it a priority to come to Right Brain. Their beer ranges from traditional/textbook recipes to crazy and out of the box. I wish I could get their beer on tap in Indiana.

The bar is off the beaten path and is a few blocks out of town. However, when I go on a bar crawl, it's only about 8 blocks from Ferment. So it can be a nice little walk between the two. Inside it is wide open and spacious. Even though it can be packed, it's not hard to find a place to sit and have a nice conversation. They also have a few video game machines that you can play while you drink. Depending on what time of year it is, they often have artwork from local artists for sale on the walls.

If you're into beer, this is definitely a must if you're in Traverse City.

02-26-2014 14:32:10 | More by Anitrak
Photo of Mothergoose03


3.83/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$

My wife and I stopped here as part of a pub crawl in northern Michigan and the UP to visit the newer brewpubs (plus several others) that have opened since our last trip ‘up north’. This place happens to be one of the ‘several others’. Although this is the first time I’ve reviewed this brewery, we’ve been here one other time after the move from their downtown location (we’ve been there a couple times too), and the only things that have changed since our last visit a year or so ago are that they now bottle/can some of their beers, plus they have a small selection of deli sandwiches that use small fresh-made waffles instead of bread.

This brewpub does not seem to get as much hype for their beers as they did at their former location, and there seems to be some lessening of the quality and selection from before that justifies that lack of hype. The brewery was not busy on a weekday evening so we were able to sit at the bar. We chose 4 different 6 oz. pours (21 beers were available) to drink while we ate our sandwiches. The beers were all good, however, none were very exciting, so we graded them in a range of B- to a C.

The waffle sandwiches were very original and very good. They are small, but that was okay because we already had a small meal at the last place we visited.

All in all, this place is still very worthy of a visit. Perhaps we chose the wrong 4 beers with which to evaluate the brews here, but this pub is worthy of a visit by anyone who likes craft beer, and we’ll go back again someday.

10-29-2013 16:38:31 | More by Mothergoose03
Photo of joe1510


4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | $$

Right Brain's newish location is in warehouse down in SoFo. When I walked in the door the first thing that struck me was the sheer size of this place. I patronize a couple music venues in Chicago that are smaller than this place. Tables were sparsely spread and the bar seated about 15. There was a solid number of drafts up on the dry erase boards; 6 regular offerings, 5 middle tier beers, and 5 top tier offerings. I sampled a couple pints that were good and then hit the generous sampler to try most of the others.

All beer was good to excellent with some interesting combinations thrown in the mix. A couple harvest ales were on tap, a double IPA, two saisons (one with beets), and a handful of other unique offerings. The bartenders were a little stand offish at first but when they got talking they were super friendly and informative, chatting about everything from Traverse favorites to music to beer. In the end I couldn't have been happier with the stop at Right Brain. The service was great, the beer excellent, and the prices in line with any other brewpub. Without a doubt this place is worth a stop when i Traverse.

10-22-2013 17:33:44 | More by joe1510
Photo of JimT


2.66/5  rDev -32.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 3.75 | $$

Don't know could not get a server to wait on me. Three people behind bar, one other table, no service. Left thirsty and disappointed. I hear it is fantastic Beer, if you have plenty of time, and patience, give it a try. But there are plenty of other excellent microbreweries in TC with better service..

08-30-2013 02:04:47 | More by JimT
Photo of TCmichigan


4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$

Right Brain is an eclectic place. There's no other way to put it.

2 story ceilings, cinder block walls, a salon to drink beers and get hairs cut. Old school arcade games, eccentric local art, those awesome cardboard building blocks from when you were a kid, but now can drunkenly play with and make inappropriate things out of... They have it all, but in a strange location.

16th street is a bit off the beaten path in TC, but RBB is well worth the trek from downtown.

The beers are plentiful, the staff is knowledgeable and friendly... I was even given a free pint just to try one of the staff members homebrews. He kept telling me I should order it b/c I'd love it, then finally said, "Hey, just take this, I know you'll enjoy". (P.S.- He was right)

The food ranges from typical taproom fare to the amazing waffle-sandwiches they make with pretty much whatever you want on them. If they have the foodstuffs as an option, you can customize your waffles and get it made.

08-26-2013 04:26:22 | More by TCmichigan
Photo of jt31914


3.83/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$

Visited Right Brain as my last brewery trip of a beer filled weekend in T.C. I think that beer at Right Brain is very good; however, the brewery itself has an identity crisis. It has a hodgepodge of tables, decor, and games (there are creepy mannequin's lining the walls, as well as an elephant with wings hanging from the ceiling and a starship battle cruiser model). It was very weird and slightly uncomfortable.

The beer was fantastic, albeit a little overpriced. We had the Strawberry Fields and Spiny Norman (a Strawberry Blonde and a Simcoe IPA). I thought the Strawberry Fields was a slightly better version of Short's Strawberry Short's Cake (less sweet due to the lack of milk sugar, still full of strawberry flavor) and the Norman was just a solid drinkable IPA. The prices were a bit high for my taste ($5.25 for a standard pint and an outrageous $15 for 6 samples), but if you go there during happy hour it is much more reasonable ($3.50 per pint).

We didn't have food, and the service was fine. I would recommend Right Brain's beer, but the atmosphere left something to be desired.

08-07-2013 20:56:13 | More by jt31914
Photo of HarmonMW


3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | $$

Right Brain is a bit off the wall, but that's part of what makes them unique. Visited the new brewpub recently. There are several bench-style and bar-style table tops, with surrounding chairs that are a hodge-podge of anything they find - old dentist chair (check), hospital chair (check), ugly chair probably found on the side of the road (check). There is a TIE fighter hanging from the ceiling, and some of the tables are game tables where you can play Donkey Kong while enjoying your beer. Lots of games on the walls to play. And if you're feeling like a voyeur, you can watch some people getting their hair done at the neighboring salon. Unique for sure, and I really liked it.

Beers were very good. They even had a beer made with asparagus that I got just for the novelty of trying it. My fiancee groaned when I ordered it. We both like asparagus and both of us found this to be surprisingly delicious.

If you're in TC and a fan of unique beers, I'd definitely recommend stopping by.

06-21-2013 02:37:11 | More by HarmonMW
Photo of redleg64


4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 2.5 | $$

Atmosphere - Right Brain gutted a what looks like a warehouse and turned it into a beer mecca for NW Michigan. The walls are covered with lots of local art for sale and the place is family-friendly during the day. You can always find local musicians in there too.

Quality - Damn fine beer. That's all I have to say about that.

Service - I haven't had a complaint yet.

Selection - I haven't counted the beers available there, but there are always great selections available. There is always something new to try. Personally, I love Igor Takes a Digger.

Food - Almost non-existent, except for the typical bar snacks and pre-packaged sandwiches. Roaming Harvest, a great locally-sourced organic food truck does frequent Right Brain though, so that bumps the score up a bit. I did go to a beer dinner there before and had a great time. Right Brain teamed up with Roaming Harvest and put on a great evening for those lucky enough to score one of the limited seats.

Value - There is always a cheap pint available and nothing costs more than $6 or so last time I was in there, and that is for the premium pours.

Overall Right Brain is a great place with some great people making it happen. Next time you're in town make sure you stop by!

05-27-2013 03:22:23 | More by redleg64
Photo of theecaleb


4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$

This review is for the Garland St location. I guess they just moved to a new location last week (Sep 2012).

In my opinion RBB has the best beer in Michigan. By all means it is a micro brewery. As far as I know they do not sell beer outside their pub. They brew beer for quality, not quantity, and it shows.

The setting was kind of weird. It is attached to a hair salon by two way mirrors. So basically you can sit in the bar and watch people get their hair done, but they can not see you threw the mirror. I thought that was super weird and somewhat creepy, but cool.

No food besides snacks are served, they have growlers of beer to go. They also sell some of their t shirts and stickers.

Overall, great beer, average service, and a weird environment. Definitely the best brewery in TC, if not the nest in Michigan.

09-08-2012 20:27:10 | More by theecaleb
Photo of morimech


4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$

I heard that people that have TomTom or some other navigation devices have a hard time finding this place. Using Google maps on my smart phone brought me right to the front door. The location and building is nowhere near what you expect for a brewpub. In a commercial area in pretty much an alley. Right Brain shares a building with several tennants, one being a hair dresser that you can look upon via the windows. So if your wife wants to get her hair done, go with her, you are all set to drink some beer. All orders are done at the bar. I ordered a sampler with 6(?) choices. All the beer was good but nothing really grabbed me. My favorite was Dead Kettle while Bone Crusher was my least favorite. Beer from straight forward to out in left field. They had a smoked porter made with smoked pig bones but I did not try it. Sounds interesting though. The bartender was sure to tell me it recently won a reward. They do not do food besides bar snacks. I thought it was a bit expensive. If I remember correctly, it was $15 for the sampler.

10-07-2011 21:45:41 | More by morimech
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Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City, MI
89 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.