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Right Brain Brewery

Not Rated.
Right Brain BreweryRight Brain Brewery
Based on:
101 Beers
1,578 Hads
Place Score: 90
Reviews: 49
Visits: 120
Avg: 3.99
pDev: n/a
Taps: 15
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ 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

Place added by: Mitchster on 12-15-2007

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 49 | Visits: 120
Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3

Stopped here on a summer beer tour after hearing great things about this place. Was difficult to find, in an office building behind a beauty salon. Could see a truck unloading fresh hops though, so this had to be the place.

Inside of the place looked modern and hip. Really liked the right brain man design and wanted to get it on a t-shirt but they were all out. Onto the beer... I got a flight of beers they had and they were good but not great. It appeared that I had picked the wrong day to come, as they did not have any of their more bold beers available... and bold is what I want. Growlers were cheap so I picked up one for the road as a memento. I really wish they had some of their wilder stuff and can see something great could happen there yet again in Michigan. Maybe some summer I can again drive around stupid Lake Michigan to give it another try, or maybe better yet they'll make the car ferries more afforable for a change.

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Photo of akorsak
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Right Brain is located in the warehouse district of Traverse City, about a block from Grand Traverse Bay. Day 2 of the Michigan tour began here.

Atmosphere: Right Brain is in a rather artsy area of town, behind a salon. The inside is bright and inviting, large enough to handle summer crowds. A long bar sits at a right angle along the left of the entrance. Looks like mug clubbers get to design their own earthen mugs.

Quality: We were in as soon as they opened. THe staff was friendly and the beers were tough to beat.

Service: Service was a little slow at times (my glass sat empty for too long). Ksak and I had a nice discussion with Russell and he comped me a Distill My Heart.

Selection: Eclectic doesn't do it justice. A beer with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme? One with basil and honey? A sour barleywine that was barrel aged on vanilla beans? For real? All here and on tap. I could have spent the entire day here.

Food: They have snack food but no menu. That being said, visit this place for the beer. I can't say enough about how good it is.

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Photo of Deuane
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Located in the up and coming, artsy looking, downtown area, Warehouse District. Some claim it is "hard to find", I guess it could be, but my trusty Garmin took us right to the spot.

Right Brain is located in an old warehouse that also houses Salon Saloon, drink RB brew and get your hair styled at the same time! A high end coffee shop is in the building too.

We visited during their 1st year anniversary party!

Nice, socially conscious place with no TV's, light background music and a few board games if you are so inclined!

A speakeasy feel with a large open seating area, exposed piping, local artwork (for sale) adorn the walls and a dim light ambiance.

12 on tap and one on the engine. A nice, across the board selection, and an interesting line-up. Some standards, a few tweaked brews and a few that go beyond style lines and use local produce.

Despite the busy goings on, the place was packed, the tenders did a fine job at keeping us flush with beer. Nothing outstanding, but solid and dependable service.

Limited food is available at RB, some local made gourmet popcorn, hummus and pretzels. So eat at Culver's down the way before you come if your hungry!

This place has a lot of potential. I was impressed with the innovative and interesting line-up, the conversational vibe and the general feel of local support for the place. With Short's being less than an hour away, Right Brain and Short's offer a can't miss, one-two punch for the beer traveler (and local alike) in the greater Grand Traverse Bay area.

EDIT--Second visit on 6/18/09-place continues to impress with "odd" and innovative beers....come on a pale ale with grilled asparagus and lemon peel? A full list of 13 beers--all solid---and two servers that were beyond nice! Thanks to C-note and Nate for a VERY fun evening!

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Photo of Mothergoose03
3.83/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of MarcatGSB
3.59/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Now I've visited Right Brain about a half dozen times over the past three years, and have varying experiences. The first time I went about three years ago, I really fell in love with the place. It was a great addition to the Traverse City area. The local artwork is a great feature, the beers were tasty, using alot of local, eclectic ingredients, and the vibe was fun and relaxed. I've read some things recently that say the beers have gone down hill, but in my limited experiences, they have been alright. They aren't the best beers, no Shorts, or JP, but they are better than average beers. I've had some really nice beers on cask there, which is hard to get around the way. Give it a try, there aren't an overwhelming amount of choices in the area, so you should have time to decide for yourself.
NOTE: EDIT 12-27-2012 Original score as 3.91.
I have since visited Right Brain in their new location and wanted to note some things. The original brewer is back from his stint at JP, and the quality of the breweries as definitely been re-elevated.
The new tap room is pretty impressive. It's a really cool space, spread out, with plenty of wall space for art work, kind of continuing the theme from the Warehouse District. The brewing area itself is massively larger than previous, so this should give them the room they need to grow and distribute soon. Good looking out Right Brain.

RE-EDIT: 12-17-2013 After visiting Right Brain a few more times in their new location, and tasting some of the new brews from the new brew system, my opinion has changed quite a bit. The new location is so far out of the way. We stopped by on a Saturday night around 7 o clock, and it was more or less empty feeling, and was not inviting. If the space was smaller, or could be broken up a bit, the vibe may change, but with it being so big and everyone so spread out, it really wasn't that welcoming and warm. The Anniversary brew was pretty good, and everything else we had was ok, but two visits ago, both the beers we had were butter bombs. And these werent't the first beers we've had that had that problem.
With other options popping up in Traverse City, Right Brain needs to step it up or they will find themselves on the outside looking in.

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Photo of joe1510
4.16/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of arizcards
3.91/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Visited here today with Da Boss while touring Northern Lake Michigan.

Vibe was interesting, definitely eclectic with mannequin heads on stereo speakers, Homer Simpson suspended from the ceiling...you get the picture.

Quality of the beer was good. The two brews i had were pretty solid and Da Boss enjoyed her Irish ale.

Service was mostly self serve but will give credit for the friendliness of the gentleman that prepared our burgers and drew our brews.

Selection was solid as i believe there was 20 taps.

Food was good. Da Boss and i actually enjoyed our waffle bun burgers. Portions were smaller but that is OK as bigger is not always better.

Overall this was a nice place to visit and if i lived in MI i would definitely visit again.

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Photo of david131
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I initially had trouble finding this place because it shares an entrance with a salon. Once inside, I notice the open ceiling where the piping and such is visible. Once we got the attention of one of the bartenders, we finally got our drinks. I don't know what was up because when I ordered some of their more intense offerings, I kept getting the "are you sure...?" question. Eventually the bartender ended up being pretty cool and even gave us directions up to the new Jolly Pumpkin restaurant on Old Mission Peninsula. The selection was pretty good and included a couple of barrel aged beers, a tripel, and a bunch of their 'regular' offerings. If I am ever up in the area again, I will most definitely make it a point to go back to this establishment.

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Photo of morimech
4.01/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

2015 Update: Since my last visit, they have moved to a new location. Strangely the beauty saloon accompanied them so it must be a SO's business. Much larger and open space. They could fit a lot of people into this space. I heard that the beer quality has dropped off in recent years, but I did not notice any poor quality beers. And in fact, had the best beer during my recent visit to TC.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I have been here three times in the past three days.

Walking in was a hint confusing seeing as there is a salon out front. For those who are not locals or familiar with this location it might be a bit odd. But after the first time you know exactly where to go.
One is welcomed by a very nice and modern décor brew pub. Lots of open seating, a long L shaped bar, and a wonderfully transcribed board telling what is on tap. The three times my brother-in-law and I cam here it was a bit of off hours but the atmosphere was still great and the employees were eager to banter and BS with us about the beers. My brother-in-law and I both had a flight and then a couple other beers (at the other various times) that we enjoyed. They had some interesting beers (some I wouldn’t get again but was glad to try) but others that were solid for sure that I have enjoyed a few times.

The prices were overall good, and service great (sorry for the old fogies that feel they were not served well or are “out of the loop”…maybe they are). The selection was great, as in they had tons of RB’s own beers (no guest taps which would have been nice I will admit). We had plenty to choose from.

All in all, I have had an enjoyable experience and would recommend people to come here. The only downside was there was no real food avaliable.

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Photo of Stigs
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

final stop on day #1 of our Michigan trip

It was pretty busy though we were able to snag two seats at the bar. Pretty cool looking place, playing off the "right brain" thing with some quirky decorations and layout.

Unfortunately, they were down to 5 (maybe 6) beers to choose from while we were there. One I was really looking forward to was the RAD (Random Alpha Docious) collaboration with Dark Horse. It was decent at best. The most intriguing selection was the Pomona Pumpkin "sour" (more tart) that was good, though didnt interest me enough to get a growler to go. Everything else was forgettable.

Service, well we were waited on and carded when we sat down and ordered a flight. To which we had to fill out which six beers we wanted - when they only had six to choose from. After that, we were pretty much left alone, and not even asked if we wanted anything else once the flight was gone.

Overall, a little bit of a letdown from what I was expecting to be a hidden gem of the trip. Not bad enough to the point where I would give it another shot if in the area though.

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Photo of jale
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped here after spending the day at Short's eating and drinking. I did'nt have anything to eat here but did try about 10 beers. Very bright and colorful inside, makes me feel like I'm in an ice cream store. The pub also connects to a salon where you can have your hair styled or cut while enjoying a beer. If you know me you understand I have no need to have my hair styled. This is a kid friendly brew pub so no need to leave them at home. The beers I tried were very solid beers and the had a sour which was very good. They always seem to have a highly eclectic variety of beers and is a place I will stop at every time I'm in Traverse City.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.99/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Reviewed on 6/27/2010.

This is a cool brewpub that is putting out a lot of interesting beers (there were 3 IPAs on tap plus the Ancho Chili Chocolate Porter and a beer made with asparagus and lemony spices). This place is all about the beer as there is no food served here. Just people chilling, talking, and drinking beer. They have a bunch of board games, a mini-shuffleboard, and darts. Since you just place your order at the bar there is not the traditional "service" per se. Somewhat hard to find, as it is located in the same building right behind a hair salon (the sign is somewhat small so just look for the right street address). This place is really geared towards beer geeks and you are sure to find something that piques your interest. Also the mugs are really cool. A must stop!

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Photo of Mitchster
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4

These guys have been open for about 2 weeks now. I don't know where the parking is, so I just parked out front. It's a typical open industrial look, with unfinished ceilings, exposed air ducts, etc. No food for right now, unless a bag of premade popcorn counts. They had about 12 beers on tap or so, with room for about 5 more. I tried the ESB, Raspberry pale, Hefe Weizen, IPA, Porter (on nitro), and Stout. They were all good, but none stood out as really, really good. The Hefe weizen and IPA were probably my favorites. I spoke with John, the brewer, for a while. He used to brew for Traverse Brewing Company in Elk Rapids. Very nice and knowledgable guy who seemed to enjoy talking shop. Plenty of seating (the license says 81) with local art on the walls. Big see through window to the beauty shop next door. Bathrooms out in the hall are shared with the other businesses in the building. They don't currently have a sampler tray, and it seemed the bartender was irritated by my requests to try the beers, despite the fact I was paying for them. When I was there, they had happy hour from 3-6p with $2 pints.

These guys have promise. The beers are decent for an early start, and I hope to see them grow.

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Photo of AylwinForbes
3.13/5  rDev -21.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3

Traverse City was a pitstop on our way to Shorts a few miles north. Thank God we didn't stay in Traverse since it was awash in vacationers. We had received several endorsements of the Brain and so made our approach with optimism and enthusiasm. That a bit dented by its slightly hidden quality and trying to find a parking spot. Also a little taken aback by the first impression being that of a hair-dresser. Fortunately we managed to discern that the bar was behind. I guess it is a unique claim to be made to be the only bar where one can gaze out onto people having their hair dyed.

First impression was favourable: liked the slightly hip, west-coast casual ambiance. Encouraged by sign saying no one under 21 (except that's only true after 9, so yes there were babies in there). Bar staff pretty friendly. Happy hour prices really reasonable. Here's the thing though: beer just not that good. My own brewery is better. Spiny Norman not so bad. Will Power not so good. Something on the cask, a stout with cinnamon, truly awful; it would take a lot of ice cream to banish the taste of that one.

Another disappointment was the complete absence of real food. Chips and hummus that are delivered in the packages that came from the store...

A lot of marketing goes into this operation with its funky shirts and stuff. Also it tries to create a reputation of edgy and off-the-wall creations - like beer made with asparagus. Take a tip from Barry at Saugatuck: do the simple things well.

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Photo of EricTKole
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Ok I'm gonna just check these off the list as they go...

First off pulling up to Right Brain is strange in and of itself as there is very little signage and lets face it anything to acknowledge that you're in the right place as parking is to the side. Once you make your way inside you'll find a reasonably large open space with picnic and high top tables as well as a bar. Mid day on a Saturday will find you in her with little to no light(hey somebody turn on the damn lights!!). I been to breweries at hot tub rental places and some weird shit but this was strange and by the placement of their coffee mug-mug club and artwork that's what they are going for.

Both food and drink were very good. No complaints here.

Once we got served at our table(we opted for a picnic table as we had a group of 8) it was good. Took a while to get a feel if we had to go to the bar or someone was going to come out to us.

Excellent here. 4-5 BA options and maybe another 12-16 after that. Everyone in our group was able to find something they liked.

This was a mixed review. I liked my waffle burgers(2/$9) only available on fri/sat but my wife did not care for her waffle sandwich. I like the originality her and enjoyed mine.

Lunch for 2, 2.5 pints and I think $35 after tip was good for me.

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Photo of goast8127
2.63/5  rDev -34.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3

Reviewed on 10/22

We had a little bit of difficulty finding this place. I mostly blame the GPS. The bar seemed a little oddly placed in it's office complex. Inside was eccentric and unique. There was some woodwork, exposed ducts, and many different games. Sly and the Family Stone was featured quite heavily on the sound system. Felt very much like a bar in someone's basement. Being it was Friday, the place was quite busy. We sat at a table and had to order and retrieve our drinks from the bar, as everyone did. Was disappointed that the white boards were not correctly up-to-date with what was available, and was not impressed with the beers I selected. I know enough about the place to give it another chance.

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Photo of Roeters
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Over the past year I have made the trip to Right Brain a few more times and I am a full believer in this place. The biggest thing with Right Brian is that they are always rotating they beer selection and they are pushing the envelope. I feel that the first impression was the day to day of this place.

Go in the spring early summer and that they do the asparagus ale again

You may want to check their website to see what's being served before you make the trip.

Old post --- A:4,Q:3.5,S:4,S:3.5

The atm osphere really fits in with the rest of downtown T.C. A little artsy and very interesting. i love that there are no TVs in this place. I hope to see more places moving in that direction as tv is the death of independent though.

But away, in my opinion they have the best brews in T.C. and they have a creative list of brews to chose from. Unlike the other breweries that I visited that had a watery summer wheat or a marginal cask IPA as their wildest brews. But, RB has a ways to go to compete with breweries out side of T.C.

The service was good other then the credit card machine not working and the brewery closing 1 1/2 early. Which is completely out of their control.

They had a list including 10 beers and 1 cask. The list was wheat heavy. Which I was expecting being a summer resort town. I enjoyed all the brews that I tried. I will be stopping in again and is a must if you'll be around the T.C. area, but not worth a special trip.

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Photo of BehindtheFinBrew
4.36/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

The 3rd stop on our Traverse City brewery crawl. Located in the Warehouse District the exterior is non-descript and located on an alley-like street.

The interior is eclectic and fun with local art lining the walls. An impressive custom-mug club wall sits to the left of the bar. This place is a no-frills just beer establishment. I don't believe they offer food. Its a "Whadda Ya Want" type attitude but not unwelcoming. 12 beers were offered and a 6 beer flight comes in at $15. My flight consisted of their Empire Spear - an ASPARAGUS beer that was unique and refreshing when cold, a little off-putting as it warmed HA!, Will Power Pale Ale, Copper Grasshopper ESB, Out of Tyne Brown Ale, Ancho Chili Double Dutch Chocloate Porter and their Chocolate Espresso Oatmeal (C.E.O) stout. My favorite of the flight was the CEO stout but all were exceptional and tasty.

The world needs more places like the Right Brain Brewery where quality and creativity are top priority with passionate and devoted staff. I would frequent this place if I lived within 100 miles.

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Photo of SaucyA
4/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

My girlfriend and I spent a long weekend in Traverse City recently, and had the chance to drop into Right Brain for a beer. It's a little tough to find initially, but definitely not hard to get to.

We went in on a Friday afternoon/early evening and the place was PACKED. I'm telling you, wall to wall with people. It wasn't even tourist season, and everyone we ran into were locals. It's definitely a neighborhood hangout. We squeezed in at the end of the bar and chatted it up with some very nice ladies. Sampled a couple brews and stuck with a nice winter warmer. Everything I tried was better than average, with some being great. My girlfriend, who isn't necessarily a ba, is a good sport about visiting breweries and genuinely enjoyed her time here as well.

Service at the bar was great, the bartenders were very nice and on the ball.

Beer selection was good, with pretty much every base covered, including a couple IPA's and a barrel-aged offering. They were grilling asparagus out front for an asparagus brew. Quite ballsy if ya ask me.

Didn't try the food, but apparently it's not their strong suit. Plenty of good spots around the area to get some great eats tho.

All in all a worthy beer destination, especially when coupled with the other beer-centric establishments in and around the city.

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Photo of jt31914
3.83/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of HarmonMW
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of clager
4.23/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Interesting place inside. Variety of seating options including an old dentist chair and dialysis chair. Lots of cool artwork. Board games available. Not a fan of the waffle sandwiches. Great beer and selection. No table service which is ok. No outdoor seating at the end of August which was surprising, we would have enjoyed that.

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Photo of zoso1967
2.36/5  rDev -40.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 1.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2

Oh Right Brain, I just don't understand why so many people like you.

Since moving back to TC I have been coming by RB frequently enough to allow me to review this place. We most often come on Tuesday nights when they have their very enjoyable trivia night. Unfortunately, trivia is the only reason I ever want to come here.

The decor and vibe of the place are both fine. It's modern, eclectic and chill with a nice Midwest laid back sort of feel. I find that the place tries a bit too hard to be different, but I really can't complain much about the atmosphere when compared to many other local places.

I have never been overly impressed with the service here. Some of the people don't know much about the beers and they often get a little snotty with me when I ask too many questions.

The beer is the real downfall though. I have had many different brews of varying styles during different times of the year and I have even had brews from both brewers. Unfortunately the very best of what they have to offer is just mediocre and when it's bad, it's pretty ugly

I went just last night and out of the 5 different beers I tasted only one was decent enough that I might order it again. The other four were terrible and we were using words to describe them like: plastic, rotting vegetation, moldy doughnuts, rubber, ash and marinade. If my homebrew ever comes out tasting like some of what they have on tap, I would pour it down the drain and try to do better next time. Once the bartender actually apologized to me in advance when she handed me a beer. She should not have to do that!

Selection is also not their strongest point as often they are loaded up on one particular style, or they have almost nothing on. You can rest assured that they will have something "Right brained" on tap though, which has an equal chance of being interesting or a complete disaster. They make a lot of one-off beers which is nice, but this adds to the roulette type scenario of betting on how many of the beers I try will actually be palatable. Sometimes I win big and feel like I did not waste my money, but just like in Vegas the house usually wins.

To add insult to injury the beers are all around $5 and many are premium (chuckle) pours so you only get 12 oz. I could go to U & I and get a Huma for less, and U & I also has delicious food. Even Bubba's is comparable in beer prices.

I am sure this will not change the mind of the Right Brainwashed regulars, but I would highly recommend that if you are visiting the TC area that you take the money you may have spent here and use it on good beer at Short's.

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Photo of beerguru15
4.94/5  rDev +23.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

My better half and I took a trip to Traverse City this past weekend to get away and to stop at the local breweries. We ended up stopping at the Right Brain in the evening, and I have to agree with just about everyone that it was a very odd and hard to get to location. Upon walking into the building you have to pass a hair salon. You notice the walls covered with art and designs when stepping into Right Brain, plus get a "artsy" feel with practically everything involved.

The waitress we had was quite pleasent, courteous and energentic. The beers are listed on a large chalk board on the wall, giving a name, a slight description and style of the beers available.

I ended up trying a sampler, which contained 6 samples at 6 oz each for $15. The beers I had included: Naughty Girl Scout which was a stout containing a "thin mint" taste, a Beer called Wicked Garden Roasted Beet Wheat, which was basically what the name said as that's what it looked, smelled and tasted like. A LIttle Italy Honey Basil which had a Strong Basil taste and smell. A Burgundy Ale which was your typical Amber Ale. A Sun Cup American Wheat which wasn't bad and tasted like a usual American Style Wheat, and finally a beer called "Stoch Buddler Michigan Common Copper" which was quite interesting, though different at the same time.

One of the flaws of this place was that there was no food, which was surprising as you usually don't see this too often. But being that it was a small establishment it was understanding in a ways, and nice at the same time as you can bring a sandwich with no hassle.

Overall I found this place to contain a great environment, a great selection and a place I'd definitely return to and recommend.

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Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City, MI
90 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.