Right Brain Brewery

Right Brain BreweryRight Brain Brewery

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

225 E Sixteenth St Ste E
Traverse City, Michigan, 49684-4181
United States

(231) 944-1239 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by Mitchster on 12-15-2007

View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 51 | Ratings: 137
Photo of TCmichigan
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

 975 characters

Photo of jt31914
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

 1,097 characters

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.

 992 characters

Photo of redleg64
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
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!

 1,237 characters

Photo of theecaleb
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

 821 characters

Photo of morimech
4.01/5  rDev +1%
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.

 1,430 characters

Photo of dorianmarley
4.05/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

A very creative brewery. I had beers made with whole cherry pies and ghost chilis. The beers were well-made and balanced. They were adventurous, but very enjoyable.

The atmosphere is eccentric. Right Brain is located inside of a building where all the other businesses are closed by sundown. The building is on a road/alley that also is home to a commercial baked good warehouse. The bar shares a bathroom that is located outside of the main area, like you'd find in an office building. The bar is very well-lit, There are plenty of tables, but no servers. You must stand in line and order your beers at a countertop. A beer list is written in dry erase marker on a white board. The entire experience feels more like a coffee shop, or a bakery, than a brewery.

All of the idiosyncracies feel deliberate. The beer is allowed to speak for itself. The beers are over-the-top statements, and they do not need an over-the-top delivery. Everyone inside is nice and friendly, and if you want to try some unique beers in an unassuming environment--perhaps while playing one of their several board games--Right Brain is your place.

 1,125 characters

Photo of stewart124
3.94/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Plenty of beers on tap and from the looks of the site it's always changing. My wife and I went for happy hour during the week and it was very laid back. The bar was more like a coffee shop that served beer. The one bartender was very friendly and quick while taking the time to talk to each costumer.

We sat in old hospital chairs and there was a beer advocate mag for me to browse through while I sipped on a delicious IPA. I really wanted to try all there beers because they had somethings as wild as a cherry pie beer. Actual cherry pies were through into the fermentation! There are "premium pours" and regular pours while they will also let you take a growler to go.

Right brain is cool with people bringing in their own food and even mentions this on their cards. The only downside we both agreed on was that there was no outdoor patio. Traverse City has such great weather and Righ brain should take advantage of this. Solid overall.

 943 characters

Photo of jale
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

 646 characters

Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

 1,329 characters

Photo of augievikings
2.05/5  rDev -48.4%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 1.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3

In a nutshell, this place is weird. Tucked back inside a strip mall, you feel like you're walking through a hair salon to get to the bar. After attempting to have a beer here, it became very obvious that I am not hip enough for this scene. I always try cask conditioned beers when I have an opportunity, and here they had a jalapeno stout concoction on cask. While others may like a spicy warm stout, I found it to be awful. The bartenders were pretentious and not particularly friendly. We didn't even finish our beers because we were just not enjoying the vibe the place was giving off. Perhaps if you are a regular you are used to the atmosphere, but I found it off-putting. I much preferred the North Peak brews I tried during my stay in Traverse City.

 756 characters

Photo of RocPorterFanatic
4.58/5  rDev +15.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

This very eclectic brew pub is nestled in the warehouse district of Traverse City. The overall theme seems to be industrial meets geek. Patrons seem to come from every walk of life. There's a nice long bar with comfortable stools, as well as tables of all heights and sizes scattered around the place. The patio, was large, but packed. Not a seat to be found.

My fiance and I settled into our barstool and took a gander at the white board displaying the day's selections. There was a style for everybody. From the Owl Hawk made with Maris Otter to the Black Eye PA.

I had a flight of 6 beers, 6, 6oz. pours for $15. A bit pricey as far as flights normally go, but for my first time there, a great way to sample the majority of beers that piqued my interest.

My fiance had the Fuzz Face Peach Wheat, reasonably priced with a 20oz. pour for $3.50.

Merchandise was on par with other brewpubs, a T-shirt running $23.

Overall, a great experience with delicious, well crafted beers.

 982 characters

Photo of MarcatGSB
3.59/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

 2,237 characters

Photo of zoso1967
2.36/5  rDev -40.6%
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.

 2,604 characters

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

 941 characters

Photo of goast8127
2.63/5  rDev -33.8%
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.

 715 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
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!

 792 characters

Photo of Stigs
3.73/5  rDev -6%
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.

 1,080 characters

Photo of claminat420
3.1/5  rDev -21.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

well it's very clear that the brewery shares a building with other businesses. very cool establishment i.m.o. they have a chalkboard with the brews on hand and giving info on each one. they have a wall for their mug club and it's a site to see. it's a very laid back enviroment. when i went there were kids running around playing with their toys and no one cared. the place is very i don't know.. free spirited. they have alot of personal art and what-not hanging on the ceiling. the service is really good and the staff are cool. i got a growler to take home and i wanted the simcoe dream which is cask conditioned (cuz i thought their other ipa that wasn't casked sucked). well one of the employee's told me they don't really do that cuz of the cask getting flat but i offered to pay more and he said he would. he ended up giving me the growler for no extra money and i also got 2 pint glasses and a set of coasters for all 25 bucks out the door. which totally beats great lakes brewing which not even a month ago wanted to charge me 33 bucks just for a growler of blackout stout (RIP OFF!!)
the only thing i can say that is negative about the place is how they try to have 12+ beers on tap and when i went there 8/23/10 there were only i think 8. now the only thing i can say negative about the brewery is i would like to see more higher alcohol beers. they had nothing over 6.3abv which was an amber. like make an ipa that or 7abv.
i didn't get any food but all they have anyway are just some munchies like pretzels, popcorn, etc. overall this place is great. seems like the majority of the people who go there are down to earth but there are #ssholes everywhere. for $3 pints during happy hour 3-6 you can't beat it.

UPDATED!!!!went back on aug 17th 2011 and was pretty disappointed. their prices seem like they could be lowered and the quality of beer seemed to have dropped. 5.35 a pint of your own homemade beer at the same establshment seems kinda dickish to me. when shorts and other companies sell their beer cheaper and make way much more better stuff too.

 2,074 characters

Photo of AylwinForbes
3.13/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

 1,486 characters

Photo of BehindtheFinBrew
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

 1,063 characters

Photo of beerguru15
4.94/5  rDev +24.4%
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.

 1,713 characters

Photo of kbeals
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Place is sort of a hidden gem located in Traverse City. Definitely has a coffee house vibe like others have said. A lot of artsy people were there, or at least they were dressed like they were. Place was pretty noisy while we were there due to the limited amount of space. That's really the only thing it lacks is more space, and a finished ceiling. Their beer selection was excellent. Had plenty of beers ranging over a wide variety of styles. Some of the beers were very unique as well. Service was pretty good, a little slow but it definitely wasn't the bartenders fault, a lot of people are so indecisive about what kind of beer they wanted to order. Average age for the place was probably mid-30's or so. My biggest grievance, no food! Popcorn and pretzels were available but I would love to see them offer food eventually. They might have to move though as I doubt there is enough space for a kitchen. I would definitely come here again just because of their unique beer selection.

 987 characters

Photo of jeepboy76
4/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Traveled three weeks to Traverse City with friends. I had heard about Right Brain from a few people, with mixed results. I just had to give it a try (especially after a friend gave me his growler to be filled at a reduced cost!).

The location was kind of a pain. We didn't realize that it was behind a hair salon (I'm sure townies love it). Once inside though, it had a terrific vibe. Along with a good selection of beer (try the Big Boned Belgian, you won't be disappointed), it also had a great 'personal' feel to it. Very much like a coffee shop. If you being able to hear your friends, this is a great place. I hope to go back someday soon!

 646 characters

Photo of hosehead83
4.8/5  rDev +20.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Located in the warehouse district in Traverse City, Michigan. A bit tricky to get to but well worth a little effort! Located behind a hair salon that is actually part of the bar. You can get a haircut and sample a brew at the same time.(What a great idea!) If you don't need a haircut, just walk past the salon into the brewpub. There is an "L" shaped bar and various tables with one having actual barber chairs to sit at.
The place has a kind of Bohemian, coffe-house eclectic feel to it. There are no t.v.'s, but there are numerous old-school board games to play, if you are so inclined, and some unobtrusive rock/pop music plays over the whole scene. The pub is smoke-free, and although there is no food served, there are snacks such as popcorn and pretzels. But you don't come here for the food. At any one time there are 12 different taps, all with an eclectic sampling of various house brews, ranging from an English hand-pulled stout, to a 14%ABV barleywine and everything in between. On the day I was here, everything was just $3 a pint all day!!
The "beertenders" were very knowledgeable and helpful, and provided samples (just ask!)
Everything on tap is written on a huge blackboard and may change daily, depending on how fast a particular offering sells out. There seemed to be only one waitress, so you pretty much had to stand in line to get a beer, but it moved fairly quickly and gives you time to read the blackboard and figure out what you want to try. The beers run the gamut from average to exceptional. All local ingredients are used, with no extracts. On most days the owner is behind the bar and will answer any questions you have when he gets the chance, as this place can get pretty busy.
Overall, if you are in the Traverse City area the Right Brain Brewery is a must for all craft beer lovers. It offers a unique atmosphere and equally unique brews that must be tasted to be appreciated. Growlers are also available to take your favorite (or favorites) beer home.

 1,991 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City, MI
3.76 out of 5 based on 1,970 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.