July 16, 2017
The docks and dining deck at The Landing at Ironton. Great beer & Food.
After a night in beautiful Bellaire, I packed up my gear and headed to Boyne City, Michigan—to claim a camping spot about four miles west of town, right on the shores of Lake Charlevoix. Boyne City is at the east end, and Charlevoix is at the western end of this big lake, near where it empties into Lake Michigan. Both towns are wonderful and great places for boating.

A lot has changed since my last time in Boyne City; two new, large tap rooms have opened and a small brewery has also made the town it’s home.  That the population of the town is only about 4,000 people should tell you something about its popularity as a summer vacation destination, and maybe how much the folks up here like their beer! It was safe to say that my visit occurred on the busiest weekend of the year, and every one of these beer destinations was packed.

Another great campsite - outside my tent door on Lake Charlevoix.
Sadly, I was not able to try the offerings at Stiggs Brewing Company, located just a block off the main street; though they have an outdoor serving area and a decent-sized dining/tap room (they were packed) I couldn’t even find a seat at the bar. I was assured by a friend I saw later that their beer was quite good, but that second-hand endorsement is all I can offer. They are located in a great-looking old Victorian-era building, with an attractive bar to match; I guess I’ll have to try again another time.

I did manage a couple of stops at the excellent 7 Monks Taproom. It’s a big place, with a nice contemporary décor, a very long bar and an awesome outdoor patio with a view of the lake. Being a big fan of Founder’s Rubaeus, I jumped at the “nitro” version they offered, which was smooth and creamy enough to be a dessert. I followed that with a very small salad and to accompany that, a pint of a classic Weihenstephaner lager.

The only problem was it wasn’t a lager, it was a Weihenstephaner weiss beer, which was evident from both its taste and its color. I brought this to the attention of the server, who immediately checked with her colleagues to investigate. Turns out the brand has very similar-looking kegs for the lager and Weiss - and it was just simple a mix up. Not hard to imagine with all those beers to keep track of. The staff corrected this right away and quickly brought me a golden lager. I found the fact that they did not even charge me for it (due to the minor inconvenience, I suppose) extremely hospitable and generous.

The boats - why I came here in the first place.
Later that evening, I decided to have dinner at the Boyne City Tap Room, which is operated by the same folks who operate the Bridge Street Tap Room in Charlevoix, as well as Lake Charlevoix Brewing Co. The beer selection is vast, and clearly described on a large electronic board that stretches above the bar. It makes for a nice display. I can barely recall what beer I ordered, I believe it was a Griffin Claw El Rojo Red Ale—this is probably because I was distracted by the prospect of having a delicious perch dinner. I love perch. By the way, the beer was good, too.

Service at both these places was extremely friendly, helpful and eager to please, but that’s what you expect up here. It was the same experience the night before, when I passed through Ironton, a small village about halfway between Boyne City and Charlevoix. There’s a three-dollar ferry there that provides a short cut across the lake’s lower arm (saves about 20 miles) – but the real attraction is The Landing, a great place to eat with an excellent beer selection of its own. I tried a Landings Lager—a nice, clean lager made with some wheat, brewed especially for the restaurant by Short’s in Bellaire. Crisp and clean, with a light body, I found that a couple of those, along with my perch sandwich, made for another perfect night. What a BeerCation.


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