Greyline Brewing opened today April 26th at Noon with first come, first serve seating and a limited menu! As the first brewery on Alpine Ave I expect it will be busy especially with the experienced brewers behind this project.
Updated April 28th:
I visited Greyline on a Thursday in the afternoon and was able to get a spot at the bar. I had high expectations because the owners are experienced brewers and the beers I sampled all exceeded my expectations! They already have a nice variety of beer styles and I expect they will continue to produce high quality brews as they ramp up production.
We visited Gray Skies Distillery tasting room on April 9th, 2016 after a few previous attempts failed due to their limited open hours. The distillery wasn’t very crowded probably due to their quiet opening and a location that is still ‘up and coming’ on Grand Rapids north side. After spending a few minutes debating the various cocktails they offer our group ordered at the bar and took up some seats at the round table which the bartender confided wasn’t a popular seating area but I found it fun and different.
Out of their three spirits currently offered at Gray Skies Distillery the Gin was the most palatable to drink straight, followed by the rum and finally the vodka which reminded me of rubbing alcohol. However all their house cocktails tasted quite good and because of that variety I will be sure to visit a few more times to sample their locally made liquors.
Over the weekend I took a short trip north of Grand Rapids and visited Cedar Springs Brewing and Cellar Brewing company, take note it would have been easy to add a stop at Rockford Brewing too but I did some shoe shopping instead.
I’d never been to either of these great breweries but I’ll be sure to visit them more in the future. Stopping first in Cedar Springs at the newly completed brewpub we saw a crowd waiting to be seated at the large communal style tables popular in Germany but luckily if you just wanted to drink you can skip the line and visit the bar. Cedar Springs brewery has a nice list of German inspired beers along with pale ale, ipa, sangria, cider and root beers for the kids. A quick sampling surprised me that the IPA was less hoppy than the pale ale and the Hefewiezen had very strong banana flavoring for me (I loved it). The food also got rave reviews from the people sitting at the bar and again was very German inspired fare. I’m excited to revisit in the spring since the building has many glass garage doors that should open to the outdoors and a large beer garden out back.
Our second stop was in Sparta at Cellar Brewing which we almost missed while driving, the building wasn’t really eye catching but once inside it felt warm and inviting despite it’s large industrial size. Cellar isn’t just a brewery though, they also distill liquors and make wine too so you’ll be sure to find at least a few libations to please every palate. The “Michigan Sunshine” stood out as similar to Blue Moon and a bit ironic because when we arrived it was a typical cloudy Michigan day but the beer was good! Actually all the beers hit the mark on their respective styles. I also liked the fact the brewery has a large selection of table games to play as well as a pool table, shuffleboard table and Foosball with plenty of tables for people to sit and sip their brews.
Next time you head North on 131 consider stopping at these two great breweries! Also I wore my Brewsader tshirt and at both breweries people stopped to ask about it, so it’s a great way to make new drinking buddies.
Harmony Hall had their grand opening October 6th so we went for lunch to check it out and were very impressed. Unlike their original location the new Hall has plenty of seating and space including 200 seats upstairs and a separate drinks only bar downstairs. Harmony Hall also boasts an expanded beer tap list with some interesting cocktails too.
While at first glance the Harmony Hall menu seems a bit restricted with mostly sausage options but there is actually a nice amount of variety. If you get a sausage platter the portions are actually enough to fill you up without ordering anything else. I got the Boudin Blanc and found it spicy and tasty just as the menu depicted. My companion got the Hopwurst and while you can’t see the cheeses when you bite into the sausage the taste is sure to please. Beware the sweet and spicy bean side, it’s got quite a spicy kick to it but I found the burn pleasurable.
For drinks I actually had a mixed cocktail and my companion had one of the Harmony beers which we both enjoyed. With the increased capacity afforded by this bigger location I expect they will have new and exciting beers for you to try everytime you visit.
I visited Trail Point Brewing on a Monday evening about a month after their grand opening. Entering the tap room I immediately felt comfortable, there is lots of wood and simple decorations. Luckily it wasn’t busy but there is plenty of seating so it shouldn’t be a problem getting a table even on a regular night. I was a bit surprised there weren’t more college kids from GVSU because it is just down the road from the main campus but maybe they were all studying. The bar tender was quick to provide a beer list and free pretzels. They have a range of beer styles from ales to IPA’s to stouts and after trying a sampler flight I can report that all the beers had good flavor. Going to use the mens bathroom you pass by glass wall that allows you to see into the brewing area and as you can see in the picture they were hard at work fermenting new beers for my next visit.
This seems like a well thought out brewery in a new area and while it’s a bit of a drive from downtown Grand Rapids I think it is worth the trip. They don’t offer food but you can bring your own so I’d suggest picking up a pizza or ordering one delivered if you plan to sit and try all their beers.
I visited Long Road Distillery on June 8, about 10pm and was instantly impressed. The distillery is located next door to Mitten Brewery in an revitalizing section of the west side in Grand Rapids. As you walk towards the front doors you can see inside from large windows on the front that let you see how busy it is. Once inside there is a host stand and beyond that a long curved bar that leads to a large glass wall that protects the distilling equipment from the seating area. The shiny copper still with dials and pipes are mesmerizing letting you see the tools needed to make the distilled spirits that they sell all from local sourced ingredients. When I visited there were seats open at the bar and my friends and I enjoyed a variety of cocktails made from their liquors. The music and ambiance is very classy allowing conversation and encouraging drinking. The staff was well informed and the mixologist seemed adept at creating all the various drinks we tried. There was a mix up with my friends food order that was quickly fixed and he said the pastrami sandwich as tasty as it should be for the premium price.
Overall I left with a very positive impression and will be bringing all my friends and family to visit the Long Road Distillery but because the prices are premium to match their quality I don’t think it will become my personal hangout bar any time soon.
Elk Brewing now has a kitchen so you can order food from the brewery instead of from nearby restaurants. Early reviews say the menu is simple but the food is tasty so stop in and let me know what you think! Update My friend tried the Faux Frenchie and loved it.
Railtown Brewery grand opening is set for December 12th, 2014 from 3pm to midnight. They will have five beers on tap including a blond ale, a brown, an IPA, a milk stout and a weizenbock. The Cutlerville-Gaines Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. at the brewery before the doors open on Friday. The taproom has seating for 50 people so come early if you want to get a seat and they don’t serve food but you are welcome to bring your own. Visit Railtown Brewing facebook page for updates