Took a drive out to Spring Lake, MI last Saturday to checkout the Dutch Girl Brewery and was pleasantly surprised to find that Vander Mill is located directly across the street! Be aware that Dutch Girl is located in a large building with auto parts stores on each side so it is easy to drive past without realizing the brewery is in that building but if you see Vander Mill you’ll know you arrived.
We used a Groupon at Dutch Girl Brewery to get two flights and two pints at nearly half price which is a great way to try a new brewery! After trying 8 samples of their beers I got a pint of Coastie Kolsch which is a nod to the Coast Guard heritage in the area. We also got some bar cheese after drinking all those samplers to help dilute the alcohol. Overall a very nice brewery that seemed to be getting quite busy as we left around 4pm.
We proceeded across the street to Vander Mill where we found the place completely empty so we got prime seats at the bar and ordered a flight of every cider they had on tap, turns out 12 samplers of cider is quite a bit! As they weren’t too busy yet Kelsey our bartender offered a personal tour of the production facility which was both enlightening and fun as she let us bring our cider to drink while touring. Turns out Vander Mill has the most advanced filtration system in Michigan for making cider, and their apple supplier uses a special storage system to create a vacuum allowing them to store apples all year and keep supply of cider steady. Another interesting fact from Kelsey is that 50% of Vander Mill sales are actually in the city of Chicago, who knew they loved cider that much?! Finally she tipped us to the fact that Vander Mill’s Grand Rapids location is expected to open in February 2016, so that’s coming up soon. After the tour the tap room filled up quickly and was quite busy by the time we finished all our flights of beer. If you’ve never tried all the various Vander Mill cider varieties you really should, I had no idea they made so many and the Totally Roasted cider tastes like pecans (because they actually roast the pecans in the kitchen, it’s amazing). As we left there was a musician getting ready to play for the people eating dinner and drinking cider, a nice cozy winter hangout at Vander Mill.
After all that sampling we had to call in a designated driver but it was worth it and the next morning our car was waiting for us in the parking lot, a safe and happy ending to a pleasant Saturday in Spring Lake.