January 1, 2013 by kkeerr
Friday (the 28th) was Austin’s birthday so we did some celebrating in a pretty typical Friday fashion, beer and hockey.
We started the day off with gifts. About 10 minutes after Austin woke up he said, “it’s present time.” In case you were wondering Austin turned 28, not 8. I bought him games and he knew it so he was excited to spend a few hours playing games before we left for Grand Rapids (again 28, not 8). I don’t remember what we played but I do remember that I lost…every game. (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻
After a surprisingly quick stop at the Secretary of State (Happy Birthday from the State of MI, your plates have expired) it was on to Grand Rapids. Austin decided on Grand Rapids Brewing Company for our pregame eats and drinks. We got there around 4:30 (28, not 78) in hopes of beating any crowds that would make us feel rushed before heading to the hockey game. We groaned in unison as we approach what looked to be a restaurant at standing room only capacity. Luckily for us we were a party of two and were given what seemed to be the last table for two in the place.
We knew going in that they only had two of their own beers on tap. From their Facebook page,
We delayed our opening by a month so we could stockpile enough beer to satisfy your thirst. We wanted to avoid the “running out of beer” problem other new breweries have faced recently. But damn, you people are really thirsty! We’ve gone through more beer in our first 10 days than we ever thought possible. Our brewers are working 16 hour days trying to keep up with demand. Yesterday we made the hard decision to purchase three more 15 barrel fermenters to increase our maximum brewing capacity by about 1000 more barrels per year. We installed the first one today (see photo). This should allow us to catch up with your *insatiable* thirst and add more house-brewed beers to our tap list over the next few weeks. We currently have two of our own beers on tap and 16 “guest taps” (Founders, Short’s, etc.) We expect that we will be able to maintain two house-brewed beers on tap and slowly build that back up over the next month. We’re humbled by the love Grand Rapids has shown us in our first 10 days and apologize that we don’t have more of our own on tap. Please bear with us for the next few weeks. We will eventually have 8-10 of our own beers back on tap. We are also going to extend mug club memberships by a month for everyone, and until January 15, we’ll allow mug clubbers to get the $1 discount on ANY beer, not just house brewed.
Thank you for your patronage.
-Mark Sellers, owner.
The two beers they had on tap were the Presidential Porter and Brandt’s Union Maibock. Both were very good. The porter is a robust porter, 5.5% and smooth malt flavor. The maibock is 6.2% and slightly malty. I thought it would be more hoppy, but I didn’t notice that much of a hop taste or bitterness.
The beer was solid and the food was delicious. I had the cauliflower “steak” sandwich, which is grbc ipa battered cauliflower with beet bacon and veggies. Dude…beet bacon. I didn’t think I liked beets, turns out I was wrong. Austin got the Belgian Farmhouse melt, “smoked ham, pear, spicy hop mustard, grassfield farms organic gouda, Nantucket baking company brewer’s bread.” I’m not saying that GRBC is better than Founders. Founders has GRBC beat beerwise – hands down, but for proximity to what we like to do downtown and a whole drinking/dining experience I’d say that Grand Rapids Brewing Company wins. Some might argue that I am comparing a brewery with a deli to a brewpub. If I want to grab a drink after work, Founders. If I want to go out for drinks and a meal, Grand Rapids Brewing Company.
Just the facts ma’am:
Grand Rapids Brewing Company
Location: 1 Ionia Ave Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Number of Taps: 18
Austin’s Overall Experience Rating: 5 out of 5 Pint Glasses
Presidential Porter: 79/100
Brandt’s Union Maibock: 72/100
Update: It took me a week to get around to posting this entry. GRBC now has 4 of their own beers on tap.