February 17, 2013 by kkeerr
I wrote this post on January 20th(!) and it has just been sitting in my drafts folder. We had a couple of weeks of stressful malarkey but things are returning to what they once were so let’s get back to this blog and some beers!
Written January 20th, 2013:
Yesterday Austin, my good buddy Brae, and I headed out on a mini excursion to two breweries that we had never visited, had beer from, or heard of before I started this task of trying to visit every brewery in the state. While we had no idea what we were in for in terms of quality we’ve all had Natty Ice and Black Velvet whiskey so it couldn’t possibly be the worst drinks we’ve had.
Our first stop was the Walldorff Brewpub and Bistro in Hastings. (I forgot my camera so the above photo is from the Hop Head Farm blog – a clicky on the pic will take you to their page) We were pleased with what we found at the Walldorff. When we first walked in we were slightly put off because could only see the bistro side and it just wasn’t our style (it looked like the kind of place you shouldn’t wear a hoodie in – we, of course, were wearing hoodies) but we were relieved when the hostess asked us if we wanted bisto or pub side. A peek around a partition revealed the pub side which was much more of the atmosphere we were looking for; beer ads, brewing paraphernalia, college flags, etc. The place was nearly full with casually dressed people and, despite a table of racists, everyone seemed comfortable and friendly. Actually, the racists seemed comfortable too – maybe a little too comfortable. Anyway, we settled in at a table for food and beer.
I will get the food out of the way first. Austin and I had their guacahummus appetizer while we waited for Brae. We love both guacamole and hummus and this seemed to be their most unique appetizer. It was good and you could really taste the distinct flavors of both ingredients; we may try our hand at making our own sometime. For our meal I devoured the pesto veggie pizza, Austin got the curry crab salad flatbread sandwich, and Brae got the smokehouse panini. Everyone agreed that the food was very good, however we learned that Brae does not approve of tiny french fries. Not even a little.
We were able to get a good sampling of their beer offerings. We had their Bee Sting Honey Rye, Hoppnoxxxious, Cobain’s IPA, and Bistro Blonde. The Bee Sting Honey Rye and Cobain’s IPA were our two favorites. The Bee Sting Honey Rye was malty with the right amount of honey; actually if I hadn’t set out with the goal of trying as many beers as I could I would have been content with ordering another one. Cobain’s Double Dark IPA was the gold medal winner and best of show 2010 World Expo of Beer. It was malty and smooth especially for a higher point beer. For some reason this beer is classified at “retired” on BeerAdvocate but it was an 85% which I think is pretty accurate. They say that their Bistro Blonde serves as a great introduction to craft beer. It was good “session” beer and I don’t think domestic drinkers would be too upset to be served this instead of their usual.
After the Walldorff we headed to the Middle Villa Inn and Brewery or rather the Villa Bowling Center. It was a little difficult to tell from their website what they were but apparently they used to be a brewery/restaurant with a bowling alley attached but changed to a reception hall and moved their food menu and beer to the bowling alley.
We didn’t get any food but we did bowl a couple of games and tried two of their three beers on tap, the Theivin’ Rabbit (pilsner) and the Down and Dirty (porter). Neither of them were very remarkable, the porter had a strong liquorice taste which isn’t something I’m a fan of so Austin had that one all to himself. Clearly the brewery part of their business isn’t their focus. That’s fine, a bowling alley that brewers their own beer is fun – I’d rather bowl with one of their Theivin’ Rabbits than a Bud Light. The price was right, it was less than $20 for the three of us to bowl 2 games each and we each had a pint.
Walldorff Brewpub and Bistro
Location: 105 E. State Street Hastings MI
Number of Taps: 7 (? – I do a terrible job of remembering to get this number)
Austin’s Overall Experience Rating: 4 out of 5 Pint Glasses
Bee Sting Honey Rye: 8.5/10
Cobain’s IPA: 9/10
Bistro Blonde: 7.5/10
Middle Villa Brewery
Location: 4611 North M-37 Hwy Middleville MI 49333
Type: Microbrewery Bowling Alley (That is a one-of-a-kind type)
Number of Taps: 3
Austin’s Overall Experience Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Pint Glasses (the good time had bowling and cheap prices saved this experience)
Down and Dirty: 2/5
Thievin’ Rabbit: 2.5/5