Sunday, July 10, 2016

Michigan Brewery Tour, part 1

On the last weekend in June, I took a trip to Michigan to explore the breweries in southwest Michigan.  As Michigan has the 5th highest number of breweries in the country, there were a lot to explore and I had to choose which ones that I would visit.  The trip started by train, but was mostly done by bike, staying overnight in cheap motels.  The bike ride started in New Buffalo and ended in Battle Creek after a side trip to Marshall.  I then went to Midland via Amtrak to Flint, where my family lives, to recover for a few days before returning via Amtrak.  The trip officially started on Thursday, but fate seemed to be conspiring against me from the beginning.  For the last couple of years, I have been buying my train tickets electronically and showing them to the conductor through the app.  Looking at the app before I got to the train station, it did not list any of my tickets (to New Buffalo, to Flint, or from Flint to Chicago).  There is a way to display the ticket if you know the reservation number so I looked it up beforehand.  When I got to the train station, I tried to pull it up, but it couldn't find it.  I had time before boarding so I went into the station and accessed one of the electronic ticket agents and it couldn't pull my ticket up either.  I finally had to go to a ticket agent and have a ticket printed up.  After that, boarding and the ride to New Buffalo were pretty uneventful other than the fact that I realized that I had forgotten my water bottles after getting them out and cleaning them.  The plan was to leave the station, travel to two breweries, and then crash for the night in St. Joseph, MI with a possible trip to another brewery after I checked in.  That was the plan.  I got off the train, began my trip, and made it a grand total of one mile before getting a flat.  I had a patch kit, a spare tube, and a pump, so this shouldn't have been an issue except for a bit of a time waster.  Unfortunately, whatever I had hit severely damaged my tire, so I was going to need a new one.  It was evening, so the few bike shops that the small town of New Buffalo had were closed.  I saw that I was going to have to spend the night and get my tire replaced in the morning.  Before I went in search of a motel though, I hunted down a place to eat.  This happened to be the Stray Dog Bar & Grill, which was downtown and very close to where I had originally debarked from the train.  It was a nice place with a lakeside view and indoor, outdoor, and rooftop brewing.  Looking at the menu, I saw the usual mass market macro-brew subjects, but they did also have a pretty good list of craft brews as well.  I decided on a beer from the brewery that was going to be the optional brewery after I checked in to my motel for the evening had everything gone as planned.  The beer was a Kolsch from Round Barn Brewery which was a pretty good summer beer.  The food menu was fairly standard bar and grill fare with sandwiches, ribs, pizza, and burgers, with some pretty interesting appetizers.  I ended up going with a Blue Harbor Burger (with Fries) which was a Blue Cheese and Bacon Burger and was very good.  Sitting at the bar, I talked to several very friendly people, found that there was a nice, no-frills, cheap motel called the Buffalo Motel about 1 1/2 miles south of town.  I got there, got a room, and crashed for the night.  I was surprised and happy when I asked where I could park my bike that they suggested that I park it in my room.  So ended night one.    

No comments:

Post a Comment