Monday, July 11, 2016

Michigan Brewery Tour, part 2

After a restful day in a quiet motel, I started Friday with a need for a new tire and breakfast.  As breakfast places were open before bike shops, that would be first.  I was able to fill my tire and make it rideable, but I was not going to trust it for a long distance, so a primary goal would be to get it replaced as soon as possible.  My first stop, back in downtown New Buffalo was at David's Delicatessan, located in downtown New Buffalo.  According to Google Maps, there seemed to be a few other places, but I seemed to have chosen the most popular place.  There was a line to order and it was actually kind of hard to find a seat.  The place was a coffee shop/bakery/sandwich shop specializing in Reubens and the clientele seemed to be largely local with a range of ages from parents with young children to retired people.  Despite the line, it did move quickly and I was able to sit and enjoy my breakfast.  Although admittedly, I was a little uncomfortable sitting as far as back into the restaurant as I eventually found a seat because there was no place close to lock my bike so I leaned it against the front of the restaurant.  For my breakfast, I enjoyed a large, freshly-made Cinnamon Roll, Rhubarb Lemonade, and a Breakfast Reuben.  The Cinnamon Roll was large, soft, sweet, and was iced, and although it could have done with a little more cinnamon, it was pretty good.  The Breakfast Reuben was open-faced and included a fried egg on top.  This was essentially what differentiated it from a standard Reuben.  Eggs are very much like bacon, they improve whatever they are added to (for the most part).  This was the case here and I really enjoyed it as I did the rest of my breakfast.  David's looked like it might be a good place to hang out and people watch, but I wanted to get on the road as I was 25 miles behind where I wanted to be, so I finished quickly and went in search of bike shops.  A search on the previous night indicated that there were possibly two bicycle shops in New Buffalo.  The first was on the same road that I happened to be on although a little further than the other.  The closer shop was not yet open, so I went in search of the further and found that it seemed, no longer, to exist.  I returned to the other shop, Outpost Sports, which should have been opening.  From their website, it appeared that the New Buffalo location focused on watersports and mountain biking although I hoped that they would have something for me.  No such luck.  While they were very friendly, they had no tires for me that would work, so it appeared that I would have to bike 25 miles to St. Joseph and hope my tire made it.  A shop in Michigan City, Indiana would have been closer, but it was absolutely in the wrong direction and would have added two hours to the trip, so i decided to risk it and head to St. Joseph.

There were two breweries between New Buffalo and St. Joseph and while I wanted to stop at them anyway, I thought it would be a good chance to check out how my tire was holding up.  I arrived in Sawyer, MI at Greenbush Brewing Co. at 11 am.  I found out then, that the brewery didn't open until 11:30 am.  Fortunately their Annex, located right across the street, opened at 11 am and they had a great patio, which the brewery did not, so that's where I camped myself.  An inspection of my bike tire indicated that it was still in good shape, so I was confident that I could eventually make it to St. Joseph.  The food menu at the brewery is much better than at the annex, focusing on barbecue and some seafood appetizers versus charcuterie and sausages at the annex, but since I had had a good breakfast, I did not yet need to eat, so the annex with its great patio, was fine.  Greenbush had a pretty good tap list, broken into three groups basically by alcohol content, unfortunately they didn't offer flights, as such.  The smallest glasses they sold were 6 oz.  You could try anything that you wanted to before buying, but trying one thing at a time with a two or three ounce pour would have been tedious.  I just chose three beers that sounded interesting and went with the 6 oz. size.  I chose one from Group A, which were the lower alcohol beers, Bee Box, an Orange Blossom Honey Pale Ale, and two from the mid-range Group B, Atomic TaunTaun Overdrive, a Strawberry Habanero Ale that I would have chosen just for the name, Monopolipa, a Raspberry IPA.  All of the beers were very good and the listed flavors were evident, I think my favorite though, was the Atomic TaunTaun Overdrive, which started out tasting like a pretty good strawberry ale and finished with some significant spice (not overwhelming, but prominent).  The staff was very friendly and I saw that Greenbush seemed to be a stopping point for cyclists because several stopped while I was there.  It was also nice to run into the representative that I met and talked to at the Chicago Ale Fest the previous weekend.  After a nice rest and some good beer, it was time to be on my way.

While Greenbush wasn't far from New Buffalo, about 10 miles, the next brewery, Tapistry Brewing, was an even shorter trip, 6 miles, which took about half an hour.  Tapistry is in downtown Bridgman, MI and looks, from the outside, like a standard pub.  Before I went in, I took another look at my tire and while it seemed to be losing a little air, it was still fine.  For the most part, Tapistry also looked like a standard pub from the inside with a lot of finished wood and a long bar.  The brewery name comes from their ideal of combining chemistry and artistry.  The chalkboard tap list was behind the bar, but the taps while also behind the bar, they were at the back of the bar off to the side.  There was also a window that looked into the brewing area.  I have to say that besides the fact that it was a great color green, Tapistry had the best tap menus which were actually DVD cases (including a DVD).  They offered a flight with five 5 oz. pours of whatever beers were offered (also divided into three tiers).  As it was time, I also decided that this place was where I would have lunch.  For my beers, I went with Mr. Orange, another floral orange-flavored beer that this time was a Wit using Blood Orange, Chamomile, and Rose Hips, Twistin' Hay, an Irish Ale with a flavor of grass and hay, a single hop pale ale from Tier 2 called Hoponacci Strisselspalt which used a hop that I had never heard of (Strisselspalt), Gram for the Glass, a sessionable IPA, and a high alcohol Tier One monster called Heart Full of Napalm which was a Double IPA with a 10.0% ABV.  All of the beers were pretty good, Heart Full of Napalm kicked hard, but my favorite was Twistin' Hay.  For lunch, they had bar snacks including a charcuterie plate and a variety of sandwiches which came with chips.  I went with the Curried Turkey Sandwich with Cashews, Cilantro, Parsley, Spring Greens, and Swiss Chees on Marble Rye Bread.  It was a very good and flavorful sandwich and gave me the energy to get on the road for my next stop which was Cycle and Fitness Cycle Shop.  Cycle and Fitness was located in St. Joseph, which was about 14 miles away and took about an hour and a half to get there (with stops to look at the map and one to take a picture of the lake. 
This was a very good and well equipped cycle shop that had what I needed and got me in and out very quickly.  While they had a good inventory and the service was good, I'm sorry that I had to use them. 

Despite the fact that I had to stop at the bike shop, I may very well have gone in the same direction because the next brewery, Silver Harbor Brewing Company was less than a mile away.  Silver Harbor was just off the main drag in a building that looks like it used to be a warehouse (located across the street from an office building).  They seem to be going for a nautical theme with the outside walls painted a deep blue and a log incorporating a stylized S over an anchor.  The pub inside was gray and brown with the furniture and bar being blonde wood.  They also had a patio off to one side of the building which was where I sat.  The beers at Silver Harbor came in two tiers based on ABV, but they also did something called a Smoked Beer where they would poor your beer and serve it in a chamber filled with smoke which infuses into the beer.  While it is an interesting concept, not being familiar with the beers, I decided to see how they actually tasted before I tried the smoked beer.  Four of the beers I ordered were from the lighter tier, Tier 1.  Of these, I ordered Ginger the Blonde Ale, a Blonde infused with Ginger and Honey, Pier Jumper ESB, Hops, Sweat, and Tears IPA, and Pleasant Street Pale Ale (the brewery is located on Pleasant Street).  The Tier 2 beer was called Once You Go Belgian and was a Belgian Strong Ale at 8.0% ABV.  The flight came out on a great tray shaped like the lower peninsula of Michigan and the beers while all pretty good were just that, pretty good, there wasn't really anything that stood out.

The next stop was Arclight Brewing Company in Coloma, Michigan which was about 15 miles and an hour and a half away.  Like many other breweries on this trip, I had never tried Arclight's beer, but when I first mentioned this trip, a friend told me that Arclight needed to be on my list, so I made a point to add it.  When I arrived, the first thing that I thought, other than the fact that they have a cool sign was that the location was a former truck garage.  There was a bike rack in front, which was convenient and a food truck serving pizza parked to the back of the large parking lot.  The space was very industrial looking with cinder block walls, cement floors, and large garage doors.  There were a lot of windows, so there was plenty of natural light.  I discovered shortly after entering why there was a food truck there.  Arclight is BYOF (bring your own food).  I was still fine as far as not being hungy, but I could foresee a late dinner because the last place was a distance away yet.  Arclight also did not do flights as such, although their smallest pour was a 6 oz.  With a six oz pour, I was going to limit myself to three beers.  They had an interesting sounding stout, The Velvet Elvis which had Peanut Butter and Banana flavors, so that's where I started.  It was good, interesting and you could taste peanut butter and bananas.  I also went with CitraSun, their Wheat Ale brewed with Citra Hops, and When Worlds Collide IPA.  All of the beers were very good and while the bar looked a little incongruous in a truck garage, it worked.

The last stop was going to be a long run.  I was going to Saugatuck Brewing Company which was about 35 miles away.  Because it was 35 miles away and there were several turns, I had to stop to consult the map several times which slowed me down.  I arrived at Saugatuck Brewing Company well after sunset (which also slowed me down, especially when I had to rely on my own lights to navigate by).  Saugatuck closed at 10 pm which is about when I arrived.  So while I did go there, I could not drink there.  As it was dark, it was time to find a place to stay.  I quickly found out that being in a resort town on a weekend in the summer doesn't leave many rooms.  In fact, it seemed that it left no rooms to speak of.  After stopping at a few places and finding them full, I needed to grab some food, so I grabbed a sandwich at the deli counter of a convenience store.  After quickly eating and being rejected one more time, I finally found a room at The Saugatuck Motel which was 5 1/2 miles past Saugatuck Brewing Company and only had a room because of a cancellation.  After biking 90 miles that day, I took it at about 11 pm, paid way more money than I would anywhere else for a similar place, showered, and collapsed for the night.  The owner here also suggested that I park my bike in my room.  As I had passed Saugatuck Brewing Company, I decided that the only way was forward and that the next stop would be New Holland Brewing Co. in the morning.            

No comments:

Post a Comment