Well, it’s been well over a week so I guess I should get cracking and write this review of the Saugatuck Brewery and Lucky Stone Brewpub. I’ve been distracted by various things, including plans to move, and an incredibly debilitating flu. I could barely lift the remote control! But even the worst of life’s many pitfalls can’t keep me from my most beloved pastime for long. Mmmm… Beer.
First, a little intro. Located on the shore of Kalamazoo Lake in western Michigan, Saugatuck is a quaint little waterside town with a laid back vibe. The setting is similar to one of those coastal towns you might find in Maine or Massachussettes, except that it is not on the ocean, and you won’t find fresh trapped lobster. But it is near the rather impressive coast of Lake Michigan.
Beautiful. If you haven’t yet ventured to one of the great lakes, I highly recommend it. The view is impressive, no matter where you are.
You know what else is beautiful? There is a brewery! Yep. And so, being the ever adventurous brew hound, I asked my good food and beer cohort, Cindy, if she would join me in sampling some of their beers, and enjoying a light lunch at the Lucky Stone Brewpub before taking our stroll around town. Likewise, ever adventurous, she readily agreed.
Due to a malfunction of my GPS navigation system — aka I programmed in the wrong address — we blew right past the sign for the Saugatuck Brewing Company. We missed the large green sign with bright white letters because we were looking on the other side of the road. We didn’t get too far before realizing we must have missed the place, so we turned around about a half mile down the street and found it on our return.
The Lucky Stone Brewpub fronts the Suagatuck Brewery, and sports a nice outdoor patio dining area. Happy patrons were chatting, eating and enjoying their beer. Inside we found a relaxing atmosphere. Part pub, part restaurant, part coffee house. Very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
We sat on one of the comfortable couches against the front wall so we could take in the ambience of the room while we dined and sampled some brews. A line of five, one barrel (31 gallon) brew kettles ran front to back along the right hand side, lead by a one barrel mash tun. As we later learned, this was the original setup used when the company began brewing its beers.
We ordered a flight of samplers right off the bat, then perused the menu for some grub. Since we planned on having dinner later on in town we decided to just have soup and an appetizer.
Soup was delicious. A nice Roasted Red Pepper soup, with an olive and bread appetizer. The bread was actually made using spent grains from the brewery. Very tasty! I’m going to have to try that one of these days. If it’s successful maybe I’ll write about it here, if it turns out bad you’ll never know. 🙂
The Saugatuck Brewing Samples!
First up, Named for nearby Oval Beach, is the Oval Beach Blonde Ale. I noticed mild citrus notes and a pleasant hoppy nose and earthy hop flavor. A subtle maltiness crept in at the finish. Nice even bitterness. There was a distinct tartness which reminded me very much of a wheat. So much so that I suspected our first and second samples were misidentified. I double checked with the bar tender and he confirmed the flavor profile I described was in fact the Oval Beach Blonde. Nice.
The Main Street Wheat seemed to me to have less of a wheat quality than the Oval Beach Blonde, but it was a very nice beer. It sports a very clean flavor, slight maltiness and hop bitterness.
We got to the Cole Porter next, which was pleasantly malty, nice body and creamy head. Definite roasted character and subtle nutty flavor. Very bold, and very good.
The Scotch Ale was nice. Very malty in the nose and flavor with a bitter finish. Clean. By this time I started feeling exceptionally happy for some reason. I recall munching on more of the spent grain bread. Mmmmm.
Barry’s Best Bitter was one of my favorites. Not Cindy’s, she’s not a big fan of very bitter ales, but I am. This was similar to the Scotch Ale I just mentioned, but substantially more bitter, with a nice hop nose and a very subtle sour quality.
Oh, I would recognize the IPA, and just taking a quick sniff confirmed that I had reached my most beloved of ales in the flight. Wow. I know why I love IPAs, and Saugatuck Brewing Company’s version is A-OKAY. Fits the bill and serves as a very acceptable, and refreshing representation of this wonderful style.
After sampling, we got a short “tour” of the brewery. Nothing fancy, we just spoke with the brewer on duty that day and asked about the various equipment and processes. Cindy grabbed some video so there’s a possibility of a video for YouTube, but we’ll see.
For the brewing buffs, here are some details. Saugatuck Brewing Company brews with a 10 barrel system, and we got a peek at their mash tun and brew kettle (pictured to the right). Their fermenters were lined up in an adjacent area of the brewing room and are double walled, temperature controlled via circulation of coolant.
As always I was jealous that I don’t have a warehouse sized garage in which to brew my own 10 barrel homebrews. Which reminds me of a cool activity that the Saugatuck Brewing Company participates in with avid home brewers and beer lovers. They invite you to Brew On Premises, and are booking for the Fall season as I write this. So if you’re within driving distance of Saugatuck and want to brew beer on some pro equipment, with experts, I suggest you get crackin’ and sign up! For a nominal fee they provide the ingredients, the equipment, and expertise, and you end up with about 11 gallons of your own beer to share with friends and family. You can design your own labels too. Click Here to visit the Lucky Stone Pub website for more information, and tell them you heard about them through Cryptobrewology.com!
I regret that we couldn’t spend more time at the Lucky Stone Pub enjoying the great food and beer, as well as the atmosphere, but Cindy and I did return later that evening for a few drinks and some great blues in the Bier Hall, à la Eric Tessmer and his 50+ year old Fender Strat. I’m surprised the thing didn’t ignite from friction, the way his hands flew across the fretboard! An excellent show. I snapped the pic to the right with my cell phone.
Lucky Stone Pub and the Saugatuck Brewing Company? Highly recommended. Stop by the Lucky Stone Pub website for more info, menus, entertainment and events.