In our brewpub travels, Jeff and I have long since learned to trust our brewer friends on where to go. So, when we were about to head to the western side of the state, we solicited advice on that great magic board known as the Facebook. Sure enough, one of our pals suggested skipping XYZ (I’ll never tell) brewpub in favor of Odd Side Ales, located in Grand Haven. It was a touch out of our way, but we made it work.
It took us a minute, even with my Smart Phone—you should SEE what MY phone can do!!!!—to find the place. For future reference, it is in a cute little shopping center (think: Kerrytownish) in the downtown area of Grand Haven. The brewpub is charming, with lots of dark wood with cool grains under glass accents. (Seriously, there are grain patterns under glass…really neat). There were board games to play, but sadly no Roll a Role (my all time favorite bar game, and one that Jeff refused to play. I would have to take people to the Corner and then coerce them into playing. And then one day, the game disappeared. And it was sad) and plenty of good beer to drink. Here are my favorites:
Derelict: This was a pineapple IPA which is one of those things that, in my opinion, could have gone horribly, horribly wrong. I like those little cans of pineapple juice that my mom used to put in my lunch, but I’m not a huge fan. Happily, this beer came out nice…good balance between citrusy hops and the pineapple.
Hoppy Peppercorn pale ale: The nose was all pepper and heavenly. Nicely balanced between hops and peppercorn. This might be a good beer to try if you are interested in pepper beers but haven’t had many (or any) previously. Your gateway pepper, if you will.
Cherry Baby: This Belgian wheat was brewed with Michigan cherries. Definitely more cherries than wheat and would make a lovely dessert beer.
Peanut Butter Cup Stout: This was far and away my favorite beer of the day (next to the peppercorn pale ale). Again, this is a beer that could have been done very poorly but came out very well. There was more peanut butter than chocolate which was great for me because I like peanut butter more than chocolate. Not too heavy, even for a hot August day, with a nice peanut finish.
I should also mention that our bartender was awesome (and of course I forget to write down her name). She had attended U of M, so she was familiar with Ann Arbor and AnnArbor.com. So, yay!
The brewpub is about 16 months old and seems to be willing to experiment, which I find very admirable. A quick peek at the website shows that some of the beers currently on tap differ from the ones we had less than a month ago. This willingness to experiment and try different flavors has served many a brewpub well and I trust it will do the same for Odd Side. So next time you’re traveling, take a clue from your brewer friends and consider making a “side” trip that might seem “odd” but will end up being awesome. (See what I did there? Masterful.)