Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Harmony Brewing Co. - GR's Newest Brewery

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Grand Rapids added to it's respectable list of breweries last week when Harmony Brewing Company opened in East Town on Lake Drive joining an already stellar brewing community. I made my first visit to Harmony yesterday and enjoyed good beer, pizza, and service.

We'll start with the beer. Harmony opened a week ago with five beers on tap, and two of those five beers had already been tapped out by the time I visited yesterday with a fellow beer guy, Adam. Nonetheless, we enjoyed $1 off happy hour specials on pints of the Black Squirrel, a smokey peated porter; the Brownson Pinchot, an American Brown; and the Golden Lion Tamarin, a mild pale ale. 
Harmony Brewing Co. Beer Board
  • Black Squirrel: I decided to go heavy to lite and therefore started out with the smokey peated porter. The Black Squirrel has a nice full body (a must for me), but they definitely ain't lyin' when they say it is smokey and peaty. Unfortunately, it was a tad too smokey for both Adam and I, but the full bodied finish and flavor gives me hope for future porters and stouts, so as the Honey Porter that the brewers mentioned is currently in the works.
  • Brownson Pinchot: The best of the three that we tried. This American brown ale had a nice smooth finish and flavors of nuts, caramel, and a hint of raisins. The only criticism we had was that the coloring was a bit dark for a brown ale, but we aren't going to gripe too much about aesthetics when it tastes good.
  • Golden Lion Tamarin: Good quality mild pale ale. Good flavor, balance, color, and hops finish.

Food: I'm a fan of artisan and coal fired pizza's, so Harmony's menu is right up my alley. They list a half dozen pizzas on the menu plus the option to build your own. We split a Crispy Pig pizza with prosciutto, ham, and cheeses which paired well with the Golden Lion and surprising well with the Brownson Pinchot.  

The Doctor is "Smitten with the Mitten" & the Browson Pinchot
Atmosphere: Harmony is located in a former liquor store, so it's not the most spacious place. There are only about six stools at the bar which is a little small for my taste - when visiting breweries, I prefer to sit up at the bar to chat with fellow beer drinkers and the bartender about beer. There are three booths across from the bar, a handful of tables in the main room, and additional seating in a small dining room in the back. 

Service: I was most impressed with the service at Harmony and it is one the primary reasons I'm looking forward to going back. Our waitress, Natasha, was quick to get us fresh beers, take away empties, and was courteous to ask us if we wanted to order another beer just before happy hour ended (we did). We also chatted with the general manager, J.P, and the co-owners and brewers Barry and Jackson VanDyke who discussed the beers on tap and in the works along with coming back at a less busy time to check out the brewery and chat about beer.   

And Michigan Beer Month continues here at Michigan Expats. I hope to post an update tomorrow, and am looking forward to the Traverse City Winter Microbrew and Music Festival this Saturday as well as Grand Rapids Beer Week and the Michigan Winter Beer Festival February 25th. And of course, you can get more Michigan beer updates by following us on Twitter @MichiganExpats

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