Dark Horse Brewing Company
Odd day off. Both J and I had this random Tuesday off. Both of us worked on Sunday. I asked for today off so I could keep my days off together. J was just told she had today off after working two days this week because they are short staffed due to vacations at her job and Tuesday was the day they could afford to lose her this week.
J’s mom was also in town so we decided we needed to get out of the house. We were a little scared of the weather being either rainy or uncomfortably humid, but we talked ourselves in to taking another trip to Binder Park Zoo. L loves the giraffes and the slide in the Children’s Zoo, and since we’re members, it’s free for the three of us, so we only had to pay for NaNa to get in.
The weather cooperated and we spent a couple hours walking around the zoo. As we were walking out, J asked if I wanted to go to Dark Horse. It’s been several years since we had been there and her mom never has. She has also been watching Dark Horse Nation on History and wanted to check out the brewery for herself.
Dark Horse Brewing Company is on Kalamazoo Street just south of Downtown Marshall. It’s a little complex of buildings that include the brewery, taproom, a general store, and a bike shop. The taproom is a long, building on the south side of the parking lot. It’s been almost five years since we’ve been there. We stopped in one a trip from Lansing to Kalamazoo when we were moving and from what we remember, it looks like a lot has changed in those five years.
The taproom strikes you as awesome as soon as you walk in the door. The most striking feature is all the mugs hanging from the ceiling and walls. The mug club at Dark Horse is actually pretty awesome. You only have to pay once for membership once. They assign you a mug, hang it on an open hook and then you grab it every time you come in. The mugs are all a little bigger than a pint, so you actually get a little more when you fill your mug.
The four of us headed to an open table in the first dining room. As far as I remember, the taproom used to be only the size of what I’m calling the “first dining room.” There looks to be a couple of expansions farther back from the door and even down a level.
I grabbed a tap list off the table next to us and a waitress came over with food menus. It was a little disappointing that there was nothing really special on tap. Everything they had was something they bottle.
That said, they did have a couple special beers on tap. They had two of the three Crooked Tree variations which I have not had yet this year. I ordered the variation with Cascade hops which they call Edacsac Dekoorc Eert (that would be Crooked Tree Cascade backwards). My mother-in-law ordered the same thing and J went with one of her favorite beers, the Raspberry Ale.
When she brought drinks back, we were ready to order. Dark Horse has a really great menu of sandwiches, subs, pizzas, and calzones.
There were a lot of pizzas coming out around us and they all looked really, really good. I was really leaning towards a pizza, but I found a sub that sounded really good.
I ordered the Blue Flame Toasted Sub. This sandwich is made with spent grain French bread that is stuffed with grilled chicken, BBQ sauce, spinach, jalapenos, crushed red pepper, mozzarella, and Gorgonzola. As amazing as this sandwich sounds..yeah, it really is. Also, it’s spicy. There was so much melty cheesy goodness on this sandwich it sort of hid the rest of the ingredients so I never really knew what I was biting in to until I put it in mouth. The heat just kept coming out of nowhere and I loved every bite of it.
J ordered the sandwich called Oh Yeah! The Ciabatta roll is stacked with Bourbon Pepper Turkey, bacon, guacamole, and Gorgonzola. The crispy ciabatta roll made this sandwich which J said was delicious. She wanted to take half home for lunch tomorrow, but that was really hard to do. It’s the type of sandwich she just wanted to keep eating.
J’s mom ordered a similar sandwich to the Oh Yeah! called the Oh No! This sandwich is also served on a ciabatta roll with Bourbon Pepper Turkey, bacon, and guacamole. After that, the sandwiches differ quite a bit. The Oh No! has pepper flake and pepper jack cheese with a jalapeno relish. She liked the sandwich and said it was quite spicy, but still very eatable. Like J, she brought half of it home with the intention of eating for lunch later.
All three sandwiches came with Ruffles potato chips on the side while J and her mom also got a spicy slaw. Both liked that it was a vinegar slaw, but it was spicy. That didn’t seem to bother J’s mom, but it was a little too spicy for J. She ate a few bites and wanted to eat more because she said it had a good flavor, she just couldn’t handle the heat.
There’s no kid’s menu at Dark Horse, so we ordered off the “Snacks” section for L. We got her a half order of the Cheesy Garlic Bread. The bread is French bread that is covered with garlic butter and mozzarella cheese then toasted. It’s served with marinara for dipping. L ate probably two or three pieces before getting distracted and wanting to go see the fishies (there’s a really cool fish tank and a fish tank table near the bar). J and I didn’t let the bread go to waste. We both picked up a few pieces.
Our bill was right around $51. J took care of the tab while L and I walked across the parking lot to the General Store so I could pick up a pint glass.
I love Dark Horse Brewing. I loved them the first time we ate there five years ago before I got in to craft beer and I love them now after I’ve been drinking their many wonderful beers for several years. I’ve been wanting to get back to the taproom for some time, but it seems just a little too far to drive for just lunch, but it worked out great today with us already being at the zoo. Hopefully we can make it work again soon.