Cedar Springs Brewing Company
I know what you’re thinking. One blog post in the Kalamazoo area then back on the road again. Yup. Sorry. I have some Kalamazoo ones I really need to get to, but it’s going to be a little while. I’m doing my best.
We took a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in October and my daughter decided then and there she was having her birthday in Traverse City. We gave her the option of a weekend at Great Wolf with just our family or a party with her friends, grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousin. She chose Great Wolf. J and I liked that choice because we love finding new places to eat in Traverse City and, in this case, along the way.
Our reservations at the water park were for Saturday and Sunday, but we decided to go up Friday and find a cheap hotel. That way we could do some stuff in Traverse City during the day before check-in and we would get maximum amount of time in the water park.
J got off work at noon and L got out of school at noon. We packed up the car and started driving. We hadn’t eaten lunch yet because I had a plan. A brewery along the way that has come highly recommended by several friends.
Cedar Springs Brewing Company is in downtown Cedar Springs. The town is pretty small and the restaurant in the main business district of town about a mile and a half from the 17 Mile Road Exit on US-131. The building, which is new construction, sits on the corner of Main Street (which is Northland Drive outside of the city limits) and East Maple Street. It replaced a building from the 1890’s that served Cedar Springs as a flour mill, a grocery store, and finally, an auto supply store.
We arrived in Cedar Springs just before 1:30 on a Friday afternoon. I spotted street parking in front of the building, so went up to the next corner and turned around so I could get in to the spot. We parked right in front of Coldbreak Brewing Equipment which is right next to the brewery.
The restaurant is set up in the style of a German beer hall. The two story building has no second story in the dining area…just large, vaulted ceilings. The bar is along the back of the dining space and is decorated with fermentation tanks on a faux balcony.
German flags from the owner’s private collection are displayed along the rafters.
The tables are kind of family style picnic tables…again, something I’m told is popular in Germany..I’ve never been, but there are some pub style tables around the edges of the space next to the windows that look out on to the street.
We were met by a host who grabbed a high chair and took us to one of the long picnic style tables near the door. He put the high chair on the end and the rest of us filled in around.
J found both a cider and a sangria on the drink menu. She went the sangria route.
I asked if there was a flight option. The server handed me a little sheet of paper and a pen to fill out the four blanks. They had a pretty large beer list…mostly of German style beers, to choose from.
I am not a huge German beer fan. I prefer ale’s over lagers, so I’m always hesitant to try places that focus so much on the German styles. Cedar Springs had enough of a selection to keep me comfortable, but also to push out of that comfort zone a little bit.
The first beer I went for was a German one. Kusterer Rauchbier is, as the name suggests, a rachbier. Simply, a rauchbier is a smoked beer. I like smoked beers, so I thought I’d give this one a try. This smoked lager is actually a collaboration with Rockford Brewing Company and I found it actually quite tasty. A little more smokey than lager-y which really worked for me.
The second beer on the flight was Blood Sweat & Tears. They call this American Pale Ale an “amped up” ale that is dry and crisp. I’d agree with the dry and crisp parts. Actually a very tasty pale ale.
Beer number three CSIPA. I like IPA’s so I had to order both that were on the menu. The CSIPA is an American IPA made with Cascade and Citra hops. I love Citra hops in this kinda of beer. The Cascades kind of mellowed out the citra, but it still had a little bit of those sweet fruity notes to it.
Last beer was the big one. Great Gig in the Sky is a big Imperial IPA made with five different kinds of hops. Yeah…this is the beer I would order if I was only drinking one, but I like the big in your face flavors from the Imperial’s. I’m not a subtle guy. I liked to be smacked in the face and this one does just that.
The beer was delicious, but it was actually the food as the reason most people recommended Cedar Springs Brewing to me. While they have a big Bavarian section they also do more traditional pub fare with sandwiches, salads, apps, and a few dinner options.
I chose the Lumbertown Burger. The menu calls it a custom grind, but doesn’t say what that grind is. The burger is topped with lettuce, tomato, pickle, Oma’s grilled red onion (I asked to be left off and served on a “classic burger roll.” For a dollar extra each, I added on Cheddar cheese and bacon. Instantly, the thing I loved about this burger was the meat. It was a really lose packed beef that crumbled under the weight of the toppings. The patty had that really delicious mix of just a little bit of grease and just a little bit of salt. The cheddar was melted into the beef which held the meat together a little bit. I pulled most of the toppings off leaving just the bacon which was a little bit thicker cut and very crispy.
The sandwich was served with Flannel Fries. These are bigger, wedge cut fries more like steak fries. There wasn’t a lot on the plate but the size of them makes that kind of deceiving. They were good for the kind of fries they are. The outside was a little crispy while the inside was soft and potato-y.
J ordered the Pub Pulled Pork. This sandwich consists of house smoked pork shoulder, Gouda, an apple cabbage slaw, and a classic Memphis style BBQ sauce. Like the burger, it’s served on a “classic burger roll.” The pulled pork was a pretty true to form Memphis pulled pork that was tender and juicy. It really didn’t need the sauce that was drizzled on top of the slaw. J seemed to really like the apple cabbage slaw calling it unique. I’m not sure she’s ever ordered a sandwich with it before.
Her sandwich also came with the Flannel Fries and, like mine, the plate looked sparse, but there was a lot of potato there.
We let L choose her own meal. She picked the kids Grilled Cheese. This is a simple sandwich. Two pieces of white bread with cheddar cheese between it. L has been such a picky eater lately and this meal was no exception. B actually ate more than she did then J and I helped finish it off. Her sandwich also came with the Flannel Fries but she didn’t eat much of them either. No worries as I finished them off.
Cedar Springs Brewing Company is one recommendation I’m glad I didn’t ignore. It’s sort of out of the way for us as a family to eat and I don’t really eat at breweries during work hours because what’s the point if I cant drink. Cedar Springs Brewing delivers on both delicious beers and a solid food menu. If you’re more into German food and beer, definitely hit this place up. Even if you’re not, you’ll find something you will love.