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Latitude 42 Brewing Company (Portage)

June 28, 2017

  • 7842 Portage Road
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 459-4242
  • Website
  • Menu

J and I go to a lot of breweries.  I like beer and the food is almost always amazing.  It’s just kind of craft brewery thing to put the same amount of love and creativity into the food as they do the beers.

We almost exclusively go to breweries that serve food because J doesn’t like beer as much as I do and we have two little ones who are with us 99% of the time.

We have no problem taking our kids to breweries, but we also realize, it’s a brewery and it doesn’t have to be kid friendly.  I’ve eaten lunch with a baby on my lap before and specifically ordered food off an adult menu that my kid(s) would eat because there is no kid menu and never (and never will) complain about it.  Beer is for adults so why should a brewery be expected to cater to kids.

With that being said, the ones that do cater to families always seem to be busy during off peak hours.  There are lot of people like me….mid to late 30’s with a little bit of disposable income and a family they love being around…who drink craft beer.  The 20-something college kids that are off drinking their Natty Light and trying to hook up aren’t really spending the $6/beer that craft breweries offer.

One of our favorite breweries to take the kids to has always been Latitude 42 in Portage.

From day one (and I think we were there on day 1….or really close to it), they have had a kid’s play area in the back corner.  We love going there with the grandparents.  Grandma or NaNa will take the kids to the play area while J and I sit at the bar waiting for a table.  It makes a 45 minute wait go by much, much quicker.

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Latitude 42 sits on the corner of Centre Street and Portage Road in Portage.  The building was new construction in 2013.  They built the restaurant and the adjoining production facility from the ground up with an opening in August of ’13.  We have eaten at Latitude 42 many times in the past four years and it seems like every trip, we find something we liked better than the trip before.

We have always sat inside whenever we stopped in to eat.  They have always had a small outdoor patio, but the inside was always so much more inviting.  There is a large rectangular shaped bar near the windows over looking the production kettles.  That bar has a combination of booths and pub tables spaced out between it and the windows.

When you walk in the door, there’s a large hostess area that also doubles as a merchandise store.  You can buy six packs of the beers they bottle as well as the usual clothing and glassware.  There’s a small waiting area here where my dad usually sits (he’s a Miller Lite guy) while most people just wait at or near the bar.

The back of the space has regular sized tables as well as the large group table that is more like a bar with chairs on either side.  There’s also a private party room that can be closed off if need be.

This trip we had something specific in mind.  We were looking to eat out on the patio.  So what makes this trip different?  Well, they just opened the new Hop Garden and that’s what drew us back.


The patio and Hop Garden entrance is off the back of the restaurant.  Seating on the patio is still done by a hostess and it is full service with food and drink.  The Hop Garden and all the available seating games are on a first serve basis.  No food is allowed in the garden, but you can go to the bar and get beer which has to be in plastic cups.  Making friends is encouraged in the shared seating areas around the fire pit…..


….and underneath the canopy’s.

There isn’t a lot of seating on the patio, but we stopped in on a Saturday afternoon for lunch.  The hostess put us at a table near the entrance to the Hop Garden and encouraged us to let the kids go play while we relaxed.  The tables and chairs outside are metal patio furniture and there is covering from the sun by the way of fabric panels strung from the building to metal poles.

We ordered our drinks first as we let the kids head off into the garden.  I ordered an IPA named Endless Summer.  The waitress suggested this after the Double IPA I asked for was no longer available.  The beer is an unfiltered IPA that’s pretty mild on the hoppiness scale.  Very drinkable, sessionable beer.

J did the L42 Hard Cider which is one of her favorite ciders.  It’s a pretty sweet cider….that I didn’t even get a taste of….that’s how much she likes it.

When the drinks came, we were ready to order.  We took care of that then went to join the kids in the Hop Garden while we waited for our food.

L went right away to the kids area in the back corner.  Just like the kids area inside, this outside one goes above and behind what any restaurant does for families.  There is a play structure that is set up like an outdoor kitchen with a grill built into it, a water and sand table (which fortunately are not filled with water or sand, but that’s the intention of them), and a “prep area” with a lot of play food from the Melissa and Doug line.  Next to that is a plastic Weber style kettle grill so the kids can pretend to cook their own food.  On the other side are a couple of small plastic picnic tables.  My kids and another little girl started playing “restaurant” while we were all waiting for food.  My son latched on to a bottle of toy hot sauce and walked around with it in his mouth pretty much the whole time we were there.  In addition to the tables, there are some small, plastic Adirondack chairs with a Bozo bucket game for the kids to play

There is a lot of entertainment for the adults.  There are two shuffleboard courts…..

…..a giant Connect Four game……

…a couple of cornhole boards

Two giant Jenga games and, of course, plenty of space to hang out and drink with friends under the cool Michigan summer night.

Our food came out a little over ten minutes after we ordered.  I had just went and sat back down at the table when the waitress came out with the tray of food.  I texted J to let her know….yeah, the Hop Garden is that big I had to text her to get her attention.

We keep finding more and more things at Latitude that we are just amazing.  I typically tend to stick with burgers and did so again this time.

I ordered the Brewhouse Burger.  All the burgers are fresh made with USDA Prime Angus and served on a brioche bun with the L42 logo stamped in with a hot iron.  This burger comes topped with Havarti, a local fried egg, carmelized onions, arugala, beer bacon, and a garlic aioli.  The burger meat on it’s on incredibly delicious, but the local, fresh fried egg cooked so it’s slightly runny just amplifies the flavor of the beef.  The Havarti is a welcome change from the typicaly Cheddar that comes on what is usually referred to as “Breakfast burger” and the beer bacon is thick and crunchy.  I took the house fries as my side and they’re quite delicious as they are. There are options for truffle or cajun fries, but the house fries are skin-on, battered fries with just a hint of salt on them.

J ordered the Smoked Mac & Cheese.  This pasta creation is cavatappi pasta mixed with a cheese sauce made from Cheddar, smoked Gouda, and Swiss cheeses then topped with breadcrumbs, Asiago cheese, and parsley.  Neither of us can remember if we’ve had this before but both of us agreed we won’t forget again.  The Mac and Cheese had a slightly smokey flavor from the Gouda and a crunchy, golden brown crust from the breadcrumbs.  The cheese sauce wasn’t very thick, but it covered the noodles and the flavor lingered long after the pasta was put away.  The pasta dish came with a biscuit and holy cow is this  not a typical buttermilk biscuits.  We actually knew that already because J ordered the Otto’s Crispy Fried Chicken on a previous visit.  This biscuit is coated in honey that is baked in to the bread.  You don’t need butter or anything to eat this unique taste of a classic southern buttermilk biscuit.

J also wanted some fries and she knew the kids would too so she got an order of Truffle Fries for the table.  This large serving starts with the same fries that I got with my meal, but they are covered in Asiago and white truffle oil.  I could have used more cheese, but these fries were still delicious.  All four of us ate a little bit of the “table fries” and sent the metal cone back to the kitchen empty.

We got both of the kids Grilled Cheese off the kids meal.  The grilled cheese is a little fancier than most kid’s grilled cheeses.  This one is served on an artisan bread which comes with a lot of crust.  As an adult who doesn’t mind eating the crust, I thought this sandwich was incredible for a simple grilled cheese.  Both of the kids did a really good job eating what they wanted to eat..which was the middle of it without the crusts.  B is at the age where he will still eat just about anything so that was no surprise.  L had to be coaxed a little into eating it although she said it was good…she just wanted to get back to playing.  We got both kids applesauce as their side.

We have been fans of Latitude 42 since almost the beginning, but it’s so far away.  Well, that’s about to change.  If you notice, I put “Portage” in parenthesis on the title of this blog post.  That’s because a second location is being built as we speak on West Main Street in Oshtemo.  I don’t know if they’ll have the amazing Hop Garden there, but they will have the food and the beer.

Our bill came out to just under $60 which is pretty typical for as much food as we got with a couple of craft drinks.  Latitude 42 was already a great spot for a night out in Portage, but this Hop Garden raises the stakes.  If you have kids, the play area for them is great.  If you don’t and just like hanging out with friends, there really isn’t many places in town that come even close to having an outdoor space like this.

Latitude 42 Brewing Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2017 5:57 pm

    Not sure if you’ve been to One Well? It’s on Portage Rd, a few miles up from Latitude42. Fantastic beer, the pizza is amazing, they have a lot of kid friendly finger food, and there is a kid’s play area in their expanded space. Hours are a little wonky, so you might want to check Yelp on their website when you plan to go.

    • SW Michigan Dining permalink*
      July 5, 2017 8:42 am

      I have been, but it was right after they opened. They didn’t have the kids area yet and the menu was pretty limited. Other parents have told us about the changes they’ve made and we’ve been meaning to go back. We will one of these days.

      https://swmichigandining.com/2015/04/14/one-well-brewing-company/

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