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Elk Brewing North

December 6, 2017

  • 400 Dodge Street
  • Comstock Park, MI 49321
  • (616) 214-8172
  • Website
  • Menu

I love the way Founders Brewing does their big ticket beer releases.  Buy tickets online. Show up a few weeks later to pick up your bottles.  That always gives a reason to load the family up and head to Grand Rapids for an afternoon.  I get my beer.  We get a trip out of the house to someplace new.

We picked up my two bottles of Canadian Breakfast Stout but had no intention of staying for lunch.  The taproom was packed with a line out the door just to get a table before noon.  I had a couple of other ideas for lunch but it turns out, some places that are open for lunch during the week aren’t open for lunch on Saturday.

I was actually kind of stumped once my first idea fell through.  J asked if there were any breweries that we haven’t been to.  There, of course, are, but the ones I initially thought of don’t have food the kids would eat and I was even unsure if there was anything J would eat.

As we were driving back down Division, I thought of Elk Brewing.  I asked J to look up to see if they had food.  She said they did at their Comstock Park location.  I didn’t even know they had a Comstock Park location, but they had food and a kids menu so I pointed the car that way.  

Elk Brewing North is near Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park just north of Grand Rapids proper.  It’s on Dodge Street which is a side street off of West River Drive near the US-131 interchange. You can see the large metal building as you get off the highway despite it being tucked behind a few other businesses that front West River.

The building looks pretty large from the outside but a lot of that space is the production facility.  There’s a small parking lot off Wakefield Avenue which leads to a great four seasons patio and the small tap room at the front of the building.

We were met by a hostess who took us to a table in the indoor portion of the tap room.  There was a beer memorabilia show being held in the patio part.  The tap room’s centerpiece is the large bar near the back of the space.  There are tables spread throughout the remaining space and, to my delight, there were several families enjoying lunch so we weren’t the only ones to drag our kids to yet another brewery.

The space is kind of a typical brewery tap room.  Elk opened this facility in fall of 2016 and it still feels kind of new.  The floor, tables, and chairs have a shine to them in a room with dark paint that’s lit with lights hanging from the ceiling and track lighting.  It’s a comfy space and one we didn’t feel out of place bringing the kids too.  It was just loud enough that no one was bothered by them watching cell phones and the kids menu doubles as a coloring activity so even before we had to distract them with Youtube, they were able to keep themselves entertained.

I’ve had a few of Elk’s beers in the past but not many.  They only have a couple that they bottle for distribution in the area so I was really excited to try as many as possible.  They list the tap list for the day on individual chalkboards that hang above the bar.  There were 15 beers and five ciders.  The ciders are from other local businesses.  Elk doesn’t make their own.

The best way to get as many different beers in me as possible was a flight.  I picked five beers off the wall and it was brought out on a small board with the name of the beer written in marker next to each glass.

I decided to start with the beer I didn’t really think I would like but it turned out to be really good and probably the most interesting beer on the list.

PB & J’Ale’y is a blonde ale flavored with grape juice and peanut butter.  The first thing you notice is the smell.  It smells like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  This beer was surprisingly good with a little burnt peanut flavor but a little bit of sweetness as well.  This is a really interesting beer with a lot going on but it’s quite tasty and we considered buying a howler.

The second beer I went after was one of the IPA’s on the board.  The Alpha O.G. is a middle of the road American IPA with a huge hop flavor.

The third beer I picked up was the Brewtus Coffee Porter.  This dark beer drinks really smooth with the bitterness from the coffee shining through.  Solid beer…especially if you like the taste of black coffee.

Beer number four was the Peanut Butter Porter.  Unlike the PB & J’Ale’y, this one did not have a huge peanut taste or smell.  It was another smooth drinking beer with a slight peanut-y taste.  It’s an easy drinking porter with just a hint of the roasted peanut flavor on the finish.

My last beer was the Hopanero IPA.  I didn’t know if this one was going to blow out my taste buds so I saved it to last.  The Hopanero IPA is an American IPA brewed with Habanero.  The beer has a slight chili taste on the finish that lingers a little bit but isn’t the palate destroying hot that some chili IPA’s can be.

J had considered doing a cider flight, but noticed her favorite cider as one of the options so she just did a pint.  She picked the Totally Roasted from Vander Mill which she has had and enjoyed several times including at Vander Mill’s tap room just outside of downtown Grand Rapids.

One of the big reasons we picked Elk Brewing North was because of their kids menu.   Dining out hasn’t been fun lately with our kids.  They’re both kind of going through a “I don’t want to eat” phase.  The big one starts it and the little one just kind of copies.  The one thing they both usually eat is grilled cheese and, luckily for us, that was one of the options on the menu.

The grilled cheese is a deliciously buttery grilled cheese.  The artisan bread was perfectly toasted with the cheddar cheese oozing out of the sides.  The kids each ate about half of the sandwich as well as a few of the Elk Fries that came with them.  J and I really liked the sandwich but kids are kids and they don’t yet appreciate the difference between a good grilled cheese and a just ok one.  This is a good one.

The menu at Elk Brewing North is a lot like the menus at a lot of breweries.  It’s pub food, but it’s so much better than typical pub food.

J ordered the Pulled Pork sandwich.  The pork shoulder for this sandwich is braised, not smoked.  It’s soaked in a spicy BBQ sauce and topped with pickles and slaw.  The sandwich is served on a kaiser roll and served alongside chips or you can upgrade to the Elk fries.   J really liked this sandwich.  She always prefers her pulled pork to be swimming in sauce so the cooking method isn’t as important to her as it is to me.  This sauce was a thin, spicy vinegar sauce that clung to the tender, juicy pork.

I ordered the Breakfast Burger because, of course I did.  The sandwich is a choice of an all beef Angus patty or black bean patty, but you have the option to upgrade to an Elk patty for $5.  I stuck with the beef which is topped with bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg.  It’s served on a kaiser roll alongside lettuce, pickle, and onion.  The burger was a little further done than I would have liked it, but the fried egg was slightly runny which added some flavor and moisture back in to the sandwich.  The bacon was nice and crispy and the cheddar cheese clung to each bite.  I also upgraded to the Elk Fries which are skin-on restaurant fries tossed in a house seasoning which tasted like it had a little lemon pepper and garlic salt in it.  They were super delicious and J and I picked the extras of the kids’ plates just to get a few more.

Elk Brewing North wasn’t even on our radar when we left for Grand Rapids.  We found it kind of by accident and it was a happy accident. It was a little out of our way being on the north side of town, but it was worth the ten minute drive out to Comstock Park.

Elk Brewing North Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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