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Alebird Taphouse & Brewery

April 7, 2022

  • 2619 84th Street SW
  • Byron Center, MI 49315
  • (616) 583-8457
  • Website
  • Menu

Just another weekend looking for a place to skate.

Kalamazoo hosted the USA Hockey 14u Tier II Nationals last weekend at Wings West and Wings Event Center. It brought in a lot of people and a lot of money to the area but also used up all the available ice in the city. L was itching to skate somewhere but as we leave winter behind, a lot of ice rinks close up leaving us fewer choices.

L and I both slept in a little late Saturday morning but when she got up, she wanted to skate. I started looking for someone who had an open skate sometime on Saturday and I could only come up with two places. The Garden Ice Arena in Stevensville and Walker Ice and Fitness Center in Walker. Neither were really close and both had noon open skates.

We quickly got everyone out the door and headed towards Walker. There was really no reason why I chose to go north instead of west. Both were about an hour drive.

Since we rushed out of the house, no one ate lunch. The Walker Ice and Fitness Center actually had a concession stand open so when we got there, J grabbed some slushies and popcorn to keep B happy since he no longer wants to skate with us.

L and I skated for about 45 minutes. She’s still breaking in new skates and is dealing with some blisters. A sore on her heel opened up and we didn’t have a bandage to cover it so she decided to just be done for the day. She got a little bit of practice in since she didn’t have any ice time at Wings West this week.

While L was skating I started looking for places to eat. I texted a co-worker who lives in Walker for ideas. He gave me all his favorite breweries…which I really want to meet him at for a beer sometime, but none of them had food. Yeah, we could bring food in but I was looking for a place that wouldn’t take that much work since everyone was going to be pretty hungry.

On our way up US-131, I noticed a sign for a brewery in Byron Center. I assumed since they had a highway sign they also had food.

Alebird Taphouse and Brewery is on 84th Street in what I guess you could call downtown Byron Center. The restaurant is in a historic building that served as a hotel that supported the local railroad station. The building has been several restaurants over the years but became a brewery in 2019. The building underwent some pretty extension exterior restoration in 2018 and they added a patio area to what used to be a parking lot on the west side of the building.

The main dining room s on the first floor of the old hotel. The historicness of this building jumps out at you as soon as you walk in the door. The restaurant has some incredible hardwood floors, exposed ceiling beams and bare lightbulbs set the mood.

There’s a pretty large u-shaped bar with some 80’s looking leather high backed bar stools. Alebird has a lot of their own beer on tap but they also have some guest taps from some other local and not so local breweries.

I was not in flight mood and just wanted a simple, easy drinking, tasty beer. I chose the To Shreds, You Say? IPA. This is a pretty standard American IPA that just really hit the spot.

I didn’t look at the tap list ahead of time so I was pretty happy to see a couple sours on the menu for J. She picked Second Breakfast. This beer is Fruited Sour finished with blackberries and maple syrup.

I picked Alebird because they have a pretty big, robust menu that also included a kids’ menu.

My choice for lunch was the Cheese Head Burger. The burger they claim is a “Michigan Craft Beef” burger topped with fried cheese curds, bacon, and Railbird Pale Ale beer cheese. The beer cheese on this burger was the real standout. I could have drank it like a beer. I barley noticed the cheese curds because they were smothered in a pile of crispy bacon and that gooey cheese. The sandwich comes on a brioche bun with chips but I upgraded to the fries. The fries were pretty unique. They were almost more chip like. Long and skinny but not fried to the point of total crispiness.

J ordered the That’s My Jam. This sandwich is a grown up grilled cheese. It starts with sourdough bread stuffed with cheddar and smoked gouda plus a jalapeno tomato jam and fresh basil. J’s always kind of iffy on spicy and usually takes jalapenos off when she can so this was a bold choice but I think it paid off. She didn’t leave any of her sandwich on the plate. She opted to upgrade her chips to fries as well.

We started the kids with a Beecher’s Authentic Pretzel from the appetizer menu. Both kids love soft pretzels and I knew they were both pretty hungry. The pretzel is an Authentic Bavarian pretzel that is made by Beecher’s Handcrafted Pretzels located just up Burlingame Road in Wyoming. The pretzel comes with Honey Mustard but beer cheese can be added. The kids don’t ever use either so I didn’t add the beer cheese. I should have though…for our fries. J and I both used the left over Honey Mustard to dip our fries in. The pretzel didn’t really need anything to dip it in though. It was soft and salty…the way a good pretzel should be.

The kids’ menu is really the reason I picked Alebird. We’re at the point we can typically find things on the regular menu for the kids if we have to but they still eat better when things are simplified.

L was very happy to see Kraft Mac & Cheese on the menu. She won’t eat the fancy stuff. She likes the cheap, yellow, boxed Mac & Cheese and if it’s something she’ll eat at a restaurant, I’m happy to buy it for her. She had the option to upgrade to fries as well but stuck with the chips. They were just some standard kettle chips.

B was very excited to order his own meal and kept talking over everyone until he was sure the waitress got it. He ordered the Grilled Cheese. The simple sandwich is half a sandwich with sourdough bread and American cheese. He also declined the fries but he doesn’t really like fries anyway. He kept taking my fries though and calling them chips so he probably would have eaten the fries here.

Our bill for lunch with two beers and an appetizer was right around $60

Despite rushing out the house last minute, we had a pretty successful day. We got some ice skating in then had a delicious lunch at Alebird Taphouse. I hadn’t really heard much about this brewery before seeing the sign on the highway but I’m pretty glad I did. Solid beer, solid food, and a really cool atmosphere.

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