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Steinspark Biergarten and Food Court

November 1, 2022

  • 2603 Milham Avenue
  • Portage, MI49002
  • (269) 568-0167
  • Website
  • Menu

This fall has been pretty warm which makes for some perfect days to sit outside and drink a beer.

I’ve mentioned in several blogs this summer that we’ve spent most Saturday nights at Wings West ice skating. Fall Saturday nights haven’t been much different.

A couple of weeks ago, the kids were asking to go to open skate. J and I wanted a drink and some food before heading to the rink. There’s a German Biergarten that just opened not too long ago that we both wanted to check out.

Steinspark Biergarten and Food Court is such a unique place in the Kalamazoo area. The totally outdoor beer garden is on Milham Avenue just to the east of Portage Road. It’s on the part of Milham Avenue you would turn on to go to the Air Zoo’s East Campus. It’s really just a spot in the woods with a parking lot and a few buildings erected. There was literally nothing but trees here before.

Our first task was finding a table. We got to Steinspark about 4:00. They open at 3:00 on Saturday’s and it was already packed. There are a number of tables on a cement pad in the Biergarten section of the property. The kids noticed a table with a few empty glasses on it but no one was sitting there so we grabbed that and then went about getting our food and drink.

I wanted to get the kids something to eat first so they wouldn’t get too restless. Steinspark has it’s own kitchen with German food plus they invite food trucks in to set up in the “food court” area of the property.

I started with the on-site kitchen because my kids love Bavarian Pretzels. I grabbed three of those and some cheese and headed back to the table so the kids could dig in. The pretzels were huge, warm, and buttery. The kids were being surprisingly good and not complaining too much about being drug out to a restaurant….something they don’t really like doing anymore…and the pretzels kept them happy while J and I got drinks.

I also got an order of Loaded Pomme Frites from the kitchen. You can get the fries with either a mushroom cream sauce or a beer cheese sauce. I went with the beer cheese. There’s not a lot in the order but I offered them up to the table as well. J was the only one who took me up on it. The fresh cut fries were covered with a thick, delicious cheese sauce. When B ran out of cheese for his pretzel he just dipped it in the leftover sauce from the fries.

I was going to order a sandwich from the kitchen as well but they didn’t have the one I wanted. The menu had a Cordon Bleu Burger which was a Schnitzel but they said they didn’t have that one. They did have a Schnitzel burger but it had saurkraut on it, so….no thanks.

The rest of the food we got from Blackhawk On the Move food truck. (I wrote a separate blog post about them instead of just including it all here). A food truck from Pizza Katerina was also advertised but they didn’t show up when we were there which was kind of a disappointment. The kids don’t really eat BBQ so they didn’t want anything from Blackhawk. A pizza truck would have been good to get them something else, but again, neither kid complained about not having enough to eat.

The beer situation was slightly disappointing because they had an Oktoberfest celebration the night before we were there. There wasn’t much left on draft. Just Bell’s Two Hearted and Bell’s Oktoberfest. They did have a couple of German bottles I believe but the way the beer menu was written was kind of confusing.

There is one line for beer which made getting drinks a little slow. J got in line while I was dealing with food. The beer bar is in the middle of the biergarten and it’s pretty small. They probably need to expand this quite a bit so you’re not waiting in line all night to get drinks

Since there wasn’t a lot of choice, I got a large Bell’s Oktoberfest. I always like this beer and really enjoyed it on this awesome fall evening but the point of a German Biergarten is to drink German beers, right? The beer comes in a giant glass stein so that part screams German beer at least.

J doesn’t really drink the kind of beer Steinspark offers. There are no sours or fruit beers. No ciders or meads. They do have some cocktail options and she got a lime agave margarita in a can from Southern Tier Distilling Company.

The cost of our trip to Steinspark is pretty hard to add up because we had to pay at three different places for food and beer. That’s not a complain. I love the idea and the casualness of the Biergarten.

Steinspark Biergarten and Food Court is such a cool place. It’s kind of tucked away in a part of Portage that you don’t go very often which helps with the vibe. They’ve only been open a few months (and are actually closed for the winter now) so there will be some growing pains. There’s not really much room to expand so I expect this place will always be pretty packed. The best thing about Steinspark is the way they’ve set it up. It’s not really a restaurant. It’s not really a bar. I’ve never been to Germany but when I picture a beer garden, this is what I picture. If they can improve the beer selection a little and make it a little quicker to get a drink, this place is such a great place to hang out with a group and enjoy the evening.

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