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New Holland Brewing (Battle Creek)

April 3, 2023

  • 64 W. Michigan Avenue
  • Battle Creek, MI 49017
  • (269) 
  • Website
  • Menu

How about a brewery opening on J’s birthday? That just works out well.

J was off on Friday because of Spring Break. I was off on Friday because I took a vacation day. The kids do a theater camp at the Civic Auditorium every year and on Friday, they perform the show they learned that week. I can’t get off work in time to get there so I just take a vacation day. It works well when it’s around J’s birthday. Then she and I can go to lunch and do things without the kids.

Even though it’s her birthday, J asks me one day last week, “Where are we going for lunch?” I told her wherever she wanted. She didn’t really commit to anywhere so I gave her some newer places that have opened that we haven’t been to. When she saw New Holland on that list, she committed to that without hesitation.

New Holland Brewing officially opened their Battle Creek pub on Friday. The building is a former JC Penny department store on the corner of Michigan Avenue and McCamly Street in downtown Battle Creek. We ended up parking at the nearby Jackson Street Parking ramp about half a block away. The good thing with the city owned lots is that you get two hours of free parking during the day.

We weren’t able to make reservations so I was a little worried about getting a table. All the reservations were full for the day when I looked Thursday night so we made it a point to get that right around the 11:00 opening hoping we could at least get a couple seats at the bar if nothing else.

When you walk in to the restaurant from the Michigan Avenue entrance, you walk right in to a company store first. There is a large room with clothing, glassware, and of course, all of New Holland’s bottled spirits, beers, and seltzers.

There is also a cooler along the interior wall with cold beer and seltzer. Before we left, J wanted to try their bourbon barrel aged seltzers but didn’t want to commit to a whole 12 pack. She grabbed four individual cans then we added on a couple small bottles of bourbon as well.

The host stand is hard to miss. It’s a large counter that serves as both checkout for the retail side and check in for the restaurant. We told the hostess we didn’t have a reservation and she looked at her tablet. The restaurant was still pretty empty when we got there but they had reservations booked all day so they couldn’t give those tables away.

She asked if we would mind sitting in the bar area which is where we’d actually rather be anyway. She took us to a pub table right inside the door. This area have several of those pub tables alongside the actual bar. We would have been ok sitting at the bar if that’s what we needed to do.

The actual dining room is on the other side of a long walkway that goes from the front of the retail area all the way back to the soon to open beer garden. This area is sectioned off with walls between the spaces and there are sliding walls that can be moved to close the space off for a private party.

The first thing we needed to do was decide on drinks. There are monitors all around the space with the draft list posted and monitors with cocktails too. If that’s too hard to read, there are QR codes on the table which pull up the menus. We both had a hard time deciding between beer and cocktails. I always want to get a beer at a brewery but New Holland makes a killer bourbon as well.

I did eventually decide on the beer. I got a Dragon’s Milk variant. Tales of Gold. This beer is a golden ale aged for a month in bourbon barrels. I’m not sure why I chose this one. I don’t always like golden ales or barrel aged ales, but this was good…as is most of the Dragon’s Milk line. I only did one beer because we still had a lot of stops this afternoon including another brewery.

J went the cocktail route ordering the Violet Beauregarde. This drink is the Triple berry-infused Lake Life Vodka with lychee puree, lime juice and soda. She was going back and forth between that and the mule but this one won and I don’t think she regretted that decision.

We started out with something we usually get for the kids and never get to eat. Pretzels and Beer cheese. The appetizer is two long soft pretzel sticks served with a spreadable beer cheese and mustard on the side. The pretzels came out pretty quickly after ordering and you could see the steam coming off of them. The beer cheese had to be spread on with a knife. It wasn’t one that you could dip the pretzels in but it was worth the effort to do so.

The menu has a lot of things that really jumped out at me. I had a hard time deciding between a couple of sandwiches but when back to what I always do. I ordered the Double Cheeesburger. This sandwich is two 4oz. beef patties topped with Cheddar cheese (or provolone or Swiss) lettuce, tomato, dill pickle, on a brioche bun. For $3 more, I added a couple slice of bacon. This sandwich is what a burger should be. It’s a little greasy, a little juicy, very meaty, and super tasty. The bacon was actually a great addition as they put two thick, crispy slices of bacon on the sandwich that hung out over the sides. The burger came with a side of fries. They were thin restaurant style fries with a salt and pepper seasoning on them. I used the leftover mustard we got with the pretzel to dip them in but if I didn’t have that, they would have been fine on their own.

J saw several things on the menu as well but saw her favorite combination in a salad and ordered that.

The Strawberry Salad is a big plate of mixed greens, fresh arugula, fresh strawberries, goat cheese, candied pecans topped with a Tangerine Space Machine citrus vinaigrette. The combination of strawberries, goat cheese, and nuts is J’s favorite salad combination and something you can only seem to find in the spring and summer. She was actually kind of excited to see it on the menu and made no hesitation when it came to ordering.

The bill for lunch for the two of us, with two drinks and an appetizer, was right around $65.

We’ve always loved our stops at New Holland’s Brew Pubs. We have been to the original Holland location more than once (blogs here and here) and went to the Grand Rapids brew pub not long after it opened.

This Battle Creek location will hopefully do great things for downtown Battle Creek. It was a sad day when Arcadia Ales moved out but bringing back a full service restaurant and brew pub to go alongside the other great downtown restaurants and breweries should be a win for Battle Creek.

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