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The Barn Tavern
207 South Bridge Street
Grand Ledge, Michigan
(517) 622-8686
website
Visited on August 25, 2012

Update

Lansing Beer Week rolled by last week and The Barn was out in full force. It had six beers on tap and a special menu, so of course I had to check it out.

Honestly, I was more impressed the second time around than the first. They seem to have their brewing recipes down at this point. I really enjoyed their IPA and heavy scotch ale. But the best was their blonde, which usually isn’t my style of beer. It’s made with a ton of honey malt and local Michigan honey. Great flavors all throughout.

And the food was better than the first time. Pears sauteed in their blonde sat on top of toasted points and homemade turkey salad. It wasn’t five-star fare by any means, but I appreciated the effort and thought it was a nice dinner.

Especially for $4.

I’ve bumped up their food and beer score by two points each, and their overall feeling by one point. That puts them at a new 86 overall.

Probably now my favorite brewpub in the Lansing area.

Original Review

When I heard that the next town over’s popular local hangout for beer enthusiasts began brewing their own beer, of course I had to check it out. Even if you’re only doing 15 gallons at a time, it still counts! Maybe even more so, since coming to the bar is the only way to get to try the goods, and in the end, brewing is supposed to be a community activity.

The Barn Tavern in Grand Ledge is right smack dab in the middle of historical downtown. The cliffs overlooking the river nearby are gorgeous, and you’d never know about the economic downturn just 10 minutes away in Lansing. The interior does indeed speak to a barn. Most everything is made of wood: the floors, the ceilings, the bar, the tables, you name it. Old farming equipment like wagons and scythes adorn the ceilings and walls, along with the scattered random artifacts typical of a good local bar. This is a watering hole for real people in a small town. Everyone is nice, friendly and out for a good time. Perhaps they could use a window, but besides that, I very much enjoy the feel.

They had three beers when I arrived – a brown, a stout and a “test subject 2.0”, which I was told was a Scottish ale. The Scottish was extremely hazy and nearly dark brown in appearance. It was not overly sweet, was well balanced, and overall was a pretty decent choice. The brown was rather rudimentary, and again spoke loudly of homebrew. But the stout – the stout was very well done. I could have drank about a half gallon. Pretty impressive for such a small setup.

The menu is rather limited, but then again, it is a bar first and a place for food second. A long line of burgers is joined by a long line of pop-it-in-the-fryer-or-oven pre-made options including all of the usual suspects. But among the burgers are options not usually found. Patties that are combinations of ground beef and sausage, for example. I opted for a Chicago-style sandwich, featuring a patty mixed of sausage and beef along with cheese and coleslaw on a pretzel bun. The concept is a home run, but the execution left a little to be desired. I thought the patty was a bit over done – though perhaps the consistency is just what you get from using sausage. The pretzel bun seemed a bit stale and nobody bothered to melt the cheese on top. Not the end of the world, but if the patty was juicier and they threw the cheese and bun on top of it on the flat-grill (to soak up the goodness), and covered it all to steam for a bit, it would improve the sandwich mightily.

The service was exceptional. The waitresses obviously care and know most of the peeole at the bar. It’s really a cozy and comfortable place to sit for a bit.

Location: 19
Food: 14
Beer: 16
Service: 20
Overall: 17
Total: 86

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