190 5th St
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Visited on September 17, 2010
I greatly enjoyed my brief visit to The Livery a couple of summers ago. I was on the way to Chicago for a massive craft beer day and concert, and thought I’d drop by this place on the way. The beer was very, very good. I bent to beer pressure and bought to growlers. My only issue was that not every beer on the board was available for take-home.
I’ve seen some pretty old looking buildings that have been rejuvenated into brewpubs, but this one takes the cake. It’s a pretty bland-looking, simple, brick square building without much of anything to indicate the wonderfulness inside. Going in the front door, stairs lead down to the pub immediately to the right. A small bar is accompanied by several tables, but it has a surprisingly small seating area in general. A window for ordering food sits across the room from the bar. I didn’t notice any televisions, but when with the right company, who needs them? In all, I like the corner bar/hometown feel, but it could use a few more bells and whistles to make it an elite spot.
The food menu is pretty limited but is also pretty delicious. A list of pub appetizers, sandwiches, soups, and the like adorns the wall next to the ordering window. I chose the meatball sub because they make their own meatballs, and I was not disappointed. Three giant, juicy and flavorful meatballs join a simple marinara sauce and hoagie bun. I wish one side of the bun was connected to make eating it hot dog-style possible, but I didn’t have any trouble eating it in the end. I also had a chicken curry soup that was very, very good.
The beer is absolutely outstanding. They featured at least 10 options including a hand-drawn barrel beer and a nitro tap. I had a sampler of six self-chosen, five-ounce samples. Though the sampler is a bit pricey at $14, it was well worth the money. I have no complaints. I can only say that every single beer I had blew me away. My favorite was probably the Karhu IPA, though the Oktoberfest and Red Canoe Irish Lager were equally delicious. Throw in a decent American IPA and a perfect nitro stout, and you have a happy drinker.
The service was great. I ordered food in the back and just left my card back there. After I was done with my sampler, I just walked back, told him what beer I had ordered, and he trusted me to pay for it. I like some trust in the world.