Midtown Brewing Company
402 S Washington Sq, Lansing, MI
Visited July 3, 2017
Formerly called Michigan Brewing Company, this small Lansing brewery managed to survive its parent company somehow going bankrupt despite making Kid Rock’s beer. I assume they’ve got a decent amount of brewing equipment on-site and it was easy to transition.
In any case, the review pretty much still stands. The beer is just about the same – not terrible but not great. The streawberry wheat was surprisingly tasty, perfect for a sunny summer day. And they’re one of the few spots in town that have an outdoor patio that welcomes dogs.
In a town mostly devoid of good breweries, it’s a decent option.
Now that we’ve sort of got the baselines down for what makes a great, lousy and so-so brewpub in my mind, I think we’re ready to start exploring the country. And where better to start than my own back yard?
I currently reside in Lansing, Michigan, and Michigan Brewing Company (MBC) is the only local game in town. The actual brewery is located about 20 minutes out of town in Webberville, but that’s another story. After many visits to MBC, I think my original review was from a very hopeful person who wanted nothing more than to live by an outstanding brewpub.
MBC lacks anything stellar to set it apart from the other couple hundred places I’ve been – including the other 33 in Michigan – and they suffer from a lack of service. The food is quite good, but you won’t find anything you can’t find in 20 other restaurants around town and the perch is from the ocean instead of one of the four lakes that border the state. The beers are all solid, but none of them will inspire you to come back again and again. If you do find yourself here, however, the High Seas IPA, Superior Stout and Peninsula Porter are the closest to exceptional you’ll find.
The problems come in cost and service. The beers are often $5 and there isn’t any happy hour really to speak of. If everything was $3, I’d say it was well worth the trip and money. But it’s not. I can get better stuff for cheaper elsewhere. So I do. Also, the service is typically slow and not overly friendly. I once walked into the place and was the only person there, and could still barely get three words out of the staff.
Having recently moved to Lansing, MBC is now my local brewpub and I am very glad that it does not suck. In fact, it is quite good.
Situated on the south side of Washington Street in full view of the capitol building, MBC seems to be the latest addition to a growing number of restaurants and businesses opening thanks to the city’s revival efforts. Though the actual brewery is located 20 miles down the road, I still count this place, especially since they have such good beer.
The food is excellent as well. Locally sourced ingredients and some style added to their combinations makes for an excellent menu. The vegetarian options are rather limited, but thankfully I love me some meat.
If you’re visiting the Great Lakes states for the first time, make sure to order some perch or whitefish. The local seafood is delicious, and MBC does a great job preparing it. Other menu highlights include pesto turkey sandwiches and delicious sweet potato crinkle cut fries. But the real winner here is the burgers. Fresh angus beef is formed into a half-pound patty and grilled to your liking. Available toppings range from fried onions and fried pickles to ham and pulled pork. Top it off with a pretzel bun and you’ve got yourself a real winner.
The beer ain’t bad either. Some of their selections borrow recipes from an old expert from Texas apparently named Celis, and these are all absolutely delicious. Even the 3.4% Celis White offers a ton of flavor. The raspberry actually tastes like a real raspberry and the pale bock is exceptional. The MBC also offers some pretty tasty creations of their own, however. The IPA stands up to the best west coasters and their brown ale is pretty tasty too.
The service is pretty respectable. They make good recommendations and rarely let the glass go empty. They’re not the best at engaging their customers, though, since I’ve been there on completely empty days and not had much conversation.