Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Visited on September 4, 2010
My recent excursion to the Upper Peninsula has caused me to want to reflect on my first visit to that vast land up north. It was Labor Day Weekend, and I was in for a three-day camping excursion to one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. And it didn’t hurt that there was a brewpub at the state park hosting Tahquamenon Falls.
I don’t recall much at this point, except that there were four beers on tap, and none of them were that great. I did end up taking a growler back to my camp site of the stout, but that was for lack of options and want of beer for the night. I remember the food being decent, but nothing special. The best part of this brewpub is the location. It’s a very nice building with chairs and a fireplace outside, and it’s right next to some cool waterfalls. What more could you ask?
The fries were very good. If I were listening to Thumper, my review would end now. But I’m not. First let me give props for putting a brewpub out in the middle of nowhere. The fact the place exists at all is pretty cool. But anything worth doing is worth doing well, and this place left me very disappointed.
The setting is grand, close to the second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi in a giant, lodge-like complex with an outdoor fireplace and giant rocking chairs. Inside the restaurant is simple and fairly small, but that’s okay because there aren’t too many tourists around at any given time. They have one big LCD televisions, which is nice for anyone wanting to catch a game.
The food was unremarkable. I ordered a whitefish sandwich since that’s what they should be known for, having an abundance of fresh whitefish not 10 miles away in Lake Superior. My fish was not what I expected, though. Apparently pan-fried, it was flimsy and the sandwich had no crunch and little taste. The accompanying tartar sauce tasted like a ton of mayonnaise with a little pickle relish mixed in. The onion rings were bland as well. The battered French fries, however, were amazing.
The beer here is absolutely awful. Sure, it’s better than the Big Three American lagers, but what isn’t? The wheat was nearly tasteless, the “peach wheat” was so terrible it tasted like peach cold medicine, the “pale” had virtually no hops (though more flavor than the wheat) and the Guinness-styled stout was thin and a poor excuse for a stout. It was creamy, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was more from lack of carbonation than abundance of nitrogen.
I sat at the bar for several hours watching a football game since it was cold, dark and raining outside. My glass was never empty for long, but the few times I tried to make a comment or some light conversation, I was promptly ignored. They really didn’t seem to want to be there. But they weren’t terrible, either.
All in all, I’d go back for the fries, but that’s about it.