Odd Side Ales
41 Washington Avenue
Grand Haven, Michigan
Visited on August 4, 2012
So I picked the worst weekend of the year to visit Grand Haven for their breweries. Apparently, once a year there is a Coast Guard Festival which quintuples the small town’s population for the day, making driving and parking a pain in the ass. It also tends to empty the beer reserves of the local microbreweries.
And Odd Side Ales is that local microbrewery.
Located right downtown in the heart of the city – and the heart of the weekend festival – you’ll find this brewpub in an interior “suite” of a large building. The interior is quite charming. A chalkboard back wall is lined with mugs from the mug club that patrons have fired and decorated themselves from the next door pottery shop. Large wooden tables and smaller round high-tops dot the interior, while the front is dominated by an awesome bar featuring artistic designs made from differently roasted barley malts, resulting in different colors.
There isn’t any food to speak of, though they don’t discourage you from bringing any in or ordering from a nearby joint. So let’s skip ahead to the beer.
They typically try to keep up to 16 different beers on tap, each a little different from the last. Their small batches allow them to experiment widely and not really stick to any normal lineup. It also makes them vulnerable to runs, such as what happens during the Coast Guard Festival week of shenanigans. By the time I showed up, they were down to six ales, which just so happens to be the number that comes in a sampler.
The quality of the beers I had certainly was there, but the recipes just weren’t. Making so many small batches, it only stands to reason that some of them would be swings and misses, and given the fact that only six on tap remained by the time I got there, chances are those six aren’t the best that are usually on the board. Given that, the citra pale ale and bean filler blonde were excellent, even if I didn’t really care for the other four.
The service was good. The bartender asked several times how I was doing, and I got to talk to an owner/operator who was sitting next to me doing some paperwork when I sat down. Apparently they are in the process of opening a new, bigger production facility that isn’t at the whims of heat problems. I see nothing but good things in the future for this place.
Total: 72 (out of 80)