EagleMonk Brewing Company
4906 West Mt. Hope Hwy
Visited on August 15, 2012
Not long after my first visit to EagleMonk, I found myself back. Not surprising, since it’s a local brewpub and I love my local brewpubs. On further investigation, I’ve decided that the beer is quite good. It is obviously made in professional equipment, lacking the thickness and off-tastes that I’ve come to associate with smaller, “homebrewing” equipment used by some other small brewpubs. Though there aren’t any “big” beers in the lineup, they all have nice subtleties and complexities for the palette. In fact, I found myself ordering a pint of the lowest alcohol beer (under 4%) on the second visit.
I also shared a pizza. It’s wafer thin, crunchy, and has good toppings. Overall, it’s a pretty solid dinner, and I will come back for more.
EagleMonk is the newest brewery to the greater Lansing area in central Michigan. The brainchild and retirement plan for a local home-brewer of more than 30 years, I wrote about the place as part of an article I did for Capital Gains, an online Lansing magazine. Needless to say, I have a soft spot for the place even before it opened, having met the owner who is a great guy. I was really hoping not to be let down going in.
I got the word on Facebook that they were opening just several hours later. It was a “soft” opening, with the grand opening not coming for at least another week. But they already seemed to have their shit together.
The place used to be a party store with an attached apartment. Oh the stories those residents must have in their back pocket! But they’ve put in quite a bit of work to turn it into a brewpub. The main room isn’t anything fancy – a large open space with several tables, mugs hanging overhead and the bar/service counter at the far end. Local photos hang on the walls for purchase, if the mood strikes you. A second, smaller room hosts no tables that I saw, but a foosball table, fireplace and darts are available. In all, it’s your local neighborhood, no-frills joint where the community gathers to drink.
They do have a limited menu. There are a few paninis, salads and pizzas to choose from. The pizzas looked like thin crust, baked in a stone-lined professional-grade pizza oven. But I opted for a Panini. Large chunks of chicken, sweet baby rays, and what seemed like bacon bits were all smashed together. The bread seemed like some sort of 9-grain bread from Great Harvest. High quality, but maybe not the best for a Panini. It was tasty, but they could smear some butter or bacon fat on the outside of the bread to brown it and crisp it up, plus put some more pressure on the Panini lid and let it bake longer.
Not that I’m a Panini connoisseur own my own press or anything…
The beer was pretty decent, especially for having just opened. They had six varieties on tap: rye, stout, IPA, pale, scotch and Irish. The latter two were good – not overly sweet like so many American styles. The pale and stout were decent too, though lacking a bit in depth on both sides. But the IPA and rye were fantastic. The IPA is easy to drink with a slightly sweet finish that I highly enjoyed. And the rye might be the best rye I’ve ever had. It’s not necessarily an IPA – the hops seem more subdued than, say, Founders Reds Rye IPA – which let the rye shine through a bit more. It was extremely well-balanced and tasty.
Overall, I’d say this place has a promising future. Once the owner gets to brewing on large equipment a bit more often, I think he’s going to start cranking out some real gems. Or start cranking out more real gems, I should say, as the rye is awesome.