On the corner of Michigan Street in the heart of Kalamazoo, OLDE PENINSULA BREWPUB had a central bar with extravagant mahogany mantle, back-and-side dining, and fine pub fare, August ‘06.
Glass-encased brew tanks served barley-dried wheat-chaffed popcorn-like Haymarket Light, slimly grape-soured apple-spiced pear-juiced caramel-dipped Sunset Red, soapy raspberry-tart lemon-pitted sourly-embittered Rockin’ Razberry Wheat, and creamy black coffee-chocolate-fronted, oaken black cherry-dried, nutty-tarred Midnight Stout.
Better choices were sweet banana-ripened nutty-hopped clove-spiced Summer Hefe-Weizen and piney red-fruited floral-spiced alcohol-empowered Opie IPA.
Across the street from Kalamazoo Brewing, in an old yellow brick factory, KRAFTBRAU brewer Jim Quinn relinquished several well-rounded beers, August ‘06.
Creaky wood floors, antiquated wood furnishings, small indie band stage, billiard table, and garden deck festoon the rickety walnut-oak bar.
Honey-licked, malt grist-wafted, dry cereal-bottomed Light Lager, mineral-grained hop-spiced corn-sugared clover-honeyed Bohemian Czech Pilsner, silken butterscotch-candied coarse-grained honey-tinged Hefeweizen, and satiny, lemony grapefruit, wheat-chaffed, daisy-dandelion dalliance Helles fared well as softer fare.
A certain Belgian yeast profile seemed to flutter through buttery, bubble-gummy, coriander-spiced, mandarin orange-grapefruit-banana-hinted Summer Alt and creamy wildflower yeast-thickened, yellow-orange-fruited Pale Ale. Daintily carbonated, caramelized apple-dipped, fig-clipped Munich Red and subtle coffee bean-fronted, berry-citrus-date-aided Raspberry Porter completed the score.
Two worthy brewpubs and one excellent microbrewery dot this midsize Western Michigan University metropolis perused August ‘06. KALAMAZOO BREWING, located in several large interdependent brick buildings just outside the center of town, is rightfully celebrated for its terrific line of Bell’s bottled stouts and ales. Its brewpub, open since 1991, offered free samples of Beron Wheat, Sparkling Ale, and Porter (reviewed in Beer Index).