Original Gravity Brewery Visit, Milan, MI
I’d had Original Gravity beers at past Michigan Beer Festivals and hadn’t been impressed. But the convenience of a brewery far enough out of town to feel like a roadtrip, but close enough to not require serious planning or an overnight stay, was too hard to pass up. So when I decided I’d make a Sunday afternoon trip to the Milan dragway with my 2 young boys (ages 3 & 7), I of course sweetened the plan by Google-ing the location of Original Gravity Brewing. The building is nothing quaint or interesting from the outside, and it’s not in an interesting old downtown or anything. It’s just a small plain building with a small parking lot, near the railroad tracks in Milan. But from the outside I did spy a sizable beer garden area behind a high wall with colorful outdoor table umbrellas peeking up over the top. This looked interesting.
Walking inside, we were greeted by the sweet, delicious, grainy smell
of beer brewing in process. To me, it was awesome, and I quickly forgot the non-descript building exterior. My 7 yr-old didn’t have the same reaction, and the pinching of the noise and loud complaining almost matched the reaction he had at the State Fair the weekend before. Ignoring him in the same way I mastered at the State Fair, we walked in and checked out the place. The inside was much more appealing. Nothing too exciting, but a lot of dark wood with an inviting small-town comfortable feel. A long bar in the middle of the room, and tables laid out throughout much of the place ranging from small 4-seaters to much longer tables for big groups. And of course taking up a very large portion of the floor space was the brewing equipment just behind the bar. Not in a sealed-off area with big windows or anything for you to peer through and feel you’re peeking in on a brewery in process. But rather like you’re sitting in the brewery yourself, part of the process. The fresh boiling grain aroma attesting to that if there was any doubt. So overall you end up with a very inviting feel of sitting in a brewery like you’re working there, but at the same time in a relaxing small town tavern just idling the day away.
The kids gravitated to the 2 video games in the corner. Next to it was a small bookcase filled with a collection of board games. The board games served us well to kill time while waiting for our sandwiches. It kept the kids entertained and from complaining about the brewing aroma, and allowed me to sip my beer in comfort without having to chase them down for running around, or making too much noise, or all the other usual things that stress me out in a restaurant with the kids. I had the Southpaw IPA and it was very good. It had a glow about it, combined with a thick, unfiltered haze that made it seem extra fresh and special.
Rounding out my tour of the place, I checked out the outdoor patio. Beer “garden” is a bit of a misnomer for this place of all concrete on the ground, and high walls surrounding it so you only see the tops of the trees if you look up. There are a number of picnic tables out here, some with large colorful red patio umbrellas to shelter from the sun or rain, I suppose. Although not spectacular in any way, it did serve the purpose of an outdoor drinking environment with a relaxed feel similar to the interior of the place. Before leaving, I looked in on the brewing area. I saw them brewing in what looked to be a sophisticated homebrew all-grain set-up. I don’t know if they were doing some special small-batch brew, or if that was typical. I’m not a brewing expert. Just an expert consumer…