NEIPA: New England IPA is a style that is characterized by it’s hazy appearance and hopped up flavor. Breweries all over the nation have copied it since its NE origins. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. This is especially true with Old Nation Brewing, as they have made a name for themselves by taking this style, ramping it up and improving upon it to an extent that they have made it their own. Their flagship M43 has a cult like following wherever it is distributed and has spawned several variants. We’ve tried them all but we keep going back to their benchmark M43. It’s a strong flavored, hoppy brew that can be lovingly described as “chewy” with it’s thick heavy bodied haze full of brewers sediment and living yeast.
When John Fahrner suggested a visit to my favorite maker of the NEIPA style beer I was ready to go. Like a kid waiting for Christmas morning, I was chomping at the bit until Saturday came around and we jumped into the car. It was hotter than an oven that day. My favorite Michigan seasons are Fall and Winter. This was a miserable hot day. That said, when we finally arrived, the strategy was to transition as quickly as possible from the air conditioned car cocoon to those cold beers inside. There was a painfully obvious announcement taped to the door declaring service on the outside patio cancelled due to the extreme heat. The soles of my Vans were melting.
This was my first visit and I was impressed. They had poutine on the menu. For those living outside the regions of this gastronomical delight, poutine is gravy and cheese curds poured over fries. It is not health food. The Old Nation cooking staff topped it with two fried eggs (again not health food). When it arrived, John looked at it turned to me and said “well you’re in heaven”. Yep
Service: Excellent, we were greeted at the door. Food and beer was prompt.
Beer: Outstanding IPAs, Hefeweizen. Limited to no selection for traditional dark beers.
Environment: Comfortable and family friendly. Bar area for adults and plenty of tables for those with kids.
Food: Everything served to us and around us, looked good and fresh. Poutine!
Location: Right off the highway in a small Michigan town. Easy parking.
Price: Reasonable: Lunch entrees were $9-$13 Beers were $6-$9 for pints
Solid beer, food and a brewery experience demands another visit from me with family in tow. I do have some concerns that their popularity could wane with a drop in business if the NEIPA craze fades away. Their offerings are certainly biased towards this style. That said, their Hefeweizen showed great promise and their Electron Brown (coffees stout) will always have a place in my fridge. They have the creative ability to expand their offerings but frankly I like and respect that they really haven’t yet. I want this place to be an oasis for hop heads. I like that they don’t cater to every craft beer whimsy. They are simply so good at the NEIPA style that I don’t want anything to distract them from that passion.
Let me know what you think. We would love to hear from you.