First impression is where is this place? One small sign next to a Chico’s downtown Petoskey, it’s a place you will have to look for. Down a long hallway, you will find a hidden gem. Owners Peter Manthei and Ben Slocum have hand built a bar that is full of personality.
Of course, they started as homebrewers. But only two of their recipes date from their homebrewing days. These two are fresh out of college. In fact, Ben worked his whole last semester building Beards. That is dedication. I spent my last semester in college at the Intersection.
Their passion shows. Talking to the two of them, I could see it on their faces, the way they lit up when talking about their beers. It shows when you look around the pub and see all the unique touches they have come up with. No TV’s, instead a vinyl record player. They took one look at Gonzo and I and put on Flock of Seagulls. Should I be insulted?
A cool idea the Beard’s had is to have a coaster club instead of a mug club. Hand stamped coasters are given to members, in exchange they get 10% off merchandise and beers. No need to store tons of mugs, and totally unique too. Dealing with a small space, they’ve developed many unique ideas to save it.
No food here, but some local bar snacks are available. You can also order in from any of the local restaurants. Ben said that “I make great beer, they make great food”. A smart idea for such a small place. Some of their regulars have their favorite pairings, calling Thai Orchid if they are drinking the IPA, or the local Polish takeout to have with the brown ale. Potlucks are also frequent at the pub, but you have to share with Ben and Peter..
The beer is well brewed and complex. Owner's Ben and Peter said they have over 50 types of grains and a ton of different hops to work with, and they are using them all. This variety creates a lot of flavor in their beers. The Saison is a very light intro beer, drinking like a standard American lager. This one didn't really say Belgian style to me, but the Luna sure did. A caramel wheat, with a gorgeous orange color, it drinks the way Oberon used to. Something Something IPA had great aroma and a big kick of hops at the end. My favorite was the very complex Breakfast Brown. Brewed with maple syrup and RAISINS, it was a malty mouthful of flavor.
Overall, Beards is a great community addition. The beard logo is everywhere, even on a pair of hot pink women's underpants. Gotta lovve cheek!
I loved their coaster club, a cool take on the mug club. And although they don't offer food, they do have some locally produced bar snacks. They also encourage you to order in, and will help you with beer pairing ideas (the IPA with food from Orchid Thai sounded good to me). They also have quite a few potlucks at the pub as well, which I think is awesome. Great beer in a personable place, with very friendly and knowledgable owner, Beards Brewing in Petoskey is a hidden gem.
If you head out on the beer trail don't miss:
-Luna -a kick ass wheat beer, this one tastes the way Oberon used to, back when it was Solsun
-Breakfast Brown-absolutely delicious, brewed with maple syrup and RAISINS, complex
-Serendipity Porter -this was pulled off the tank for us but it wasn't carbonated yet, but it's going to be a great porter