Trying to kick out my individual reviews of all the breweries who made the best of the best for the +MLive.com Best Brewery search with +John Gonzalez . Obviously, this is Dark Horse!
You can check them out here:
You can check out +Bryan Wiggs here:
I might be playing favorites, but I love Dark Horse Brewing in Marshall. +Aaron Morse , his intrepid wife Kristine, and Wiggs are incredible people. Aaron seriously never turns his brain off, it is constantly clicking through new ideas, new ventures, new beers. Kristine keeps him on track, and makes these ideas a reality. Wiggs, one of my favorite brewers, keeps the whole brewing operation on track, keeping one of the biggest breweries in Michigan humming along.
Our server, Hannah, was awesome, ready to explain anything that Wiggs, Aaron and Kristine forgot. We got to tour the brewery, and this place is awesome. You know you are in the presence of greatness when the tool shop is almost as big as the brewery itself...almost. But these guys are welding, tightening, all the time. They have hand built this brewery, custom making many of the systems they have there. And it is quite a production facility. 18,000 barrels this year, they can bottle 140 bottles a minute. Big time.
None of this would matter if the beer wasn’t good. It’s better than good, it’s great. The flagship Crooked Tree IPA is one of the most drinkable, smooth IPA’s I’ve had. At the pub, it’s pulled off fresh from the tap, and it is creamy, fresh, cloudy and awesome. A total revelation, and reason alone to visit the pub. Reserve Special Black Ale, kicking in at 8%, it’s the first beer DH put into production. It still drinks like a champ. Scary Rock Star Jesus, one of the best names ever for a beer (and look up the story when you have time) was absolutely awesome. A shit ton of fresh apricots and then a chamomile tea infusion make one hell of a summer beer.
Working with a pizza oven, the DH kitchen works with what it has. The point of the food is to keep It simple and fresh. They do, with homemade pizza and calzones, all topped with fresh ingredients. The butter glaze on top really helps. When doesn't butter help?
Kristine said that if they make a “delicious awesome good product, people will come back for it” I don’t think you have to worry about that. After years of hard work, it’s exciting to see the success that Dark Horse is enjoying. A visit to the eclectic pub is a must. But if you can't make it to Marshall, go grab their number one seller, Crooked Tree, and toast their success.