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Kalamazoo: The One Where We Drink A Lot of Beer

Let’s go back and talk about our time in Kalamazoo, shall we?

One of the truly fun things we did (which isn’t really saying much unique since everything we did was really fun) was a pub crawl. Kalamazoo is, apparently, a hot bed of craft breweries. And who are we to say no to try to experience as many as possible in one night?

gonzos for carole knits

We started at Gonzo’s. Very cool atmosphere, lots of people eating and drinking. I had a beer called Porch Appeal, a wheat ale infused with peaches, and it was excellent. The food looked great and, in hindsight, we probably should have eaten there.

arcadia brewery for carole knits

arcadia beers for carole knits

Our next stop was Arcadia. This brewery is in direct competition with Bell’s Brewery, the most well known of Kalamazoo’s breweries. I should probably say, at this point, that we had already been to Bell’s our first night in Kalamazoo and that’s why they weren’t part of the pub crawl. Anyway, Tom likes the food at Arcadia so we hit there with plans to have dinner and more beer. It was, quite frankly, a bit of a disappointment. The beer was very good (I had the Porter Rico, a porter with coconut) and the food was excellent but the service was not (it took 20 minutes for us to just get a beer) and the atmosphere was duller than rocks. It was just weird. There were lots of people around and the place looks very cool but as brew pubs go, well, it was a dud.

boatyard brewery band for carole knits

boatyard sign for carole knits

After Arcadia we headed to an edgier part of town and checked out Boatyard Brewing. This place had an excellent vibe and live music in their parking lot. And also? They have a weekly knitters and spinners gathering. There sure isn’t anything like that here in my neck of the woods. The band was great and the beer was delicious. I had a Blueberry Maple Cream Ale called the Star of Kalamazoo. It was fantastic! We sat at a table in the parking lot and listened to the band and all agreed that we could have stayed there for the rest of the night.


dale and tom at onewell for carole knits

We were on a mission so we left and headed for One Well, Kym and Tom’s favorite local spot. Dale and I loved it here, as well. Kym had the Xalapa, a jalapeno blonde ale, and I should have had that as well because it was fabulous. Dale had the Sweet Water Street, an imperial porter brewed with donut holes from Sweet Waters Donuts and coffee from Water Street Coffee Roaster. It was heaven in a glass, I can tell you that. I had a cherry beer that I was not thrilled with, which is probably why I am raving about the choices Dale and Kym made. One Well was full of young people playing games, chatting and drinking beer. It’s definitely a place I would hang out if I lived in the ‘hood.

Our final stop of the night was Latitude 42, a brewery in Portage rather than Kalamazoo. It was a bit more like a traditional restaurant, upscale instead of edgy, and I don’t think they were altogether thrilled to see us come in so close to closing time. I had Rainbow Weasel, a honey cream ale, and it was excellent. No pictures because

So, let me just say, we had a blast visiting all these spots! The beer was varied and delicious, the food was tasty, and the company divine. It’s been years and years since I’ve done a pub crawl and, while I don’t have the stamina I once did, I enjoyed it even more now that my taste in beer is more refined. Plus, there’s nothing more joyful than a bunch of very silly grown ups drinking lots of beer. My hat is off to Kym, our designated driver, who truly sacrificed and only had 2 tiny beers all night long, and Tom, our pub crawl planner extraordinaire!

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. I bet we could find a bar or brewery to sponsor a knitter & spinner night! They’d be sure to make money.

  2. I had no idea that Kalamazoo had so many craft breweries, and those flavors and beer names! I think I will have to try Sweet Water Street at least once in my life. Thanks for sharing; it’s especially appreciated by someone else who also doesn’t have anything like these delicious brew pubs nearby.

  3. I am fortunate that we can get Bells here in Pittsburgh, but I truly miss the craft beer scene of Michigan. It is growing here in Pittsburgh, but it is nothing compared to the excellence that is Michigan. Those beers all sound so good! What a fun time and yay Kym for taking one for the team!

  4. Well. Someone had to drive! ?
    Such a fun night! (And Arcadia was WAY off that night, that’s for sure.). XO

  5. Kym is a generous soul. Your night looks absolutely fabulous and very tasty, too. If I ever make it to Kalamazoo I hope they have a few ciders and some wine on hand. xox

  6. that looks like a very fun evening! I didn’t really start to even like beer until my 50’s. not sure if that’s because the beer is better now or my tastes have changed (probably a combination of the two). and certainly a pub crawl planned by a true beer aficionado (hi, Tom!) would be the best!

  7. Mmmm. They ship Bell’s over the lake to WI, so I get to sip some of those once in a while. There’s an explosion of craft breweries here, too. Love the special night for knitters & spinners!

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