Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Feelin the Love in East Lansing

So last Monday I head out to Lansing for a Brewers Guild meeting. In fact, I'm in town early for a pre-meeting meeting, one of the luxuries of president-ship. Anyways, after a relatively grueling day, I'm tired, but trying to make the best of my time and see a couple of accounts while I'm in town. Stopped by Dusty's, who are big Mad Hatter fans, and while they are supporters, the bottle shop was a little scarce and they were out of Hatter draught in the tap room. I still enjoyed saying hello, and having some fish and chips with a bottle of Sundog.

It was the double-header Monday Night Football, so after dinner I headed over to Old Chicago to say hello and catch the end of the games. Bless their hearts, they were pouring three of our beers. Hatter, Paleooza and Ichabod. I don't care what size brewery you are, when you walk into an account that's pouring three of your beers, you feel good. It feels like it's all working. You have in fact, brought beer to the people. Now, a brewery our size, a little ways from home, in a city we don't get to enough, it feels REALLY good.

I ordered a Paleooza and introduced myself. I met Kim the bar manager and Carrie the bartender. We had a great rap about beer, Michigan beer, and how unfortunate it was that Dallas was ending my chances to win that weeks football pool.

I must confess to not being a "chain-guy." I'll save the soapbox for another time, but when it comes to bars and restaurants, I generally favor the independents. Have I decided to love the Lansing Old Chicago just because they're pouring our beer? Am I that easy? That transparent?

I don't think so, although it sure helps.

What I love about them, besides their charming personalities, is that they don't equate a franchise with "sameness" They don't have to keep the same selection as an Old Chicago in say, Chicago, or Minneapolis or anywhere else. Old Chicago Lansing has 14 Michigan tap handles. Fourteen! Impressive for any tavern, but outlandish for a chain franchise. I believe taverns and restaurants are where we should feel, see and embrace our local culture. A tavern offering part of their local and regional culture to their customers has gone beyond just selling to them. Its appreciation for culture enhances the community experience. I warned you about the soap box... Anyway, I applaud their independence. I give a standing ovation to the fact that their independence has brought them to be fans and supporters of New Holland. So, if you're in Lansing, really East Lansing, you should check them out.

I'd be remiss if I only sent you there, however. Crunchy's is a little bar near campus on Grand River. They are also huge supporters of New Holland and Michigan beer. They have an impressive selection that they keep pretty interesting and chock full of Michigan offerings. Don't be afraid of the buckets, they'll let you drink from a pint glass if you're nice.

Dusty's promised their Mad Hatter was on the way, so don't forget them either.



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