ADA — Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery served for the very first time on Saturday, at its Ada Drive location. The brewpub served roughly 1,000 pints on that day alone, and anticipates more the coming weeks.
Owner, operator and long time homebrewer, Matt Michiels began working on his idea for a homebrew shop around five years ago. By that time he had been brewing his own beer for more than a decade, and decided during his time as a stay-at-home dad that it was time to go back to work, but not in a way that he had before. Previously, Michiels worked in finance and accounting, but felt that returning to the corporate world was less than ideal.
The brewpub served five different beers ranging from a Belgian wit, to a porter with Michigan maple syrup, to a citrusy IPA. A Black IPA proved to be a rather popular choice on Saturday, and the Pale Ale stood its ground as well. Plans for future beers include many styles of beer including sour ales, experimental ales and even some rye and wheat whiskey barrel aged selections, too.
Originally, the brewpub was formulated as much more of a homebrew shop with a 15-gallon pilot system for experimental batches that local homebrewers could enjoy part of the way through their trip to gather supplies or ingredients. However, when Michiels began to analyze the Grand Rapids area market, he quickly realized that the town was ready for a much larger, 100-gallon batch size.
Gravel Bottom is now a place that has something for the beer lover, the brewer and everything in between. Classes and seminars are offered on a wide range of topics, and many of the recipes that are served at the brewpub will be available for purchase in a homebrew-sized ingredient kit.
Additionally, the brewpub will feature recipes from local homebrewers. The first featured recipe — a Grapefruit IPA — is brewed exclusively with hops, barley, yeast and water, but packs a very distinct grapefruit aroma.
While not open yet, the homebrew shop contains a rather wide variety of ingredients, and is stocked with much of the tools and equipment required to make beer at home.
Michiels stated that distribution and bottling of their beer is not part of the plan for the future of Gravel Bottom, but their most valued goal is “to serve the local community in the form of an experiential place to try what’s on tap, and to learn the art of brewing beer.”
Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery and Supply is closed Sunday through Tuesday, but Michiels anticipates expanding their hours in the near future.