GRAND RAPIDS – Hidden down a side street, nestled amongst an apartment complex and a television station, the Hideout Brewing Company is aptly named — it is like a secret that everyone wants to hear. The inside speaks that of a secret society, drawing you in with their 32 tap handles that you may stop to sit right in front of. However, I do encourage you to take a closer look. What used to be a hot tub rental and spa in the 70s is now home to a 10 bbl brew system, an upstairs full of old school video game consoles, and horseshoes in the beer garden —and maybe it’s the place you’ll dare yourself to conquer the biggest flight in town.
“A lot of people say you can still smell chlorine from when the hot tubs were functioning, but really you just happen to have walked in when they were cleaning the kettles,” states Heather Vredevoogd, one of the head brewers at the Hideout.
With two brewers on staff, one male and one female, they balance the duties as a team and both answer to the title head brewer. Vredevoogd was surprised by how much respect she received as a female.
“I was expecting them not to (respect me) because of being female. I still do all the heavy lifting and (have been) doing this as my main job for a year and a half. I was coming in off the clock to watch and learn the brewing process. In Michigan there is such comradery. There is nothing like this beer community in other states. Being able to start up a brewery and not really know everything that goes into it and know there are people that you can say hey, I don’t know what I need for…I have yet (to) run into an owner that hasn’t been helpful,” states Vredevoogd.
The Hideout, under the latest ownership by Nick Humphrey and Scott Colson, has participated at the Winter Beer Festival the past four years. This year the Hideout will bring their latest bourbon barrel aged beers – a chocolate imperial stout and a barleywine. Keeping the high ABV, but subtle in bourbon taste, the chocolate imperial stout is like a nice smooth chocolate dessert in a glass. An attendee can expect other winter style beers brought by the Hideout as well. Maybe check out the Hideout for your last go around at the festival to end the day off just perfect!
Photography: Bri Luginbill