Something new is brewing at 1400 Lake Drive SE, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A view of five large, Michigan-made stainless steel fermenter tanks as glimpsed through the front windows hint at what’s to come. East West Brewing Company is finalizing plans to open its doors by year’s end with an 80-plus seat, 2,000 square foot brewery, located in the heart of the Eastown community.
East West Brewing Company is focused on producing top quality artisan craft beer made from locally sourced hops and seasonal ingredients. With plans to eventually feature ten beers on tap, East West Brewing Company will offer a beer for every palette. In addition to house brews, East West Brewing Company plans to support and collaborate with other breweries by featuring guest taps.
The Bal family has owned and operated a successful Grand Rapids restaurant, Bombay Cuisine, for over 17 years. East West Brewing Company is a completely new business venture with an independent focus. “We listened to the community, and they shared their ideas with us,” said Balwinder Bal, East West Brewing Company owner, brewmaster and head chef. “East West Brewing Company is a place where everyone will feel welcome to stop by for a beer, or a bite to eat while engaging in friendly conversation. East West Brewing Company is being designed with the comforts of the community in-mind, and we are excited to be able to contribute to the vitality of Eastown with our new brewery.”
In addition to its flagship styles, East West Brewery plans to feature seasonal and flavored beers, depending on the weather and demand. Plans are underway to serve a Session IPA, Brown Ale, Amber Ale, Continental Ale, Wheat Ale, Amber Lager, and several spiced variants. The menu at East West Brewery is being designed to pair with the beer, and plans are to keep it simple, clean and fresh with the primary ingredients sourced from local neighborhood businesses.
According to Ann Arbor-based Master Brewer Teo Watson-Ahlbrandt, who is collaborating with Bal to perfect the beer, the brewing style at East West Brewing Company will be minimalistic. Watson-Ahlbrandt and Bal met through a mutual friend and fellow beer enthusiast, and the two recognized the potential for many great things. “I feel the most exciting aspect of working on East West has been working with Bal on incorporating his expertise in culinary spices to craft beer brewing,” explained Watson-Ahlbrandt. “There are so many similarities in the ways that a chef and a brewer utilize their processes to create flavor, and I’ve always enjoyed collaborating with highly esteemed kitchen counterparts.”
The interior at East West Brewing Company will reflect the hip sensibilities of the surrounding area while also paying tribute to the earth and the environment. A live wall featuring fresh herbs, succulents, and other seasonal greens will provide a calming atmosphere and help balance the air. Reclaimed white oak tables, rusted steel walls, and the rich patina of the floor will warm the interior and remind patrons this is a casual space to gather. East West Brewing Company will offer a variety of seating options—from pet-friendly outdoor deck seating (seasonal), window view seating to observe passers-by, cozy inside booths, and a community dining table for patrons to engage in friendly conversation.
Like the new serving tanks patiently awaiting to serve patrons quality brew, the concept for East West Brewing Company has been brewing over time. “East West Brewing Company has been a vision in the making ever since I first brewed beer nearly 10 years ago at Saugatuck Brewing,” said Bal. “Ever since that time, I have dreamt of opening my own brewery, cooking from the heart, and creating a unique and friendly place for the community.”