Things have changed a lot around here in the 16 years that I have lived here. More housing developments have gone in. More businesses have moved in. There is more financial and racial diversity…
And, 16 years ago…
this was a DRY town.
And when I say DRY, I mean DRY.
There were no sales of alcohol in this city at all.
People (neighbors, even) would drive in to their garages, close the doors and unload their groceries, if they had beer, wine or other such contraband in their car. I even had a neighbor apologize to me the night we moved in because her husband had a beer out on their table when I popped over there.
My mom said, “what are they going to do with a dark-eyed, dark-haired Italian girl out there? The whole town is going to hell”.
She may have been right… I will take the blame. Ha!
Since moving out here… the town is no longer dry.
This has been a fairly recent development. Let’s say, in about the last four or so years (since I did not look it up, we will guesstimate).
We now have a liquor store, a winery and TWO breweries. YES, TWO! I for one, did not ever think it would happen. But it has.
I think this little town is the better for it. But, I am sure there are those who would argue that with me.
Anyhow, this post is about our visit this summer to Hudsonville Winery. We went there on a very warm Friday evening in June, just cause. We had heard that within the winery now, there is a brewery. So, me and the DH were excited to try that out too.
The Brewery portion of the winery is called “Pike 51″. We asked why they named it that… and they very nice young man behind the counter told us that Chicago Drive (which runs right down the middle of our town) used to be called Pike 51.
So, we had beer, wine and a history lesson. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Upon arriving at the winery… I, of course, had to check out the merchandise first thing. They have an assortment of wine paraphernalia, t-shirts, hats… and wine (obviously!).
Then we moved to the bar… and wow. They had done a remodel since we had been there last. And, I have to say… I was impressed. The new decor was spot on with what I think of when I think winery. And, they had added a space in the back with tables and chairs, as well as a small “living room” like seating area. Pretty snazzy for our little burg. At the bar we decided, because we had tasted wine before, we would go with the brewery’s offerings.
So we went ahead and ordered a flight of beers. Now when I think of a flight… I think, a taste. Their flight was more than generous! Thank goodness we were sharing or we would have had to walk home (and even that might have been dangerous). We ordered the Everlasting Light, Calibration, Dark Star, Wheatwhacker, Bazinga, The Kush IPA and The Knight’s Brown. The Marvin’s Weizen and the From Whom the Stout Tolls was unavailable.
Our favorite of the seven beers we sampled was Calibration. But we also liked The Knight’s Brown and the Wheatwhacker.
I am a wheat beer girl in the summer time. So, I enjoyed that one. But, I am a dark beer girl in the winter… so, I enjoyed the darker ones too.
I am NOT an IPA girl, I have recently learned. I think it’s too “hoppy” for me.
Our server was the aforementioned young man… he was awesome and made our experience even that much more enjoyable.
We very happily quaffed our beers (Can you quaff beer? Or, is that just a wine thing?) and each others company while exchanging notes on what we thought of each selection.
I think the DH and I agreed that we were impressed with the selection of beer and the quality!
I don’t have enough “beer experience” to talk about flavors and colors as I do with wine… but I will say, the beer we sampled at Pike 51 was good. Delicious. Impressive. We definitely would go again. And, I just read that one of Pike 51′s beers, The Kush IPA, is available on tap at Hop Cat in downtown Grand Rapids!
Next, after allllll that beer (and I must admit, feeling a little fuzzy in the head)(no comments about how I am always “fuzzy” in the head. OK?), we decided to taste some wine too!
After all… it is called Hudsonville Winery.
So we slid down the bar a tiny bit… where a young lady helped us out. She also was wonderful and we very much enjoyed chatting with her.
For our wine tasting we selected, Red Zinfandel, Pinotage, White Zinfandel and Mela Carmello (Caramel Apple in Italian).
Now here is where I can get in to the nitty-gritty of wine tasting… cause I know a few things about wine (not as much as some, mind you, but enough).
First, the Red Zinfandel… Red Zin is one of my favorite wines. It’s a wine that is best served at room temperature. Hudsonville Winery’s Red Zin was good. I won’t go on a rave about it but it was very enjoyable. According to our notes, it had a fruity nose with a hint of oak. Round without being boring. Nice finish.
Then, the Pinotage. This is my favorite at Hudsonville Winery. Nice and bold like a red should be. In my experience, you either like Pinotage or you don’t. I liked this one. This was everything the DH and I love about reds. Red fruit on the nose with a hint of earth and oak. Had a nice light spice at the finish. We actually purchased this one in the past and would do it again.
Next up, White Zinfandel. OK… I know. White Zin? Are you crazy? But, as much as it pains me to admit it… I like a nice cold glass of White Zin every now and again. Mostly in the summer months. But, yeah… I like it (what of it? Huh?). Anyhow, Hudsonville Winery’s White Zin was very nice. They call it “off dry” but I found it to be less so. Refreshing and fruity with very light body. Served ice-cold on a hot summer day? Perfect!
Finally, Mela Carmello. Ok… I am totally not a fruit wine drinker. AT ALL. Not my bag. Buuuut, I tried this because the name is in Italian. How could I resist? I know… silly reason to try or buy a wine. But, I have done worse… like buying based on the label? Yeah. Guilty as charged. So, back to the wine… Mela Carmello… meaning Caramel Apple in Italian. Now this was unexpected and so different. I quite liked it. But, the DH was not on board. It tasted like a Caramel Apple (which explains why the DH did not like it, he is anti fruit)(weird, I know)… but with a bit of smoke on the back side. It was strange but somehow… it worked. This is a sweet wine which I am not usually too excited about since I like Chilean and Australian Reds… but, I totally enjoyed this for what it was. Sweet, fun and tasty. I actually bought a bottle of it, chilled it well and had it on a warm fall afternoon. And, guess what? It was PERFECT.
Wine is both subject and objective. And, I have found that nearly any wine (price point and level of prestige aside) can become the perfect wine given the right circumstances.
Overall, the wines at Hudsonville Winery are nice wines at a decent price point. Most of them are a bit lighter in body and flavor than more serious wines are. But, they are enjoyable AND some of the wines have won awards. I think they can only get better from here.
After sipping wine, we sat in the new “seating area” to absorb the ambiance for a bit (and to become less fuzzy). I think I may have been the only one who was fuzzy… because the DH seemed to be doing just fine (never thought I was a lightweight but maybe I am). At the end of the evening, we didn’t have to walk home and a good time was had by the both of us…
It is worth mentioning, with regard to the “seating area”… there are tables and chairs, and even a little “living room” like area for you to relax in while you enjoy your wine, beer and food.
Also worth noting… You can purchase by the glass or the bottle and they even have a food menu with some enticing looking items on it like “Jumbo Shrimp Scampi”, “Drunken Mushrooms, Goodfellow’s Pizza and other assorted items including a cheese tray and chips and salsa.
Wine price points start at around $8.49 per bottle and $4 for a 6 oz. pour and topping out at $20 per bottle and $5.50 per 6 oz. pour.
I believe our “flight” of beer at Pike 51 was around $12. And, unfortunately, I didn’t write down the pricing for their beers… I will have to update this in the future. They did have “Growlers” available for purchase (which, I didn’t know until we went there, is a glass jug to put beer in for taking home).
As for the new food menu… Two Chefs provides the appetizer style food items and the prices range from $4.25 for Chips and Salsa to $13.95 for a 9″ personal sized pizza. We haven’t sampled the food offerings at the Winery/Brewery yet… but, I will update when we do.
Hop on over to Hudsonville Winery/Pike 51 Brewery and check them out!
Oh, and let me know how you enjoyed it!!!