There’s just something about Michigan that makes you want to drink craft beer. As “dinner and drinks” at local micro-breweries is beginning to replace chain restaurant meals, it’s important that new places set themselves apart within the brewer’s niche. The Mitten Brewing Company on Leonard St. in Grand Rapids has done just that, blending a love of vintage baseball, the Detroit Tigers, handmade gourmet pizzas, and, of course, carefully crafted beer.
Located in the historic Victorian-era Engine House #9, The Mitten is the brainchild of elementary school friends Max Trierweiler and Chris Andrus, normal people avid about home brewing and baseball. Beyond their vision of serving good beer and pizza, Andrus and Trierweiler’s biggest goal was to engender an atmosphere that encourages beer enthusiasts, as well as everyone else and their brother, to try good brews. So far, The Mitten has taken classic beer styles and improved them with the innovation of both owners, and in-house brewer, Rob Wanhatalo (Wob). From the Peanuts and Cracker Jack Porter, to the ’84 Double IPA, to the Black Betsy Stout (a Wob creation), the beer has made a favorable impression that has land marked The Mitten as a brewery that’s both here to stay and here to impact the West Side of GR in a positive way.
Aside from the unique approach to a sports bar/brewery, The Mitten has set itself apart by dedicating itself to a diverse charity network. Each month will be ushered in by a different partnership: December finished strong with a Second Chance Mitten Drive and as we go into the New Year, the January charity is the West Michigan Miracle League, a group dedicated to making baseball available to every child who loves the game, including those with physical and mental disabilities. Their new field will be in Rockford, MI, and will be up and running by September 2013 if the fundraising goals are met.
While the brewery currently seats 85, the owners plan big promises as far as expansion: a beer garden, an upgrade to a seven barrel system, special events and meeting spaces, a second dining room, and, eventually, distribution. For now, come in for a Chipotle BBQ pizza and the Ironman IPA as we get ready for pitchers and catchers to start training in six weeks. Come baseball season, Trierweiler says, “We want The Mitten to be the next best option if you can’t make it to Comerica Park for the game”.
After the undeniable success in their first six weeks of business, staff at the brewery are now focusing on making sure that those who haven’t checked it out yet are headed that way soon. All pizzas can be made vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. The pizza dough is made in house daily, so try all of the delicious creations. Come in on your lunch break and you can have pizza by the slice. All the beer is vegan… and you can throw peanuts on the floor!
Come fill a growler, fill your stomach, get your fill of west-side history and baseball – can’t wait to see you at The Mitten Brewing Co!
Lyndsay Israel – Feature Writer