Finally back on the Michigan Beer trail again this weekend and found myself at Parker’s Hilltop Brewery in Clarkston. At first I wasn’t sure this would be the place for me. It was a Saturday evening, so of course it was crazy busy. They did have complimentary valet service to help with the parking congestion, which is a nice touch. We lucked ourselves into a seat at the bar fairly quickly, which was much better than the 45-minute wait for a table. I’m a fan of bellying up to the bar anyways. On a side note, the bar had purse hooks and charging stations which added a notch or ten in my book before I even got to order a beer.
We ended up trying 12 beers (in flights of course, because responsible beer geek here) by the time we were done. Not all we tried were a hit to me. I though the Wee Heavy was a bit more wee than heavy. It just seemed lacking in the rich malty flavor I was hoping for. While my friend was a fan of the Pirates Porter and the $1000 Stout, to my surprise I found myself leaning towards the lighter beers as my favorites. I found the Altbier and Cowabunga Dude Double IPA to be extremely well done. I even commented that I was impressed with the Louis S. Dortmunder lager. Come to find out it won first in quite a few categories at the World Expo of Beer judging that very same day, so I wasn’t the only one. All in all, I would definitely say the beer alone is worth the trip if you aren’t from the area. If you need an extra push though, go for the food. A little pricy, but man.
The Brewery itself is a pretty fun place. Part Fancy restaurant, part local hangout, it seems to have the best of both worlds. In addition to a Large main bar and tables for dining, Hilltop sports a second bar and a large section of gaming tables. With pool tables, shuffleboard and even a giant connect four, Hilltop is probably a pretty fun place to spend an evening. The thing that impressed me most on the visit though was the waitstaff. I watched the gentlemen behind the bar as they interacted with those around us and found their friendliness and knowledge refreshing. From the questions they asked to get to the perfect recommendations to the manner they interacted with the customers and even each other added another plus in the Likely to recommend column.
In case you are keeping track, the Likely to recommend column is pretty heavy after this visit. It honestly didn’t surprise me to see how well they did, when I read the results of the World Expo of Beer Junding. Good Beer, Good Food, knowledgeable staff and a fun atmosphere make for an easy “Go check this place out for yourself.” You never know, I may even see you there!