The day before Thanksgiving is known as the busiest travel day of the year as the holiday season begins to ramp up. People are hitting the road and flocking to the airports to travel to see friends and family. I decided to hit the road that day, as well, for a Beerventure to Grand Rapids!
The original location of Harmony Brewing Company is still open and is in the Eastown neighborhood of Grand Rapids near Aquinas College on Lake Drive SE. It opened in 2012 and is a great spot to stop in for pizza and beer before an event at the Van Andel Arena.
My destination that day within the Harmony Brewing Company locations is known as Harmony Hall and is on the corner lot of Bridge Street SE and Stocking Ave NW.
Harmony Brewing bought the building in 2013 and renovated it into a huge upstairs taproom with large tables to fit large groups of people, cozy nooks for couples and friends to meet at, and a stylish bar ready with twenty taps compared to the nine taps at the Eastown location.
Harmony Hall opened in 2015 after the demand for beer and pizza in the Eastown location was becoming too high. Harmony Hall knew they had a good thing going, so they purchased the significantly larger location knowing that it would be the new home of their brewing system and could host more people day in and day out. This new location for the brewing company already had a rich history. It was a sausage factory in the 1800s and 1900s. After being vacant for most for the mid 20th century, Little Mexico, a popular Mexican restaurant was there for over forty years.
I’ve visited Harmony Hall multiple times before with Grand Rapids Beer Tours groups. I enjoyed my visit back and was able to catch up with head brewmaster, Ben Isbell.
Ben provided me with a history of Harmony Brewing Company, his homebrewing beginnings, and his personal history within Harmony Brewing Company of how he went from a barback to the top dog. Isbell’s strong work ethic and passion for what Harmony Brewing Company was all about has helped him brew solid beers for both locations.
Ben said that when it comes to brewing beer he enjoys highlighting and bringing out his favorite elements of each beer style, while balancing the rest with the intended style’s elements according to BJCP guidelines.
Harmony Hall had a ton of varying styles of beer available on draft when I visited. I snagged a flight of new-to-me beers that included Stan’s Original Honey Cream Ale, a light cream ale; Love, an accessible kettle sour; Albius Vanilla Porter, a sweet and roasty porter; The Stockbridge Coffee Brown, brown with a strong coffee presence; and Day Walker, a punny red ale with a ton of ginger. My other favorites from Harmony Hall are Grote Pier, Lovely Day IPA, and Gritty in Pink, a collaboration beer with DeHops Brewing Company and Café.
I can’t wait to see Ben again during the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival in February. Until then, either of Harmony Brewing Company’s locations have delicious brews and pizza. Check them out next time you’re in Beer City USA!