With so many breweries in Michigan and surrounding states to choose from, you’d think it would be difficult to call one your favorite. But, one visit to Greenbush Brewing Company in Sawyer, MI and you will see why I can confidently call this place mine.
We discovered Greenbush in 2013 when we still lived in the Chicagoland area. A friend recommended we stop on our way back from a Michigan visit as it is a perfect halfway spot on the drive from East Lansing to Elgin. After our first visit, it quickly became our go to spot for lunches and dinners when making the almost monthly drives to visit family and friends. Like any great brewery, there are 3 things that make this a place worth repeat visits: Beer, Food and People.
With over 40 beers on a regular seasonal rotation in the Greenbush taproom along with all kinds of small batch, barrel aged, one offs, it is hard to visit and not find at least one beer available that you haven’t tried yet. IPAs, Pale Ales, Cream Ales, Ambers, Porters, Stouts, etc., they’ve got it all. In the summer, the beer menu leans heavily towards IPAs and Pale Ales and in the Winter more stouts and porters.
Greenbush takes pride in the fact that they do not brew any beers under 6% ABV which can sometimes make an afternoon pit stop a challenge but we are always up for it! Greenbush beers are full of flavor and character. They are one of the few breweries that I can flip through my untappd checkins and struggle to find anything rated below a 3. Even brews that aren’t my usual style, I can always appreciate the work that went into it. Some of the favorites include:
Honestly, I feel like I could list 20 more! Greenbush is also well-known at Michigan Brewer’s Guild Beer Fests to bring 30-40 different beers mostly consisting of specially brewed small batches for a specific fest. Most recently, for the Summer Beer Fest in Ypsilanti they brewed up “31 Flavors of Ice Cream Beer” including Rocky Road Stout, Orange Sorbet Pale Ale and Banana Split Hefeweizen. Other fest beers have been a hot dog beer which included the flavors of ketchup and mustard and a monster cookie which I was lucky enough to try, it was truly like drinking a liquid cookie! The creative and unique recipes that this brewery comes up with is one of the biggest reasons why I go back to their beer again and again.
The food, oh, the Greenbush food! The menu is quite extensive these days with many appetizers/small plates, soups, salads, sandwiches, pizza and entrees plus a killer dessert menu. I’ve heard great things about many items on the menu but I have yet to convince myself that I need to order anything other than the BBQ. When we first started coming to Greenbush, the Beef Brisket and Pulled Pork sandwiches were only available on Friday and Saturday. Thankfully, as they have grown, they expanded to offer the melt in your mouth, slow roasted, seasoned to perfection meats every day. They have also since added pulled chicken and sausage links. My all time favorite meal is the pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw and a side salad. The pork is seasoned so well, you don’t need to add sauce, however, the traditional vinegar based bbq sauce and the mustard based sauce is so good, you have to!
And if you don’t think this will be enough meet for ya’, feel free to order the half FULL pound of deep-fried and Cajun seasoned pork belly cracklins. Yup, big chunks of fried bacon. Heaven.
Finally make sure you save enough room for dessert! The dessert menu changes seasonally and always features beer. Our last visit called for an almond, chocolate chip cookie sandwich with fresh ice cream made with the Blueberry Cream Stout, Cabra Perdida, and a homemade caramel sauce to top it off. See my favorite beer list above, we had to order this one! If it hadn’t been so crowded that night, I may have licked the plate clean of that caramel sauce!
The staff at Greenbush Brewery is always welcoming, friendly and fun. We’ve watched this brewery go from an unknown small town novelty where you could just walk in and seat yourself to a popular hot spot along the Southwest Michigan corridor with up to an hour wait for a table during the dinner hour. And all this time, the staff has remained true to Greenbush’s original laid back, hometown vibe. We’ve seen some faces come and go but many people have been there for years. We enjoy sitting at a table or sitting at the bar and conversing with the staff whenever we can. (And they don’t eye the giraffe too funny most of the time…)
If you couldn’t tell from the love letter above, I can’t say enough good things about the place. I recommend it to beer drinkers, non beer drinkers and foodies. It’s a place appropriate for kids with soda on draft and a Lego table in the dining area. And if the taproom isn’t enough for you, head across the street to the Annex where you can buy bottled beers to take home and merchandise with the Greenbush logo and motto “Good Beer Wins” (Oh, they have the best brewery swag! I have way too many GB shirts.). Or, you can grab a draft beer and also get some cheese and charcuterie to enjoy while playing bocce in the beer garden! Many ways to experience Greenbush Brewing Co.
The only problem with Greenbush? Now that we live in Michigan again, we don’t get to visit nearly as often. We recently took the 1.5 hour drive down for a special release on a Tuesday evening after work and have decided that the trip is well worth an evening to enjoy the beer, the food and the people.
Have you been to Greenbush? Let us know your favorite beers, food items or whatever about this brewery in the comments below!