Hideout Brewing Company
Grand Rapids, MI
Style: American Wheat
The aptly named Hideout Brewing Company is a classic American homebrewer-done-good success story. Located in northeast Grand Rapids and visible from Interstate 96, this little gem of a brewery is something of a secret among many beer fans, save for a cult-like regular following. Located off the main boulevard, Plainfield Avenue, and next to a television station and apartment complex, this little brewery was attached to a former hot tub and spa, where all sorts of interesting characters wandered in and out during business hours. Its two-story space was originally the fitness center and pool, which later morphed into a homebrew shop and eventually a homemade five-barrel brewery known as Hair of the Frog, owned by the original landlord and his son.
In 2005, Ken and Laura McPhail took over the brewery as the spa closed—saving patrons the chlorine smell, heat and humidity endured by the patrons of the former Frog. They’ve worked hard to spruce up the pub, which now includes a game room, added televisions, and a freshened up beer garden area. They’ve also improved the beer dramatically and created more consistent offerings.
Today, I tried the Crusader’s Weizen, a buttery orange colored wheat ale. It opens nicely, with the expected fruity notes of banana and clove and a flocculant nose, however the body was a bit flat, most likely due to something other than Weihenstephan yeast and the lack of a step mash in their simple, single stage brewhouse. I would guess the wheat content somewhere south of 40 percent and the American pale malt resulted in little glass cling or mouthfeel. As is typical in many domestic wheats, there is a lingering bitter finish. Still, it was a pleasant enough quaff and more than worthy of a sample, if you can find your way to the pub.