Rockford Brewing Company
Rockford, MI

Style: Ale
ABV: 5.9%
Rockford Brewing Company finally opened this past month with much fanfare after
a nearly two year wait from the project announcement. They started things with
a pub crawl in their hometown Rockford, a small suburb of Grand Rapids,
Michigan, on the day before Thanksgiving.

A month later, the doors finally opened to their beer hall and the taps began
flowing. On the pub crawl, I noted all their beers were clean, relatively to
style and delightful. All were above-average efforts, particularly for a “new”
place. Brewer Jeff Shaheen is well experienced, with most recent service at New
Holland Brewing Company, and his craftsmanship is evident in both their
mainstay brews and the first seasonal he’s released.

Their two level taproom has a pub type setting on the lower level, next to the
7 Barrel brewhouse and a full German-style beer hall on the upper floor, with
long, social tables that have seldom sat empty since their doors were unlocked.

The one criticism I’ve heard – although it doesn’t bother me in the least – is
that they’re only pouring one “hoppy” beer so far, their IPA, and hopheads,
such as Eddie Glick, have found this lacking. The supply of their IPA has dwindled
and they sold out as early as last week, as all the hop-seekers have
concentrated on this single brew. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m sometimes a
bit fed up with the constant barrage of hops in every craft beer, so I find the
diversity offered here to be refreshing, but I’m sure they’ll have to up IPA
production or add a few other hop juice choices going forward.

Toward that end, their mainstay beer is their Carriage House Ale, an American
Ale which is basically a session brew. It’s pale orange in color with a thin, lacy head. Clean, it has a mildly malty aroma with a middle-of-the-road sharp,
crisp bite – but not nearly to the level of a hoppy pale ale as it checks in at only 23 IBU. There are notes of pine and citrus on the nose with a balanced palate. This beer is very quaffable and mild enough to appeal to the non-craft
beer drinker, yet nuanced enough to find favor with craft fans.

I find it outstanding, and I’ve stopped in as often as possible just to be
sure, although I truthfully sample most of their offerings on a regular basis.