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The Barn Tavern
Grand Ledge, MI
The Barn on Google Plus

Style: Rauchbier
ABV: 5.5%
So I’m on a little road trip and happen to stop by “Victorian Days” in a little town of Grand Ledge, located about 15-20 miles west of Lansing, the Michigan state capital city. While wandering aimlessly about town – which didn’t take long – I built a bit of a thirst and popped into a locally recommended watering hole and quickly realized it was a mistake. They had Oberon and Fat Tire, otherwise was a wasteland of macro beer.

As a second chance, I happened across the street to another establishment, only to discover it was actually a brewery. Score!! I had no idea there was a licensed brewpub in town, so I was a bit giddy at my good fortune.

It appears the “brewery” part was a bit of an afterthought, as The Barn is a quite simple, hole-in-the-wall type establishment – which is my preferred genre in American establishments anyway. Sure enough, they had what appeared to be a one or two barrel system in a corner and four house-made brews on tap. I dug into a sampler platter that consisted of White Boy, an American style wheat, West Coast, a California Common Beer, Irish Red and a CherryWood, a smoke aged ale.

The bar maid informed me that the locals had responded well to the beers, which rotate often in sixth barrel kegs. The most popular beer (which wasn’t mentioned) was currently sold out, but would be back soon.

The White Boy and Irish Red were both pretty standard efforts, although the Red was a little pale for the style, but made up for it in maltiness. The West Coast was unfortunately infected, so not a good example. However, the CherryWood was probably the most interesting, with a hearty smoked wood aroma and nose that hearkened back to Bamberg in the middle of summer. A deep copper color, it was a very balanced brew with a hint of malty body, with a soft lingering smoky nose that covered the roof of your mouth.

It was great to stumble into a place, and have no friggin’ idea they were actually in on the Gospel of Craft Beer. This is another lesson in the “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover” rule. As mentioned in my visit to Greenville, another small town Americana, if the Word is getting around here, then the tide is truly turning in favor of real beer. I’ll be sure to stop again the next time I’m in town.