Thursday, August 21, 2014

Arclight - Blazing a Trail for New Breweries

Written by  Erik Smith
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arclight watervliet article

Watervliet is a cute little town of less than 2,000 in the southwestern portion of the state. Not being on the coast, and lacking any major tourist attraction, it’s been off the radar for years. Now, however, there is a reason for the state’s beer drinkers to make a trip here.
Arclight Brewing Company, located on the city’s main thoroughfare at 544 N. Main, has been open for just barely over a month, but is already pleasing crowds with their atmosphere, and, most importantly, their beer.

My visit was on a Saturday night and I was shocked at the size of the crowd. It was a pleasant atmosphere, with the brewpub’s large overhead doors open, and the sizeable crowd being treated to the music of local band Exit 41. (Watervliet’s exit number on I-94 is 41). The brewery & brewpub are housed in a former auto dealership, with the brewing equipment can be seen by patrons through large glass windows behind the bar.

At the time of my visit, there were 7 beers on tap, including the wonderfully hoppy Citrapolis DIPA, their Black Mere Stout on the nitro tap, and When Worlds Collide IPA, run through the brewery’s Randall with cascade hops. I also tried the Orange Shandy, which is made by combining the Ventura Blonde Ale with their homemade orange soda. Not usually a shandy drinker, I was surprised at how delicious this one was.

Arclight’s head brewer, Edward Nash, was kind enough to show us around his facility. As if the beer being produced right now by this up-and-comer wasn’t impressive enough, there is barrel-aged goodness on the way, too. Nash, an award-winning homebrewer before taking the reigns at Arclight, is certainly in touch with what appeals to Michigan’s sophisticated palate.

The question I was left with, which I typed in on one of my Untapped check-ins for the evening- “How is a brewery open less than a month doing such epic beers?” For Michigan beer drinkers, the exciting answer is that there is still more to come from Arclight.

Erik Smith

Erik Smith

Erik Smith is a relative newcomer to craft beer, having first been turned on to the scene by a chance encounter with "The End of The World" (Unibroue's La Fin du Monde) during the summer of 2011. Since then, he has increased that love of beer by serving as the 'un-official' photographer for the many beer events at Ashley's in Westland, MI. His goal is to visit every Michigan brewery. An avid traveler, beer tourism has played a prominent role in his travels since 2012. 

Find him on Untapped at eriksmithdotcom and at his blog at http://onmyfeetorinmymind.com/