Michigan Beer Cellar
Located in the heart of downtown Sparta, Michigan Beer Cellar has been keeping very busy since their grand opening on June 1st of 2010. They are one of the most recent additions to the West Michigan beer scene, making their first Michigan Brewers Guild Beerfest appearance in February 2011.
Dan Humphreys, owner and head brewer, has been home brewing for 13 years. He began guest brewing at many West MI breweries, including Founders Brewing Co., The B.O.B’s brewery, Grand Rapids Brewing Co., and the Hideout. However, there were no fixed brewer positions available in the area, and his eyes eventually turned towards opening his own place, and Sparta was perfect. “We looked around the area, and had to find a place that would fit,” says Humphrey, “and it all came together here.”
The taproom is very large and open, holding tables and couches for your drinking pleasure in a warm, comfortable atmosphere. They have a small deli for sandwiches and finger foods to cure all of your snacking needs, and large televisions for you to catch the game on. “We like the taproom to feel friendly,“ says Humphrey, “We try to make everyone feel comfortable, as if they’ve been coming here for years.“
MBC maintains 15 taps, including mainstays as well as seasonals and variants. Stop in for a cold Black Magic RyPA, a dark IPA with a soft rye presence; or, for you bigger beer lovers, try the Double Black Magic, the imperial version. They also have a great Porter, and had two variants available upon my visit, a Vanilla Porter and Cellar Joy, a coconut, almond and chocolate porter. They also have a great Blonde, IPA, and Dunkelweizen. Summer Sunshine just went on tap, a Belgian Wit light and complex for the summertime, as did a new beer - a Ginger Peach Cream Ale.
Not only does MBC boast an impressive taplist of brews, their talents do not end there. They also craft fine wines, including their recent Michigan Apple Delight wine, which they keep available in the taproom; they also make mead in house, using local Rockford honey.
MBC is also the first distillery in Kent County. They specialize in neutral grain vodka which they infuse with various flavors, allowing them a totally unique mode of creating mixed drinks. They keep around 30 different infusions on hand at the bar, and make unique, different drink specials weekly that range from 2.50-3.50$ (including pints) . “People go to places, and some people just don’t like beer.” said Humphrey, “we want to cater to whatever you could want.”
MBC started distributing kegs within the last two years , so keep an eye out at your local taphouse. They also have all of their standards available in bottles. You are able to stop into the pub and take bottles home with you. They are also going to start offering their wine to-go as well. They also host an open mic night on Tuesday nights, and has live music on Friday and Saturday nights all through the summer. There are also plans laid for taproom renovation, as well as the creation of a beer garden and patio in the back for the summertime.
“It’s just a short little drive up to Sparta,“ Humphrey says, “Come on up and enjoy what we have to offer.“ Next time you’re considering a brew, head up to Sparta and spend some time at Michigan Beer Cellar and kick back on the new patio, have a pint (or three) and enjoy our wonderful Michigan summer with the only thing that could make it better: A Michigan pint.