Monday, August 17, 2015

Salt Springs Brewery Open in Saline

As everybody doubtlessly knows by now, Salt Springs Brewery is now open in Downtown Saline as of a couple weeks ago. Before embarking on a summer beercation to Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula (about which more later), my beer partner and I paid a visit to the place. Here is a quick first impression.

Beer. The beer list offered an eclectic mix (English IPA, ESB, kolsch, cherry stout, porter, hefeweizen, and saison), with the ESB and kolsch being the standouts to my palate. We did not, however, try the hefeweizen, porter, or cherry stout, so if your tastes run more to any of those, I got nothin'.

Food. The food menu went well beyond the usual pub fare, featuring such things as chicken liver pate, croque madam, tarte flambee, and boudin blanc. We opted for the mussels, because mmm, mussels. There was a clear effort to source ingredients locally (such as shrimp from the farm in Okemos, sauerkraut from The Brinery, etc.). Although nothing truly felt "overpriced" for the area, it should be noted the menu is not really aimed at those on a budget. I have to deduct a point, though, for the lack of anywhere to put empty mussel shells (we had to use the rim of a plate, which quickly became crowded and messy). And another minus for the use of brioche on the burger. Brioche sucks.

Ambiance. The brewery and taproom are situated in a former Methodist church, so if you like to drink beer amidst stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings, you will appreciate this space. Really, they did a nice job renovating and decorating the old church into a place of beer worship.

Service. Grand opening weekend caveat applies: The place was absolutely slammed and everything was new. That said, we sat front and center at a bar with four people working behind it, and it was frustratingly difficult to get anyone's attention. One bartender occasionally scanned people's glasses but made no attempt whatever to look up and make eye contact. As a result, we ended up leaving without ordering the second round of beers and food we were fully prepared to.

Bottom line. Beers were competent, if not amazing. Food was good but priced according to Ann Arbor standards. Atmosphere seemed great (the brewery also sports an attached biergarten). Service could use a bit of improvement, but opening weekend caveat applies.  Saline's not too far, so go check it out for yourself. I'm just some guy with a blog, you know?

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