So check out the latest installment from our intrepid report in Mich, Uncle Gary. His latest stop on his whirlwind (and at this point, probably slightly blurry) tour of Michigan Brewery's finds him at Dark Horse Brewing in Marshall Michigan!!!
Keeping Up With Demand A Priority For Dark Horseby Gary Morrison
|Dark Horse Tap Room|
It is an understandable question. When you walk into Dark Horse’s tap house your eyes are immediately drawn upwards where almost 4,000 ceramic mugs hang from hooks on rafters.
|That's a lot of mugs!!!|
The hanging mugs and the brewery’s eclectic look that includes walls adorned with posters and vintage advertisements and its food menu may help draw customers, but it’s really about the beer.
|Aunt Linda with her Tres Blueberry Stout|
At the time of my visit, the menu listed 18 beers with nine available on tap. Those beers not on tap were either seasonals or were beers percolating in the taproom’s brew house almost ready to go on line.
|Regulars Dave and Linda Smith|
“We come here quite a bit,” Dave said. “We just enjoy the freshness of the beer.”
Linda Smith was not a craft beer drinker when she first visited Dark Horse. It was not her style, she said, but now she is a convert.
“I asked for a Bud Light or something close to that,’ she said. “The server said: ‘I don’t think I can help you.’”
VIP members have to be beer club members. The room is also used for corporate and private events as well and an additional entertainment venue.
Dark Horse got its start in 1997 when Bill “Wacky” Morris bought a garage and opened a C-store that grew into three stores and a restaurant in the area. Soon after, his son Aaron joined the fold and suggested they open a brew pub. After experiencing some growing pains, Bill and Aaron (along with Aaron’s wife Kristy and brewer Brian Wiggs) converted Dark Horse to the brew pub that it is now with a few exceptions.
“Some bar owners from Denmark happen to visit us one time and like our beer,” Bill said. “They now order 400 barrels from us at a time. They use plastic barrels and ship those to us that we fill and ship back.”
To meet growing demand, the owners bought an adjacent building and added a new brewing area with a 20-barrel system, Bill said. The original system is still in full time use and is used to produce all the beers for the taproom as well as test beers that may or may not hit the market. The new system is used to meet its distribution demands.
The Dark Horse compound now includes the taproom, brewery, general store, skate shop, and tattoo parlor. In the works are a motorcycle shop, creamery, candy shop, and distillery; but no winery, Bill adds.
“Aaron began brewing beer in his bathtub,” Bill said. “We were originally a restaurant that sold our beers and other beers.
“Now we just sell our beer,” he said. “Our customers come first and we make sure that we don’t run out of what they want.”
If you would like to check out Dark Horse (tell them Uncle Gary sent you....), they are located at...
511 S. Kalamazoo Ave,
Marshall, Michigan 49068