As you can tell from our brewery list, getting our facts straight on The Vierling restaurant and Market Harbor Brewery took a real life voyage (go check the list, I'll wait). Despite rumors to the contrary, they are the same facility, serving the same beer and the same food. So, yes, naysayers, we padded our list.
Located in the heart of Marquette, Michigan, The Vierling represents another Upper Peninsula brewery Laura and I visited during our first exploration of that beautiful piece of land we stole from Wisconsin in 1836. Downtown Marquette is beautiful, with the sweet little touristy shoppes you'd expect on any coastal Michigan town (with a much higher emphasis on fudge and fresh whitefish).
First opened as a saloon in 1883, and then reopened in 1985, the Vierling possesses no end to its charm. Antique wine and beer bottles adorn the walls and shelves, giving the traditional and overdone "flair" theory a decidedly old timey flavor. My party sat close to the front door where a picture of George Washington smiled down at us and an antique sconce lit our faces.
Antique wine and beer bottles adorning the walls and shelves
George Washington smiling down on Laura
The food was fresh Lake Superior whitefish that I am certain was still swimming in its natural environment hours before, and the beer was the perfect temperature. While the Vierling offers several varieties of beer, I tried but two. . .and those two were fantastic.
The Blueberry Wheat, a gorgeous wispy straw colored wheat beer with an assertive but gentle taste of blueberry, performed fantastically. This beer is now my favorite fruit flavored wheat beer. The addition of real blueberries to the glass gives it a great balance of flavor, with the sweet blueberries juxtaposed against the hops. I happen to prefer non-citrus fruits in my wheat beers, though, so if you're of the opinion that only a strong orange or lemon should be dancing in your wheat (see: Oberon), then this possibly is not for you.
I ordered the Vierling's Plank Road Pale Ale to pair with my grilled whitefish. I prefer a dry, hoppy ale with my fish, and this pale ale did not disappoint; indeed I would almost consider it a light IPA, given its strong hops flavor and hints of grapefruit and apricot. It pours a deep amber with a solid white head that dissipates quickly to leave an attractive lacing effect as you drink. Another big win for the pale ale category, and a beer I would recommend to anyone.
Seth with the Plank Road Pale Ale
Atmosphere, service, food, and beers all receive extremely high marks at this gem of Marquette's eating establishments. Don't expect to leave for cheap, though; the price for extremely fresh fish is reflected by the menu. All things considered, however, I have no hesitation rating The Vierling as a 150 mile brewery; it's certainly worth a 150 mile trip out of your way.