Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Mackinaw Brewing Company

If there’s a lesson that public schools fail to teach kids, it’s that not everyone is great. Not everyone is perfect at wood shop, not everyone is a great singer, and not everyone is a great chef. And that’s okay; there is a whole world of mediocrity out there, supplying thousands of jobs to people who just aren’t the best at what they do. Most people are average, despite what their schoolteachers tell them, and there’s nothing wrong with being a C student.

Look at the macro breweries. No one claims that they sell a perfect product. No one even claims that they sell a great product, and yet more people drink Miller Light and Budweiser than any craft beer we cover every single day. Truth be told, I drink more macro beers than I let on; it’s tough to beat a three dollar pitcher of mediocre beer while munching on mediocre bar food and watching a mediocre football team play. Let’s pause for a moment and reflect on the fact that in a world of such variety, not everything can be phenomenal.

Now let’s talk about Mackinaw Brewing Company.

The Mackinaw Brewing Company, the third brewery Laura and I stopped at in Traverse City, gave us high hopes as we pulled up. Located in a quaint, village-esque part of Traverse City, the outside reminded me instantly of New Holland Brewing in Holland, Michigan. It had that conservative, hard working, small town vibe to it that I like in my Michigan coastal towns. Walking inside, I was surprised at the size of the place; the small storefront window was certainly misleading, as the Mackinaw Brewing Company progressed back into a generous bar area followed by a large and roomy dining area. The first thing I noticed, however, on my way back to my table, was how much flair the place had. It was certainly reminiscent of a national chain restaurant/grille.

We were seated by a very polite waitress who, as I learned quickly, had no real experience with craft beer other than what she had been asked to memorize prior to working there. The sampler that Mackinaw Brewing Company offers was pretty typical – a 5 ounce tasting of each of their beers, conveniently placed on a laminated sheet with a brief description of each beer. I was excited to try this place’s selections.

I had just come from two powerhouse breweries (Right Brain and North Peak), and perhaps I had set my expectations a bit too high. Of the beers I tried, only one stood out to me. The rest could have all been made from the same recipe, with some slight differences in coloration added at the end. There was no appreciable attempt to add solid hop flavor to any of the beers, making their American Pale Ale and “IPA” (I have to put it in quotes) especially disappointing. The red had a metallic, coppery taste to it, the same one that lingers in a bottle of Killian’s. Indeed, the only beer I found pleasurable was their Belgian Whitecap, a very light and flavorful beer that hit all the notes I expected from a Belgian Wheat.

As I sat there, trying to hide the disappointment in my eyes as I ordered the stuffed mushroom caps from the waitress, I began reading the menu. Here is what Mackinaw Brewing Company says about their Belgian White, the only beer I thought was good: “This amazing beer is a true example of a Belgian style wheat ale. Brewed with Coriander for a unique aroma and a delicate fruity finish...this almost white golden colored ale will satisfy the occasional craft brew drinker or beer snob. . . you gotta try it!!!” (my emphasis)

This beer clearly not in her wheelhouse.
I thought for a second and surveyed my location again. The Mackinaw Brewing Company was not in the business of making spectacular beer. The flair on the walls, the solid albeit unoriginal food selection, the timid approach to craft beer. . . people do not go to Mackinaw Brewing Company for the originality, they go for comfort and service with a local touch. This place isn’t brewing beer for beer snobs, and they make it clear on their menu. Rather, they are brewing mediocrity for the large segment of the population that craves mediocrity. And they succeed in their task.

So what if they didn’t impress one solitary traveler? The place was busy and I’m sure there’s a whole lot of people, recently coming off years of nothing but macro brewed rice lagers, that consider the baby steps into craft beer that the Mackinaw Brewing Company provides to be sweet ambrosia. Given that both Right Brain Brewery and North Peak Brewery are within walking distance, they don’t need to offer elegant, carefully crafted, single batch items to their clientele; just being a few steps above rice lagers is enough.

And I can’t really fault them for that. Their stuffed mushroom caps were great, after all. I’ll tell you this; if I lived in Traverse City, and wanted to watch my team play while eating a burger and drinking something that I don’t need to think about, I’m heading here.

(Unrelated:  that afternoon there happened to be a zombie walk lurching past the Mackinaw Brewing Company as we left.  The gentleman in the gas mask was particularly enthusiastic.  )


Thach Nguyen said...

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Ngoài ra chúng tôi còn cung cấp thêm các mặt hàng thực phẩm chức năng tiếng tăm tại Nhật Bản với giá cả cạnh tranh nhất thị trường tại Supplements. Gồm những mặt hàng sau:
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Shiseido THE NEW Collagen Enriched
pure white shiseido gia re
Dấm đen giảm cân Nhật Bản ORIHIRO

Thao Nguyen said...

Bên cạnh việc chuyên cung cấp dịch vụ trọn gói thiết kế và thi công nội thất , OZ luôn đưa ra những sản phẩm thiết kế nhà đẹp, biệt thự đẹp, nhà phố đẹp, căn hộ đẹp, nhà ống đẹp , Bên cạnh đó còn thực hiện ý tưởng của quý khách hàng trong thời gian nhanh nhất với chất lượng nội thất,  nội thất văn phòng,  nội thất nhà phố  tốt nhất thông qua các kiến trúc sư nhiều năm kinh nghiệm tốt nhất thông qua các kiến trúc sư nhiều năm kinh nghiệm, mẫu bếp, tủ bếp cổ điển, tủ bếp hiện đại, suon xao chua ngot, cach lam kim chi, cach nau bo kho, vit om sau, cách làm sữa ngô

Phu tung oto huyndai
ba đờ sốc
Phụ tùng ô tô ford
Phụ tùng ô tô Toyota
Phụ tùng ô tô kia
Phụ tùng ô tô Mitsubishi
Phụ tùng ô tô honda
phụ tùng ô tô
Phụ tùng ô tô mazda
Phụ tùng ô tô Daewoo
Hoàng Gia là thương hiệu wedding planner và tổ chức các sự kiện đặc biệt hàng đầu tại Việt Nam, luôn sáng tạo và đi đầu với những ý tưởng phong san khau vad dịch vụ to chuc dam cuoi cưới độc đáo, ấn tượng cách làm backdrop hoa giấy, nhà bạt không gian  thiệp cưới  Địa điểm tổ chức đám cưới chụp ảnh cưới

cách nấu chè đậu xanh, vịt om sấu , cách làm giá đỗ , cách làm rau câu dừa

Đào Tạo Vua Bếp said...
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Đào Tạo Vua Bếp said...
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Đào Tạo Vua Bếp said...
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Đào Tạo Vua Bếp said...
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Đào Tạo Vua Bếp said...

Có về việt nam thì mới biết nổi nhớ quê hương, được ăn những món mình thích và trải nghiệm cảm giác được tự tay vào bếp làm những món ăn ngon của xứ sở mình. Qua những ngày ở đây tôi được học cách nấu bún bò huế ngoài ra còn được học nấu ăn những món ăn ngon lạ mà từ trước đến nay chưa được ăn như là: cách làm món bánh tráng trộn một món ăn rất dể ăn, cách làm cũng không quá khó, ngoài ra còn có những món tây âu như là món gà rán và cách làm gà rán ngon đi xa hơn một chút về miền Bắc lại được ăn và biết được cách nấu vịt om sấu ra sao. Cũng là từ vịt nhưng một món khác đặt trưng cho vùng Nam bộ là món vịt nấu chao nếu những ai không ăn được thịt chó nhưng vẫn muốn thử cái vị của món ấy thì có món được nấu từ thịt heo đó là món giò heo giả cầy lạ miệng với cách nấu lạ độc.

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