While we get excited about news of any new Michigan brewery opening, the Michigan Beer Blog is especially excited about the work being done in Rockford. Between the location overlooking the Rogue River dam/waterfall in Rockford, the experience of the brewer, and the vision the owners are pursuing, it's a place with a lot of potential.
Downtown Rockford can compete with many of Michigan's coastal towns for picturesque tranquility. Just a few city blocks of tiny shops close to the Rogue river and the White Pine trail, Rockford brings the shopping fun of small tourist towns right up to the outdoor lifestyle. One of the cornerstones to the dining and entertainment experience of Rockford can be found right as the water rushes over the dam; Reds on the River is one of most renowned and decorated restaurants in west Michigan. . and the Rockford brewing company sits across the parking lot from Reds On the River, sharing the view.
We had a chance to speak with the owners of the Rockford Brewing Company, and view the building while in its current (as of July 2012) state of construction. The first floor has an open and rustic atmosphere; eventually this area will be finished in old style wood frames made of Michigan pine and curly maple. RBC plans to replant a new tree for every single one they use in construction: a truly honorable goal.
The system they are brewing on is not the largest kettle system in Michigan, but it doesn't need to be. RBC's beautiful and functional system, viewable from the first floor, will make beer focused on the community first. Similar to the philosophy behind the Crankers Brewery, the Rockford Brewing Company wants to be careful to treat its local community with respect. “After all,” notes Seth Rivard, “they're the reason why we're here.”
Upstairs will harbor more pine work, with an acoustically treated ceiling such that local music can be a centerpoint of the upstairs facility. RBC will offer a limited draft selection upstairs as well, letting those enjoying the view of the Rogue River, the music of a local band, or just the conversation of new friends continue their relaxation without going downstairs.
|In a couple weeks, this will transform into a brewpub!|
While it's too early to tell, owner/brewer Jeff Sheehan promised a healthy blend of rock solid, traditional mainstays as well as more original beverages. His pedigree includes the small batch system at the New Holland Brewing company, so if you recognize him it may be from there. He would often brew batches on that system right in downtown Holland while the place was open, leading some people to wonder if he was an actor!
|Jeff Sheehan and Seth Rivard|
With the Michigan beer industry booming, the lack of a local pub serving beverages brewed on site in Rockford was getting pretty obvious. The Rockford Brewing company solved that dilemma, and I'm sure I'm not alone in my excitement for their opening day.