May 3, 2017
As Beards Brewery readies to change venues, I sit at the bar with a smooth blonde ale remembering a conversation I had with brewmaster, Ben Slocum, on one of the first days he and partner, Peter Manthei, broke into the alley and began sitting up shop:
“This is a great place to start,” he said.
Five years and many a keg later, the simple solution to open a brewpub in an alley seems genius. Eclectic local art fills what were empty spaces around the walls, and on many a night there would be eclectic local music to fill the void of sound during the long winter. The downtown neighborhood alley was able to parley the tight knit community into a lasting party participant.
Food, for the longest time, was bring-your-own. There would be crock-pots, casserole dishes, and bags of sandwiches passed around, while board games made their way out of boxes. My kids played cards as they enjoyed the foam. Happy’s Tacos moved in, and the food choices greatly improved.
But fear not Beards and Happy enthusiasts. While Happy’s Taco Shop will introduce an entire new menu as they partner with American Spoon this summer, Beards Brewery moves to 215 East Lake Street. The term beer garden will be fashionable with extended decks overlooking the water, a new kitchen, and best of all, expanded space to enjoy Downtown Petoskey’s only brewpub.
Jennifer “Jenny” Worthinger reminisces: “I’ve been here a year-and-a-half, and I love this place. The people, the beer, the atmosphere, and the social connection – the best job I’ve ever had.”
Ben, Peter, Jenny and the rest of the crew are shooting for a Memorial Day Weekend start at the new digs; so, watch and listen, Downtown Petoskey, we’re about to enter the Summer of Beards.