We're fans of Groupon and last week we purchased a deal for Hudsonville Winery and Pike 51 Brewery that included two beer tastings and a take home growler for $25. We asked our friends Brittany and Charlie (who live in Hudsonville) to join and made a night out of it.
The Tap Room at Hudsonville Winery runs in conjunction with Pike 51 Brewery, which recently opened onsite. The Winery, however, has been around for more than 3 years. Other than that, there's not much else I could find listed about the history of the place from their websites.
Overall it was a great way to spend a Thursday night, however, I typically base my experience off the company we keep and Brit and Char are always a good time! As for the Brewery/Winery, it has it's highs and it's lows:
With names like 'Cream Pants Ale' and 'The Shiznit' I'm bound to like the beer. They offer a good selection (currently 15 different beers on tap) and I thoroughly enjoyed the ones I tasted. Those included: Cream Pants Ale, Hopnosis, The Flaming Marshmallow, Sinister Kid, and Topless Trip Out - the last two nearing the 10% mark in alcohol content. The place was easy to find and we had no trouble parking. Also, the prices were very affordable and the amount of beer we got for the Groupon really was a great deal.
Unfortunately, there were more lows than there were highs. The tastings came in plastic cups which reminded me of a college happy hour. There is no actual wait staff which means you seat yourself and when you are ready to order you walk up to the bar and wait in line to speak with the bartender. Then, they give you a number and when your order is ready they bring your drinks and food out to you - a very similar process to ordering hot dogs at Ritz Coney downtown. The overall atmosphere was a little confusing. To me, it seemed like most of their budget went towards their bar center piece - which really is very 'grand' with it's stone base, dark surfaces, and swirled stainless steel back drop. However, the rest of the space doesn't really come together all that well. There are mismatching tables and chairs, random 'old-time' wall art, a flat screen TV, and lighting that wasn't quite right. The food, in short, is mostly bar fare - french fries, chips and salsa, chicken or a pulled pork sandwich... their menu has a long way to go. But what I was most surprised with was their customer service, or I should say, lack thereof. For someone who was visiting their establishment for the first time, I did not walk away with a 'welcome... come back again soon' sort of feeling. I'm from a small town much like Hudsonville and I don't remember the hospitality ever being that cold.
I'd say that perhaps we'll visit Hudsonville Winery & Pike 51 Brewing again in the future, but it will most likely be on account of Brit and Char inviting us out for a quick beer, not dinner. We ARE pretty pumped about the growler take home item - we're bringing it with us to Easter Brunch tomorrow with the family.