It seems that Grand Rapids has gone a little beer crazy. With the title of Beer City USA and new breweries popping up all over town, you’re not likely to hear a complaint about it from us. However, few of the breweries looking to join in on the fun also cater to vegans.
That is, until The Mitten Brewing Company opened its doors on the westside.
Friends since they were kids, Chris Andrus and Max Trierweiler set out to build their dream spot at an old Firehouse at 527 Leonard near Quarry on the city’s NW side. They’ve renovated a beautiful old firehouse and turned in into their dream brewery and restaurant. It’s all about the Tigers, complete with not just TVs, photos and pennants, but also stadium seats as you enter.
So why is this a choice spot for vegans? Co-owner Chris is a vegan, and as he says, he needs to be able to eat at his own restaurant. So the there is a separate vegan menu, just ask for it. It’s a full page of appetizers and gourmet pizzas! They offer Daiya cheese, Smart Life Pepperoni and Morningstar Grillers Chik’n on their pies. There’s even the Pizza Flight where you can sample all six vegan pizzas for $27.99 (serves four, so they say).
On a recommendation, we opted for the Pesto Chicken pizza, and the Thai Cobb (nice baseball reference), an asian inspired pie with a peanut sauce as a base and smothered in veggies including water chestnuts. We also ordered breadsticks (vegan without having to ask), and were treated to a taste of the Sweet & Spicy pizza on their gluten free and vegan crust (and another taste of the same but the herbed version just brushed in oil). We’ve never been a fan of gluten-free bread, but this crust is so good, we remarked that we would order it when we’re in the mood for a thin crust pizza.
The food is good. They’ve definitely thought about the vegan thing (again, one of the owners has to eat there too). So everything down to the pesto is made vegan. In fact, we dare say that the Pesto Chik’n pizza is one of the best pies we’ve had in some time, even without the Daiya (they had run short the night we went in).
Of course, we have to talk about the beer since it’s a brewery! I think the official term for The Mitten is a nanobrewery. Just three tanks means they’ll never have 35 beers at a time, but they are planning to have a stable of the most popular styles. A pale ale, IPA, Hefeweizen, Stout,and a Porter. However, don’t expect boring beers from the Mitten. Their head brewer, Wob, came to them from the Hideout Brewery. Their tasty peanut and crackerjack stout, almost always on tap, is brewed with 28 lbs of peanut butter. Please note, some of their seasonal or specialty ales are not vegan, so be sure to ask about those.