We’re all familiar with sports themed bars. There isn’t a city across the United States with an active bar scene that doesn’t have at least one bar emphasizing sports viewing and good times. But surprisingly enough, there are not many breweries paying homage to baseball, basketball, football, or any other organized play. Most breweries, it seems, stick with popular culture, landmarks, animals, or even mythical symbols when deciding on an official theme and décor.
Well, there happens to be at least one brewery that does feature a sport theme, and the one they selected is none other than the great American pastime known as baseball. The establishment is The Mitten Brewing Company, located at 527 Leonard St. NW in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
The Mitten Brewing is a fun place for food, beer, and sports. Taking its name from the geographical shape of Lower Michigan, The Mitten is a baseball themed brewpub that places guests in a sports frame of mind. The interior features two levels, an outdoor patio, and baseball symbols on the walls, mostly honoring the Detroit Tigers.
Food is as much a part of The Mitten experience as the beer and they serve some incredible pub grub to accommodate your brew and sports viewing. Start off your opening at- bat with a hummus plate or soft pretzel. Then, spend your next few innings feasting on one of the delicious sandwiches or pizzas. One of the cool features they have at The Mitten is the pizza flight. You get six different pieces of six different pizzas. And the beer is the same- a flight of beer features six small servings so guests can have fun matching different beers with different pizza pies.
Baseball and Beer
My visit to The Mitten Brewing Company did include a flight sampler of beer. Here is a summary of what I tried, listed alphabetically by name, followed by the style and my Untappd rating on a five point scale:
- The Bird, Wheat Ale, 3.75
- Caught Lookin’, Porter, 4
- Country Strong, American IPA, 4
- Mitten Pale Ale, American Pale Ale, 3.75
- Put Me In, Kolsch, 3.75
- West Coast Swing, Amber, 4
Overall Average Rating: 3.88
Beer at The Mitten is solid overall. What I like is that no one beer truly dominates the others in terms of quality. They make for an impressive all- around team and represent a true leveling of the malt beverage playing field.
It’s Not Over until It’s Over
The Mitten was one of my many stops during the Great Beer Now Grand Rapids Brewery Tour of 2017. This is one of several breweries of which I had no prior knowledge. I didn’t even know about the baseball theme until I entered the brewery for the first time and I liked what I saw.
With The Mitten, you get not only great beer but also some incredibly tasty food. I noticed this trend as I visited the different breweries in Grand Rapids. Many of them are notable for their food just as much as for their beer and The Mitten is certainly no exception. The excellent food makes it an extra- base hit among locals and it’s a popular place to take the family for an afternoon or evening of food and sports viewing.
The baseball theme at The Mitten is obvious, but it’s not overdone and that is a good thing. You see baseball references in the names of the foods and beers and you see Detroit Tigers shirts and hats, but the baseball theme isn’t overwhelming. I have been to breweries and brewpubs that went all- out crazy with their selected theme, often to the point of overkill. It isn’t like that here. You know you’re in a sports- themed establishment but they don’t try to ram that fact down your throat. And it’s a good thing, because there won’t be any space in your throat left after you indulge in so much delicious food and brew.
One unusual fact about The Mitten is that the actual brewhouse is not inside the same building as the restaurant and bar. It’s across the street, completely removed. The 20- barrel system keeps the brew coming and since it’s across the street, in its own space, it doesn’t interfere with the room needed to house so many hungry and thirsty guests. And not surprisingly, The Mitten is a popular and often crowded place and anyone who has visited will easily understand why.
Baseball is the great American pastime and no visit to the ballpark is complete without great beer and accompanying food. The Mitten Brewing offers both, in a baseball themed atmosphere that invokes that warm, contented yet anticipatory feeling you experience when sitting behind third base waiting for your favorite Major League Baseball star to smack one into the stands, right into your outstretched glove. The late baseball great Yogi Berra is famous for saying it isn’t over until it’s over and your visit to Grand Rapids, Michigan shouldn’t be over without spending time at The Mitten Brewing Company. Pay a visit to this baseball themed brewery and eatery the next time you’re in Grand Rapids. And tell them Great Beer Now sent you.