515 James Street, Ludington, MI 49431, (231) 239-6690 http://ludingtonbaybrewingco.com/
Another one of the Memorial Day weekend stops. This place made this guy happy! Maybe because it's so new and everyone is excited for a fresh place to drink. Or just the fact that the beer is outstanding. Ludington Bay was open less than two couple weeks when I was there. Arrived at 2pm Sunday and it was standing room only inside. It had a family atmosphere for sure. Not very many tables were kid free. Rather than wait at the bar, we decided to take our chances in the damp, chilly Spring air out on the patio. The rain was just slowing down and the owner Ted was outside wiping off seats. He welcomed us and asked what we'd like to drink. We were one of the first groups on the patio and it just kept getting busier and busier. More on the fun crowd to come.
My belly was still full with pancakes, eggs, and sausage from the diner we stopped at for breakfast. Stuck to just the beers. 13 total on tap, which for a new brewery I thought was pretty good. That's what I call planning ahead. First order of business, the Dark Necessity Stout (3.75). A good stout always seems to warm me up in weather like this. Good Indeed! At 6.8% it was malty, dark, and full of yummy chocolate flavor. Just the way I like em'. It did the trick, warmed me right up. Or it may have been the sun. Didn't take long before it broke thru the clouds and dried everything out. Which just invited more people to join us on the patio. It was time to lighten it up a bit. I usually don't go the route of flights, but Ludington Bay had too many great sounding beers not to. In order... RYE IPA (4.0) 6.2%, ENGLISH IPA (3.75) 6.8%, FIRST CURVE IPA (4.0) 6.1%, IMPERIAL ESB (3.75) 7.1%, and the JAMES STREET BROWN (3.50) 5.2%. The first beer, RYE IPA was the best of the five, but none of them were below average brews. I was told that the Brew Master moved from Traverse City where he worked at Right Brain and The Work Shop. Both of those breweries make great beer. So it wasn't surprising that Ludington Bay does too!
Let me get back to the scene on the patio. It's half covered and half open. Has a fire pit and privacy fence surrounding it. Lots of lumber everywhere. To me nothing is better than some gut busting laughter to go with beer. I don't want to call it a party but it was loud and FUN! A group drove up for the day from Grand Rapids to pay Ludington Bay Brewery a visit. They were all entertaining and made my beers that much more enjoyable. We sat outside at the same time. They started with 3 or 4 flights, a handful of pints, and quite a few plates of food. Which by the way looked delicious. After a couple hours their group started to spread out a bit and I was able to mingle with a couple of them. They wanted a group photo and I must have looked like the photographer type. Here's my amazing work... Say Brewery!
So now the best part of the day... Credit Card Roulette. Never heard of and never played the game. The 7 gentleman all inserted their favorite card into a hat and let Ted pick the winner. Not sure it's the game I'd want to win. It sure was a lot of fun being in the audience to watch! They all got a big laugh when the winner was pulled. Seems like he may have "won" this game before. Next time you're out with your buddies I suggest you giving it a try. Ages 21 and up.
This was the most enjoyment we had at any of our weekend stops. Beer makes a brewery great but a fun atmosphere makes it that much better! Ludington Bay Brewery is family friendly in more ways than one. Like I said lots of little ones running around. Also family friendly because we were waited on by two of the owners daughters. Nothing better than family supporting dad on his new endeavor. Whether you're on your way to Wisconsin, just getting off the ferry, or vacationing on one of Michigan's best beaches. Stop and have a beer. You'll be greeted with smiles all around and some of the best beers on the Best Coast.
RATING, 4.0 Pints