Embracing the majestic spirit of the Au Sable river, Paddle Hard Brewing adds another reason to visit the northern Michigan town of Grayling.
You probably know the city of Grayling for the lovely trails of Hartwick Pines and gentle waters of the Au Sable. Now you can add to that list of attractions the food and beer at Paddle Hard Brewing, located at 227 E. Michigan Ave in the heart of Grayling, just off M-72. You can’t miss it. Just look for the hip roofed doodad over the front door.
Relax in the Cabin
The inside of Paddle Hard Brewing is like walking into your favorite cabin, which is stocked with great food and beer. Happiness surrounded me upon walking in the door. Warm light from the street facing windows floods the entire pub. The decor is comfortable with a well-worn blue jeans feel. Recycled theater seats add some zest for getting a group together for a board game or checking out a game on the TV.
As you may have guessed the theme inside is oriented around canoeing and kayaking. They have some wonderful memorabilia on the wall, including a signed paddle from Norm Miller, who covered 3400 miles of water (and some land) following the Louis and Clark Trail in 2004.
There is also a great framed map of the Ultimate Canoe Challenge, which shows the 28,000 mile canoe trip that Verlen Kruger and Steve Landick of Lansing completed over a 3 year period in the early 1980’s. I was thirsty just looking at that crazy map.
Beer and Food
Paddle Hard Brewing is a small batch brewery. They had 3 beers of their own on tap when we visited. However, they offer up a total of 20 taps featuring a nice selection of Michigan beer, cider, and mead.
We ordered up a flight, which they serve up in cupcake pans which was a nifty idea. You just write down the number and they dish out the little shooters.
I tried the Marathon IPA and Milltown Java Porter. The IPA was a well balanced beer with just the right amount of hops. Nothing over the top, just rock solid flavor. The porter had the roasted coffee going strong and was an enjoyable beverage.
Since it was lunchtime and the menu looked awesome, we ordered up some grub. Paddle Hard Brewing has a great selection of flat bread pizzas with many intriguing vegetarian options which made choosing difficult. However, I persevered and went with the Poseidon Paddler Greek pizza with roasted red peppers, olives, and a smattering of basil. This pizza rocked.
Brenda opted for the fish tacos that feature a twist using baked salmon instead of the typically cheaper and less flavorful tilapia. I tried a bite and these were delicious.
Besides great food, beer, and a relaxing environment, Paddle Hard Brewing has good people working hard to make sure you are taken care of. They were friendly and attentive which made our visit even more enjoyable. When your travel plans take you north, be sure to make a stop in Grayling to say hello to the fine people at Paddle Hard Brewing.
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