KALAMAZOO, MI — A brand new leisure venue, mead corridor and out of doors beer backyard are coming to downtown Kalamazoo.
With grand designs on a 4,000-square-foot mead corridor, an equally giant live performance area, a dog-friendly beer backyard with extra reside leisure, and afterward a Nordic tapas restaurant, Valhalla — makers of Norse Nectar Mead and shortly Metropolis Union Brewery beers — will quickly name the area at 530 W. Kalamazoo Ave. house.
Thom McGuire, vp and chief operation officer of the employee-owned mead maker, mentioned the hope is to be within the new area, previously occupied by KM Equipment, by 12 months’s finish.
At current, Valhalla operates out of an area at 3408 Miller Street, the place the corporate has been crafting mead since 2012 and distributing across the state.
After shopping for out the earlier proprietor in 2019, McGuire and the remainder of the worker possession workforce opened the doorways to the Miller Street taproom onsite in October 2020. Concurrently, the workforce has elevated its distribution 10 instances over, rising from 30 distribution factors to 300 throughout Michigan prior to now two years. The aim is to broaden into different Midwestern states within the close to future.
Regardless of pandemic-induced hurdles, the Viking corridor, “owned by a mixture of liberal pagans and conservative Christians, who all get alongside — the way in which it needs to be” has crafted a quick following and can rejoice one 12 months of serving up mead-tales, meads and beer in-person on Saturday, Oct. 23.
The primary annual “Valhalladay” will characteristic a beard-growing competitors, axe-throwing contest, reside music and extra from noon-midnight on the Miller Street location. And, in fact, mead — “the drink of the gods.”
“I believe we simply do issues a bit bit in a different way than most individuals,” mentioned McGuire, 53, whereas speaking about Valhalla’s mead and evaluating the quite a few classes and subcategories of mead to these of craft beer.
For starters, all mead is made with fermented honey. No less than 51% of the fermentable qualities have to be honey for it to be thought of a mead, mentioned McGuire, who additionally serves as president of the Michigan Mead Makers Guild.
At Valhalla, many of the mead is barrel aged, he mentioned.
“We take a ton of time to verify our meads are the place they must be earlier than we launch them,” McGuire mentioned. “We at present have about 8,000 gallons of mead in course of and undergo about 24,000 kilos of honey a 12 months.”
With that elevated manufacturing, Valhalla is solely outgrowing its area. Plus, McGuire mentioned, “nobody ever drives down Miller Street on a Friday evening and says, ‘Now the place can I’m going get a drink?’”
So, with enterprise booming, clientele rising and manufacturing needing an increasing number of of the present area, Valhalla’s possession workforce figured time was ripe for a transfer to a extra seen location.
The brand new location can be a real mead corridor by definition. Plans embody four-top tables topped with Viking shields hooked up to kiln-dried tree stumps and lengthy, wood picnic tables to host bigger events. Film-set-caliber bushes and an ice cave crafted by Kalamazoo firm Sawdust and Levity will fill out the corridor.
Each the indoor and out of doors leisure venues ought to be capable of maintain 450-500 individuals, McGuire mentioned.
Thus far, Valhalla has contracted with Kalamazoo beer maker Brewery Outré and served their beer within the Miller Street taproom. Whereas Valhalla prepares for its new area, Brewery Outré is doing the identical and has designs on opening its personal brewery in Kalamazoo quickly.
Enter Metropolis Union Brewery — a model new brewery beneath the Valhalla flag that can faucet its first beers within the coming months. The brewery’s identify comes from the historic pre-prohibition Kalamazoo brewery of the identical identify. The naming rights had been bought to make use of for the brand new enterprise, McGuire mentioned.
Conserving historical past on the forefront, the primary two beers can be named Lake Avenue Lager and Portage Avenue Porter, after the intersection the place the previous brewery (and later The Creamery) stood. One other historic nod would be the Kalamazoo Prepare Wreck Double IPA, named after a 1924 wreck in Kalamazoo that killed one and injured 27.
Metropolis Union beer can be brewed on the Miller Avenue manufacturing facility with gear bought from Tibbs Brewing Company, which closed in 2020, citing COVID-19 restrictions. There will even be a three-barrel system onsite on the new location downtown.
Much like their present location, berserkers will man the door and Valkyries will pour these worthy to enter their mead and their beer. And, in fact, patrons may have the possibility to affix the Oxhorn Mug Membership, which comes with a plethora of reductions, particularly on Thor’s Day (Thursday) when growler fills are 40% off.
Growlers of mead additionally are inclined to final a bit longer than beer, too, with a shelf lifetime of a 12 months, McGuire mentioned.
In relation to mead, one can count on home favorites such because the Raspberry Holy Grail, the Espresso Denlinger, the Darkish Angel Blackberry Ginger Mead, frozen drinks such because the Hripo — a Hurricane made of sunshine and darkish meads — and after-dinner cordials made with Atacún chocolate and raspberry.
Atacún chocolate, in addition to the Chickadee Cider served at Valhalla, are all beneath the Roast Umber Espresso flag, an organization they’ve contracted with for his or her chocolate and low wants. For the non-drinker, that features a nitro chilly brew, scorching espresso and Bifrost soda and cream soda.
And for the cocktail drinker, there’s an array of mead-tales — cocktails made with mead as the one alcohol — quickly to have their very own guide, every with an accompanying Norse story. In one other 12 months or so, Valhalla hopes to launch its personal true cocktail line as nicely, McGuire mentioned.
The mead corridor at 3408 Miller Street is at present open from 5-11 p.m. Thursdays, 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. Fridays, midday – 2 a.m. Saturdays and midday – 11 p.m. Sundays. There isn’t any kitchen, however exterior meals is welcome.
Valhalla additionally hosts Dungeons and Dragons evening each different Tuesday evening. Different common occasions embody pub trivia nerds at 7 p.m. on Fridays, an open mic evening with Dooley Wilgenhof at 7 p.m. each Sunday and tarot readings on the third Thursday of each month. From noon-2 p.m. each Sunday, there may be additionally an off-the-cuff pagan neighborhood hangout.
As soon as of their new location, McGuire mentioned he expects to be open Tuesday-Sunday weekly. For extra info, go to https://norsenectar.com/.
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