By Matthew Waldrep
Grand Rapids is already leading the state with the most microbreweries and shows no sign of slowing. The soon to be open, Harmony Brewing Company, will be the latest addition to the growing tradition of finely crafted beers.
“We want to be a community centered place where folks gather to have a great time.” Co-Owner, Heather Van Dyke said. Heather, along with her two brothers, Jackson and Barry Van Dyke, are the owners of Bear Manor Properties LLC which has aided in the development of several local businesses including The Electric Cheetah and The Meanwhile Bar. However, the joy of helping launch successful businesses left the two brothers and sister wanting more. “We’d step back and they’d run the business. We found ourselves experiencing this kind of post-partum.” Heather said.
Jackson and Barry, who have been home brewing for ten years, saw the opportunity to turn a hobby into a business model. Two years ago the three began mapping out plans for a creatively inspired brewing and dining establishment, and now their dream is coming to fruition.
The siblings claimed former “Jack’s Liquor Store” at 1551 Lake Drive in the heart of Eastown, which like many abandoned businesses sat vacant for years. “Our spot is perfect for us,” Heather said, “But it required an enormous amount of work.” The location underwent a mass renovation and reconstruction for what will soon be Harmony Brewing.
Harmony will begin by housing six different taps and will prospectively add more once it is up and running. The taps will always carry Harmony’s stand-by brews including their “Black Squirrel” smoky Porter and “Fiddlesticks” IPA (named after Barry’s cat), but will also feature a changing variety of new beers.
Fresh brewing won’t be the only thing that customers will have to look forward to with the opening of Harmony. A unique and rotating wine list as well as seasonal cocktails will be available offering alternative beverages. The brewery will also have a wood-fired oven cooking up classic and creative pizzas as well other dishes from bar-snacks to a rotating antipasto platter. “We want to do food that is simple and seasonal and delicious.” Heather said.
Aside from offering food and craft beers, Harmony will also be hosting what they call “Black Squirrel University,” featuring different speeches and lectures. “We are going to have speakers come and talk about everything from scholarly topics to how to make yogurt or repair your mountain bike.” Heather said.
Harmony Brewing Company is aiming to open its doors for business before the new year.