Food Service & Agriculture, Lakeshore, and Retail

Brewery opens to full house

March 24, 2014
| By Pat Evans |
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Brewery opens to full house
Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. in Muskegon drew a full house of customers during its opening weekend. Photo via fb.com

A brewery with historic flavor is now serving the lakeshore.

Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. opened in Muskegon on Friday. It’s the second brewery to open in the city in the last six months, after Unruly Brewing Co.

Muskegon is “beyond ready” for another brewery, said Michael Brower, one of Pigeon Hill Brewing’s three partners, prior to this weekend’s opening.

“The pent-up demand surged for Unruly, and based on the ongoing support that we have received, we expect the same thing to happen when we open. It truly is wonderful to feel so embraced by the community.”

The brewery said on Sunday that a regular schedule will be posted soon, with a priority on keeping the tap list full.

The brewery had been waiting for licensing and to finish up the taproom, and both delays had been frustrating for the trio of owners — Brower, Chad Doane and Joel Kamp — but they made the best of it.

“They have been outside of our sphere of control,” Brower said. “That being said, we have consistently worked to make the best of each delay."

Standards

The delays have allowed the team to fine tune their beer and processes.

The brewery has started off with an honest streak, something many beer lovers like to see.

The first batch of beer they brewed, Walter Blonde Ale, wasn’t up to their standards. Instead of serving a subpar product, Brower said they stored 55 gallons of the brew in a barrel to sour and dumped the remaining portion.

“Every beer after the first batch has been one that we are proud to put our name on,” Brower said.

Muskegon history

Pigeon Hill Brewing has worked to ensure it will preserve some history in its existence.

The brewery’s name refers to a massive sand dune that overlooked Muskegon and was a major tourist attraction until the 1920s. Between the ‘20s and 1960s, the sand was removed, one load at a time.

Brower added that the brewery's initial delay allowed it to find and mill lumber-era white pine that was dredged from the bottom of Muskegon Lake.

The white pine now makes up the brewery’s tables, bar pieces and small furniture throughout the taproom.

The crew also recently toured the old Muskegon Brewing Co., a brewery that operated before and for a period after Prohibition. There, they found the brewery’s old grain mill and have begun to restore the machine into working order.

Pigeon Hill is nestled into the Noble Building, which was built in the 1920s as a car dealership, at 500 W. Western Ave.

“The Noble Building was erected at a time when Muskegon’s downtown thrived,” Brower said. “Now, it will be a building block in the revitalization of that same downtown. To us, the Noble Building provides more than an ideal structure — it provides the perfect atmosphere that we seek to embody with Pigeon Hill Brewing Company.”

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