The Vicksburg Series: All Aboard, Next Stop Distant Whistle0
We are proud to introduce "The Vicksburg Series." These blogs will feature great places and people to connect with a short drive from Kalamazoo.
Arriving at Main Street Vicksburg, we heard a train whistle blowing and knew we were in the right place. This charming town, a short 20-minute drive south of Kalamazoo, is home to a new microbrewery - The Distant Whistle Brewhouse.
We arrived at opening time on a wet, wintry, Thursday afternoon. Dane Bosel, one of the owners, greeted us with a welcoming smile and an invitation to sit at the bar. Within minutes, most of the other barstools were occupied, beers were pulled, and introductions were being made. We immediately sensed that this would be a great place to socialize, and make new friends.
Talking to Bosel, he explained that one of his motivations is to create a relaxed meeting place for customers to connect. Already popular events at The Distant Whistle include: Thursday Night Trivia, live music performances, The Mug Club, and a home brew competition. Such initiatives show that Bosel along with his business partner and head brewer, Andy Clouse, are serious about this goal. They are well on their way to becoming a hub for the local community as well as a destination for beer lovers.
At opening time, there was an air of calmness. There are no TVs on the walls and a stack of board games is provided for quiet, ad hoc enjoyment. However, the focus at The Distant Whistle is very much on the beer.
With great passion, Bosel talked me through the delicate process of crafting beer from grain to glass. During a quick tour, I learned the importance of temperature control, quality ingredients, and having a passion for what you do. Bosel shared that he loves "the fine balance between art and science," and when asked, what makes their beer distinctive and special - without hesitation, he responded, "clarity and taste." His enthusiasm for his craft and the technical aspects of the brewing process was inspiring. We couldn't wait to taste them.
As we began to make our way along the flights of beer, the first thing we noticed before even taking a sip, was the enticing aroma rising from each glass. The sweetness of the Paramount IPA and the citrus notes from the White Bronco further excited our already tempted palates. Finally, when we thought it couldn't get any more interesting, the promise of something extra special arose from the Backpacker's Blonde. This coffee-infused beer, made with Ron's Beans, is exceptional. It is beautifully balanced with a smooth, moreish taste. Owner of Ron's Beans, Ron Martin happened to be sitting at the bar during our visit. He explained that the coffee roast was specially created for this beer, and was "a team effort - not too acidic and well-rounded with a great coffee flavor."
Bosel shared that he and Clouse love creating fun and sometimes quirky names for their beers. And, in the true spirit of The Distant Whistle, customers are sometimes involved in generating ideas. A self-confessed geek, he loves Tolkien, hence the Bilbo Baggins Brew. Each name represents a beer with a unique taste, aroma and personality. It is obvious Bosel is having fun with all aspects of the business.
The Distant Whistle Brewery offers a twist on a traditional BYO concept. They encourage you to order in your own favorite food. Menus from local restaurants hang close to the bar. And, if by any wild chance you don't manage to find a beer that you like, you can also bring in your own favorite bottle of wine for a corkage fee of $5. Bosel feels this approach helps to support already established local businesses. It also allows them to focus on what they do best - crafting great beer!
They are already a success. "We have just pulled our 10,000th pint of beer," Bosel says with a smile. We celebrated with our new friends at the bar, by raising our glasses to The Distant Whistle!
Open from 4pm-10pm Tuesday to Thursday, Friday 4pm-12am and Saturday 12pm-12am and Sunday 12pm-10pm. For more information about The Distant Whistle events, The Mug Club and competitions, visit www.distantwhistle.com or follow them on Facebook.
Stay tuned for additional installments of "The Vicksburg Series" coming soon!