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Beer O'Clock GR

It's 12.38pm On Saturday January 23 And It's Happy Hour Right Now at 8 Bars In GR

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Elk Brewing Intro

Elk Brewing: Passion and Tenacity at Grand Rapids’ Newest Brewery

Eric Karns could be forgiven for being tense.

His spot, Elk Brewing, had been delayed since 2011, and had finally this past week opened to solid reviews and full tables. After planning red tape, questions from neighbors, financing rigamarole and a change in partners, you’d think that he’d be just a ball of stress, even after the open.

But he’s not.

Karns is sitting at Elk’s small bar and sampling beers with me an hour before open. The patio is under construction. The staff is bustling about with their pre-opening duties. Karns seems relaxed, pouring samples of Elk beer and chatting with me about brewing and what’s it been like running Elk now that he’s finally got the doors open.

But there’s an intensity. Karns tells me that in the midst of the long Elk Brewing saga, another brewer told him he was the most tenacious person he’d ever met. And he’d have to be. Karns says that if Elk hadn’t worked out, he didn’t really have a plan B.

I think that shows in what he’s producing. He likens his vision for Elk to what Founders started out as: A small place, something for the neighborhood, with creative beers that don’t really fit the standard and are brewed in small runs. The ones that I’m tasting certainly fit the bill. A black IPA that’s more of an imperial with a huge personality; a light, sweeter Scotch ale; and what Karns calls an American ESB that I could put back pints of all afternoon.

And once the expansive patio is finished (Karns claims it should be the 2nd largest in the city, after Founders’) this will be one of the spots for this summer.

Elk has been a long time coming. But from what we’ve tasted, it’s been worth the wait.

 

Elk Brewing Bar

Elk Brewing Bar Taps

Elk Brewing Bar Johnny Bz

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Elk Brewing Bar Beers

Elk Brewing Bar

Elk Brewing Bar

Elk Brewing Bar

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