Marshall, MI- Where can you go in Michigan and buy a skateboard or sweatshirt, have your motorcycle fixed, get a tattoo, see a concert AND drink some of the best beer in Michigan? Those who have visited Marshall know. It’s one of the biggest breweries in Michigan, but the complex that it calls home is so much more than just a brewery.
Dark Horse Brewing was John and I’s number 3 pick for best brewery in the state when we did MLive’s search for Michigan’s best brewery. And I loved it from the first time I visited when I taped an episode of my show Great American Brew Trail there. It is one of the most unique breweries in Michigan, both in terms of the place as well as the beer. This all stems from the owner’s vision, dedication and incredibly hard work over the last 18 years.
Aaron Morse is the main visionary behind the whole scene and “kick ass” beers they brew here. I love that his wife Kristine, mom Cally and his Dad Willy Morse have all been involved in the brewery. It’s a true family business. Although an incredible loss when his Dad passed last year, they continue to grow, adding barrels, fermenters, and new beers to the family that has known that “we’ve always been a little different” right from the start.
Dark Horse has a crazy pub, with over 4,000 hand made mugs hanging from the ceiling, and stuff stuck all over the walls. Things like old photos, hand drawn pictures, business cards and knick knacks are everywhere. Then you head outside and there is an out door bar, upper deck, beautiful outdoor picnic table seating, and a HUGE outdoor space for concerts. This out door space is constantly changing. The beer is constantly great.
Crooked Tree is their flagship beer, and our pick for Beer of the Week. It’s an IPA, that is full of nice citrus, balance by a big malt bill. My favorite thing about visiting Dark Horse in person is drinking this beer fresh off the tap. It’s absolutely one of my all time favorites. Hops start to deteriorate over time, and lose some of their vibrancy every day. When you can have a beer that is this fresh, it’s like a completely different animal. Every time I have a Crooked Tree right in the pub, I can’t stop talking about how good it is. I think John may have told me to just STOP TALKING AMY after a while. This is not an easy task for me.
So get yourself to Marshal and visit one of the funnest, most interesting breweries in the state. Try a Crooked Tree, or maybe a Scary Rock Star Jesus. Have a calzone while you watch a show. Ride your motorcycle there and get a tune up. Or maybe get inked. It’s all possible at Dark Horse brewing.