Greenbush Brewing in SW Michigan is a year-round beer destination

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Hungry Hound: Greenbush Brewing Co. (WLS)

Michigan's Harbor Country is jammed with great places to eat and drink. In the town of Sawyer, Mich., one company has been rapidly expanding with good food and even better beer.

Owner Scott Sullivan's dream, as employee No. 1 at Greenbush Brewing Co., was to bring a bit of the microbrew culture to his hometown. He grew up just a few minutes away from Sawyer.

Fast forward a couple of years, and now Sullivan has 146 employees working on several projects, including that brewery.

"It's 14 taps, you can do growlers there; we have beers tiered from our six percent baseline, up to big, we go as high as 14-and-a-half percent on some of our special beers," said Sullivan.

The menu in the brewpub is a hybrid of Southern-meets-barbecue.

"Brisket, pulled pork, everything comes off of one of our giant smokers in the back or across the street," he said.

Across the street is the Annex, a place to find produce from his garden, bottled beers to-go and an impressive cheese and charcuterie department, just in case you want to pick up a few items for a picnic or hearty snack.

Across the street again, next door to the brewery is the Clean Plate Club, a southwestern Michigan homage to the American diner.

"I like the old classic diner idea, when I travel that's what I look for anywhere I go is a diner," said Sullivan.

Think lumberjack breakfasts with tortillas and beans, or massive, two-fisted sandwiches jammed with the meats from the Annex, and of course, plenty of beer on tap.

"The highway being close by helps a lot. We're on the corridor to Detroit and Grand Rapids. We have so many people who come up from Chicago for the weekend. Or a lot of people actually commute back to the city that are former Chicagoans. Our little town of 800 people. Our mug club is over 4,000 people now. And that's happened in five years," he said. "Even now in winter, we're on a two hour wait on a Saturday in February."

So even though the population of Sawyer is less than a thousand people, it has become a year-round destination, and there are no shortage of great places to eat and drink well into the winter.

EXTRA COURSE: Greenbush owner Scott Sullivan discusses three of the brewpub's best-selling beers.
5885 Sawyer Rd, Sawyer, Mich.

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foodhungry houndbeercraft beerMichigan
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