New brewery brings flavor to Allendale

By Maddie Forshee | 8/23/15 11:46pm

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GVL/Spencer Miller Owners of Trail Point Brewing Co., Greg Evans (left), his father Gary Evans (middle), and Jeff Knoblock (right) stand proudly in front of their tanks during the grand opening on Saturday, August 8, 2015. The Allendale brewery is located off of Lake Michigan Drive and offers 8 beers on tap ranging from a Shandy Mountain Lemon Shandy to a Trail Oatmeal Stout.

by Spencer W. Miller / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Many homes and businesses call Allendale home, but for the first time, a brewery has settled in. Trail Point Brewing Company on Lake Michigan Drive is the first brewery to open its doors in Allendale.

Serving many varieties of beer, the owners of Trail Point Brewing aim to make the brewery an Allendale institution of bringing the community together while enjoying great beer.

Spencer W. Miller

GVL/Spencer Miller Trail Point Brewing Co. Opens its doors to the public during the grand opening on Saturday, August 8, 2015. The new brewery offers 8 beers on tap, everything from a Shandy Mountain Lemon Shandy to a Tail Oatmeal Stout. The Allendale Brewery is located off of Lake Michigan Drive.

The idea to open a brewery began as three home-brewers became friends through a home brewing club and realized that the idea was feasible. The trio of owners - Gary Evans, Greg Evans, and Jeff Knoblock - had all been home-brewing together for a few years, donating beer to weddings, competing at local competitions, when finally they decided to make the dream a reality.

“We decided that this is what we wanted to do,” said son Greg Evans. “We thought that we made outstanding beer and we wanted to do it commercially.”

The two years that followed were filled with scouting buildings, getting licenses and renovating the new space. The owners looked at the lakeshore and around Coopersville and Walker as a place for the brewery before ultimately deciding that Allendale was the perfect location that had everything they need.

“In Allendale, we’re in a zone where you either have to go west to Grand Haven or east to Grand Rapids,” Greg Evans said. “We thought (that since) two of us are from the area, it would be great to start in our backyard.”

Since opening less than a month ago, Greg Evans said the brewery has seen great success so far and the owners attribute that partially to its unique location and partially to the variety of beer the brewery offers.

Greg Evans said that they wanted to offer a larger variety than typical breweries because “there may be some people who are new to the craft beer scene” in Allendale.

“We have a light ale that people who drink light beers can appreciate,” he said. “(But we also) have dark, fuller beers for those that appreciate dark beers, and we have hoppy beers for the drove of hop-heads.”

The brewery opened with eight beers on tap, but 16 taps available. The aim is to get at least 10 mainstays on tap and rotate out the rest. The three home-brewers have experienced quite a change when it comes to the size of the batches they are brewing - they used to brew only 15 gallons at a time, now they’re looking at brewing about 240 gallons.

Father Gary Evans, head brewer at Trail Point, said that though it’s a huge change, there hasn’t been much of a learning curve for them.

“I have a lot of friends who are brewers at the professional level, and they told me some pitfalls that we would encounter,” he said. “We heeded that advice and we really haven’t had any major issues.”

Trail Point doesn’t currently have an operating kitchen, so during their grand opening they worked with local food truck Ed N Pats Smokehouse BBQ to cater the event. During regular hours, the owners say it's “food friendly," meaning that visitors can get take out from a restaurant and bring it in and have a drink, or come in and order food to get delivered there. The brewery is stocked with snacks, but the owners are focusing on producing quality beer before moving into anything else.

“We want to make sure we have a great tap list, then we’re looking to distribute,” Gary Evans said. “A kitchen isn’t anything that we’ve ruled out, it’s just not in the works at this moment.”

Both Greg and Gary Evans say that the most rewarding part of opening the brewery is being able to make and serve beer to people, and really see their dream that they’ve worked so hard on finally come to fruition.

“It’s been great being a part of the Allendale community,” Greg Evans said. “Working with local businesses has been great, they really helped us out in the beginning. That was really cool. We’re looking to return what we can.”

Trail Point Brewing Company is located at 6035 Lake Michigan Dr. in Allendale. Brewery hours are 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon until midnight Fridays and Saturdays, and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. More information can be found on the brewery’s Facebook or their website, www.trailpointbrewing.com.

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