As difficult and traumatic as 2020 was, 2021 has proven to be as challenging and often quite confusing. Masks or no masks, vaccination cards or no vaccination cards, social distancing or - well, you get the point. I've experienced these predicaments and others as a parent, as an employee, as a business, and as a traveler.
I did a lot of traveling this summer; mostly for pleasure, but always with an eye toward building beer relationships. I visited many a craft beverage establishment in New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, drank a lot of really good beer, met a lot of really great people, and made a few new friendships.
One of the highlights of my travels was a trip with my wife along US-23 north of Tawas, a beautiful stretch of road that runs along Lake Huron, with gorgeous views of the lake from the road. We were out in search of fall's changing leaves, which in mid-October were proving pretty elusive. But while we didn't see too many of Michigan colors, we did happen upon one of its gems: Alcona Brew Haus.
Located in a former German restaurant on US-23 in Harrisville, MI, Alcona Brew Haus has it all: terrific beer, delicious AND allergy-conscious food, and an enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and attentive staff. Most importantly, it has Sandy Arens, its owner/host/food-allergy-evangelist. A mother of ten, Sandy knew the challenges of dining out and dealing with food allergies, as a number of her children had issues with a variety of food ingredients. So, Sandy began studying food and cooking, graduating from the prestigious culinary arts program at Schoolcraft College. Her quest to provide allergy-friendly meals for her family has paid off in a big way for Michigan brewpub enthusiasts: just about every one of the scrumptious dishes on the Brew Haus' menu can be customized to a diner's food sensitivities, a rarity in the Metro Detroit area, let alone up north in rural Alcona County.
Also, their house brewed beers are spot-on! I can highly recommend the Biere de Mars and the dopplebock, both excellent examples of their styles and absolutely delicious. In addition to their excellent house beers on tap, they serve gluten-free mead and cider, as well as allergen-free cocktails.
So, if you happen to be in Harrisville, Alpena, Oscoda, Mio, or anywhere on "The Sunrise Side" of Michigan, stop by Alcona Brew Haus for one of the best brewpub experiences in the state. And if you don't happen to be in one of those cities, make the drive; Alcona Brew Haus is worth the trip.