I know what you’re thinking. I’m reviewing a brewery in a column that highlights family-friendly restaurants. Have I lost my mind?
But stick with me. It turns out that the Chelsea Alehouse Brewery, located in Chelsea’s historic Clocktower Complex, is suitable for kids.
Opened in late 2012, the Alehouse Brewery boasts a large dining room for families and an adults-only bar. It has an industrial feel, with exposed ceilings and polished concrete floors. Huge windows let in ample light and allow you to check out the brew tanks behind the bar. An impressive collection of mugs line one wall. There’s a pool table, darts, several arcade games, and a rack of board games and toys. A beer garden, a.k.a. patio, is also available.
An oxymoron fit for family
Although the focus is on American and English style ales, the brewery has a deli-style kitchen that serves soup, salads, sandwiches and wraps. My family arrived, famished, on a Friday night and quickly scarfed down five soft pretzels (from Dexter Bakery) with cheese dip. Like the pretzels, many items are sourced from Michigan suppliers. There are chips by La Fiesta in Hart and bread by Stone Hearth Bakery in Brooklyn.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a kids’ menu featuring a cheese quesadilla, grilled cheese, PB&J, turkey and cheese sandwich, or ham and cheese sandwich. Kids’ meals cost $5 and include a drink, applesauce, and carrot and cucumber sticks.
My seven-year-old daughter picked a grilled cheese with lemonade. Alas, the fresh squeezed lemonade proved too tart for her. We substituted a juice box without problem.
Meanwhile, the rest of my family ordered sandwiches from the main menu: pulled pork for my husband, the Cuban for me, and a grilled cheese with bacon for my ten-year-old son. Prices ranged from $7-$9. All sandwiches are served with kettle chips and a pickle, or a side salad for an additional charge.
Devouring dinner and dessert
We relaxed in the casual setting, the kids playing darts and pool, while waiting for our food. For whatever reason, a single, busy server staffed the dining room that night and it took 20 minutes for our sandwiches to be served. This was the only blip.
My son devoured his grilled cheese with bacon on a pretzel bun. His little sister, whose kid’s grilled cheese was made with plain bread, eyed his pretzel bun enviously. My husband reported that his pulled pork was smoky with a tasty BBQ sauce. My Cuban, with ham, pulled pork, bacon, Swiss cheese, pickles, and a house-made mojo sauce, was tangy. I liked the chewiness and flavor of the different meats in combination with the toasted pretzel bun, although the sandwich was a tad dry for me. I prefer more sauce. All sandwiches came with copious amounts of chips.
For dessert, we indulged in candied bacon – thick cut strips covered in a sweet chewy glaze. They were an addictive combination of salty and smoky flavors. We also shared a not-too-big, warm Ghirardelli brownie with vanilla ice cream. It was rich and decadent, a yummy ending to a comfortable meal at the brewery.
Chelsea Alehouse Brewery
420 N. Main Street #100
Chelsea, MI 48118
Hours: Mon-Wed: 3pm-11pm;
Sunday: Noon- 9pm