Salt Springs Brewery
117 South Ann Arbor Street
Saline, MI 48176
Phone: (734) 295-9191
Hours: Tues-Thurs 11am-10pm;
Fri 11am-midnight; Sat 10am-midnight;
Sun 10am-9pm; closed Mondays
The Short Course:
To avoid wait: Go before 5:30 pm on weekends or try weeknights
Noise level: Very high
Bathroom amenities: No changing tables
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes, plus lemonade and soda
Kids’ menu? Yes
Anything healthy for kids? Pick fresh fruit and vegetables as sides for kids’ meals
Food allergy concerns? Talk with your server, who can identify ingredients not listed on the menu and work with the kitchen to accommodate your needs.
In the heart of Saline’s quaint downtown sits a historic church built in 1899. While the congregation has long since moved on to newer digs, the building hosts a new tenant which is bringing fresh life to the venue, as well as to the craft of beer making and farm-to-table dining.
Opened this summer, Salt Springs Brewery mixes new and old. The historic brick exterior, replete with church steeple, and a renovated interior that is open, hip, and pleasing. Rustic wood tables and industrial-style chairs offer close seating for over 100. A dramatic antler chandelier hangs from the vaulted ceiling. There are impressive stained glass windows, a bar framed by beer tanks, and an open kitchen to entertain the eye. An outdoor beergarten is available, depending on the weather.
Salt Springs’ brewmaster craft beers such as a Hefeweizen, traditional German wheat ale with notes of banana and clove, or the Big Brown Bunny Porter known for being rich, smooth, and creamy. My husband and I sampled both and found them tasty and far better and more interesting than your average mega-brewery draft. A rotating variety of wine is on tap, too.
European-inspired dishes complement the European-style beers. This is not your typical bar food. Starters or small plates include beer balls, aka pork and beef meatballs in a sweet and sour beer sauce, and truffle fries. Farm-to-table entrees include wild mushroom flatbread, a warm beet salad, and the pork shoulder “sammich.” Items rotate based on what is in season.
Even the kid’s menu seems a cut above the rest. There are standards like a cheeseburger and cheese pizza, but also choices like seared steak, fish, and a fresh veggie plate. Prices range from $4-12, drinks extra .
Quality and variety
My family of four started with poutine ($9) with cheese curds, beef gravy, and Kennebec fries. It was enough to share, but we could have eaten more.
“These are amazing,” said my son, 12.
“The gravy is really good. Flavorful, not salty,” commented my husband.
“I’ve had better,” chimed in my eight-year-old daughter, the newly crowned poutine expert.
My husband tried the pork shoulder sandwich ($13), which he deemed delicious. “The pork tastes fresh off the smoker, tender, juicy, and smoky.” He added the spicy greens served on top and as a side were much better than lettuce. His portion was just enough.
I went with the Tarte Flambee ($14), because really, when am I ever going to cook Tarte Flambee? It resembled a pizza, cut into eight slices, yet tasted lighter. I liked the mixture of sweet and tart from the mingling of the crème fraiche, goat cheese and onions. House bacon added chewy flavor. Although charred a bit, the crust melted in my mouth.
My daughter got the kid’s fish ($10), a whitefish fillet with a side of apple slices, tomato, cucumber, radish and carrot. She gobbled it up. Yes, even the vegetables.
“The healthy eater award goes to her, for sure,” said my husband.
Meanwhile my son got the kid’s cheeseburger and fries ($6), which satisfied and appeased his vegetable-aversive palate.
We passed on dessert as the leisurely pace of our dinner had exhausted our kids’ ability to sit any longer. I will try the Brown Butter Pudding or chocolate cake some other night. I’m sure they will be as fresh and flavorful as the other creations we enjoyed at Salt Springs.