A new Eastown neighborhood brewery is finally set to open in the coming weeks.
(L-R) Heather, Jackson and Barry Van Dyke
After a long and sometimes contentious battle with a variety of factors, Harmony Brewing Company is going through its final preparations and is set to open by the end of January at 1551 Lake Dr. SE, in a one-time liquor store that has sat vacant for the better part of a decade. Now however, the building has been almost completely redone, "[and] the finish-line is in sight," according to co-owner Heather Van Dyke.
Van Dyke, along with brothers Jackson Van Dyke and Barry Van Dyke, will serve as the owners of Harmony while continuing to run their real estate management company, Bear Manor Properties. "Our role as landlord is what we describe as a 'post-partem' thing," Jackson Van Dyke said. "We had been in the space working, and then you take a step back and let the business owners run it." Wiith Harmony however, the Van Dykes are playing both roles.
The siblings, who are used to being landlords, encountered a fair amount of obstacles in their first outing as new business owners, ranging from bank financing to resistance from neighbors just over the border in East Grand Rapids.
The beginnings of Harmony go back several years. "[Barry Van Dyke] and I have been homebrewing for a while. As homebrewers we thought it would be really cool to brew on site," Jackson Van Dyke said of the siblings’ love for good beer. That passion, coupled with an interest in urban development led to the creation of Harmony. Businesses such as The Meanwhile, Electric Cheetah and Brick Road Pizza in the East Hills neighborhood are all Bear Manor tenants.
Once the Lake Drive location was selected, the Van Dykes put a lot of work into making sure they fit into their Eastown/East Grand Rapids neighborhood. Opting for a spot and general feel that would be welcoming to families out for a summer night's walk or bike ride, the menu will go beyond just the beer being brewed on site. Thanks to a wood-fired oven, Harmony’s specialty food will be gourmet pizza. Harmony will also offer pizzas for carry-out, with the option to order a special combo that comes with a growler of beer, according to Jackson Van Dyke.
While sitting at the bar made from wood pulled from a gym floor at Western Michigan University, customers will be able to drink an IPA (India pale ale), an American rye ale, a Belgian style ale, an ESB (English style bitter), or smoky porter, all brewed on site by Barry and Jackson Van Dyke. There will also be craft-brewed root beer for kids or those shying away from beer, as well as a limited selection of Michigan and Italian wines.
While a firm opening date has not yet been set, the Van Dykes expect to open Harmony by the end of the month, with hours from noon-midnight, seven days a week.
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