Off the beaten path (well not really) actually just set away from the hustle and bustle of down town Kalamazoo, you can find Bravo Restaurant in what seems like the middle of nowhere. This sets them in a unique position away from college party bars that proliferate down town. Essentially, the restaurant is across the street from the Kalamazoo airport, and as far as higher end restaurants go, they have cornered the market. Add to this, they have been operating a nano brewery in their already bustling kitchen.
Shawn and Terry Hagen opened the restaurant in 1987, basing their success on regional Tuscan flavors and a stellar wine list. It was roughly 5 years ago that they decided to up their game just a bit by adding a brewing component to their menu. Chef Adam Stacey who home brewed for 12 years prior to the change has been at the forefront of the changes. A few of the changes at the restaurant over the past 5 years have included installing a reverse osmosis water treatment system and setting up a temperature controlled fermentation room.
The current brew system that Adam is using to fill 5 taps at the restaurant is roughly a 1 barrel set up. He feels growing pains the worst around festivals. As it is right now, this is when he is pulling double batches on brew day. Lucky for us though, because if you don’t go to the restaurant, festivals are the only places you will find their beer. The do not distribute at all.
When they first started brewing at the restaurant they only had two house beers on tap. They now have 5 of their 6 taps filled with house made brew.
Current beers on tap: Blonde Ambition, A-dam good beer, Chef’s Ale, Summer Daze (my favorite at the time), and Porterhouse Java Porter. Needless to say 9 in the morning is a great time for a beer. Granted the Porterhouse filled the role well for my morning coffee.