Final Gravity Kalamazoo Opening Soon – Your Sneak Peek
When I heard that Final Gravity’s father-and-son brewing team had plans to bring their Decatur, Michigan-based beer to Kalamazoo, I expected a lot of smack-talk, head-butting, and silent treatment between the two brewers. After all Kevin Christensen (The Brewmaster and patriarch), is more of a traditionalist with his brewing; a self-taught brewer with 15 years of experience, he prefers classic blends. His son Michael, on the other hand, (The Beer Whisperer) is a bit of a renegade, a wild card; he attended KVCC's brewing program to further the education gleaned from his father, giving him license to add hot-peppers or coffee with the reckless abandon of a mad scientist. You can only imagine my disappointment in finding out that instead of two enemies in the Thunderdome, I came upon an argument-free environment and was received by two very laid-back, very nice guys who love beer, family, and the Kalamazoo community.
Kevin invited me down to get a sneak peek at the Kalamazoo location at 246 N. Burdick (formerly Whole Art Theatre). Set to open next month, the Christensens are fleshing out the bones of the space. Use your imagination, people, as I take you on a photo tour. This place is going to be pretty cool.
A rustic feel with contemporary accents, the found wood bar was constructed piece-by-piece by the Christensens, themselves. Admittedly, I hesitated to describe this as rustic. Rustic always makes me think of horseshoe art and a layer of peanut shells on the floor. But this feels less homespun/rustic and more lived-in/rustic. Like, come on in and put your feet up, but please use a coaster.
Just behind the bar you'll find the the standard pub "mug shelf" which the Christensen's say will be anything but standard as it will proudly display glass mugs made exclusively in Kalamazoo by Avolio GlassWerks.
It might look a little something like this:
Look at the artistry. Every single piece unique from the next. Some pieces an homage to the art nouveau period, others abstract. Almost too precious to drink from, right? But we would be doing the artist and brewers a disservice if these pieces were not used to their fullest potential. So, drink up!
Aside from beer, what can you expect to see from Final Gravity? Their love of live music, of course. They've constructed a stage:
With unique lighting just above:
But, when no bands are jamming, there's always the trusty jukebox to get you through:
...and shuffleboard. Yes, shuffleboard. Along with the board and card games a lot of breweries have started to keep on hand, Final Gravity is going to put shuffleboard cues in the hands of tipsy patrons. I fully trust their decision.
A pub can't just be an entertainment destination. Sometimes it needs to be an oasis from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As mentioned earlier, Michael is a student, so he knows the value of having a relaxing place to steal away to. Expect to see wall-anchored study stations (think coffee shop perimeter set-up) to break the monotony of the library or study hall. Likewise, get away from the office (and Carol's detailed account of last night's Bachelorette). And beer. Studying/working with beer. Everyone will wonder how you became so prolific.
Beer garden? You bet! This space faces Eleanor street, with a perfect view of Arcadia Creek Festival Place. They are also in talks to get storefront seating/service, but since they plan on opening in November, it's fair to say we'll have to wait until spring to see it in its full splendor. I have a feeling it will be well worth the wait.
So why Kalamazoo? Kevin says they have been a part of the Kalamazoo brewing community for years, so for them, it feels more like a homecoming than being the new kid in town. They're excited to bring their favorite brews to Kalamazoo, including The One, their flagship IPA that started it all, and Eye-Opener Stout. It's really too bad that Woo Hoo Poo Poo is already sold out this season. You have to ask Michael...
Congratulations, Final Gravity on the new location in Kalamazoo. Michael; may your father's traditional style keep you grounded. Kevin; may your son's imagination keep your taste buds on their toes. Can't wait to see the final product, gentlemen. Thank you for the sneak peek, and welcome to the neighborhood! Cheers...
Want to check out Final Gravity before they open? They will be at the 4th Annual Craft Beer Festival. Click on the link below for more details.