As a special treat for our fourth wedding anniversary, we stayed at the Rose Hill Inn in Marshall, MI, which is an elegant Victorian home built in 1860. The grounds were spacious and well-groomed. The pool looked inviting (heated using a solar system!) and they thought of everything for the guests – cold drinks, fresh-baked cookies, chocolate and salty snacks, antiques to view and purchase, common rooms with TV and DVD, wireless (which we couldn’t access) and a house cat.
After a hearty breakfast of coffee, fresh fruit, yogurt, freshly baked cinnamon-chocolate rolls, toast, and scrambled eggs with cream cheese, chives and ham, I was ready to do the Marshall Riverwalk! We found an elaborate trail that mixed concrete and composite plastic, and it gave plenty of shaded walking areas with multiple river overlooks. Our out-and-back trek was 2.1 miles with a nice mix of flora and fauna to observe along the waterway.
We returned to checkout at the Rose Hill and Jerry, the innkeeper, asked if we were headed to Battle Creek for Arcadia Brewing. It hadn’t been in our plans, but after looking at a map, it was directly on the way, so we took on the challenge. How nice that we did!
Arcadia’s first attraction was the town – as home of Kellogg’s, Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam and other favorite characters were displayed everywhere! I’m sure we could have had some other fun in
Battle Creek, but were there for the beer, and as I soon learned, a wireless connection!
The beers at Arcadia couldn’t have been less expensive, and the atmosphere was really nice. Lots of families and business people arrived for lunch. All of the tables are doors covered with plexiglas, and the bench seating is generally recycled pews. I decided on a sampler – 4 oz glasses of everything they had (9 total; cask beers not included on this) for $6.50 and D ordered an Imperial pint of the cask IPA (as Beer of the Day, this 20 oz beverage was $2.50!) After tasting all of the samples, we decided to share a pint of the London Porter Ale.
I was pretty busy taking advantage of the free WiFi, and didn’t take a lot of beer notes, but I will say that I really enjoyed the styles I expected to enjoy. There were things like Ultralight that I could have just skipped. Their claim to fame is British-style ale, and when it comes to those, they’ve got it right.
Arcadia has been around since 1996, and they seem to be doing just fine! The menu was pretty typical for a pub. They had brick oven pizzas and wraps; we ordered a roasted vegetable quesadilla which was full of roasted red pepper, portabella mushrooms, red onion, artichoke hearts, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, and topped with green peppers, jalapeño peppers, salsa and sour cream.
We probably spent too much time there, but it was worth it. D’s IPA on the hand pull came with a beautiful creamy head, and citrus aroma – both of which weren’t present in my IPA on draft sample glass. This tasty ale had a hop kick to it, but was reserved enough to remain in the category of English-style IPA.
My sample tray included the following:
Ultralight – pretty “blah”; nothing offensive, but not much tastier than water
Amber – again, not much to this beer, but it sure was creamy!
Whitsun – (6.2% ABV; 17 IBU) described as amid-19th century English festival ale, this one is made with Michigan honey and has a nice orange color to it
Anglers – (5.4% ABV; 34 IBU) this pale ale is the first beer made by Arcadia, distinguished by herbal/floral aroma from the Goldings hops, won Bronze in the 1998 WBC.
IPA – (5.9% ABV; 41 IBU) a little dull in comparison to IPA on the hand pull; Gold winner at the 1998 WBC.
Strong Scotch Ale – (7.5% ABV; 28 IBU) winner of a Silver at the 2002 WBC
London Porter Ale – (7.2% ABV; 42 IBU) a smoked porter made with 7+ varieties of malted barley; this beer was arguably the best of the day. It was a deep chocolate color with rich, malty nose and subtle smokiness. Chocolate, coffee, caramel and smoke flavors (beechwood smoke was stated on the literature) were obvious on the start, and hop bitterness followed through on the aftertaste. This beer won Gold at the 2003 WBC.
Starboard Stout – (5.6% ABV; 29 IBU) an Irish oat malt stout made with Willamette and Cascade hops; this beer son Silver at the 2003 WBC.
Blackheart Ale – this sure tasted like a Schwarzbier (malty, low-hopped and fairly bland), but it was not a lager. It was not bad, but it didn’t leave me wanting more, either.