Palisade Brewing Company
17 Best Brewery
By Kristian Hartter

The Palisade brewing company does a few things very well. One of them is making beer. Another is hosting events. They have built their business on a philosophy of “taking care of their own backyard first,” as head brewer Danny Wilson often says. As such it should be no surprise that they ran away with the GV Live readers’ poll this year.

They offer more than a few good beers year ‘round, and their recurring seasonals are always something to look forward to, to say nothing of the one-offs they create. It is a well-known piece of local lore that their most popular beer actually started as a one-off, but the demand was such that it quickly, and surprisingly, became the best known local beer: Dirty Hippy.

The building that the brewery is in used to be a fruit packing warehouse (surprise), but it was converted into a production brewery by Tom Hennessy in July of 2003. At that time the brewery was called Palisade Brewery and they produced and bottled beers with names like Farmer’s Friend and Red Truck. While the location is the same, both the brewery’s name and their beers have changed. They are now called Palisade Brewing Company and, as opposed to bottles, they have been dedicated to canning their beer, a niche that has worked out for them very well and reflects the active lifestyles of most of our Grand Valley residents.

Cans are more portable, lighter and cheaper to ship, allowed in more places than glass bottles, and protect the beer from the destructive effects of light keeping it from being ‘skunked.’ While more and more breweries are choosing to use cans instead of bottles, when Palisade chose to do so 6 years ago, they were squarely in the minority. Making the decision to cater to their customers has paid off. Speaking of catering, the food at the brewery is another thing they get right.

The kitchen at Palisade specializes in tasty sandwiches most of which feature house-smoked meats. Almost everything coming off of the grill has been infused with the beers from the brewery. The smoker runs most days of the week and is fired with fruit wood sourced from the surrounding orchards lending yet more local flavor to the menu.

When it comes to local flavor Palisade offers that in spades with live music 3 or 4 days a week, tie-dye parties and annual events like Super Bowl and Halloween parties. They are also branching out into more diverse events like the recent Brewer’s Backroom Tasting that featured Palisade beers paired with various cheeses and cured meats. Off-site events like beer fest and firkin tappings are another way that the Pali crew brings the love to our community. Look for them at Old Chicago or 626 on Rood throughout the year as they release exclusive beers for special events.

It is clear most of our readers already know what kind of awesome that Palisade serves up but if you don’t, or haven’t been recently, you should head over and try some of what was voted as the best the Valley has to offer. Congratulations to the whole crew at Palisade! Slainte!