Wickwood Inn Welcomes Guardian Brewing
Let’s welcome Guardian Brewing, because at Wickwood Inn, we celebrate all things food and beverage! It especially excites us when someone new invests in our community. Owners Kim Collins and Kate Bishop bought the historical Red Barn Theater building and 27 acres just outside of Saugatuck in 2017. After extensive renovations and a build out, they opened their doors in December, 2018. Looking ahead, they plan to build a large outdoor patio and a space for 2 yurts available for year-round rental. We had a chance to connect with Kim and Kate to learn a little more about the evolution of Guardian Brewing.
What led you to open up Guardian Brewing?
A: Guardian Brewing Company was Kim Collins’ and Kate Bishop’s dream brewery 7 years in the making. Kate has her PhD from Indiana University (where Kim and Kate met) and was hired as an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator at Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2012, so she and Kim moved to Golden, Colorado. Kim transitioned from her career in training outdoor leaders, packed up her home-brewing skills, and drove to Madison, WI to complete a MBAA Malting and Brewing Course. When she came home, she was given an apprenticeship with Tommyknocker Brewing (Idaho Springs, CO). At this point, Kate told Kim she had 5 years to gain the right experiences and open her brewery and she would support her along the way. Kim went on to brew for Boulder Beer, Epic Brewing Denver, Barrels and Bottles, and Wynkoop Brewing before moving to Michigan to open Guardian. Kate and Kim looked at over 100 properties from New Buffalo to Muskegon and settled on Saugatuck as the town they wanted to spend the rest of their lives living in. Now that their dream brewery is open for business year-round, Kim is having fun brewing beer to fill 20 taps, while Kate is working as the General Manager looking to plan events and other fun things at Guardian this year.
What inspires the beer brewed at Guardian, and what makes you especially proud of the brews you create?
A: Kim is inspired by classic styles with a twist, spices, local fruit, and flavors that pair well with our menu … and barrels. Kim loves barrel aging her beer and currently has a Reposado Tequila Witbier and a Jamaican Rum Milk Stout in the works. Since we are a brewpub, we are not under the pressure to distribute (and cannot in MI), so we just want to have fun and make a range of approachable to wacky beers for all to try. We never know if the next customer will be a new craft beer drinker, so Kim loves to brew a wide range of styles and flavors to please most palates.
What are the food specialties at Guardian?
A: Guardian is known for having a wide variety of choices for vegetarian and vegan customers as well as regional, respectfully raised meat dishes and some Gluten Free options. We have elevated, sustainably raised comfort food and fun bar snacks to share.
Can you tell us some of your food & beverage dreams for the future of Guardian?
A: There are so many places for us to go with Guardian, but high quality ingredients in our food, beer, and other beverages is most important. Kim is looking forward to sharing more food and beer pairings since she is a Certified Cicerone (the beer equivalent to a Sommelier). We own the 23 acre farm field across the street from Guardian, so chef’s gardens and maybe hops are inner future…who knows?! Just keep coming back and checking on us. We have a lot more to share!
What do you love about having a restaurant in Saugatuck?
We love having a restaurant in Laketown Township, so close to our neighbors. We love the support and excitement we feel from all of our local communities about what we’re doing at Guardian. We could not ask for anything more! We also loved finding and getting to know our staff. They’re so talented and kind. We have an electric team working toward a common goal at Guardian. It’s fun!
Upcoming events at Guardian are:
2/13 Galentine’s Day with Girls Pint Out Holland. Our Certified Cicerone and Head Brewer, Kim Collins will share 5 beer, cheese, and local chocolate pairings, a tour of Guardian’s many spaces, and more.
2/14 Pre-Pride for Out On The Lakeshore. Guardian is tapping a special beer, made especially for OOTL, our Raspberry Kraken Hunter, with $1 from every 100z glass going to OOTL needs.
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day at Guardian! Kim and Kate are both Irish and ready to show off a tap-takeover of traditional Irish and American styles of porters and stouts. Check out our Facebook page for more details closer to the event!