Wickwood Inn Welcomes Guardian Brewing
A New Brewery In Saugatuck, Michigan To Experience
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. Guardian’s 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, they opened their doors in December, 2018. Looking ahead, they plan to add a large outdoor patio and a space for 2 yurts available for year-round rental. We connected with Kim and Kate and learned a little more about the evolution of Guardian Brewing.
What led you to open up Guardian Brewing in Saugatuck?
A: Guardian Brewing Company is 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). She 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. Then, Kim transitioned from her career in training outdoor leaders. She packed up her home-brewing skills, and drove to Madison, WI to complete a MBAA Malting and Brewing Course. When Kim 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 experience 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. The two of them settled on Saugatuck as the town where they want to spend the rest of their lives living. Now that their dream brewery is open for business year-round, Kim has fun brewing beer to fill 20 taps. Meanwhile, Kate works as the General Manager planning events and other fun things at Guardian.
What inspires the delicious beers you brew at Guardian?
A: Kim is inspired by classic styles with a twist, spices, local fruit, and flavors that pair well with Guardian Brewing’s menu … and barrels. She loves barrel aging her beer. Currently, she has a Reposado Tequila Witbier and a Jamaican Rum Milk Stout in the works. Since Guardian is a brewpub, there is no pressure to distribute (and cannot in MI). So, the focus is having fun and making a range of approachable to wacky beers for all to try. Not knowing if the customer will be a new craft beer drinker, Kim brews a wide range of styles and flavors to please most palates.
What are the food specialties at Guardian Brewing?
A: Guardian’s menu has a wide variety of choices for vegetarian and vegan customers as well as regional, respectfully raised meat dishes and Gluten Free options. The Brewery elevates 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 Guardian Brewing to go, but high quality ingredients in the 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). With a 23-acre farm field across the street from Guardian, chef’s gardens and maybe hops are possibly in the future. Just come back and check on the Brewery often because there are more things coming.
What do you love about having a restaurant in Saugatuck, Michigan?
Guardian loves the location in Laketown Township, so close to neighboring Saugatuck. The support and excitement from all of the local communities about what happens is amazing. They could not ask for anything more! Guardian also loved finding and getting to know their new kind and talented staff. They found an electric team working toward a common goal at the Brewery. It’s fun!
Upcoming events at Guardian are:
2/13 Galentine’s Day with Girls Pint Out Holland. Certified Cicerone and Head Brewer, Kim Collins shares 5 beers, cheese, and local chocolate pairings, a tour of Guardian’s many spaces, and more.
2/14 Pre-Pride for Out On The Lakeshore. Guardian taps a special beer, made especially for OOTL, 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. Experience a tap-takeover of traditional Irish and American styles of porters and stouts. Check out Guardian’s Facebook page for more details closer to the event!