Tyler and I are visiting his family in Kalamazoo, Michigan for Christmas this year. After coming from Boston, where we had not yet had any snow, the winter wonderland of Michigan has been a shock for me! They are way ahead of us in the snow department.
To keep warm, and because Tyler and his brothers love beer, we went to the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange the other night for drinks.
The Beer Exchange has an amazing gimmick that makes drinking more fun than usual (and that’s saying something): the prices of their extensive selection of draft beers rise and fall in real-time depending on actual sales, just like the stock market. A giant electronic board broadcasts current prices (prices turnover every fourteen minutes) and shares important information like whether a beer has just gone up or down and how many minutes are left to get the brew at that price.
Here’s a shot of the board after a market crash, a five-minute period when all prices hit rock bottom, for no apparent reason other than to get tables of beer-swillers extremely excited and calling for their servers!
After a market crash occurs, you feel pretty silly having just paid $5.00 or more for the now heavily discounted beer of your choice. But, as you can see, these are not the big-city booze prices that Tyler and I are used to, so we were still more than happy with the timing of our purchases.
The Beer Exchange is housed in an amazingly restored old building that I imagine must have been a warehouse at one point in its life. The outside is a beautiful brick and the inside continues the theme, accented with mellow lighting, gorgeous murals, and plush booths. The Exchange has made an effort to make their space warm and comfortable; combined with the excitement of fluctuating beer prices, it’s definitely a place you could stay for hours and hours on end, which I’m sure was their original goal!
We didn’t eat at the Exchange because we had a delicious pesto dinner (with pesto made at the height of summer with basil from my mother-in-law’s impressive garden and then frozen, just waiting for an opportunity to be enjoyed by visitors in the dead of winter) ready for us at home. We did, however, have the bar chips, which were delicious little salty bits of potato with a very garlicky french onion dip. Yum, big time.
So, if you’re ever in Kalamazoo, Michigan, this place would be one to check out. I love restaurants and the like with original, fun ideas behind them and I would not be one bit surprised to see the Beer Exchange/Stock Exchange concept migrate to other cities, if it hasn’t already.
And now that I’ve done an entire post on beer, I must admit that I am not a beer drinker. Hops taste disgusting, so I had a glass of Pinot Noir and an Ace Pear Cider (in order to participate in the exchange action) at the Beer Exchange. But they were good, too!