Old school pub with modern lodging

December 21, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY — Something has been brewing for Michigan City and now it’s on tap.

Tucked away, yet not far off the beaten path, The Brewery Lodge opened at 5727N CR-600W in Michigan City on Labor Day.

“You’re combining an old school pub feel with the modernness of our suites,” described John Van Prooyen who owns Zorn Brew Works Co. in town. While he handles the management of The Brewery Lodge, the purchase of the property was a joint effort with business partners Tim and Anderson, who own Shady Creek Winery, also in Michigan City.

Originally from Highland, Van Prooyen considers his hobbies to be architecture, woodworking, history and interior design. He was intrigued by the 40-acre wooded property and the main house built in 1930, which was home to Creekwood Inn up until about five years ago and then served as dormitories for LaLumiere School students.

“It has a lot of personality. It’s a cool project. It had all those things (that are his hobbies). Nobody was doing anything with it, so I figured I’d give it a college try,” he said.

In addition to Zorn Brew Works Co., which he opened in November 2016, Van Prooyen currently owns the Champagne Lodge and Luxury Suites in Willowbrook, Illinois, and owned various other businesses before that.

“I really wanted to be in the lodging operations in Michigan City and restore something that has a lot of history. The ambience lends itself to being a great property,” he explained.

The Brewery Lodge offers 12 roomy 400-square-foot remodeled suites in three sizes: the King Suite, the King Deluxe Suite and the King and Queen Deluxe Suite. The first two choices sleep two while the largest suite has room for four guests. All have their own separate bath/shower, a 55-ince LED television and a DVD player, microwave, mini-fridge and coffee maker. The suites offer views of the property that boast steams, ponds, an 8-acre lake and plenty of wildlife; several terraces and a deck further connect guests to the outdoors.

In the dining room, a wall-length brick fireplace and hand-hewn timbers greets guests who can enjoy choices at the craft beer and cocktail bar. A light fare menu offers appetizers and entrees such as sandwiches and flatbreads, gourmet pizzas, The Brewery Lodge’s signature homemade chili and more. Random daily specials are offered, and guests can expect an expanded menu in the near future including a Sunday brunch beginning in January.

Unless reserved for a private party or special event, the dining room at The Brewery Lodge is open to the public.

“A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that you have to stay here to go to the bar and that’s not the case,” emphasized Van Prooyen.

In the 3 1/2 months since it opened, The Brewery Lodge has offered a unique venue to three small weddings with about 40-50 in attendance, several rehearsal dinners, family reunions and political events. An atrium area, which will house an added bar area, lends itself well to these types of gatherings. Tent weddings, which can accommodate up to 250 guests, are in the works on the lodge property.

The Brewery Lodge is already holding its first community event, a Ring In 2019 “FUN”D Raising Event for The Boys and Girls Club of Michigan City. Scheduled for Dec. 31 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. the black-tie optional event includes entertainment by the “COR” rock band, cocktails and appetizers. Various ticket packages include one with a limousine pick-up service to and from a guest’s home and another with an overnight stay and breakfast the next morning.

Van Prooyen explained that The Brewery Lodge “can cater in whatever the customers wants for private parties.”

The Brewery Lodge has its own 13-passenger limousine and will be offering brewery and winery tours from the property beginning at Christmas.

Van Prooyen said he plans to focus on local breweries, including Zorn Brew Works Co., Shady Creek Winery, Burn ’Em Brewing and Shoreline Brewery, in the immediate area.

The Brewery Lodge, with its close proximity to the highway and city, is a perfect choice for highway travelers, local folks wanting a night away or business personnel visiting local companies, Van Prooyen said. Introductory rates of $99 per night are available on weeknights, and, based on availability, rates go up to $199 a night at other times.

The Zorn dining room/bar area is open from 4 to 10 p.m. on weekdays and noon to midnight on weekends.

For more information or to book a room online, go to www.brewerylodge.com. The lodge may also be reached at (866) 625-6343. Go to “The Brewery Lodge” to find this business on Facebook.

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