A tour of the Beer City Ale Trail will take you across the world via the different global beer styles represented at our 40+ breweries. One Ale Trail stop will also transport you back in time – from the 16th century Bavarian countryside to pre-Industrial Revolution England to 1830s-era Germany and elsewhen. Archival Brewing taps into ages-old brewing processes, ingredients and recipes to offer today’s beer drinkers an authentic taste of history.

Archival Brewing is located in Belmont, about 15 minutes northeast of downtown Grand Rapids. Opened in July 2021, it is a labor of love for Levi and Callee Knoll, the married couple who developed the concept from the ground up and continue to manage the operation.

Levi and Callee met while both were enrolled in the Secchia Culinary Institute at Grand Rapids Community College, where Levi earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Culinary Management, while Callee earned a Culinary Arts degree and certificates in Personal Chef and Baking and Pastry Arts.  

Fueled by a mutual love for travel, beer and food, they intended to open a restaurant together. Levi’s love of homebrewing soon collided with that idea, however, and the idea for a different kind of brewery was born. 

Craft Beverage at Archival Brewing

With a regularly changing menu, Archival Brewing is a great spot for craft beer enthusiasts.

Photo by Brian Craig for Experience GR

A Taste of History

Always interested in historical styles, Levi had done a lot of research into long-ago beers and brewing methods. “We’ve done the research to make the beers to style, historically, to the best of our abilities,” he says. “Styles from rural parts of the world, beers, meads and ciders. We have a little more fun with the beers and ciders, but for the most part we’re pretty true to the originals.” 

The beverage menu changes regularly, but recent highlights have included a Dunkel, originally brewed in Einbeck, Germany more than 600 years ago; a Best Bitter beer that hearkens back to England’s Industrial Revolution switch from wood and peat to carbon fuel for kilning;  and a Belgian Dubbel first brewed by Trappist monks in the Belgian Westmalle Abbey, opened in 1836.

There are also ancient honey-wine meads and traditional ciders on the beverage menu along with some Michigan-made wines and a selection of non-alcoholic drinks.

Menu descriptions give a snapshot of each beverage’s history, which often starts guests a-Googling to find even more information and deepen their appreciation of what they’re drinking. It’s part of the fun of the Archival experience.

Beer and Fire at Archival Brewing - Outdoor Space, 2022

Enjoy your meal and drinks on Archival's patio.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Seasonally Crafted Eats

The Knoll’s culinary education and expertise is evident in Archival’s food menu. “We wanted to utilize my wife Callee and I’s background in culinary,” Levi said. “We wanted to offer food that you can’t get at most places[...] everything is made from scratch, every time. We’re very allergen conscious, and we do our best for customers with specific needs.” 

The menu changes as local, seasonal ingredients become available, though options extend way beyond regional cuisine. The likes of Hungarian Mushroom Soup, Gochujang Chicken & Waffles and Blackened Mahi Tacos share the spotlight with elevated nachos, burgers, sandwiches, salads and hearty entrées.

There’s a dessert menu and a kid’s menu and even a dog burger for your furry friend to enjoy on Archival’s dog-friendly patio.

Exterior of Archival Brewing

Located on an old golf course, Archival offers a unique experience with both expansive outdoor seating and activities.

Photo by Brian Craig for Experience GR

A Reinvented Space

The outdoor space is an integral part of Archival’s appeal. As soon as you pull into the parking lot, you know it’s going to be a special experience. There’s a wide expanse of green, trees and water, with the beautiful Archival taproom right in front. It feels special and different.  

“It was the old Grand Isle Golf Club,” Levi says. “We own the seven acres that was cut out for the club. It butts up on the Grand Isle Park on the Grand River.” 

Renovating a long-closed golf club was no easy task. The first phase, updating and renovating the main facility, which was the clubhouse, took over 14 months of constant work. 

“We turned the pro shop into our dining room and bar. We turned the basement - which was the locker room and banquet room - into our kitchen, and where the golf carts were stored and charged, we turned that into our brewery,” Levi adds. 

Once the main facility was up and running, focus shifted to the second phase, which was the outdoor space.

“We have two outdoor areas,” Levi says. “The wraparound deck, which was there when we purchased it, overlooks the park. Then we have the biergarten, which has an entire second bar, seating under a pergola, fire pits, corn hole and two bocce ball courts. All of our outdoor seating is very kid friendly and very dog friendly!” 

Archival hosts a wide variety of events, indoors and out, to advance the Knolls’ goal of “cultivating community.” From live concerts and game nights to yoga classes and all-ages holiday parties, Archival strives to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone.

Make some history of your own and visit Archival Brewing soon!