Tag Archives: Wyoming Park

Wyoming set to have a brew, or two, with TwoGuys Brewery

Owner and brewmaster Tom Payne is in the process of renovating two buildings in the Wyoming Park area for TwoGuys Brewing (WKTV)

By K.D. Norris

ken@wktv.org

 

After nearly 10 years of working a small business plan, and recent action by the City of Wyoming, TwoGuys Brewing has taken over an old firehouse and a rundown one-time 7-Eleven convenience store in the Wyoming Park neighborhood and — with any luck to match hard work — should be serving up craft beer for guys and gals who like microbrews in 2017.

 

Tom Payne of TwoGuys Brewery. (WKTV)

“Now its about six months of demolition and renovation, were we turn this ugly old 7-Eleven into a beautiful tap room,” Tom Payne, managing partner and brewmaster of TwoGuys Brewing, said Nov. 10 at a friends-and-neighbors open house at what will be the new brewpub. “We are hopeful for September 1” to open.

 

“This business came about about 10 years ago,” he said. “I realized I was not just another home brewer, at least I did not think so. I had entered beer in outside competition, outside of just (treating) my normal friends, and it was taken very well. I said ‘You know what? I think we’ve got something here.’ And then my wife and I, after hours and hours of talking, we said ‘This is something we are going to do.’ At that time we put together a 10-year plan, and we are at the end of that 10 years. It is time for TwoGuys Brewing to open.”

 

An old 7-Eleven story will become TwoGuys Brewery’s taproom. (WKTV)

Opening the brewery and brewpub involved the leasing of two buildings located across from each other on Porter Street SW, the old 7-Eleven at 2356 Porter Street SW and an unused fire station at 2385.

 

An old city fire station will become TwoGuys Brewery’s brew house. (WKTV)

The leasing of the fire station to Tamaz LLC (an LLC doing business as TwoGuys Brewery) by the city was part of three actions taken by the Wyoming City Council in late November. The actions included granting the business a liquor license, a waiver of city zoning code to allow for the sale of alcohol within a certain distance from a church or residential area, and the lease of the old fire station, which had been used by the city for a meter shop and a temporary laboratory but was currently vacant.

 

City support of business

 

“The City of Wyoming has been absolutely instrumental in this,” Payne said. “We approached the city three or four months ago, we completely laid out our business plan and what we wanted to bring to Wyoming Park. They put together a timeline … a ‘we need you to do this and we need you to do this’, and we have done everything the city has asked for. … They have been fantastic.”

 

Wyoming City Manager Curtis Holt made clear the reason for the city’s actions:

 

“Our region is increasingly embracing craft beer,” Holt said. “You can look around our community and see the many brewpubs that have sprung up over the last five years. We are pleased that TwoGuys Brewing has identified Wyoming as its location and feel that it will be a welcomed by the neighbors — and by Wyoming residents in general.”

 

Several of those neighbors visited the open house on Dec. 10 as well, and Payne said he expects to be an attribute to the neighborhood.

 

“The biggest reason (for placing their business in Wyoming) is that this is where we live, my wife and I,” he said. “I grew up in Wyoming Park. I graduated from Wyoming Park. I have lived, aside from my time in the Marine Corps, in this area and it has always been my home. When we decided to open up our brewery, it was going to be where we live and provide our neighbors with something they could certainly be proud of.”

 

About that name …

 

And the name of of TwoGuys? Where did it come from?

 

“10 years ago, there was me and one of my best friends, Charlie, I had gotten him started brewing,” he said. “So, long story (made short), we entered another competition and took best of show on an IPA (India Pale Ale), which at the time had no name. We brewed this beer at Founders. We brewed 10 barrels having won the best of show. … About half an hour before tapping, Founders said ‘You guys need to name this thing something.’ I told them ‘Its just the two of us, we are just two guys, so how about TwoGuys IPA?’”

 

Now, though, the name takes on another context, Payne said.

 

“Our TwoGuys, today, is, well … everybody’s two guys. You’re the other guy. My grandson is the other guy. Everybody is the other guy. I am just one guy. It is all about community, which is what brought us to Wyoming Park. … I will consider every guest that comes into these doors, starting next year, as the family, as the other guy.”

 

Plans at this point the business will focus on an array of craft-brewed beers — maybe wines, meads and sodas — as well as what the business calls a “pub-centric” menu of food. Payne’s brewer pedigree includes his having been involved with Osgood Brewing in Grandville as well as head brewer at 57 Brewpub and Bistro in Greenville.

 

“We are going to focus on traditional styles, beers that you don’t necessarily find everywhere else,” he said. “A lot of English style ales that no one brews around here …  I am not knocking any other brewery in town, there are some fantastic ones, but it is going to be all about the other guy, what they like.”

 

Tentatively, seating at the brewpub will be for about 80 with a possible outdoor patio planned. The property has about 18 parking spaces in front, with about 50 possible behind the building and another 25 or so across the street at the old firehouse.

 

After 31 years, Thom Vander Klay and the Wyoming Wolves are still making history

WyomingBBall4
Coach Vander Klay giving his team direction

By: Mike DeWitt
Mike.DeWitt@wktv.org

 

Ten minutes before practice starts and not a voice is heard. The only sounds coming from the Wyoming High School gym are the hard dribbles of basketballs and the sweet sound of the ball touching nylon. Eventually, a word is spoken to put an end to the verbal silence, “Ball!”

 

It’s all about efficiency. Not a second is wasted.

 

When you close your eyes and focus solely on the sounds coming from a team’s practice, an accurate picture on the team’s identity begins to take form. After 31 years, Wyoming Head Coach Thom Vander Klay has a keen sense on how his team operates.

 

“This team is quiet and constantly thinking,” described Vander Klay. “While they may be quiet, they’re extremely aggressive and confident. It’s a quiet confidence, but it’s definitely there. It’s a healthy confidence that doesn’t spill over into being cocky.”

WyomingBBall2

 

That quiet confidence is taken directly from their head coach. Throughout practice, Vander Klay takes a backseat as players organize themselves into drills for the day. He trusts his system and his players to waste no time getting as many reps in as possible. When a teaching moment is available, the coach steps in with the knowledge and passion that easily commands a room.

 

“He instilled a very good work ethic, not only in basketball, but in life,” said former player Bob Henning, who played JV ball for Vander Klay at Wyoming Park in 1992. “He never took it easy, not even during the off-season. He taught you that you have to work to get the things you want in life.”

 

There’s a reason Vander Klay was voted the best basketball coach in Grand Rapids.

 

Coach Vander Klay has pretty much seen it all in his time roaming the sidelines. He remembers a time when the three-point shot was considered a wasted possession. He coached the JV basketball team at Wyoming Park for 10 years before taking over as the Varsity coach. When Wyoming Park and Rogers merged into what is now Wyoming High School, Vander Klay took the reins of the basketball program and the new challenge of merging red and blue.

 

“When we merged, we had to rid of everything red and blue. It had to be purple everything,” remembered Vander Klay. The merge has been successful and the student section even hosts “throwback” games where students wear the old uniforms from Park and Rogers. “There’s no more animosity. We’re all wolves.”

WyomingBBall1

 

For the seniors, the first four-year class to go through Wyoming High School, being a “wolf” is all they know and it’s not something they take lightly.

 

“It has been pretty special to see how the sports evolved from when everyone was a rival,” explained senior Edwin Martinez looking back on his four years. “It feels great to be a part of the history of the school.”

 

“We became more of a family,” added senior Brendan Berg.

 

While the class of 2016 has a lot of history to their name just for entering Wyoming High School at the right time, they have also earned some special history on the court as well. Wyoming has had some extremely talented teams in the past – twice finishing second in the conference – but this season the Wolves were finally able to bring home the O-K Bronze Conference crown.

 

“Winning that first conference championship for Wyoming [boys basketball] is something we’ve talked about,” Coach Vander Klay said. “It was unfinished business after taking home two second-place finishes [2015 and 2014] and one third-place finish [2013].”

 

The importance of adding a historical first to a coach with such a prestigious record isn’t lost on the players either. After winning seven conference championships at Wyoming Park, Coach Vander Klay has kept the winning tradition alive at Wyoming.

WyomingBBall3

 

“It’s very cool to be the first team at Wyoming to win a championship under Coach Vander Klay,” exclaimed senior Zach Mann.

 

While some coaches may experience burnout after 31 years, Vander Klay, a graduate and former player at Wyoming Park, continues to live his dream, “I just love it. It’s my hobby and something that I personally like to do. I enjoy the kids.”

 

Update – In the District Semi-Final on Wednesday night, Wyoming fell to Hudsonville 55-52 in overtime. The Wolves came back from down 15-points in the final quarter to force OT.