Friday the 13th is traditionally considered an unlucky day, but it was anything but for those who headed to downtown Detroit’s Rattlesnake Club last Friday to enjoy a variety of Michigan-made beers, wines and spirits at the third annual Sip of Michigan party.
Not only were there abundant offerings from many of Michigan’s top breweries — including Bell’s, Dark Horse, New Holland, Arcadia, and Founders — but drinking great beer helped raise $20,000 for charity.
Event organizers Audrey Walker and Trisha Verma of Drink Michigan, an organization devoted to promoting Michigan-made beverages, selected as the beneficiary of the event’s proceeds First Step, a nonprofit that fights sexual abuse in Wayne County.
All told, more than 40 beverage makers poured approximately 135 different Michigan-made beer, wine, mead, cider and spirits — including rum, vodka, gin and bourbon — for a crowd of 400. Seventeen breweries and 63 different beers were represented, organized at tables placed in the Rattlesnake’s ample indoor hall as well as outside on the patio beside the Detroit River. Several food tables offered cheeses, pastas, dips and desserts, and a live band provided cover tunes as well as ear-shattering karaoke for those who sipped too much Michigan.
Of particular interest to beer lovers were Bell’s Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout, New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk Oak Aged Ale, and Kuhnhenn Brewing’s DRIPA (Double Rice IPA), which beat out 149 other entries to win gold at the World Beer Cup in May. This reporter also enjoyed Short’s Nicie Spicie, Brewery Vivant Farm Hand Farmhouse Ale and Solitude Abbey Ale, Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza Golden Ale and Weizen Bam Farmhouse Wheat, and Dark Horse Kmita Kolsch. The winner of the night for my money was the Petoskey Pale Ale, a crisp Belgian-style sour ale contract brewed for Leelanau Brewing by Ron Jeffries of Jolly Pumpkin.
Other featured breweries included Motor City Brewing Works, Saugatuck, North Peak, Dragonmead, Schmohz, Frankenmuth and Atwater.