GROSSE POINTE PARK — The long-awaited Atwater in the Park Biergarten and Tap House opened this past Saturday at the corner of Lakepointe St. and Kercheval Ave. to a crowd of about 100 friends, family members, media and just plain thirsty folks.
The taproom, located in the former non-denominational Grace United Church, includes a bar with 40 taps and seating room for about 80 people, and a private party room that holds another 40. The biergarten, in the former church’s courtyard, includes a 10-tap bar and European-style community seating for 100.
Partners Mark Rieth, CEO of Atwater Brewery, and Eric Djordjevic, president of the Epicurean Restaurant Group, worked hard to capture a German aesthetic for the new facility, which they hope will serve as a model for a future Detroit version.
The four-barrel brewhouse, situated in the former sanctuary beneath three beautiful stained glass windows, was imported from Bavaria. The food menu includes German-inspired dishes such as house-made bratwurst, knockwurst and kielbasa with sauerkraut; pretzel flatbread; wiener schnitzel; and fried pickle chips. And beers on tap include some of Atwater’s German styles, such as Hefeweizen, Maibock, Dunkel, D Light Kolsch and Teufel Weizenbock.
Not that either the food or the beer menus are exclusively German. Other dishes include burgers, salads, pizzas, pork belly corndogs, fish and chips and Hungarian goulash. Atwater’s varied beer styles also range from the new Hop-A-Peel IPA to VJ Black Imperial Stout to Shaman’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter.
Brewer Brad Etheridge, formerly of Dragonmead Microbrewery in Warren, also produces pub-only beers — up to 15 drafts — for the Biergarten and Tap House. For the grand opening, he was most pleased with Scherthing Cream Ale, though at 5.5% ABV he acknowledged it was a little higher strength than intended “I still need to get used to my brewhouse,” he said.
Others on tap included GP IPA, Cottonwood Golden Ale, HG Brown Ale, a Belgian Tripel and an Imperial IPA. Etheridge also has plans to brew German-style lagers on premise, including a Vienna.
The brewery’s hours are 2 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday; noon to 2 a.m. Saturday; and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit atwaterbeer.com and atwaterinthepark.com.