There’s this phenomenon occurring right now on Canfield in Detroit. On one corner representing an older, distinguished Detroit, there’s Traffic Jam and Snug, the first brew-pub in Michigan. On the other corner, there’s the new HopCat Detroit, bringing over one hundred taps from around the world. And now sandwiched in the middle is Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery.
It’s the perfect evening for an opening — it’s the end of a long work week, and the spring sun is actually shining, making the Michigan weather seem much warmer than it is for a moment. One can envision the casual, outdoor seating buzzing during the upcoming summer season. Inside it’s cozy and welcoming — I’ve barely said hello when multiple servers hand me food and drink to sample.
“Shaved Brussel sprout salad?” Yes please.
“Margherita pizza?” Yes please!
“May I bring you another beer? Yes. Always. Please!
It’s classic hospitality at its best, fusing together excellent service with the artisan concept that has always defined Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. Everyone is smiling and having a great time — and brewmaster Ron Jeffries, the Captain Ron, just keeps saying “super excited.”
“Super excited” seems to define the evening. Tonight the conversation is all about the celebration of present successes and future possibilities, for both the region and the brewing company. Michigan has always been enthusiastic about expanding the craft industry, and the Jolly Pumpkin Detroit opening definitely signifies the local support and teamwork that goes into the continued development.
This venture combined the determined powers of Northern United Brewing Company, Midtown Detroit Incorporated as well as numerous other Detroit institutions.
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has always been a proud Michigan brand, with locations in Dexter, Ann Arbor and Traverse City. Adding Midtown Detroit to this list was ideal.
“We’re always looking for new places, and we’ve been looking at Detroit for awhile,” says Jeffries. “We thought this would be a great addition to the neighborhood.”
I have to admit as a huge craft fan that this stretch of city-block gets me “super excited.” Within walking distance there are so many Michigan craft possibilities offering a slew of varying atmospheres and experiences.
One attendee commented, “Can you imagine being a Wayne State student right now? With all of this around? There would be no studying!”
Indeed, with 32 taps and a mouth-watering menu, there’s plenty of delicious distractions. And locals will be happy to recognize familiar products from Avalon International Breads, McClure’s pickles, The Brinery, Guernsey Dairy and plenty of others.
“It’s about being Michigan-based. Our chefs, our owners, everyone recognizes how important it is to use local product to fit the region,” says Jeffries.
“We’re just super excited,” he continues. “It’s a great spot. Our staff is excited. And so far a lot of people have come in and enjoyed our food and our beer.”