GRAND RAPIDS – After almost exactly two years in the works, the owners of Harmony Brewing Company opened their massive new restaurant and brewery, Harmony Hall, Oct. 6.

A steady flow of patrons filled, but did not crowd, the new space on its first day.

Harmony Hall has two floors of seating, 24 taps, and a menu full of different varieties of sausage. Its design is influenced by the building’s previous occupants, making for eclectic decor.

“We’re trying to honor not only the neighborhood, but the history of this building itself,” said Barry VanDyke, co-owner of Harmony Brewing Company.

The building’s exterior is painted to look classically Bavarian, which calls back to its origins as the Rauser Quality Sausage Factory. Brightly colored sculptures and original art from Little Mexico, the building’s last restaurant, adorn the first floor. The VanDykes have affectionately named it “The Monster Room.”

But Harmony’s style embodies its name—there’s nothing discordant about the German and Mexican influences in the decor.

Harmony Hall’s brewery, which is three times the size of the original system in Eastown, is also on the ground floor. Large windows frame the equipment for passers by on the street to admire.

The new system has twice the brewing capacity and three times the fermentation capacity. It will be used to produce Harmony’s mainstays.

“[Eastown] is where we’re going to do the smaller, more idiosyncratic batches of beer,” said Jackson VanDyke, co-owner of Harmony Brewing Company.

The new equipment enables Harmony to make Lagers, which require more temperature control than Harmony could previously accomplish. Harmony Hall will also be putting out more barrel aged brews. Right now, Jackson VanDyke says they’re preparing for a tequila barrel-aged Imperial Red IPA.

A walk upstairs leads to the main restaurant and beer hall, which feels simultaneously familiar and brand new. The open space is huge and has windows on every side; it isn’t as intimate as Harmony’s Eastown space. But it’s bedecked with potted greenery, lacquered wood, a pussy willow chandelier, and a giant Woosah mural. It’s still Harmony, but it’s Harmony on German-themed steroids.

The new space will be much more friendly for larger groups, said Harmony Employee Brian DenBoer. The view out of the front windows sweetens the deal even more.

“That’s what I’m most excited for, I think,” said DenBoer. “To have lunch with a friend and sit in front of the cityscape out there on a nice day. Get a little sun on your face.”

 

The sausages on the menu are diverse in inspiration. French, Korean, Creole, and German are just a few of the styles offered. DenBoer’s favorite is the Bulgogi, a Korean barbecue beef and pork sausage.

“The food here is amazing,” he said.

For now, a sit-down sausage lunch or dinner is what patrons will get at Harmony Hall, but Barry VanDyke says “phase two” of the expansion will entail sausage sold for retail out of the Monster Room.

Many of today’s brewery stories start with homebrewing equipment in a college apartment or sips of craft beer on a road trip across the United States that inspired owners to dream up new beer recipes and contribute to the growing craft landscape in the U.S.

Pleasant House Brewing Company started a little differently. In some ways, it started at owner Art Jackson’s family estate in Yorkshire England called – unsurprisingly – Pleasant House. Jackson, first generation American, was a chef in Chicago, when he and his wife, Chelsea decided to honor his English ancestry by opening Pleasant House Bakery in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. They started with their now-famous, Royal Pies – traditional British meat pies made with savory ingredients in flakey, buttery pastry. Their Chicago establishment is BYOB, which brought up an important question to the owners.

“Honestly, what’s better with a savory meat pie than a really good beer? Somewhere it was always the next logical step for us,” said Chelsea Kalberloh Jackson, owner of Pleasant House Brewing Company.

The Jacksons knew they’d need space to brew and when friends directed them to quaint Three Oaks, Michigan – the rural setting and proximity to amazing growing regions, as well as being just over an hour outside of Chicago made it the perfect location to start brewing beer equal to their menu.

“When you’re brewing 10 gallon batches, you have an amazing amount of flexibility to be creative and bold,” said Pleasant House’s head brewer, Gloria Fahim. “When you have a food-focused restaurant, pairing becomes an important part of your brewing process.”

Kalberloh Jackson agrees, saying that their ability to keep their tap board fresh and unique, gives customers an opportunity to explore craft beer and even offer up their own suggestions.

“We’re invested in the craft landscape,” says Kalberloh Jackson. “The way we source our ingredients, running our urban farming space and beer are all an important part of that landscape.”

Kalberloh Jackson notes that their customers were craft beer drinkers long before Pleasant House started brewing beer. Those interested in an artisan approach to their food, would expect nothing less in their drink. Kalberloh Jackson remarks that even Pleasant House’s mantra – Do it f’ the sen – is at the very heart of craft.

“It’s a Yorkshire saying that means ‘do it for yourself’ – which is what craft food and drink is all about. It’s about choosing flavors that speak to you – your palate, your preference, your life.”

HOLLAND – The corner of Eighth Street and College Avenue became a gastronomic empire on Tuesday evening.

New Holland Brewing Company hosted “Rocktoberfest,” a star-studded event featuring a five-course meal with beer and music pairings curated by celebrity chefs and beer experts. The festivities were a benefit for Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank. Seventy five guests were treated to the sold-out feast for the senses.

In addition to the usual theme of pairing a food with a drink, live music by The Schrock Brothers band accompanied each course. While each dish was being served, they played a song chosen by the chef who created it.

New Holland Chef Dale Beaubien helped shape the monumental event.

“We started out wanting to showcase what the chefs in Holland can do, and we ended up with something far from it,” said Beaubien. “A lot of those guys had moved on or had scheduling issues. We planned it far enough in the future that we were like ‘Let’s get some of our other friends around’ and then it just happened.”

The chemistry of those involved was noticeable, and conversations observed between participants were nearly reverent.

The evening began with a cocktail reception with curation done by Beervangelist Fred Bueltmann, Vice President of Brand and Lifestyle and Partner of New Holland Brewing Company. Bueltmann is also the author of “Beervangelist’s Guide to the Galaxy”. He chose The Band’s “Ophelia” to be played while serving a Manhattan made with Zeppelin Bend whiskey, a vermouth made from Fenn Valley Pinot Noir, Michigan honey, lavender, and more.

The meal unfolded seamlessly, moving at a pace that allowed for immersion in the moments of bliss upon taking the first bite and sip of each sublime pairing as its song played in the background.

The first course of sautéed blood pudding was served with Poet Oatmeal Stout and Rick James’s “Cold Blooded,” as chosen by Chef Brandon Johns of Grange in Ann Arbor. At Grange, Johns is known for creating unique whole-animal dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

Home turf Chef Beaubien’s turkey tamale was served with The Carhartt Woodsman, a barrel-aged Pale Ale, and “Tres Hombres” by ZZ Top in the second course. Winter squash and Mayocoba beans complemented the mildly spiced tamale.

Chef Matthew Millar, a 20-year veteran in the West Michigan restaurant scene, chose “Eat a Peach” by The Allman Brothers to accompany the third course of smoked magret duck with spiced peach butter and Into The Rabbit Hole Maibock. Millar’s latest project, The Southerner, is located in Saugatuck.

The Rolling Stones’s “Goat’s Head Soup” title partially described course four—a goat combination of knackwurst, slow-cooked leg, smoked loin, and jus by Chef Paul Virant, a legend of the Chicago-area restaurant scene. Virant’s beer choice was uniquely tied into the evening as well. Schrocktoberfest, a Michigan-grown Oktoberfest Lager, was  brewed in the New Holland pub with the band earlier this year.

Course five was a very indulgent dessert manifested from dark chocolate, cocoa butter, fermented chili, orange, and coriander by Chef Matt Pietsch of Salt of the Earth in Fennville. This was paired with a Flight of the Dragons presentation: three snifters of Dragon’s Milk including the original, a coffee-infused version, and a rum barrel-aged version. Hoots and Hellmouth’s “Watch Your Mouth” played along, as patrons raved about the spectacular finale.

Rounding out the curating and pairing panel were New Holland’s own Pub Brewer Steve “Bert” Berthel and UK beer expert Melissa Cole.

Berthel brings a wealth of beer and food knowledge to the table as a brewer in Michigan for nearly 20 years and a proponent of local agriculture. He is committed to locally sourcing 100 percent of all ingredients used in the pub brew house in 2016.

Cole is the author of “Let Me Tell You About Beer,” which has been hailed as the perfect beginner’s guide to beer. She was brought into the project by Fred Bueltmann.

“Fred and I have known each other for a number of years now. The more we’ve talked about beer and food and the way we want to change the way that people think about it and talk about it and compare them—that’s when we we really click.”

While she was in town she also participated in a collaboration brew— details of it will be revealed later.

Andrew Steiner, Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank’s Communication Specialist, said, “We were thrilled to be able to have a presence at this event, it’s so special. We also think when people are eating, that’s a great time to talk to them about local hunger and about getting food to those who don’t have enough to eat.”

Proceeds from a silent auction also benefited the food bank. Prizes ranged from signed books to dinner packages.

Sponsored by New Holland Brewing

Photography: Steph Harding & Scott Meivogel

GRAND RAPIDS – Grand Rapids Beer Tours is once again offering outings combining beer and art for the city’s ArtPrize event.

Since beginning operations in June 2014, they’ve been giving locals and visitors a way to experience Beer City’s lively craft beverage scene with a personal aspect.

Brian Haik, Owner and Tour Guide, is a born and raised Grand Rapidian. He attended Grand Valley State University with the intention of becoming a history teacher, but decided that teaching people about the history of beer was a more desirable ambition.

Danielle Haik, Brian’s wife, helps run the walking tours. They have three additional tour guides and drivers to handle the burgeoning business.

This is the second year they’re scheduling ArtPrize tours. They begin with a walking tour taking place on the first day of the competition, Wednesday, September 23rd, from 3pm to 6pm.

“The walking tour has you going to four venues this year—Founders, HopCat, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, and BOB’s Brewery,” said Brian Haik.

“The driving tour goes to Founders, Mitten Brewing Company off of Leonard and then Grand Rapids brewing Company,” he added.

If you’re contemplating joining them on one of their popular tours, you’ll need to make your reservation soon. Spaces are limited and many tour sessions are already booked solid.

“There are a lot of extra people in town who want to drink beer and who want to do ArtPrize,” said Haik.

Grand Rapids Beer Tours specializes in providing an intimate experience.

“It’s not like a giant party bus,— we’re not like some companies where their specialty is just transportation. Our specialty is taking people to places and experiencing the breweries. We prefer to keep it smaller, that’s why we have a fifteen-passenger van.”

People appreciate having a responsible driver for a day of drinking with friends.

“On a four hour driving tour, for example, samples equal about a pitcher of beer per person. That’s a good amount, and they don’t have to worry about driving at all!” he said.

“What separates us is we educate people on the tours. It’s not going to be a booze cruise,” said Haik. “You’re going to be learning about the breweries you go to, learning about the beers, and you’ll get a behind-the-scenes brewery tour at one of the stops.”

“I’m passionate about what I do. I have love for the culture and Grand Rapids, it’s my home,” he added.

Future plans include tours to areas of the lakeshore from Saugatuck to Traverse City. They’re entertaining the idea of doing a cider tour, and possibly a gluten-free tour that includes mead if there’s enough interest to support it.

Private tours are available in addition to public tours shown online.

“Sixty to seventy percent of our tours are private tours. Bachelor parties, bachelorette parties, birthday parties, business groups,” said Haik. “We’ve had people from pretty much every continent already. From China, Guatemala, Central and South America, Australia, New Zealand, all over the whole world really.”

They’re capable of filling a gap in public transportation, sometimes driving from the city to the lake shore to pick up a tour group for a day of brewery-hopping. They can also offer hotel pickup and drop off in many places, ask for availability when you book your tour.

GRAND RAPIDS — What do dilapidated buildings, shipping containers and craft beer all have in common?

The Sovengard.

Grand Rapids’ first official outdoor beer garden is slated to open late this summer on the west side. As with any bar in Beer City USA, you’ll find plenty of craft beer, along with craft spirits, cider and wines. But that’s where the similarities end.

The brainchild of Rick Muschiana, The Sovengard will be a European-style beer garden that will feature plenty of green space, some indoor seating, and a bar housed in a used shipping container.

“It’ll be about three-quarters outside, and then we’ll have some indoor seating for about 99 people. Our total capacity is going to be around 227 seats. We’re really excited about that, and using sustainable and reclaimed building materials,” said Muschiana, pointing to his former position with Brewery Vivant for instilling that mindset in him.

“That’s what makes Michigan great, is the seasons, the outdoors, the nature and the lakes — sometimes you can lose sight of that when you’re living in an urban environment,” he said. “Our thought process was, ‘what can we do to rejoin that and really be an asset for urban living?'”

The atmosphere won’t be the only unique aspect, either. Muschiana plans on channeling some Scandinavian influence in all aspects of the business, specifically the New Nordic Movement.

“There’s a group of now-renowned chefs in those Scandinavian countries doing some amazing things and promoting self-sufficiency and agricultural sustainability. I think that’s all important to us, and craft beer, cider, spirits and small production wine — they all fit in there.”

[tw-parallax image=”https://mittenbrew.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/soven-middle.jpg” target=”self” lightbox=”yes” link=”https://mittenbrew.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/soven-middle.jpg” ][/tw-parallax]

Click above to view the entire site plan

Additionally, The Sovengard is aiming to become the first bar in Grand Rapids with a fully-dedicated crowler system, which is also in use by White Flame and Perrin Brewing. The system allows guests to can beers to take home, rather than put them in standard growlers.

The bar is going so far as to offer a Crowler Club, allowing members to fill three crowlers per month.

The Sovengard started an IndieGoGo campaign on Tuesday, which will run throughout the end of June. It is trying to raise $25,000, offering not only its own perks, but some from businesses like Citizenshirt, BenchDog Studio, Detroit Bikes and more. The Crowler Club is also available as a perk.

When all is said and done, Muschiana hopes that he can offer a unique beer garden to the otherwise urban environment, as well as offer food and libations that guests wouldn’t otherwise be able to find locally.

“Lord knows we have enough bars and restaurants in the city. I think the underlying theme is that there is a movement happening — people want to eat better, drink better. They want their dollars to count for something, and be more than just filling up the tank,” said Muschiana. “We really want to be a part of that movement and offer something new and different, and be original —  embrace the community. We want it to be as much of a hang out and community space as we do a business space and beer garden.”

“It’s adding another layer to flavor, to interest and destination, and really making Grand Rapids as a city, a hub.”

Muschiana plans for The Sovengard to open late summer or early fall at its 443 Bridge Street location.

Michigan’s own Madonna once sang that “some boys kiss me, some boys hug me, I think they’re okay…” She went on to divulge that Mr. Right was always that man with the cold hard cash. Money is great, but I want to tweak those lyrics a little to say that the man with the beer is (usually) Mr. Right. And he is even more likely to be the right one if he comes to you on Valentine’s Day bearing beer and candy. To help out those wannabe Mr. and Ms. Rights, I offer the following suggestions for Valentine’s gifts.

Life is like a box of chocolates…

Ah, those lovely heart shaped boxes full of chocolate goodies! Unless you cheat and get the Whitman’s Samplers, you are in for a lovely surprise with each chocolate that you pick. Here are some of my personal favorite pieces that can be paired with a delicious Michigan beer!

Vanilla in the middle: Whenever my dad would get my mom a box of candy, I would always insist on getting the ones with the vanilla cream in the center. This often meant that I would bite into or at least poke a few pieces before finding what I wanted. Ah, youth! Nowadays, I would still really love that vanilla cream interior, but I would pair it with Saugatuck Brewing Companys’s Neapolitan Stout. You could also use this beer if you accidentally grab the strawberry cream interior, as well. The beer is quite versatile.

Caramel: I’ve always had a problem with caramel — specifically, it sticks to my teeth and will not come off unless I pry it off with a chisel. Fortunately, I can use Odd Side Ales Granny’s Apple Pie to wash it down with! The apple flavor in this beer is not overpowering, and just tart enough to balance the caramel’s sugar.

Toffee crunch: The long, flat candies in the box tend to be the toffee crunch ones. I love any food that makes noise, so I usually go for these after I find my vanilla ones. A good winter warmer would balance out that sugary crunch — Arbor Brewing Company’s Jackhammer Old Ale would complement the taste of toffee perfectly.

Chocolate in the middle: Every once in a while, you will grab what I call the “chocolate chocolate” piece. You know, that one with the pure chocolate inside and out? If that happens, just go whole hog and grab a Detroit Beer Company’s Sanders Chocolate Stout. It is made with Sanders chocolate and what better way to honor the cocoa bean?

Raspberry in the middle: I mentioned above that I would often get to my mom’s chocolate box first. She was okay with this, so long as I left the raspberry creams for her. Raspberry was and is my mom’s favorite flavor, and I was a nice enough kid to share her own chocolates with her! Given the sweetness and sometimes overpowering taste of raspberry, I would suggest pairing these candies with the best chocolate beer out there, Atwater Brewery’s Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale. The beer has the pure taste of chocolate, but isn’t overly sweet and doesn’t have any coffee or oatmeal undertones.

Chocolate covered cherries: How cool would it be to pair with these gooey, fun candies than a beer actually made with cherries? Fortunately, we have just such a beer that is made right here in Michigan: North Peak’s Archangel! This nicely hopped, well balanced beer will wash down the tasty chocolate.

Other Valentine’s Day treats

Marketers love dying things red, white and pink and calling them Valentine’s Day treats. I have absolutely no problem with this, and to celebrate that creativity, I suggest the following beers be paired with these fun Valentine’s Day treats.

M&Ms Dark Chocolate with New Holland Brewing’s Dragon’s Milk with Raspberries: This creamy stout with its touch of raspberries makes for a nice combination with M&M’s Dark Chocolate (or any dark chocolate, for that matter).

Reese’s Peanut Butter Hearts with Tri City Brewing Company’s Giant Slayer: The strong peanut butter taste will need an equally strong beer, and there are few better than this imperial stout from Tri City Brewing.

Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses with Dark Horse Brewing Company’s Tres Blueberry: It’s a pity that chocolate covered blueberries aren’t more of a thing, because the two tastes really taste great together. Until the candies become more common, make your own with the classic Kisses paired with a tasty blueberry beer.

Conversation Hearts (Kiss me! Love me! Text me!) with a lager from Wolverine State Brewing Company: Nobody does lagers better than this Ann Arbor based brewery, and a nice, crispy lager will balance out the sugary fun of these chatty hearts.

Red Hots and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale: Traditionally, IPAs have been paired with hot foods. Thus, I think that the spiciest of candies will pair nicely with one of Michigan’s finest IPAs. (In a perfect world, there would be another batch of Red Hot beer brewed at the Arbor Microbrewery!)

Peeps with Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja: Peeps aren’t just for Easter anymore, and thank goodness for that! If you are going to ingest these gelatinous globs of sugar, just go for it! Balls to the wall! Eat the sugar, drink the sour and let the tastes mingle in your mouth.

These 12 beer and candy pairings should win your way into anyone’s heart. Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Ada Pour House Gastropub has already developed the moniker ‘The People’s Pub’ in the small town of Ada, and the pub isn’t scheduled to even open until today.

Despite that, it already has a reputation of being friendly, real, accessible and approachable to its new clientele.

Rob Aldridge, owner, has been in the industry for 22 years, owning his own little bistro on the east side of the state, then transitioning to the corporate world after selling the place.  Ever since, he always wanted to go back into the restaurant business as an owner.

“I wanted a pub style restaurant, serving comfort food with a twist,” says Aldridge. “[The town of Ada] was kind of begging for it. There are very few restaurants here. ”

Without blending into the over-saturation of pubs and bars in a place like downtown Grand Rapids, The Pour House is bringing something new and unique to Ada — a place serving a variety of Michigan beer and spirits, classical, accessible food and a staff who very much wants to be embedded into the local community.

Combining two locations, a former ice cream store and a tanning salon, the Pour House is an open, inviting space, full of natural light from the many windows and comfortable corners to sit in. Throughout construction, there was never paper on the windows or locked doors. Facebook posts showed the transition, and if anyone happened to wander by, they were always welcome to come in.

“We were always taking in people’s ideas, and we grew from there,” shares Aldridge.

From the get-go, it was important for them to stay as local as possible, from the builder, the sign marker, to the food and, of course, the beer. Thirteen out of the sixteen taps and around 40 out of the 60 bottles feature Michigan brews everything from Founders to Short’s to smaller breweries like Cellar Brewing out of Sparta and Ada’s own Sietsema Orchards hard apple cider.

Jake Stankowski, the Bar Service Manager, works to not only select a good mix of beverages and options for the Pour House’s customers, but worked hard to select the right staff mix of talent and personality behind the bar as well.

Education and training for the staff is part of the game plan, on not only the beers that are carried, but wine and mixed drinks as well. Hand crafted, in-house made recipes for traditional mixed drinks like an old fashioned will be on the menu when they open.

“We’ve stuffed our front of house with great personality and a basis of knowledge. We can teach anyone how to make a drink or understand beer, but we wanted a likeable, approachable serve staff as well, that will give you, the customer, a good experience when you come here,” says Stankowski.

The menu complements the vibe and incorporates the beer, for instance in an appetizer like mussels, using whatever beer works best for the season.

Patrick McKay, the Executive Chef, has developed a concept menu that focuses on quality product and craft method. With 17 years in the industry, he understands the complexity and skill needed to make something tasty, something as simple as their burger — which isn’t that simple at all.

“I want the food to be approachable, but the way in which it is delivered and prepared that’s where we focus. We fold in classical technique and method, and this goes unseen, which is fine. As long as the final product is delicious, we are happy,” he says.

The biggest takeaway from the Ada Pour House? Approachability. If you have a suggestion for a beer you wanna see on tap, give it to them. If you have questions about the food, the service, anything at all — Aldridge wants you to ask. Service and accessibility, focusing on local and providing a family atmosphere are what Ada Pour House wants to become.

“We have a phenomenal product, the right processes in place and talented and friendly employees,” says Aldridge. “These are all pieces of a big puzzle, and we think it will work out well. Hugs and high fives, that’s what we’re about.”

DETROIT – Craft beer officially arrived in Detroit this weekend with the grand opening of HopCat in Midtown.

The bar’s delayed, but carefully crafted opening time of 11 a.m. on 12/13/14 went off without a hitch Saturday. Patrons lined the building several hours before the doors opened.

“This was the result of more than a year’s worth of work from the team at HopCat and Short’s,” said Chris Knape, Marketing & Communications Director for BarFly Ventures. “We had an incredible crowd that gathered starting at 5:30 a.m. They were in incredible spirits.”

The first 200 people in line received official punch cards for a free years-worth of crack fries, limited to one order per week.

Although he didn’t plan on being the first in line, Grand Rapids native and Wayne State University student Reed Bramble didn’t want to take a chance of missing out on his favorite part of HopCat.

“I love crack fries,” he said. “I’m from Grand Rapids and that’s the thing to get when you go.”

HopCat and Short’s Brewing Company broke their own tap takeover world record with 120 Short’s specialties offered at the opening. The original record was set by both companies at the HopCat East Lansing opening in 2013.

Joe Short, CEO and Creative Engineer of Short’s Brewing Company, said everyone was excited to break the record with 120 beers.

“It’s really exciting anytime we can get this many beers in one place,” he said. “It’s unheard of.”

The tap list featured some of Short’s most exclusive brews including highlights like Whiskey Sour, Bourbon Carrot Cake, Double Barrel Bourbon Wizard, Richard in the Dirt and OMGWTFBBQ.

“Our entire portfolio is around 300, probably 400,” Short said. “As soon as we know something like this is going to happen, we start saving beers. We started a HopCat stash.”

At 11 a.m. on the dot, the doors opened and the cold crowd filed in until capacity was reached. The bar would stay at capacity for the duration of the day, sporting a line outside into the evening hours.

For Short, the day was special not only because of the beers, but more because of the people and the experiences shared.

“It has been a really unique opportunity for us to get to know the people who have been supporting us all of these years, up close and personal,” he said. “The most rewarding part about being a brewer is having that direct impact. You’ve affected somebody somehow, some way in a positive way.”

Revitalizing Midtown

HopCat, located on the corner of Woodward Avenue and West Canfield Street, is a two story building that is nearly a century old.

“It was empty for almost eight years,” Knape said. “We spent more than four million dollars on the renovation.”

Capacity tops 700 people when all is said and done. The main floor features a large bar with table tops all around it. Several leather half-booths (also dubbed “mafia booths”) face the windows lining Woodward and leading upstairs. The artwork throughout the bar features custom paintings of Detroit musical icons such as Bob Seger and Stevie Wonder.

The second floor known as The Huma Room, is named after owner Mark Sellers favorite Short’s flagship beer Huma Lupa Licious. The large and open room features another large bar with half a 1968 Fleetwood Brougham hanging above it. Several of the walls are covered with concert posters of Detroit and Michigan shows. The Huma Room also doubles as concert venue, which hosted Detroit’s own Howling Diablos on Saturday evening.

Moving forward after the opening, Knape hopes the bar will be one of the catalysts to a positive revitalization in Detroit.

“Detroit is the center of the action in Michigan. There’s a lot of positive going on in the city,” he said. “We hope it serves as a magnet to people. A hub of craft beer in the city.”

Scott Newman-Bale, Partner President of Business Development for Short’s Brewing Company, spoke about both Short’s and HopCat supporting Detroit and Michigan.

“We’re a Michigan-only company. One of our slogans is Michigan only, Michigan forever,” he said. “When you look at Detroit, it’s been an exciting year. I think when you’re in Detroit, there’s a new sense of optimism of where we’re going.”

Short, a Bellaire native, also echoed the important of a thriving Detroit.

“In a city like Detroit this is a huge win. This is the heartbeat of our state,” he said. “We had to run the defibrillators. And this is the start of that defibrillation. We’re happy to have this presence down here because forever, Detroit has not only been the heartbeat of Michigan, but the Midwest.”

Knape stressed the opening of HopCat would not have happened without a lot of support, including and especially the customers.

“Having the incredible positivity and the warm welcome was really the validation about being in Detroit,” he said. “There’s a bright future ahead for HopCat and the city.”