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Detroit, Mich — Spring is in the air and “Whango” mango wheat fruit ale from Atwater Brewery is in the bottles.

Whango is Atwater’s popular seasonal beer and one of its fruitiest, most flavorful brews. Softly sweet and tropically aromatic, Whango is an American-style wheat beer similar but less yeasty than its German Weizen (or wheat ) cousins.

In 2016, the Whango product had completely sold out just a couple of months into its run.  For 2017, Atwater owner Mark Rieth has committed to increasing production five-fold, although he said even much of this run is already committed via retail purchase orders.

whangoRecognizable to taste buds through its unique mango flavor, Whango is recognizable to the eye through its unique packaging – a shaggy-haired surfer dude with only his paddleboard standing between him and the salmony/pinky/orangey/yellow Detroit skyline.  (The paddleboard pays homage to their growing presence on the Belle Isle shoreline in Detroit; the colors pay homage to spring and summer.)

“Spring’s coming and we think Whango is a great reflection of the fun and freshness of spring and summer days,” says Rieth.  “Whango is one of our eight special seasonal brews that are now available in 24 states, ready for people everywhere who are ready to get outside and enjoy the weather.  Whango is the beer to pack for whatever they want to do.”

Atwater’s Whango

  • ABV 4.90% IBU:14
  • Style: Fruit Beer  Color: Straw

German Pale Wheat malt lends this clean offering a lightly citric crispness at the back of the palate. The addition of real mango adds a soft, sweet roundness to the body and natural mango flavoring lifts the aroma to match.

Whango and Atwater’s other beers and ales are available throughout Michigan and in 24 other states with new distribution being added on a regular basis.   Whango is already joining Atwater’s Vanilla Java Porter and Dirty Blond among the Atwater’s most popular flavors.

Atwater is hosting a Whango release party on Wednesday, March 1 at Slow’s BBQ from 5pm – 8pm with a host of give-aways and raffle prizes on hand.

 

flemish fox brewery

AUSTIN, Texas  – Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks, a new craft brewery founded by Christine Celis, and Atwater Brewery, Detroit’s largest and fastest growing craft brewer, have entered an agreement to brew beer in a new collaboration brewery in Austin, Texas. Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks has acquired property in northwest Austin to develop the new brewery, which will produce beer for both Atwater Brewing and Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks. The brewery will have up to 27,000 square feet of usable space which will be completely refurbished to create a brewery with a capacity of more than 60,000 barrels per year.  The brewery is expected to be in production by the first quarter of 2017.  

The three-acre property, located in close proximity to other craft breweries, is expected to become a popular destination for Austin residents and tourists. In addition to the state-of-the art production facility, the brewery will incorporate a spacious tasting room, an outdoor beer garden with an entertainment venue, a retail shop and a museum featuring historic brewing equipment and craft brewing memorabilia. Pierre Celis, famed Belgian brewer and founder of Celis Brewing in Austin, Texas, resurrected the witbier style in Hoegaarden, Belgium. The brewery will host outdoor concerts and festivals as well.

atwater brewery“This new brewing facility in Austin furthers our mission: Atwater Brewery. Born in Detroit. Raised Everywhere,” says Mark Rieth, Atwater owner.  “We’ve been very careful when it comes to growing our production footprint, but this opportunity was too good to pass.  Texas is an incredibly important market for Atwater and the opportunity to work alongside Flemish Fox and the Celis family offers meaningful benefits.”

Widely recognized for its brands in the true heritage of German lagers, Atwater Brewery has seen double digit growth over each of the past five years with sales paced by its Vanilla Java Porter and Dirty Blonde.  Atwater distributes to 21 U.S. states, plus Canada. Production from the new [business name] will help Atwater fulfill orders from Texas as well as a number of western states.

“We love the craft beer business and we love having the opportunity to ‘bottle our enthusiasm’ every day.  As a city that shares our passion for the craft beer culture, Austin is the type of vibrant community we sought for our first brewing operation outside of Michigan,” says Rieth. “In addition to our core brands, we’ll also brew unique brands to be distributed exclusively in Texas.  We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work.”

Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks, under Christine Celis’ leadership, will brew original Celis family recipes while incorporating some of the same yeast strains, methods and processes used at Pierre Celis’ first brewery in Hoegaarden, Belgium to revive witbier in Austin, Texas. It is the mission of Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks to re-introduce the beloved craft beers which were the inspiration for so many of the popular styles and brands that exist today in the craft beer industry in Texas and throughout the United States.

Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftwork has assembled a team of seasoned brewing experts including Bert Van Hecke, the brewery engineer, a seasoned master brewer with experience at Celis Brewery, and Christine Celis’ daughter Daytona Camps, also a brewer.

“Brewing is a part of my being,” says Christine Celis, founder of Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks. “I’m absolutely thrilled to be opening this new brewery to carry on my father’s legacy of brewing legendary beers. Not only will we brew beer as it was in the 1900s, but also will introduce new, innovative beer styles that both craft beer enthusiasts and casual beer drinkers will love. We will focus on quality and consistency as we have in the past to produce superior quality hand-crafted beers and ales. Flemish Fox will be a venue for great experiences, craft beer discovery, and parties with a Belgian brown café and taproom, spacious beer garden, and live music venue, just like our last brewery.”

Not only will Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks brew the original witbier recipe that Pierre Celis made in Brouwerij De Kluis in Hoegaarden Belgium, but it will also house his original brewing equipment. The historic open mash tun, two copper kettles, an open fermenter, heat exchanger, and coolship will be shipped from Belgium to be on display in the new brewery. Flemish Fox Brewery will also brew the original Belgian recipes from Pierre Celis in the restored equipment on special occasions.

Preserving this extraordinary piece of brewing heritage is a monumental task that comes with a hefty price tag. To cover the cost, Flemish Fox has initiated a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Beer enthusiasts are invited to have a hand in preserving the witbier brewing heritage with contributions to fund bringing the equipment from Belgium to Texas.

Atwater Brewery

Detroit, MI–Vivid new labels by Detroit artist Tony Roko (whose recent accomplishments include commissions for Lady Gaga, Jay Leno and Ford Motor Company) depict colorful characters; one for each brew in Atwater Brewery’s lineup.

Three new Atwater Beers to launch in January are the first to carry the new brand identity.

Driven Solutions, a communications and branding agency, worked with Atwater and Roko on the theme and its correlating packaging.

“Each beer has its own unique personality and profile, so we proposed the idea of creating a character for each beer in the portfolio,” said Brian Cusac, Driven’s principal and chief creative officer.

“What started as a single painting for one label for just 40 cases of beer five months ago,  has turned into designing 26 labels for the Detroit brewery. It’s the greatest gig ever,” Roko said.

Along with new label artwork, Atwater has also introduced a new slogan: “Atwater Brewery. Born in Detroit. Raised Everywhere.”

“Our new brand theme lets consumers know that Atwater brews can be enjoyed anywhere because they’re just damn good beers,” says Atwater brewery owner Mark Rieth. “We always say you can take the beer out of Detroit any time you want, but you can’t take our Detroit pride out of the beer.”

More about Atwater’s New Beers:

Going Steady IPA – Grapefruit Session Ale: Abv 4.60%

This citrusy session’s got enough cascade hop and grapefruit flavor to go around. Full bodied flavor balances malt and hop characters and a clean finish which offers high drinkability.

Corktown RYE IPA – American IPA: Abv 6.20%

An IPA heavy on rye malt with a caramel backbone, Corktown is a spicy, sweet, bitter and aromatic rye IPA. .

Tunnel Ram Imperial Bock — Abv 7.80%

Crisp with a slight injection of sweetness.  This one starts with a subtle alcohol overtone and hits the finish line with clean, bright lager flavor.

Atwater beers are available at craft brew retailers and at Atwater’s two locations in the Detroit area: Atwater in the Park in Grosse Pointe Park and Atwater Biergarten and Tap House in Detroit.  

The brewery is set to open their second Atwater Biergarten and Tap House in Grand Rapids early 2016.

To learn more about Tony Roko and his art, please visit http://www.ArtOfRoko.com

For more information on Driven visit www.DrivenSolutionsInc.com

Atwater Brewery

DETROIT, MI – Atwater Brewery celebrated the opening of its new Taphouse and Biergarten in the Rivertown district of Detroit this week.

The 5,000 square-foot location is adjacent to the Atwater Brewery and includes a 25-seat bar that spans the length of the brewery. The brewery’s state-of-the-art brewing equipment is on display through a wall-to-wall window behind the bar.

The venue has a total capacity of 125 with community seating available and 20 beers on tap.  Atwater’s spirits, wines and hard cider will also be available.

“We’re especially excited with this new space because it’s an opportunity to connect with customers in our home market and it also allows us to showcase our main brewery,” said Atwater Owner Mark Rieth.

Led by its Dirty Blonde Ale and Vanilla Java Porter, Atwater now offers more than two dozen labels and has launched a new original Rivertown Porter and Lebkuchen Christmas Ale in conjunction with the Grand Opening celebration at the new location.

The new biergarten food menu which will feature items like Gourmet Pizzas, White Bean Shredded Chicken Chili and Fish Tacos. Private dining space is also available.

“This new facility is a signature location for an Atwater biergarten,” said Rieth.  “We’ve said all along that we want to ‘bring Detroit everywhere,’ and now we’re bringing it to the most important place of all – home!  We’ve incorporated our heritage into the DNA of the place and we look forward to sharing our home with all of metro Detroit over the coming years.”

For more information, please visit www.Atwaterbeer.com.

 

atwater brewery

Atwater Decadent Chocolate Ale

5.5% ABV — Atwater’s Decadent is a strong brown chocolate ale that pours with a huge nitro head full of carbonation. The color is brown and caramel-like. As you raise the glass to your nose, there is a strong chocolate aroma with some smoky qualities.

The brew is heavy on the chocolates and malts, yet still remains balanced. The drink is smooth from start to finish. Every sip is a mouth full of chocolates with burnt flavors. The mouthfeel of the ale isn’t terribly heavy like one might expect and the sweetness lingers throughout. The finish is clean with minimal bitterness and smooth as silk. Decadent is an easy sipper even during warm months.

Atwater Hop-A-Peel

7.5% ABV — Hop-A-Peel’s appearance has an orange, cloudy hue with slight carbonation and medium head. The nose on this beer is huge. The ground orange peels and American hops fill the glass and your nose with a lot of sweetness.

As the beer hits your taste buds, tart hops blast with the juiciness of biting into an orange. The mouthfeel is light and crisp with a summery and refreshing finish. This beer holds the characteristics of an American IPA but a strong citrus twist. Be sure to grab it fresh on tap to get the full experience of all it has to offer.

Atwater Bloktoberfest

6.4% ABV — One of Atwater’s most popular seasonal brews is Bloktoberfest, the brewery’s take on the German Märzen style that celebrates the harvest.

The hue of this pour is copper brown with minimal head. The aroma is sweet and full of maltiness. As you drink this seasonal, the taste is somewhat of a nutty and fruity mix that’s relatively light in body compared to other beers in this category. The beer finishes very crisp and clean with a slight tartness.

Bloktoberfest is very easy drinking for its ABV and is definitely a great beer to grab and help close out the end of summer and ring in the fall months.

Tell me about yourself and how you came to be involved with Atwater.

Jeff Levine: “I started, like a lot of people did, home brewing in the ‘90s. I was actually living in Ohio at the time and moved back to Michigan and stumbled upon Dragonmead. They weren’t even open yet but they were putting all of the equipment in. They didn’t have a lot of employees, so they counted on whoever they knew to get things done around there. So I helped out for a while. I started working there in 1999 and was there for four years. Then I was in and out of brewing for a while working in education. Then I spent two years at Great Baraboo out in Clinton Township. After that I started working here at Atwater in January of 2010. I started working in the cellar doing yeast harvest, managing fermentation, doing the filtering and essentially learning what was running back there. I still have my hands in everyday production in addition to the general operations stuff going on. I’ve watched this place grow to three times what it was when I started.”

What has it been like to see it grow?

JL: “Fast. There’s been a lot of growing pains. You grow fast and all of a sudden you have to catch up to yourself. It’s been a lot of fun, but it’s been a lot of hard work. We’re all in it because we love it. There’s that really thin line when it really isn’t work anymore, when it’s your passion and something you want to do. It’s work but at the same time you look forward to doing it.”

Was it overwhelming coming from Dragonmead and brewing smaller batches to larger batches at Atwater?

JL: “It was weird. The first time I ran the filter here on my own, the loss was almost three barrels on a 40 barrel batch. I almost spilled as much as I used to make! It kind of put it in perspective. It really makes it look like home brewing. It was different. When you think about the size of a place like AB or Miller, those tanks are probably as big as this building. It was intimidating at first.”

Do you have input on the recipes and what’s being brewed?

JL: “We’re really only rolling out one or two [new recipes] over a 12 or 16 month period. We’re not looking into developing a whole new list of new products because we have an extensive list of existing products. But we’re working on a few new seasonal products. We’re looking at a pumpkin spice and a Christmas ale. If we do those this year, they’ll probably be draft only releases.”

Do you have a favorite style to drink versus a favorite style to brew?

JL: “I don’t know if I can point to one specifically as a favorite but the ones I like the most to brew in addition to drink here are the seasonals. The seasonal lagers, the Bloktoberfest, the Winter Bock and the Maibock. Those are my three favorite beers we make. Everyone likes making them because we don’t do it very often so it’s one of those things we look forward to.”

I heard there are a lot of big plans coming up for Atwater, especially for expansion.

JL: “There’s a lot of big stuff on the horizon. Atwater is only going to get bigger. I’m glad I came on board when I did. Right now, I can’t see wanting to be anywhere else. It’s everything I think I always wanted before I knew I wanted it, if that makes sense. I have no desire to do anything except to grow with Atwater.”

What’s the best part of being at a place like Atwater?

JL: “The people here are great. We’ve really assembled a good team of people. Everybody who runs packaging, the guys in the cellar, the brewers who are here now. We’ve got a good group and everyone works together well. You can’t be in this business and not have fun with it. Everyone gets along.”

Did you have a person or brewery that you looked up to in terms of brewing?

JL: “I always go back to working at Dragonmead. Back then, they had a three barrel system and I thought that was big. I knew it wasn’t, but it seemed big to me. I always look at that as inspiration, I guess. I loved beer before and I had been to Belgium and to England and around the U.S. but going in and actually being able to make a variety like that on a regular basis, that’s where I really got the bug and got inspired. The difficult part was making the next one the same as the last one or even improving it.”

Has there ever been a beer that blew your mind?

JL: “It was probably when I traveled to Belgium. It wasn’t eye-opening because I hadn’t seen that many beers before, but actually going there and to the different bars and knowing at that time you could only get a handful of those beers in the states. So I’m drinking all of these beers thinking, ‘I have no idea when I’m going to have another one.’ The trip put me on the path of wanting to homebrew.”

What advice would you give to home brewers that want to take it to the next level?

JL: “There are a lot of opportunities to take it to that next level. Everybody starts small and a lot of people like to stay small. There are a lot of products available. There’s tons of equipment designed specifically for home brewing. I know people who have designed all kinds of their own, like welding racks together, burners. People get pretty hardcore. There are so many resources now whether it be equipment or clone recipes for any beer on the market. It’s time consuming but not difficult. It’s not rocket science.”

When cruising down Jefferson Avenue heading toward downtown Detroit, you’ll come across many businesses that line the Detroit River. Less than two miles from the main downtown hub, hang a left on Joseph Campau and there you will find the inconspicuous Atwater Brewery.

Located in Detroit’s Rivertown district, Atwater lies on the corner of Joseph Campau and Wight Street. The unsuspecting production facility and tap room have called it home since 1997. During that time, it has also grown into the largest brewery in Detroit and southeast Michigan.

Detroit Roots

Atwater’s original mission was to rekindle the spirit of Detroit brewing and the Bohemian style lager Stroh’s Brewery once created within city limits. Call it fitting, or maybe even fate, that landed Atwater across the street from the old Stroh’s headquarters.

During the early years, Atwater’s brewing efforts were accompanied by a restaurant. It wasn’t until 2005 when current owner Mark Rieth decided to change it all by shutting the restaurant down.

“I invested in 2002 and took it over in 2005 and really wanted to branch out,” he said. “We were trying to run a restaurant and not a brewery. We just wanted to concentrate on production.”

Concentrate is what they did, elevating production levels from 1,200 barrels in 2005 to 28,000 barrels in 2013. The brewery is poised to produce around 50,000 barrels in 2014.

With the restaurant closing, Rieth and company moved the taproom into the brewing production area. Comprised of just a few tables and a bar surrounded by large steel fermenters and brewing equipment, it’s an atmosphere fitting for Detroit and one that works for Atwater. Down and dirty. Bare essentials.

“We just do things a little differently, which has been awesome and set us apart a little bit,” Rieth said.

The city that gave birth to Stroh’s and inspiration to Atwater has a clear and direct influence on the brewery. Atwater reciprocates the motivation by paying homage to Detroit everywhere they go.

“We’re very proud of our heritage,” Rieth said. “We design all of our packaging with one of our mottos as we expand, which is, ‘We’re bringing Detroit everywhere.’ Yes we’re a Michigan brewery. But we’re a Detroit, Michigan brewery, which we’re really proud of.”

[tw-parallax image=”https://mittenbrew.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Atwater-14.jpg” target=”self” ][/tw-parallax]

Local Expansion

With the brewery expanding rapidly and the main location on Joseph Campau at full capacity, Atwater will look to build on a 15,000-square-foot lot directly behind it over the next year.

The expanded facility will house the majority of their keg filling in addition to their new venture in the spirits business.

“Our first mission is a Dirty Blonde vodka,” Rieth said. The first test batch was made in collaboration with Red Cedar Spirits located in East Lansing. The equipment used is owned by Michigan State University, which seemed to inspire another idea for Rieth and a local Detroit university.

“One of the things we’re working on with Wayne State, we’re trying to do a brewing and distilling curriculum,” he said. “We feel that it’s part of our responsibility of being here that if we can get people more educated earlier on in the brewing and distilling world, if we had some internships set up, then we can actually hire people right out of college who have already been working and have some hands-on experience. That’s great for everybody involved.”

Another recent venture has already proved to be fruitful for the brewery. Atwater in the Park made its debut in June.

Located in Grosse Pointe Park, the new biergarten was converted from an old church with a dwindling congregation. Rieth was approached by a local group attempting to revamp the area.

“They came to me and the first thing I said was, ‘No way,’” he recalled. “Then I took a look at the facility and what they were trying to do around there. And I saw the actual space, and more importantly, the beer garden and the actual church part of it was spectacular.”

Rieth said the reception to the new location has been “unbelievable.”

“Last Saturday we had over 1,000 people there,” he said. “We’ve had to double the size of the kitchen in the first three weeks.”

The menu is German-esque while also boasting brewpub favorites like burgers, pizzas and salads.

“With our German heritage, I go to Munich a lot,” Rieth said. “I love the Bavarian feel, the community aspect of sitting down at a table with people that you haven’t met before and you strike up a conversation. All of a sudden, you’re having a great time.”

While serving as a new location, Atwater in the Park also benefits the overall operations of the brewery.

“We now have our ‘test kitchen’ there,” Rieth said. “It’s a four barrel German system. It’s going to enable us to make a bunch of different varieties, sample them out with customers, see what else sticks and bring it back down to the production facility.”

Beyond Detroit

Even though Detroit is home for Atwater, the brewery has its eye on expanding distribution far beyond the Motor City and the current market.

According to Rieth, the brewery just closed on land in Austin, Texas in order to get a facility up and running and distribute to the west coast. In 2016, they will be looking to build a plant in Wilmington, N.C. to take care of the east coast and southeast.

Rieth said Austin has welcomed them with open arms.

“There are a lot of Detroiters who live there. So our motto there is, ‘Born in Detroit, Brewed in Austin,’” he said. “We keep the Detroit heritage while doing some unique things for that local market. We’re going to bring most of our people from Detroit to operate it.”

By having additional production facilities in different states, Atwater will be able to expand on its current distribution while cutting on shipping costs and continuing to grow.

“That’s kind of our goal. To do 100,000 barrels out of Detroit, 100,000 out of Austin and 100,000 out of North Carolina,” Rieth said. “And keep building Detroit. Detroit could balloon up to many more than that as we continue to grow.”

With all of the upcoming expansions and big plans for the future, Rieth knows it’s all about promoting craft beer and getting Atwater beers to a new crowd.

“We want to bring everyone into the fold. If you’re a Bud or Miller or Labatt drinker, we want you to try our lager. Try our Dirty Blonde and kind of ease into the scene,” he said. “Once you get into the craft beer portfolio, you’re not going back.”

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For the month of August, Atwater Brewery is offering $1 off all pints while mentioning this article.

DETROIT — For the first time since 1985, beer will be canned in Detroit. Atwater Brewery, the city’s largest brewer, is leading the charge and canning Dirty Blonde Ale, Grand Circus Session IPA and Atwater Lager.

The brews will be immediately available in 12-ounce cans. The brewery will be canning in 16- and 19-ounce sizes in the future as well.

“We’ve said all along we want to bring the art of brewing back to the Motor City and help to revive Detroit’s role as a leading producer of great beers,” said Atwater Brewery owner Mark Rieth. “In the past few years, we’ve grown to be Detroit’s biggest brewer. Canning is an important next step in our mission to bring Detroit everywhere.”

Atwater brews ‘Distinctly Detroit’ styles of beer in the German tradition. According to Rieth, “It’s all about brewing clean, palatable beers with layers of flavors.  We’re thrilled that our beers, led by our Vanilla Java Porter and Dirty Blonde, have met such an enthusiastic response from the market.”

Bolstered by recent production expansion, Atwater is on pace for its tenth consecutive record sales year.


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