Detroit is the home of Batch Brewing, a culinary and fermentation loving brewery that is a gem for the east side city.
I had the pleasure of tasting a couple of their beers and wanted to share my tasting notes with you all.
Anton’s Animal’s II is a Berliner Weisse, which had me excited (yet skeptical) at first, because everyone and their mother is brewing some sort of sour beer and things can go wrong quickly when diving into this realm of suds. So? What did Batch have in store for me?
It was a very cloudy beer. It’s color reminded me of tan/yellowish grapefruit peel. Muted and pale yellow, the beer looked like the style I was expecting. The head left me rather quickly and morphed into a ring of bubbles on the outer edges of the glass.
Curious, I sniff the “Animal’s” and first get a brief whiff of a grassy aroma before the citrus element, which serves as a sort of aromatic backbone, sets in. Nectarine skin, brioche bread, and a floral note reminiscent of honeysuckle breezes past my nostrils as I sit and take my slow breaths and fill my face with beer scent. Delicious smelling I’d say.
Though I know this wasn’t brewed with coriander, the aromas of that particular spice dart out at times, adding another layer to the beer. Overripe, sweet lemon and under ripe grapefruit notes linger throughout.
I sip the beer and it’s so pleasant. The floral note rides up first, hand in hand with the bright acidity. That under ripe grapefruit and nectarine skin notes I mentioned? They appear in the flavor as well, just before bready notes take over and dominate the finish. This isn’t to say the beer tastes “strong”, but rather the malt notes take over in a way that wasn’t present in the aroma. I’m reminded of brioche bread once again and of eating crackers, which is attributed to the addition of wheat in the grain bill. These strong malt characteristics in particular make it a good food pairing beer.
As expected, this beer is very bright to start but thankfully reduces itself into a simply refreshing beer with background acidity that spritzes up the beer and leaves me feeling a little twinge of sour in my cheeks.
At the brewery, the lovely bartenders there will gladly serve their house-made Blueberry Anise Hyssop syrup into your “Animal’s” Berliner Weisse, should you desire it. I’d suggest trying it both with and without the syrup to compare, which means getting two beers.
Yes, I’m giving you drinking homework.
Ready for the big guns? Batch decided to make sure you needed a DD by producing the big and boozy Antwerp’s Placebo II — a Belgian Strong Dark clocking in at a whopping 15.4% ABV.
The beer is mostly clear and hickory in color with bright red highlights. Next to no head is left for me as it’s dissipated almost immediately. Did the alcohol break down the proteins for it?
Strong sweet plum, raisin, and an “almost burn your nose hair” kind of alcohol aroma wafts forth. I’m actually reminded of Twizzlers candy, so a licorice note is appropriate I’d say. Luxardo and black cherries also come to mind, as well as unripe blackberries.
It tastes like it smells in that the sweet raisin, licorice, and hot alcohol notes all came back for me. The alcoholic nature is startling, but not taking me away from wanting to drink it. You know, this beer reminds me of eating a sweet bread pudding! I love that stuff. Maraschino cherry and the luxardo cherry notes become more prominent as it warms up.
The mouth-feel is as expected. It’s a hot beer due to the alcohol, and it’s sweetness slides across my tongue. It feels big and bold, that’s for sure. In the end I’m left with an aftertaste of cherries, bread pudding, and a recurring “whiskey shivers” effect.
Batch Brewing, you’ve peaked my interest. Will I ingest more of their beer? You bet. Do I think you, dear reader, should as well? Absolutely. Get out to their taproom to taste through their selection and be sure to grab a glass of their “feel good” beer of the month as well, which donates $2 from every sale to a local nonprofit. I understand why they call it “feel good,” because this concept is really rad. For more details, check it out here.
Photography: Steph Harding