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Detroit, MI: Two breweries along the Detroit and Windsor riverfront, Batch Brewing Company (Detroit, MI, USA) and Motor Craft Ales (Windsor, ON, Canada), have released their latest collaboration beer, Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree. The rosemary and chestnut pale ale is brewed with Michigan malt and chestnuts. Motor City Malthouse’s German-style malt and Treeborn’s chestnuts are accompanied with a clean yeast profile, allowing the rosemary’s herbal and piney qualities to shine, while the chestnut sweetness provides depth to the beer.

The name of the beer, Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree, comes from the first part of the seventh chapter of George Orwell’s novel, 1984. It reads as;

“Under the spreading chestnut tree

I sold you and you sold me:

There lie they, and here lie we

Under the spreading chestnut tree.”

“The collaboration beer symbolizes a place where revolutionaries, patriots, and lovers of craft beer can come together,” said Stephen Roginson Owner of Batch Brewing Company. “No walls, only bridges and tunnels. No irony, only ideals and art.”

This is the second collaboration beer Batch Brewing Company and Motor Craft Ales have crafted and according to the owners of both breweries, there will be many more in the future.

“For us these collaboration beers really celebrate what our countries share, in terms of both beer and culture,” said Gino Gesuale, Owner of Motor Craft Ales.

 

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.

 

detroit fall fest

Beer festivals happen several times a year. From fest to fest, some things are different—the weather, the breweries, the food. But many things are exactly same from year to year—the 15 tokens in the plastic glass, the good beer, and at least one discovery of a fantastic new-to-me brewpub. This year, I discovered not one, not two, but three new-to-me breweries. It was a good fest.

First, the top five brews from pubs I knew about.

Big Lake’s Leroy Brown appealed to me because of the name and the fact that there were dice on the can. It would have been cool to have the custom Continental and the El Dorado, but the dice were a nice touch. The beer was very nice too! An English brown ale made with four malts and chocolate, it had a smooth finish of toasty bread.

Schmohz Gingerbread Brown was great as always, as was the Mad Tom’s Porter. Brewer Gabi Palmer explained that this beer “is a solid porter—smoky, some chocolate. No hype, no b.s., just a solid beer.” And it was! Slightly bitter with a hint of smoke made for a tasty beer.

The Smoke on the Porter from ROAK was another excellent porter. An imperial smoked porter by style, this beer hit all the right notes. Roasty, dark, and perfectly balanced. But I would expect no less from this outstanding pub.

Unruly Brewing had the Orange Julius beer, which my husband described as “smelling like an Orange Julius, tasting like it, but then finishing like a bourbon barrel aged Belgian wheat.” Orange peel and vanilla beans make this beer what it is.

Lake Charlevoix Double Cookie Stout is one of the tastiest stouts I have had. Made with ten pounds of Oreos, it manages to not be overpowering or too sugary sweet. This is a solid, hearty beer.

The first of the big discoveries at this fest was One Well from Kalamazoo. Their Sweet Water Street was billed as a “coffee and donut” beer and it delivered. Much like the breakfast of champions itself, this beer had a hint of the sugary taste of donut plus all the roasted coffee taste one could want. They also had a Root Beer Stout that—unlike some root beer beers I could mention—managed to not just taste like thick, sappy syrup. It actually had a taste of root beer but never forgot it was a beer—absolutely wonderful!

The second new-to-me pub was Grand Armory from Grand Haven. Their Nutter Your Business Stout tasted like an honest-to-God peanut butter cup. My husband was so thrilled that he got three separate tastes of this beer, just so he could dance around delighting in the peanut butter and chocolate deliciousness (okay, he really didn’t dance around, but it’d be fun to pretend he did).

The top discovery this year was Railtown Brewing Company from Dutton. The brewery won a bronze medal at the recent Great American Beer Fest for its Good Mooed Milk Stout. And to be sure, this solid stout hit all the right notes. We also had their Peanut Butter Cocoa Time porter which conveyed the peanut butter taste while remembering it was a porter, and thus not too heavy or overpowering. The absolute hit for me was their Coffee Blonde, one of the best coffee beers I have ever had. Until this fest, I couldn’t find Dutton on a map but I can now, and I can’t wait to go there.

As I always do, I kept another tradition—ending the fest with Liberty Street’s Punkin Pie Ale. It is still the best pumpkin ale I have ever had, and nothing I’ve had since has changed my mind.

Some things change, some things stay the same, but Michigan beer remains far ahead of all the rest. It was a good fest.

 

Photography: Erik Smith

Detroit, MI — All of the breweries in Detroit, including Atwater Brewery, Batch Brewing Company, Brew Detroit, Detroit Beer Company, Granite City, Motor City Brewing Works, and Traffic Jam and Snug have again partnered in collaboration to celebrate the burgeoning beer industry in Detroit, as well as the Michigan Brewers Guild Fall Beer Festival in Detroit’s Eastern Market on October 21 and 22.

detroit beer experiment

The Detroit Beer Experiment brings together all of the breweries in Detroit to collaborate on a beer theme, which changes every year. Each brewery creates a beer based on the theme and debuts that beer in their taproom, as well as at the Fall Festival in Eastern Market.

This year, each brewery is pairing with non-beer food or drink purveyors from across Detroit to create a collection of food-inspired beer collaborations. All of the beers are made with ingredients or inspired by these non-beer establishments.

Batch Brewing Company has partnered with Bon Bon Bon to create a dessert- inspired after-dinner beer called ‘Tres Bon’, as well as a special beer and bon bon-pairing event on November 21st.

“Bons and beer go together like bons and beer!” said Alexandra Clark, founder of Bon Bon Bon. “We’ve had so much fun collaborating with Batch Brewing Company for the Detroit Beer Experiment and can’t wait for our pairing event.”

Brew Detroit has partnered with three establishments to make three different beers: Mystery Beer (sumac wit) for Green Dot Stables, an English Bitter for Huron Room, and an experimental Ponzu Pilsner, brewed with barrel aged fish sauce for Johnny Noodle King.

“The beer enthusiast ownership of Green Dot Stables, Johnny Noodle King and Huron Room, having known Robert Orler (Brew Detroit) for years, has been looking forward to this type of collaboration. To say we’re excited about these beers would be an understatement,” said Jacques Driscoll.

Atwater has partnered with Slow’s BarBQ to create ‘Smokebox’, a malty smoked ale featuring pilsner malt smoked at Slow’s facility in Midtown.

“Great with BBQ or perfect on its own, like bacon dipped in a glass,’ said Tara Garrity from Slows BBQ.

Detroit Beer Co has partnered with Sweet Potato Sensations on a ‘Sweet Potato Porter’ that includes spiced sweet potato puree Sweet Potato Sensations.

Granite City has partnered with Anthology Coffee to create a coffee infused lager.

Motor City Brewing Works has partnered with GoGo’s Hawaiian Street food to create ‘Gogo’s Coconut Porter’ made with roasted coconut.

Traffic Jam and Snug has partnered with Avalon Bakery to brew a Carrot Cake Dubbel beer called ‘Don’t Care at All’ inspired by Avalon’s vegan Carrot Cake.

“We’re excited to see the growth of the Detroit Beer Experiment in 2016, with the inclusion of Traffic Jam and Snug and Granite City. The nature of the craft beer industry is incredibly collaborative, so this annual partnership is not only natural, but a highlight of what we do every year,” said Stephen Roginson, cofounder of Batch Brewing Company in Corktown.

The Detroit Beer Experiment will debut at each brewery on Thursday, October 20th and will be featured at the Michigan Brewers Guild Fall Beer Festival in Eastern Market on Friday October 21st and Saturday October 22nd.

 

batch brewing

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?

batch brewing

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.

batch brewing

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

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

Cellarmen's

HAZEL PARK, MI – If you hear loud music coming from 24310 John R, you can be sure the four bearded men inside the building are hard at work brewing up something deliciousand none of the neighbors are complaining.  

The 12,000-square-foot former lumberyard is now home to Cellarmen’s, Hazel Park’s first brewery, cidery, and meadery. The meadery opened this October, just in time for the Fall Beer Fest in Detroit.

Cellarmen’s tasting room is decked out in wood paneling and second hand furniture sets. The space gets its personality from homemade tables (made from wood from the lumberyard), local art for sale, and a soundtrack that skews toward heavy metal.

Cellarmen's

“It looks a little bit like your grandpa’s basement,” said Ian Radogost-Givens, one of the four cofounders of Cellarmen’s.

Radogost-Givens cut his teeth at B. Nektar meadery in Ferndale, along with Cellarmen’s cofounders Jason Petrocik, Dominic Calzetta, and Andrew Zalewski. With five years experience under their belt, the men are ready to produce anything they can think of.

Current offerings in the taproom usually include 9-12 meads, ciders, and beers. Most are made with Michigan-sourced ingredients when possible, and they never use fruit concentrates—only fresh fruit and juice.

“The French Oak Wildflower is what a mead-head will drink. Then we have our Trasher beer, a Lager style Ale that we made for people in the town to relate to,” Radogost-Givens said. The Trasher is their best seller.

Not much has changed since the space served as a lumberyard, including the free popcorn that is kept ready for customers.

“For customers who came in and bought lumber here their whole lives, now if they came in for a beer, the space would still feel familiar,” Radogost-Givens said. “The place only needed a spit shine,” he added.

The guys feel right at home in Hazel Park, where, along with James Rigato’s new spot, Mabel Grey, they have helped the neighborhood earn its reputation as an up-and-comer.

“Hazel Park has gone beyond what most cities do to get small businesses off the ground. We’ve gotten so much support from city officials to open our doors, and now quite a few of them come here to drink,” Radagost-Givens said.

Mead has taken off in Michigan, and Radogost-Givens would like to put Hazel Park and Cellarmen’s on the mead drinker’s map.

“My goal is to bridge the space between Warren, where Dragonmead and Kuhnhenn are, and Ferndale, where Schramm’s and B. Nektar are,” said Radogost-Givens.

The brewery’s current production capacity is 8.5 barrels of cider and mead, and 1 barrel of beer at a time. They hope to bump cider and mead production to 10 barrels soon.

“Now that we have wrapped our heads around filling the taproom, we have been able to supply a few local bars with kegs,” Radogost-Givens said.

The men aim to start canning mead in the spring or summer of 2016.

Over the holidays, Cellarmen’s plans to release the second run of Cranpus, a cranberry orange zest mead made with allspice and two kinds of honey. For New Year’s Eve, they will host a party featuring a champagne mead that climbs to 14% ABV.

“If you’re looking for a nice friendly atmosphere, good drinks and good music, come by. We’re just four hard working sons of bitches making a dream happen,” Radogost-Givens said.

Cellarmen’s is open Thursday 5pm-Midnight, Friday 3pm-Midnight, Saturday 12pm-Midnight and Sunday 12pm-8pm. You can find more info on their Facebook page.