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Mead isn’t mainstream. It’s where beer was in the early 1980s, when breweries like Sierra Nevada and Bell’s Brewery were just getting started. Michigan, however, has one of the hottest scenes, and B. Nektar has established itself as one of the major mead players in the nation. So, MittenBrew traveled to its facility in Ferndale for a chat.

With Christmas trees, bonfires, street performers and plenty of craft beer, One-Eyed Betty’s FestivALE filled downtown Ferndale with holiday cheer on Saturday.
The second year event celebrated the start of the Winter season with Michigan and Belgian beers, cold weather comfort food and live music.
While inclement weather posed problems during last year’s FestivALE’s inaugural run, One-Eyed Betty’s owner Beth Hussey made some big changes to help make the event more enjoyable for 2014.
“The weather could not have been worse (last year) — zero degrees and 40 mile per hour winds,” said Hussey.
“It was absolutely brutal.”
After last year’s event, Hussey reviewed lots of feedback from attendees and addressed their concerns for the festival’s second time around.
One of the most noticeable differences this year was FestivALE’s main tent, which was relocated to a different parking lot. The tent was fully enclosed and had a different heating system, so attendees had no problem staying warm.
Hussey also tripled her entertainment budget to showcase a full day of live Americana music, including performances by Delilah De Wylde & The Lost Boys, The Ragbirds and headliner Mountain Heart.
The biggest star of the show, though, was the beer, with even more Michigan breweries featured.
“We really cranked it up as far as the special beers we’re offering,” said Hussey.
FestivALE-goers had three beer booths to choose from — a main booth, a Michigan’s Best booth and a Christmas Belgian booth.
At the main booth, more than 20 seasonal Michigan beers and ciders were available all day, including Dark Horse’s 4 Elf, Odd Side’s Granny’s Apple Pie, Arbor Brewing’s FIGJAM, Bell’s Winter White and Atwater’s Christmas Ale.
At the Michigan’s Best and Belgian booths, rare limited releases were tapped on an hourly schedule. Short’s Bourbon Carrot Cake, Bell’s Black Note, Founders’ KBS and Kuhnhenn’s 2013 Fourth Dementia were just a few standouts on the Michigan’s Best lineup.
In addition, Belgian selections such as Kasteel Winterbier, Delirium Noël and St. Bernardus Christmas added some Old World holiday flair to the event.
Hussey pointed out that any one of the rare beers would be a draw for craft beer fans, so being able to offer so many was especially exciting.
“We’ve got them pouring at the same place on the same day, which is pretty special,” she said.
Food was also a big part of the event, as FestivALE-goers noshed on One-Eyed Betty’s famous fried doughnuts, a tartiflette prepared in a giant skillet and a variety of “roast beasts,” including pig, lamb and goat.
Hussey noted that FestivALE will continue to bring its holiday magic to Ferndale for years to come.
“My vision of this event is that it will grow over the years,” she said.

With Christmas trees, bonfires, street performers and plenty of craft beer, One-Eyed Betty’s FestivALE filled downtown Ferndale with holiday cheer on Saturday.

The second year event celebrated the start of the Winter season with Michigan and Belgian beers, cold weather comfort food and live music.

While inclement weather posed problems during last year’s FestivALE’s inaugural run, One-Eyed Betty’s owner Beth Hussey made some big changes to help make the event more enjoyable for 2014.

“The weather could not have been worse (last year) — zero degrees and 40 mile per hour winds,” said Hussey.

“It was absolutely brutal.”

After last year’s event, Hussey reviewed lots of feedback from attendees and addressed their concerns for the festival’s second time around.

One of the most noticeable differences this year was FestivALE’s main tent, which was relocated to a different parking lot. The tent was fully enclosed and had a different heating system, so attendees had no problem staying warm.

Hussey also tripled her entertainment budget to showcase a full day of live Americana music, including performances by Delilah De Wylde & The Lost Boys, The Ragbirds and headliner Mountain Heart.

The biggest star of the show, though, was the beer, with even more Michigan breweries featured.

“We really cranked it up as far as the special beers we’re offering,” said Hussey.

FestivALE-goers had three beer booths to choose from — a main booth, a Michigan’s Best booth and a Christmas Belgian booth.

At the main booth, more than 20 seasonal Michigan beers and ciders were available all day, including Dark Horse’s 4 Elf, Odd Side’s Granny’s Apple Pie, Arbor Brewing’s FIGJAM, Bell’s Winter White and Atwater’s Christmas Ale.

At the Michigan’s Best and Belgian booths, rare limited releases were tapped on an hourly schedule. Short’s Bourbon Carrot Cake, Bell’s Black Note, Founders’ KBS and Kuhnhenn’s 2013 Fourth Dementia were just a few standouts on the Michigan’s Best lineup.

In addition, Belgian selections such as Kasteel Winterbier, Delirium Noël and St. Bernardus Christmas added some Old World holiday flair to the event.

Hussey pointed out that any one of the rare beers would be a draw for craft beer fans, so being able to offer so many was especially exciting.

“We’ve got them pouring at the same place on the same day, which is pretty special,” she said.

Food was also a big part of the event, as FestivALE-goers noshed on One-Eyed Betty’s famous fried doughnuts, a tartiflette prepared in a giant skillet and a variety of “roast beasts,” including pig, lamb and goat.

Hussey noted that FestivALE will continue to bring its holiday magic to Ferndale for years to come.

“My vision of this event is that it will grow over the years,” she said.

FERNDALE — The “terrible twos” are typically a hectic and dreadful time for most parents. Unless, of course, your child is a craft beer bar. 

One Eyed Betty’s celebrated its two-year anniversary this week by hosting a Barrel-Aged Beer Week.

With nightly tapping’s Monday through Thursday at 6 p.m., the week was chalked full of huge brews and high ABVs.

The idea is credited to Bar Manager and resident “Beer Genius” Michael Fredenburg.

“In the summertime, I was conjuring up ideas on something to do. I wanted to do a barrel-aged night, which was my original plan,” Fredenburg said. “That kind of turned into me hoarding beer enough to do a full week. So it became our birthday celebration.”

While the high-octane beers reigned supreme and some customers jokingly labeled the list “dangerous,” Owner and Operator Beth Hussey wasn’t worried.

“The people who know about these beers and appreciate them, know how to drink them,” she said.

Hussey said of the 17 beers tapped this week, many have been cellared for over a year.

“I don’t know if everyone quite understands how special some of these beers are, but we do,” Hussey said. “There are some big beauties on that list.”

The biggest beauty of them all was tapped on Thursday evening to a ravenous crowd awaiting their pours of the magical liquid known as Bell’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Batch 9,000.

Hussey described it as “the last of its kind.” Fredenburg proclaimed it as “the star of the show.”

The keg lasted all of 21 minutes and 16 seconds.

“You don’t come across that every day. It was very, very special and we have to thank Bell’s for that,” Fredenburg said.

Other highlighted Michigan beers included Odd Side Ales Barrel Aged Citra Pale Ale and Griffin Claw Brewing Bourbon Imperial Stout. Offerings from Mt. Pleasant Brewing Company, Tri-City Brewing Company and Northville Winery also rounded out the list.

Hussey said the last two years have been “awesome” and can’t believe how much Betty’s has learned in that time.

“Now, the pressure’s on,” she said. “How do we continue to be cool and great? And be the place beer drinkers think of going for good beer?”

Although the pressure is mounting in her eyes, Hussey doesn’t want to veer too far from what’s made them successful.

“We have really high standards,” she said. “Right now, I really believe that we’re right in the sweet spot.”

Craft beer enthusiasts flocked to One Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale on Tuesday, to take part in an Odd Side Ales beer dinner.

The five course dinner included specialty beers from the Grand Haven brewery paired with complimentary homemade courses, all centered around a circus theme.

“We do a theme for every beer dinner. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t,” said Beth Hussey, Owner and Operator of One Eyed Betty’s. “For this one, we went with a circus theme for no other reason than them being Odd Side.”

The first course included a corn dog paired with the Old North Baltic Porter. Not your typical carnival corn dog, as this particular dog was made from wild boar and blueberries. The slight gaminess of the boar and sweetness of blueberry along with the breading complemented the smooth 8% ABV porter.

Second up was Smokin’ Hama Mama along side non-sugared elephant ears. The American Pale Ale provided a sweet aroma and smooth taste along side the elephant ear spreads that included hummus, tabouli and a nutty, spicy spread.

Emmele Herrold, Executive Chef at One Eyed Betty’s, enjoys getting away from the everyday menu and the freedom of creating new dishes.

“We picked a crazy theme that nobody really knew coming into it what was going to be on the menu,” she said. “I just try to come up with dishes I love or dishes I know would pair well with something.”

Hussey and Herrold enjoy keeping food descriptions vague prior to the dinners in order to surprise the guests.

“I never really know what (Emmele’s) going to do,” Hussey said. “That’s the fun part.”

The third dish was a popcorn shrimp salad with arugula, oranges, blueberries and jalapanoes. The ever-popular Odd Side Citra paired beautifully with the salad, providing a refreshing blast of citra hops.

Chris Michner, Owner, Brewer and Founder of Odd Side Ales, admits he was anxious to see how the dinner would go.

“I was really interested to see what they would do. I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be like, but I thought it was really good,” he said.

The fourth and main course included the brewery-exclusive Blood Orange Wheat alongside a citrus roasted chicken drumstick and mashed potatoes. The wheat brew provided a bittersweet and citrusy finish, balancing out the salty-sweet combo of the chicken and potatoes.

And what would dinner be without dessert? When ideas were coming together, Hussey insisted that Herrold include cotton candy somehow, some way.

“She said, ‘What the hell am I going to do with cotton candy?'”

What Herrold created was top a booze-filled tiramisu (dark rum, amaretto, Kahlua and bourbon) with the cotton candy. The perfect finish when set alongside a Chocolate Koffie Stout, a stout with no chocolate additives and a huge coffe nose profile.

“I figured I can’t do anything normal,” Herrold said. “I have to add that flare and make it Betty’s-like.”

Michner had a hard time picking a favorite pairing, but praised the tiramisu and did have another favorite dish.

“I have to go with the corn dog. That was great,” he said.

Michner said he felt the beer dinner was a great opportunity to take advantage of for everyone involved.

“The theme went very well with our brewery,” he said. “This was really well done. From the artwork, the theme, everything. It was top notch.”

Craft beer enthusiasts flocked to One Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale on Tuesday, to take part in an Odd Side Ales beer dinner.
The five course dinner included specialty beers from the Grand Haven brewery paired with complimentary homemade courses, all centered around a circus theme.
“We do a theme for every beer dinner. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t,” said Beth Hussey, Owner and Operator of One Eyed Betty’s. “For this one, we went with a circus theme for no other reason than them being Odd Side.”
The first course included a corn dog paired with the Old North Baltic Porter. Not your typical carnival corn dog, as this particular dog was made from wild boar and blueberries. The slight gaminess of the boar and sweetness of blueberry along with the breading complemented the smooth 8% ABV porter.
Second up was Smokin’ Hama Mama along side non-sugared elephant ears. The American Pale Ale provided a sweet aroma and smooth taste along side the elephant ear spreads that included hummus, tabouli and a nutty, spicy spread.
Emmele Herrold, Executive Chef at One Eyed Betty’s, enjoys getting away from the everyday menu and the freedom of creating new dishes.
“We picked a crazy theme that nobody really knew coming into it what was going to be on the menu,” she said. “I just try to come up with dishes I love or dishes I know would pair well with something.”
Hussey and Herrold enjoy keeping food descriptions vague prior to the dinners in order to surprise the guests.
“I never really know what (Emmele’s) going to do,” Hussey said. “That’s the fun part.”
The third dish was a popcorn shrimp salad with arugula, oranges, blueberries and jalapanoes. The ever-popular Odd Side Citra paired beautifully with the salad, providing a refreshing blast of citra hops.
Chris Michner, Owner, Brewer and Founder of Odd Side Ales, admits he was anxious to see how the dinner would go.
“I was really interested to see what they would do. I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be like, but I thought it was really good,” he said.
The fourth and main course included the brewery-exclusive Blood Orange Wheat alongside a citrus roasted chicken drumstick and mashed potatoes. The wheat brew provided a bittersweet and citrusy finish, balancing out the salty-sweet combo of the chicken and potatoes.
And what would dinner be without dessert? When ideas were coming together, Hussey insisted that Herrold include cotton candy somehow, some way.
“She said, ‘What the hell am I going to do with cotton candy?'”
What Herrold created was top a booze-filled tiramisu (dark rum, amaretto, Kahlua and bourbon) with the cotton candy. The perfect finish when set alongside a Chocolate Koffie Stout, a stout with no chocolate additives and a huge coffe nose profile.
“I figured I can’t do anything normal,” Herrold said. “I have to add that flare and make it Betty’s-like.”
Michner had a hard time picking a favorite pairing, but praised the tiramisu and did have another favorite dish.
“I have to go with the corn dog. That was great,” he said.
Michner said he felt the beer dinner was a great opportunity to take advantage of for everyone involved.
“The theme went very well with our brewery,” he said. “This was really well done. From the artwork, the theme, everything. It was top notch.”

Thirty-four days. That’s how long it takes to turn a Tex-Mex restaurant into a craft beer bar.

Residents of Metro Detroit may know the address 175 W. Troy Ave. in Ferndale as a slew of different venues over the years.

In a former life, the address housed the Irish pub Rosie O’Grady’s before moving. After that, it became the restaurant Cantina Diablo’s. But since then, just over a year in, One Eyed Betty’s has become a craft beer destination in Southeast Michigan.

The bar’s success is a testament to Owner and Operator Beth Hussey’s original vision.

“I knew this area was very much underserved when it came to craft beer,” she said. “I knew there was an opportunity here and it would go well.”

Once Diablo’s started going downhill a few years back, Hussey proposed the idea of Betty’s to her business partner. A longtime Ferndale resident, Hussey had moved to Grand Rapids for about a year prior to her proposed idea.

During that time, she became fond of the eclectic nature of the city, the craft beer scene and the bars. Her vision and idea of One Eyed Betty’s became somewhat homage to the city she had grown to love.

“I really wanted it to feel like the places that felt so good in Grand Rapids,” she said. “The way people are, it’s such a craft beer-centric city that I wanted to bring it back here.”

The construction was quick and took just a little over one month. Redesigning the former restaurant included knocking down walls, taking out booths, extending the bar and redoing the floor.

“It was totally gutted in 34 days. Quite a feat,” Hussey said. “And when we opened, it totally took off.”

So what else makes One Eyed Betty’s special aside from the story and edgy atmosphere? Beer, of course!

Betty’s currently houses 44 taps and countless bottles, all of which are updated regularly.

When it comes to the beer selection, Bar Manager and resident “Beer Guy” Michael Fredenburg wants customers to try them all.

“I want people to realize they can have a fantastic beer that isn’t supporting some mega-corporation,” he said. “If they come in for one beer specifically, that’s great. But then, I want to show them a new one.”

Even days where he has no managerial duty, you might find Fredenburg at the bar educating and encouraging customers.

“My favorite thing to do is find people and talk to them. And get them to absolutely love beer,” he said.

“I find that lady who hasn’t had a good beer in 20 years. Maybe she doesn’t like beer,” Fredenburg said. “I tell her she’s drinking the wrong beer. Then I show her. Everytime, they say, ‘Yeah, you got me.’ That gives me goose bumps.”

Half of the current tap list is solely dedicated to Michigan brews, something that just happened to work out perfectly with their original plan.

“When Beth concepted the place, the idea was half Michigan and half the rest of the world,” Fredenburg said.

“I got lucky the way it worked out. We had 44 taps and two chalkboards and it all divided up really easy,” Hussey said. “Michigan is the bulk of it. Not to mention, I think some of the greatest beers come from Michigan.”

But keeping customers posted on all of the beer updates isn’t the easiest thing. Hussey said the menu system and printing are a large investment, but worth it.

“A mark that’s missed in multi-tap concept bars is having an up-to-date beer list,” she said. “Our list is literally up-to-date to the minute. Very rarely will you come in and order a beer and find that it’s out.”

The menu is printed on chipboard paper and fits well with the overall theme of the bar.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s one of the most important things we do,” Hussey said.

One Eye Betty’s has also played host to several themed beer dinners, including many Michigan breweries like Dark Horse and the up and coming Odd Side Ales.

And despite all of the success over the past year, Hussey knows the beer is really only partially to thank.

“There are a couple of things that set us apart from other beer bars,” she said. “One is the staff. Some of the other places, where they miss the mark is the friendliness of the staff.”

One of Hussey’s goals for Betty’s was to take the snobiness away from beer.

“I really wanted to make sure that we never made anyone feel like that,” she said. “I knew we’d get the beer geeks, but I also knew that most of our customers would be new to craft beer.”

In the beginning, Hussey wanted an atmosphere that was “really comfortable, really casual and a little edgy.

“I think we’ve accomplished that,” she said.