FERNDALE — Greg Burke knows what makes for a great brewery.
As a former patron of Woodward Avenue Brewers, Burke was immediately attracted to the brewery’s unique look and feel.
“It has a very west coast eclectic feel — it doesn’t feel really corporate or cookie-cutter,” he said. “That’s what attracted me as a customer.”
Now as the WAB’s head brewer, Burke tries to continue the feel he fell in love with.
When he originally started homebrewing in 1994, Burke knew right away that the job was for him. After participating in an apprenticeship program in San Francisco, he helped open Ann Arbor-based Grizzly Peak, and then did the same with Redwood Lodge in Flint.
But WAB, which opened in 1997, has been able to settle him in one location for almost eight years.
While Woodward Avenue is known for its session-like beers, Burke does experiment at times.
“I’ve seen things wildly change since I began brewing,” he said. “I’ve worked hard to really try to hone my skills to produce beers that are unique to the marketplace, and unique to themselves across our draft selection.”
Such is shown by the Czech Engine Light Pilsner, a 5% ABV brew made with Czech malts and Saaz hops.
“I try to use a variety of ingredients — we try to make intelligent choices about hop and malt selections, and see how those integrate into the flavor profile,” he said.
Burke also has some plans for new brews in the future, including the brewery’s first-ever Oktoberfest, which has a tentative name of WABtoberfest. The brew will be released in September, alongside its staple Pumpkin Ale.
And if history tells us anything, WAB will continue to thrive with both its standard and experimental beers. The brewery has been recognized by HOUR Detroit as “Best Microbrewery” in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Woodward Avenue Brewers is located at 22646 Woodward Avenue in Ferndale. MittenBrew.com readers can receive 25% off during the month of August. Click here to download and print the coupon!