If I did it right, I think I transferred this blog to
Please head over there for more beer and food fun…and some local history to keep the brain active!
If I did it right, I think I transferred this blog to
Please head over there for more beer and food fun…and some local history to keep the brain active!
Before I forget, I am writing another blog! Yes! Eventually, everything will streamline to teacherpatti.com but for now you can catch up on the latest happenings in Ann Arbor–circa 1888–at http://a24us.com/ But onto beer….
I read recently that the Creation Museum down in Kentucky is having financial problems and is going to try to spruce up its exhibit. (And yes, the Creation Museum is exactly what you think it is). They are adding sky bridges, zip lines and, well, dragons. While I do doubt that Moses road himself around on a dragon, I am glad that I read the article because it made me head to my refrigerator and unearth a bottle of New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk.
This bourbon barrel aged stout is has a nose that combines the finest vanilla with the choicest of bourbons. When it’s in your mouth, it’s like a river of velvet coating your tongue. The roasty malty has just a hint of chocolate and then it’s pure, sweet vanilla as it finishes cleanly and smoothly. I had it with some brie cheese and raspberries and it made for a perfect “creation” of my own. And Moses didn’t even have to hop on a zip line!
Ah, Detroit! Some say it is on the brink of a huge renaissance. Others say to put a fork in it. Wherever you stand on the issue, one thing is for certain: the city has excellent choices for beer.
The Pub ~
Detroit Beer Company is located near Comerica Park and Ford Field which makes it an excellent place to visit before heading over to watch the Tigers play or the Lions lose. Located in the historic Hartz building, the pub is two floors and quite spacious, but still manages to feel cozy. There is a sizeable bar flanked with TVs (for those who don’t have tickets to the game) and many booths lining the wall. Upstairs has another bar and more tables which were completely packed with boisterous Tigers fan on a recent visit. Despite the crowd, the service was excellent and our waiter attentive and friendly. The beers were likewise very enjoyable.
The Beers ~
7 Cs Rye PA: This is a hoppy beer that doesn’t let the hop character overwhelm the rye flavor. Copper color, citrus nose and smooth finish…definitely rates up there with the finest rye pale ales.
Hop Rod Red: Pleasant coppery red appearance and toasty notes highlighted this beer. The malty flavor was well balanced with hops. Extremely easy drinking with a bite of hops in the finish.
Cinq Etoiles: Amazing example of a tripel! The nose was a bit spicy and the beer sweet and easy drinking. The body was extremely light for a tripel and went down smooth and easy.
Belgian Dubbel: As with the tripel, the dubbel really stood out. The aroma was sweet and fruity and the body sweet (less sweet than than the tripel) but again very light for its style. As such, it went down well and complimented the other beers in the sampler.
The Food ~
The Detroit Beer Company has a full menu of appetizers, soups/salads, main dishes and desserts. The brewery pretzel was good and the accompanying cheese dip made it excellent. Likewise, the brewer’s bread (their pizza dough topped with garlic butter, basil, red pepper flakes and cheese) made a great appetizer and complimented the beers very well. It was savory but not too greasy and extremely filling. The Detroit burger was juicy and tasty (didn’t need any toppings!). Likewise, the Motown philly (Detroit’s take on the classic) tasted fabulous…who needs Philadelphia anyway?
If you find yourself in Detroit before a ball game, Detroit Beer Company is the perfect place to gear up for the Tigers or wind down after the Lions disappoint you once again. And heck, you don’t need a ball game for an excuse to head down to the D…just grab your taste for good beer and visit the DBC!
Lots and lots of water, folks, cuz it’s been freaking HOT. I did, however, manage to consume some beer last night. After seeing a movie at the always amazing Cinetopia film festival, we wandered down to the Blue Tractor. Let me say that the beef brisket sandwich is excellent! It really didn’t need any of the sauces but I like their mustard BBQ sauce so I slopped some of that on it.
I also wanted a beer! They had an orange zest seasonal which was amazing but of course it was a wheat beer which I cannot drink (I liked my taste of it so much that I was almost willing to risk a migraine for it…almost….). Instead, I impulse ordered the Demonic Ale but I kept calling it Denomic Ale because sometimes I have trouble with certain words (medicinal is often “mecidinal” to me). I didn’t get a sample or ask what kind of beer it was, I just went for it and I’m really glad I did.
From some Internet research, I found out that it is an American Style Black Ale. I don’t know that I’ve ever had one of those but this was a nice introduction. Dark dark brown in color, spicy nose and small head on the beer. The initial sip had sort of a fruitcake taste to it that I normally find in Christmas beers; it worked in the summer though! It had a nice spicy finish and a good amount of hops (not too hoppy, in other words). Further research found some folks saying it is a black IPA…if it was, it wasn’t very hoppy which is great for me because I am not a hophead.
Whatever the case may be, “hop” on over to the Tractor and get yourself some!
If I hear one more person say, “Biercamp doesn’t sell beer?! LOL”, I will lose my mind. A two second query of the Google tells the interested person that this wonderful place specialized in artisan meats. But fine, yeah, whatever “bier” is the name so ha ha where’s the beer? (Oh can’t you imagine the ghost of Clara Peller asking that question? In Heaven, where beer [and beef] have no calories.)
Well folks, the beer is finally here! Biercamp started selling growlers a couple of weeks ago and you know that Boyfriend Ken and I were there on that first Saturday. We had our choice of a Vienna IPA or a Smoked Porter and of course we chose both. Brewed by Teo Watson-Ahlbrandt, these beers have something for everyone. The IPA is definitely hoppy but did not overwhelm the balance of the beer. The Smoked Porter had a nice hit of smoky taste before mellowing into a gentle porter.
There are two sizes for your take out beer–32 oz or the standard 64 oz. Quite honestly, I wish more places would do this! (Fun fact—in Florida, they can only offer 128 oz or 32 oz growlers because apparently you can’t buy two 32 oz ones to make your own standard size. Oy.)
Selections will be rotating frequently so hurry and try the two that are available now. And the next time someone asks you why Biercamp doesn’t have any beer…well, send them directly to me!
One could say that I tend to be a creature of habit. One could also say that I need routine in my life. One could further say that any change of my behavior is merely the beginning of a new routine to supplant an old one. This is certainly true when it comes to going out to eat. I have my “go-to” places (Arbor Brewing Company, our dearly departed Ann Arbor Pizza and Subs, the food co-op) and rarely break out of the mold unless I happen to be going out to eat with someone who picks somewhere else. This is what happened this past weekend and how Ken & I ended up at Lena, a newish (within the past year or so) restaurant at the corner of Main & Liberty (what I consider to be one of the hearts of downtown).
(Note: I am not now nor have I ever been someone who takes pictures of my food. I certainly respect and admire people who are good at that sort of thing, but I’m not. So, I invite you to kick it old school and use your imagination to conjure up the dishes that I am about to describe)
For the appetizer, I ordered the guacamole. I’m a late adopter of guacamole and am trying to make up for lost time by ordering it frequently. The guac came with nacho chips which were not only good but had a bit of zest to them. Too often, the nacho chip serves as merely a very high calorie device to get the guac into my mouth. These chips had some sort of spice on them and they were warmed which made them an enjoyable part of the dish. The guac had fresh cilantro scattered on top and it was good on its own but great when you got some of the cilantro on the chip.
For my main dish, I got the beef brisket tacos which were excellent! Three corn tortillas, beef brisket, black beans, rice, cheese and an aioli sauce neatly arranged on a plate for just $11. I was completely full after eating them. They were messy and fun to eat, as tacos should be!
My cocktail was a raspberry fresco which was raspberry infused gin, raspberries, cucumber and raspberry infused ice. I could have went SLURP and drank it all down in one but I paced myself and enjoyed it. It was kind of hard to drink through the straw (the berries kept getting caught) but that was a small price to pay for a drink that screamed SUMMER in my mouth.
Changing things up is hard for me for reasons I don’t really understand. Part of it could be an anxiety disorder that has plagued me since I was a lass and finds comfort in routines and knowing what to expect. In this case though SCREW YOU ANXIETY DISORDER because Lena proved to be a very pleasant surprise. John Steinbeck said something about how it’s hard to leave a routine even if you hate it. Then again, I had to read that guy in high school and he kind of sucked so….
The past weekend took me to two somewhat nearby brewpubs: Liberty Street in Plymouth and Fort Street in Lincoln Park. Both were excellent beerventures, serving up tasting beverages and nice atmospheres.
At Liberty Street, I had my tried & true Steamy Windows, a California Common style beer. (I briefly considered trying the new dopplebock but I knew it would be too much for me early in the day.) I generally like this style of beer, which is an ale that is brewed with a lager yeast. There is an interesting (to me, anyway) story behind how this type of beer came to be. The Steamy Windows is like a pale ale but with a crisp taste (I always feel weird writing that…you kind of have to taste it to know what I mean). I picked up some hints of fruit and a low hop profile. Extremely easy drinking at 4.7%.
While at Fort Street, I enjoyed their Keppen Farm Stout. I meant to order the Imperial Stout (as that is one of my favorite types of beer) but for some reason, “the milk stout” came out of my mouth instead. Happily, I enjoyed this beer. It began with some chocolate notes and then mellows into a nice sweet, well balanced brew. Light head, attractive brown color, light-medium carbonation. Glad I made a mistake in ordering!
There is something special about tap takeovers. There is an excitement in the air as people try new beers (or enjoy old favorites), the brewpub representatives mill about and share news about the brews and friends who haven’t met in a while get reacquainted over delicious beer. Earlier this month, I got to experience some new beers and a totally new (to me) bar in Saline when I went to the New Holland Tap Takeover at Dan’s Downtown Tavern.
The sheer number of available beers was impressive—12 of New Holland’s beers were available including the Imperial Hatter, Sun Dog and the Poet. Boyfriend Ken and I got the sampler and each picked three beers. My favorites are as follows:
1) Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout: Seriously, can this ever be bad? I’m beginning to think that it could be poured out of a monkey’s behind and it would still taste awesome. Rich vanilla flavor along with roasty malts all wrapped up in an oak bow…smooth and filling.
2) Did someone mention monkeys? The Monkey King saison was a new to me beer and a terrific example of the style. Fruity, peppery and medium-bodied—this would be perfect on a hot summer’s day.
3) Another beer I hadn’t tried before was the Paleooza. This is an American Pale Ale which as a style are hit and miss for me. Some are just too hoppy and my opinion is dude, if I want hops then I will get an IPA. The Paleooza definitely had a taste of hops but they didn’t dominate and made for a solid, easy drinking ale.
4) Pilgrim’s Dole: To my chagrin, I have found that wheat beers give me a migraine headache. I know that causation isn’t correlation but when you get migraines after wheat beers four out of four times, well, that’s enough for me. Since this startling discovery earlier this year, I have had to limit my wheat beer intake. That is very sad when one is faced with a sampler glass of Pilgrim’s Dole Wheatwine. The beer was sweet and malty with a warm mouthfeel. I also picked up some hints of caramel and oh how I hope they come up with a cure for migraines soon!
5) Full Circle Kolsch. If ever my day job becomes one of manual labor, I want this beer with me. Light malts, light hops and crispy all the way through, this is the beer that I want if ever we revert back to an agrarian based society and I’m up at dawn milking cows and picking up eggs (or whatever).
Special thanks to the one and only Jimmy Alcumbrack-McDaniel, SE Michigan Beer & Spirits Ambassador, for getting this together and being a terrific host! Prost!
Every warm day reminds me that summer is coming; the signs are everywhere. Leaves on the trees, daffodils on the lawn and Arbor Brewing Company’s Strawberry Blonde in my glass. This past Tuesday marked an annual rite of spring for me: the yearly release of the most summery of beers.
Some fruit beers forget what they are and leave you feeling like you are drinking an alcoholic Red Pop. Fortunately, the Strawberry Blonde is one of the ones that does an excellent job of balancing fruit and fermented grains. The nose gently entices you with the strawberry aroma. The end is a slight hint of citrus. The middle is malty goodness with strawberry and perhaps a hint of spice.
This tasty, well-balanced beer is over 7% a.b.v. so go easy, but if you want to experience some summer in a glass, be sure to go to Arbor or the Corner and order this one up.
Ken & I found ourselves with a free Saturday and also found out that the DIA had free Ann Arbor people day (they weren’t like giving us away…we got to go for free). It wasn’t a tough choice to decide to trek out to the DIA to see us some art. We spent a lot of time in the American art section and particularly enjoyed the modern art (Ken had a great query: what separates modern art from contemporary art? I don’t know but one of them involves me staring at three red blocks stacked on top of a yellow circle and going, “Come ON!”) section.
After we were done we moseyed up to Royal Oak. Naturally, my spidey sense started to tingle at the all of the brewpubs; but first, Boyfriend Ken wanted to check out the Salvation Army thrift shop as he needs some new shirts. He didn’t find any but I found some new pants (and WTF…I had size X jeans on and they are huge on me but the only pants that fit me were also size X so am I size X or size X minus 2? Fuck you women’s clothes makers) and a couple of shirts. I was having a “Fat Day” anyway so I decided to change clothes and see if that helped. It turned out that the Royal Oak Brewery was right across the street from the shop and so I suggested we go there and get a beer and I could change clothes.
It turned out that changing into new/old clothes was just the thing and I felt better. When I got back to the table, Boyfriend Ken had ordered a sampler for us. Bless his heart, he had memorized the order they were in and recited them back to me (I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I could tell by how they looked…he did such a nice job and it was so sweet). Anyway, I have to say that I really liked every single beer on the sampler. That is rare, by the way, as one usually blows. Here is what we had:
Saison (seasonal): This was an excellent saison…light and fruity with some hints of spices. I could definitely see drinking this as I worked on the farm.
4th Street Wheat: Okay recently I figured out that wheat beer triggers migraines so I could only have but a sip…but what a sip it was! Not too heavy on the banana, not too clovey…if you can only drink a sip of a beer, this was a good one.
Brewhouse ESB: I’ve been weary of ESBs in the past as some just taste like “beer” to me. This one was packed with flavor, oh yes! Sweet but not cloying with a hit of hops…yum!
Northern Light: This was the gateway beer and the beer that my dad would have drank without too much of a fuss. It wasn’t bad by any means but definitely mild in taste and aroma.
Pride IPA: Since Boyfriend Ken doesn’t like American hops, this was all mine :) The beer packed in the citrusy hops but was still well balanced.
Royal Oak Red: Oh yummy malty goodness!
Cream Stout: This was Ken’s favorite and so I only got a little taste of it. Creamy, milky awesomeness.
Russian Imperial Stout: I keep forgetting how much I love this style of beer! This was my favorite beer of the bunch. Hugely flavorful and full of roasty, chocolately malt with a hit of hoppy bitterness. This was the beer that might have pushed me slightly over the edge and made me talk about how Ken should have a Daft Punk party where he puts out helmets and plants flowers in them. It was a very good idea at the time.
I’m really happy to have re-discovered this brewpub. (I went there once with Ex-Husband Jeff but can’t remember much about it). It helped banish my Fat Day away and gave me some delicious beers to drink!