Beer Won’t Make You Bilious

I was doing some research today and found this Green Seal beer ad from 1915. It was brewed by the Buckeye Beer Company out of Toledo, Oh.
I love the health benefits that Green Seal claimed. It’s really hard to read some of the print but I did see that “good beer makes good blood”. It was probably true that beer was healthier than milk and water. I feel they implied that a government official bestowed a green seal of approval to their beer. I picture C. Everett Koop.

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Lake Erie Metropark and Beer History

Take it from someone who has been married for over ten years. Nothing will make your wife happier this Valentine’s Day than to take her to a beer event on love’s biggest day. It sounds like I’m joking but I have taken Sarah to this event before and we loved it.
What is it? Actually, it’s two events presented by Lake Erie Metropark. On Saturday, they are talking history, beer history, from the first fermentation to the craft beer boom. Sunday, the subject is rum-running which we have attending. It was informative and fun. If you love history, beer or beer history I recommend going.
Here are the details…

History of Hooch
Marshlands Museum & Nature Center
Sat 02/14/2015 2pm
Lake Erie Metropark
Description
From its ancient beginnings to the modern craft beer era, people have been brewing beer for thousands of years. Join an interpreter for a historic journey of all things beer, including a brief home-brewing show-and-tell. Sorry folks -no samples will be provided! Please preregister.

Rum-Running Stories
Marshlands Museum & Nature Center
Sun 02/15/2015 2pm
Lake Erie Metropark
Description
The Detroit River was a pretty busy place during Prohibition. With tremendous amounts of illegal liquor entering the United States from Canada during the 1920’s and early 1930’s, stories abound. Join some young “old timers” as you travel back to the era of blind pigs, rum-running, and panther sweat. Participants are urged to tell a few stories of their own! Please preregister.

Here is the event page to per register. http://www.metroparks.com/Lake-Erie-Metropark/Events

The Remains of a Brewery?

Wahl Brewery stood on the banks of the River Raisin in Monroe, MI for about 50 years. Most of the pictures I have found in the public record are drawings. Two of these drawings contradict the location and layout of the brewery.
I’ve walked around the site where the brewery stood and it hit me what a strange piece of property it is. There is a big wall that runs along side the river, steps that walk down to a lower level of the site and an old foundation that separates the lower land from upper. I plan on looking into it more when there isn’t a foot and a half of snow on the ground. But for now I am sharing these pictures with you.

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This is the wall that could be the foundation of the brewery. If this is the case then the first of two brewery pictures must be the more accurate one.

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Inaugural Walleye Winter Brewfest January 2

This should be a great event and I am really looking forward to it. I love it when beer Fest are that close to my house. Below are the details from the event’s website…

Tap into a beer lover’s wintertime paradise at the inaugural Toledo Walleye Winter Brewfest on Friday, January 2. Tickets are on sale now! The Winter Brewfest will take place at Fifth Third Field during the much anticipated 10-day Walleye Winterfest, presented by ProMedica.

Beer beginners and experienced enthusiasts will get to sample more than 250 beers from over 50 breweries while enjoying live music on two stages AND fun and games all around the main concourse!

BUY TICKETS
Advanced tickets are $35. Ticket will be $45 on the day of the event. That price includes 15 “taste tickets”, each good for a 3-ounce beer sample. Additional taste tickets will be available at the event.

There will also be a special VIP ticket available for $55, which includes 20 taste tickets, grazing stations and exclusive beer drafts.

Not a beer drinker? Designated Driver Brewfest tickets are available for $25. DD VIP tickets, which include early access to pregame grazing stations, are $45.

BUY BREWFEST TICKETS ONLINE!
All that beer taste-testing is sure to make you hungry. The Hen and Hound will be open during Brewfest and serving plenty of delicious food for those wanting a hot bite to eat.

Doors open to VIP ticket holders at 5:30 p.m. Gates open to the general public at 6 p.m.

http://www.toledowalleye.com/site/story/over-250-beers-will-be-featured-at-winter-brewfest-party

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Buy Beer Memorabilia in Monroe?!

Today is Small Business Saturday and it’s time to seriously think about Christmas shopping. Believe it or not there are ways to support a business here in Monroe and get the beer lover in your life a piece of history.
Monroe Currency and Coin is one of the newer stores to downtown Monroe, Michigan, it opened in 2012. My initial thought was I have a child in day care I don’t have money to spend on currency that I don’t intend to spend so what does this store have for me? I was so wrong.
I met Joe Peruski, the owner of Monroe Currency and Coin, by pure coincidence. And we started to talk about local brewing history. I used something his Grandfather wrote as a reference when writing about Wahl Brewery. It turns out he sells antique beer memorabilia including some stuff from Monroe. But don’t just pop in without talking to Joe. He is knowledgable about local history and the really good stuff is in the back room.
So if you are looking for unique gifts Monroe Currency and Coin is a great place to find it. It’s located at 125 E Front in Monroe, Mi.

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Homebrew Contest at 129 Lounge

Saugatuck Brewing Company and 129 Lounge are having a homebrew contest Saturday December 13 starting at 7 pm. The winner will brew on Saugatuck’s brewing system then have their beer on tap at 129 Lounge.
This is a really nice prize with a cash value of over 250 dollars. It would also be nice to get together with other local home brewers. Come on out to share some of your beer and if someone who is passionate about homebrewing pass this event onto them, the more the merrier. Yes, it is short notice but homebrewers also have beer ready to serve this time of year.

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Monroe – Birthplace of the Michigan Wine Industry

By Kevin and Sarah Nash

The 2nd annual Monroe Wine Crawl is next Friday, July 18. Although the event is already sold out I thought it would be a good excuse to do a post on Monroe’s wine history. Have you ever wondered why a town founded by the French on the River Raisin seems to have little to no wine industry? Would you be surprised to find out Monroe in fact did have a wine industry and that it was the Traverse City of it’s day. I know you feel puzzled, what you thought was reality has been turned on it’s head. I feel like I did when I found out that Frank Sinatra was married to Harpo Marx’s ex-wife (which is true). So what happened Monroe?! You used to be cool.

I came across a book a few months ago called, “The History of Michigan Wines” By Lorri Hathaway and Sharon Kegerreis which detailed the startling facts.

When Michigan became a state in 1837,  Monroe was one of the largest cities.  According to the book, Within a few decades Monroe became the birthplace of Michigan’s commercial wine industry.

It started with Joseph Sterling  who arrived in Monroe from New York in 1835 and built several private homes and public buildings in Monroe including the original city hall.  He served as mayor from 1862-1863. The authors write, “Perhaps as Joseph traveled on Lake Erie the combination of the sight of the grape vines on Kelleys Island and the wild grape vines flourishing along the Detroit River and the River Raisin influenced his future profession as wine maker.”

In 1863 Joseph planted the state’s first vineyard for the purposes of commercial winemaking in Monroe County, although the first vineyard in Monroe  was planted in 1854 by J.C.W. Greening, owner of the RiverRaisin Valley Nursery. Joseph’s vineyard was two and a half acres and was planted along with an apple orchard near the docks in Monroe.  Successful vineyards on nearby islands inspired him to plant a vineyard.  He planted 2, 050 vines on twelve acres of property….A few years later, in 1868,  commercial winemaking in Michigan began when he established  Pointe Aux Peaux Wine Company. The winery was named for the point of land that jut out into Lake Erie.  In 1871, Pointe Aux Peaux Winery made five thousand gallons of wine.

The winery’s reputation grew when they received a gold medal and recognition for presenting the best collection of wines at the Michigan State Fair. The following year, Pointe Aux Peaux was awarded a gold medal for perfect vineyard. The judges noted they, “had never seen any vineyard better laden with fruit or in better condition in any respect.”

Success breeds imitation and by 1873 there were more than 20 vineyards on nearly 200 acres producing over a half a million pounds of grapes. By 1873, the Monroe wine industry was booming and had earned a reputation for quality. There were 309 acres of vines; 184,673 pounds of grapes were sold, and 12,355 gallons of wines were made. (25)

So what happened? There is no real satisfying answer here. Upon Joseph Sterling’s death in 1891, the prohibitionist wife of his partner, Samuel P. Williams’, closed the winery. In the late 1800s a fungal disease known as “grape rot” hit Monroe. This combined with the growing strength of the temperance movement and the deaths of the wine making pioneers doomed Monroe’s wine industry. After the repeal of prohibition, several new wineries reopened, but   relocated to southwest Michigan where vineyards established prior had survived by supplying grapes to Welch’s grape juice company.

Monroe  is a farming community that takes a lot  of pride in it’s history. Perhaps a glance at  its past could help move the city toward a better future. I’d like to think that all we need is a few pioneering spirits like Joseph Sterling who can see Monroe for it’s potential. People with a passion for their craft and an uncompromising commitment to quality.  There are signs that it is  happening right now in the county through the efforts of Jon Trelor owner of J. Trees Wine Cellars who cultivates grapes and apples to make  fantastic wine  and cider right here in Petersburg and Brad Sancho at Original Gravity who set up shop in Milan on the Monroe side of the county line and is turning out consistently top notch craft beer. Now if a winery or microbrewery would just open within walking distance of our house.

 

 

National Beer Day For Some

I originally ran this article in 2008. That was way back before I had kids and had the time to goHew Hew to the library. Since it is National Beer Day I am sharing it again.

I came across this cool article in the April 7th 1933 Monroe Evening News.  The story is aboutwhen certain states amended the Volstead Act. Remember this list is as of April 7th, 1933.

3.2 beer went on sale on April 7th, 1933 in: District of Columbia, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware (in Wilmington only), Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Dates have been set for the sale in the following seven states: Louisiana, April 13; Maine, June 10; North Carolina, May 1; North Dakota, July 1; Vermont, May 1; West Virginia, June 8; Wyoming, May 18.

Legislative or other action still pending in these 15 states: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and South Carolina.

Beer legislation has failed in these three states: Arkansas, Georgia, and Idaho.

No action taken in these 4 states: Kansas, Mississippi, Utah, and Virginia.

Sale subject to referendum in 1934 for this state: South Dakota.