Beer & Wine Tasting to Benefit Relay for Life

The local Relay for Life event  is less than 4 weeks away. A charity that not only raises money but also builds a community for survivors and the loved ones of them and the ones we lost. It is an event that is sometimes moving and always inspiring.

One of the events that the We Continue the Fight team puts on is a beer tasting. This year we have added wine and some cider. I helped pick out the beer again this year. I am pretty excited about the menu this year. Oh yeah, I almost forgot! There is a pie auction! These pies are excellent. My Mother in Law bakes them and they are part of the reason why I am now old fat Kevin.

Here are the event details…

Beer & Wine Tasting for We Continue the Fight

Saturday May 12, 2018

1-4 PM

@ Harbor Inn & Ale

13993 LaPlaisance Rd

Gift Basket Raffle, 50/50 Raffle and Pie Auction

Tickets are $30 per person

Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door at Harbor Inn & Ale.

Price includes 12 tastes and appetizers.

Detroit Imbibers Warned

One of the things I have learned about Michigan Prohibition was that the start of it was barely covered by Monroe’s paper. It’s covered in our history but not as a current event? Seems peculiar to me but that sort of thing happens a lot. I found only one article that immediately preceded the dry days of prohibition.

I love the writing style of this article. Here is the first paragraph…

“While they are fairly good natured and not inclined to be mean about it Monroe county officials sent word to the thirsty of Detroit that they had better have their gas tanks overflowing than themselves after Tuesday night when the Booze King abdicates in Michigan.”

There is a lot of denial here. I guess Monroe would never buy alcohol in Toledo and bring it back here. I’ve been doing that since I was 19(yes, the drinking age for beer in Ohio was 19 when I was that age). They did anticipate alcohol coming in from the newly paved strip that connected Monroe and Toledo but could never foresee the river of intoxicants that lead to Dixie Hwy being dubbed “Avenue de Booze”.  Yes it flowed to the “City on a Still”(Detroit) but still made plenty of stops on the way.

The rest of the article is about a crackdown on reckless driving that once again is blamed on Detroiters.  It also explains that signs will be going up on Tuesday night, “when old John Barleycorn is to be led to the stone wall and asked if he has any statement to make”. Once again, I love how they wrote things back then. And remember as City officials say…

“…that if they get gay down that neck of the woods something will happen that may disturb their peace of mind.”

Anniversary de Booze

Anniversary de Booze

May 1, 2018

Dinner @ 6pm, Presentation @ 6:30pm

McGeady’s Town Pub

Join us May 1 for the 100th anniversary of the start of prohibition. Michigan went dry before Ohio. Alcohol from Toledo poured into Monroe giving Dixie Hwy the nickname “Avenue de Booze”.
In honor of this historic night, McGeady’s Town Pub will feature two guest speakers: Gerald Wykes; Local historian, freelance writer and illustrator, teller of tales – most of which are true. He will cover local prohibition history. Also joining us will be Stephen Johnson, author of “The Detroit Beer Book” and owner of Motor City Brew Tours. He will share stories of Detroit’s dry days. Learn more about the Detroit Beer Book at: http://DetroitBeerBook.com/

Toledo’s Maumee Bay Brewing Company will cross the border to take over the taps. Plus, McGeady’s will have a special menu. Food and drinks start at 6pm with the presentation beginning at 6:30.

Repeal Day, Monroe and Prohibition

A state convention gathered in Utah on this date in 1933 to ratify the 21st Amendment. A three quarter majority was needed to make it official and Utah became the 36th state to do so. Making December 5 the official day the 21st Amendment was ratified. Now this date will be known as Repeal Day.
Of course history is more complicated than that and I plan on covering some of those stories in the next few months. During my research I discovered a great blog post by Kathy Warnes. It is about Monroe during the beginning of prohibition. I will share the first paragraph then link it below. It’s fun and informative.

Rumrunner Muskrat La Framboise preferred to move his bootleg whiskey stored in jute bags tied together at the tops like ears in his boat equipped with a stopper resembling a bathtub plug. He rowed along the Detroit River Highway from Ecorse to its mouth near Monroe taking orders and delivering his liquid refreshment. When a government agent or policeman spotted him and gave chase, he pulled the plug and the boat would sink. After the drama of the chase and capture died down, he’d return to his boat and dive for his liquor, or if he had a large shipment, he would bring a few friends along to help. Muskrat became as skilled as a loon diving for fish at this method of River recycling.

Bootlegging Down The Avenue de Booze

Featured Brewery Site: 1121 S. Monroe St.

1121 S Monroe

Welcome to our first Featured Brewery Site. Today we are taking a look at the old Wm. Noland & Sons building. It was once used to store excavating equipment. At 5 thousand square feet, it is large and open space with high ceilings. The location is less than a mile south of town on the edge of the city line.
The large space would give it an Original Gravity feel. The openness means you can create any design you wish. The property itself is around 2.5 acres which leaves plenty of space for parking. You will need it because there is no street parking.
The best feature of this property is the back section which runs along Plum Creek near Lake Monroe. That has unlimited potential. It can be used as a patio, a small hop garden, an area for games(volleyball, cornhole etc.) or even a sitting area similar to the Hoplot where you could have a BBQ pit and maybe a fire place which would take special permit.
The biggest problem with this property is the cost. It’s over 400k and in the end may cost around a million to make into a brewery. That is a huge investment. But if this property was done correctly it has the potential to be unique enough to make it worth the drive to our corner Michigan.

When You’re Beer, You’re Family

Monroe has spoken. Every time my fellow citizens gather to discuss what Monroe needs to make it a better city the number one answer is an Olive Garden. But at least one voice pushes through the oil soaked endless iceberg lettuce bowl to say microbrewery. The real question is with around 250 breweries in Michigan why is there not one in Monroe?

Wahl Brewing Ad

In the past Monroe supported two to three breweries and was the wine capital of Michigan. We live in a different world from that one. Supporting local was a necessity not a slogan. Still, it is hard to believe that Monroe couldn’t support a brewery today.

Over the years I have asked local business owners about having a brewery in Monroe. Here are a few of the answers I have heard; it’s a trend, it’s too much of a niche market and Monroe isn’t that type of town. Of course, I disagree with all of these statements. One business owner told me I live in a craft beer bubble. He is right but that bubble is expanding. In the time it took you to read this paragraph three breweries have probably opened in Kalamazoo alone.

Whenever we talk about a brewery in Monroe we get to where would we like to see one. I have been wanting to do a post about the best brewery location in Monroe for years now. Meanwhile, I have seen the best spaces of my generation razed to make room for drug stores and historical sites, subdivided into insurance offices or cellular shops. So I have finally decided to do something about it. Introducing MIbeerbuzz’s Featured Brewery Site. I will highlight a different property I feel would make a great brewery. Do I expect anyone to take my suggestion and open a brewery? No, absolutely not but it will be fun to dream of what that space can be. Just like when you and your coworkers buy a lottery ticket and spend a day talking about what you would do with your winnings. If worse comes to worse we could always build it out of Olive Garden breadsticks. Lets find out if they are truly unlimited.

The Day You Couldn’t Spell Booze Without Boo

Let’s go back a hundred and one years to November 7, 1916. Michigan went to the polls to decide on statewide prohibition. The two sides had made their arguments and soon they would know if the “wets” could hold back the tide that was taking over the nation. It was soon evident that it was a lost cause.

There were some interesting articles/ads leading up to the election of 1916. A few were from two names we know to this day. Strohs’s was trying to protect it’s business while Henry Ford wanted to insure a sober workforce.

I have attached two ads from Stroh’s. One is your typical fire brewed ad that we may have seen in the 80s. The second is about how hard it is to brew a high quality beer. I didn’t know you could broil a steak on a radiator. On the “dry” side Henry Ford wrote about his plan to use closed breweries to make denatatured alcohol to fuel automobiles. I have also attached that article.

The “drys” won. Yet, it would be a whole year in half before prohibition would begin. I plan on sharing some interesting articles over the next few months leading up to the 100th anniversary of the day Michigan went dry.

Monroe in the Time of Typhoid

This post is not about beer, it’s about water. So why is a beer blog doing a post about water? One; beer imageis mostly water. Two; beer was often drunk as an alternative to polluted water. St. Arnold of Soisson’s miracle was to get local peasants to drink beer, “gift of life”, instead of water. His parishioners survived the plague. Okay, stories similar to the last one were possibly myth. But in the book “Last Call“, Daniel Okrent does mention that one of the many factors in passing the 18th amendment was better sanitation leading to clean reliable drinking water.

The summer of 1915 was still young when local physician and Monroe Health Officer Dr. J.J. Siffer noted that between June 25 and July 12 seven patients came to him showing the symptoms of typhoid: high fever, diarrhea and a red rash. It became clear thatimage the 7 thousand citizens of Monroe were in the midst of a typhoid outbreak. Initially the reason for this outbreak was unclear but by the time he tended to his seventh patient he felt that the water supply was to blame. At this point Dr. Siffer imagecontacted the State Board of Health and requested a sanitary engineer be sent to Monroe. And so James W. Follin was dispatched to find the cause of the outbreak. One that would grow to 44 cases by the end of the summer.

Typhoid is caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi which is transmitted by ingesting the feces of an infected person. The fight against disease causing pathogens was just getting started. Water treatment processes such a filtration and chlorination were becoming more widespread. State and local health departments were opening up. The famous case of Typhoid Mary was eight years previous and Wilbur Wright died of typhoid just 2 years earlier to Monroe’s outbreak.

In 1915, the water was supplied by Monroe Water Company which had been granted a 30 year franchise in 1889. This was not the first time water quality had been an issueimage for them. A large majority of the water tested since 1908 was deemed unsafe for domestic purposes. Water pumped in from the lake was not treated in any manner. Fish would come out of hydrants and block service lines diminishing water pressure. Untreated Lake Erie water is very inconsistent and was considered undrinkable by customers during certain times of the year which drove the citizens to the 5 public wells located throughout the city. But people were mistaking clear water for clean water and the water from the well was no safer to drink.

The well at Wadsworth and Second that some called “the old sulphur well” was the oldest well in Monroe. The well had a few cases of typhoid tied to it dating back to 1914. By June 26 the well had six cases directly attributed to it. When the test came back from Lansing the Wadsworth well plus the one at Noble and Tremont were badly contaminated. Byimage July 19, three public wells in total were closed never to open again leaving only the public wells at Harrison and 6th plus the Rapp Park well open.

This did not end typhoid outbreak. The bacteria was being carried in untreated sewage that was dumped straight into the river. It then flowed out to the lake. And when the wind blew in a certain direction it headed straight for the intake.

The state issued a boil water warning and demanded that emergency treatment of city tap water with hypochlorite of lime on July 21. The Monroe Water Company set up a chemical feed system and maintained a chlorine residual throughout the system. These actions contained the outbreak to 40 people until Monroe Water Company decided to cease feeding chlorine for three days without notifying the public. This caused four more cases. Meanwhile, city officials were talking seriously about improvements they could make and the need for more oversight.

James W. Follin’s thorough investigation led to the conclusion that the city needed toimage build a filtration plant. Chlorine can only purify the water but it can’t clean it. Without the removal of organics, the water would still be unpleasant to drink creating a lack of confidence in Monroe’s water supply. Eight years after the outbreak a new city run Filtration plant was dedicated on March 1, 1924. The plant is still is in use today.

I recommend checking out Follin’s “Report on the investigation of the typhoid fever epidemic at Monroe, MI occurring during the summer of 1915”. Because of the report’s depth and wealth of information, it is impossible to condense it into a blog post. The report includes maps, test results, pictures and a list of every case in Monroe. If you enjoy nerding out on how life used to be please click the link. To me it’s just more proof that the good old days weren’t so good.

 

Mon-Roll: Bicycle to Beer

There is an event in Detroit called Slow Roll. Every Monday night bike riders gather for a pedal through Detroit’s neighborhoods. I got me thinking, why can’t we do this in Monroe? We can! So Mon-Roll was created. We did add a slight twist so we included a stop for Michigan craft beer.

So here’s the plan. Every Monday at 6:30p we will meet at Loranger Square, located in downtown Monroe. Then we will take a moderately paced ride out to a local bar. Drink a beverage of your choice. My choice will be a Michigan craft beer and you will not be shunned if you have a soft drink. You will be if you order a Coors Light. I’m just kidding? We will then ride back to one of the downtown bars for one more beer.

Now for the rules… First rule of Mon-Roll is talk about Mon-Roll. Second rule is about helmets. I wear a helmet but I will not make you wear one. That decision is yours and your alone. We will obey the rules of the road. And no rider will be left behind.

For updates on weekly rides click here.