May 11, 1933

I’m reposting my article from a few years ago in commemoration of the amended Volstead Act on this day at 6pm.

It’s Thursday, May 11th 1933 at 6pm. What would you as a beer drinker be doing? Most likely waiting in line to buy your first legal beer in Michigan for 15 years. Since the beer law was signed on April 7th, the state was preparing for this moment. Trucks and trains full of beer had been delivered to warehouses around the state for the sale of 3.2 beer. Yes, in spite of Michigan being the first state to repeal the 18th amendment on April 10, 1933. You could not sell beer until May 11th. Detroit got its first taste of legal beer on May 10th. One hundred and fifty barrels went on sale that night at a special charity ball by the American Legion. Now, it was the rest of the state’s turn.

Tax on the sale of beer was not the only way the government made money. License fees also brought in revenue to the state. While beer sat in warehouses, license seeking business owners like bar owners, retailers, restaurants hotels and clubs lined up at government bureaus hoping to get one before the flag dropped on selling of beer. In Escanaba the licenses were actually flown in by airplane to insure that beer could be sold on May 11th.

Most Detroit breweries would not have their beer ready till late June or early July. One exception was Stroh’s. They were prepared for selling their beer. They had 15 to 20 thousand cases ready to compete against the out-of-state breweries. In spite of breweries from other states and Canada pouring in shortages were expected.

Why did it take so long after the U.S. government amended the Volstead Act to make 3.2 beer legal? Obviously, Michigan wanted alcohol to be legal. The state was the first to repeal the 18th amendment on April 10th. It was basic government bickering over how to legislate beer. They didn’t want the problems that they had before prohibition. Also, the business had been ran by the mob for the last 15 years and they needed that to be addressed. Unfortunately, what they created was a lot of bureaucracy that is still handcuffing breweries in this state today.

Here is just a sample of the new laws enacted. Beer must be sold to a customer seated at a table. There is no free beer with food, no curb service, no free lunch and no gambling, drunkenness or idling on the premises. All packages must have the state tax stamp put on before it is turned over to retailers. No sales between the hours of 2am and 7am. No wholesaler or brewery can make deliveries to homes. The last law mentioned still hurts MI’s brewing and wine industry today. One thing of interest was that the drinking age was 18.

The May 12, 1933 Monroe Evening News reported that sales were disappointing here in Monroe. I blame Ohio. They had legal 3.2 beer on April 7th. In Detroit though the party was big. Woodward Avenue was the scene of a party that was compared to an holiday parade. Fortunately, there were only 15 arrests.

So this May 11th at 6pm raise a glass to legal beer in Michigan. It was beginning of a Michigan’s great brewing industry. A brewing industry that is respected and apprecaited all over the world. Oh… and when you do toast, please don’t use 3.2 beer. Toast with one of the finest beer’s Michigan has to offer.

Smitten Golden Rye Ale Available Today

A month ago I posted about a new beer from Bell’s with the promise that I would keep you updated on when it would be released. Good news! that day is today. Smitten Golden Rye Ale hits Monroe’s best beer stores in which include Jake’s and Meijer. You can go to Harbor Inn & Ale if you want to try it on tap.

The drinkers at Beer Advocate is giving this beer an 85 and only 20 cases are being sent to Monroe so get it fast before it’s gone.

Follow this link for a review…

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/287/43223

Man Crushed by Giant Novelty Hop Cone! Experience Leaves Him Bitter

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Rate Beer recently came out with their list of the top 50 beers in the world and Michigan had two in the top ten. In at number four was Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout and just two spots lower was Bell’s Hopslam. Of the two only Hopslam will be available on Friday.

Hopslam is one of those beers that is loved by geeks and nongeeks alike. As someone who has recommended a lot of beers to people I used to be hesitant to suggest such a big beer to a macro drinker but not anymore. Sure, it’s a big in ABV and flavor but it’s also extremely drinkable with a comfortable mouthfeel.

You can’t ignore a beer this great especially when it brewed in your own state. I know the beer geek reading this will buy it but please think about sharing it with a newbie. Because the best ad campaign is word of mouth and that mouth should be filled with Hopslam.
Hopslam will be available in good beer stores in Monroe on Friday.

Kegs Kicking Cancer’s Caboose

Michelle Nasers is the co-founder of Craft Beer in Michigan and an incredible woman that we are lucky enough to call a friend and a cancer survivor. Michelle will be hosting a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society this Sunday October 14, 2012 at Original Gravity. Here is a quote from the event’s Facebook page that tells her story…

“I will be running (and walking) in the Detroit Free Press international half marathon on October 21st with the American Cancer Society DetermiNation team – something I never dreamed that I would be able to do when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 5 years ago.  This race is my way of celebrating 5 years of survivorship, and in doing so, my goal is to raise $4200 – $100 for each of my years prior to diagnosis – for ACS.”

This event will be a lot of fun. The prizes are incredible and you get to help fight cancer. Here are the event details…

Kegs Kicking Cancer’s Caboose

October 14, 12pm to 6pm

Original Gravity

DetermiNation unites athletes with a very important mission – the mission to save lives from all types of cancer! Together with our millions of supporters, the American Cancer Society saves lives and creates a world with less cancer and more birthdays by helping people stay well, helping people get well, by finding cures and by fighting back.

Special beer release

Barrel Aged Evil Overlord: a strong dark Belgian ale aged in a bourbon cask for 11 months!  Wow!

Prizes

•Assorted gift certificates (Clubhouse BFD, Thai Bistro, Weber’s Inn and more!)

 •A bottle of 1994 Samuel Adams Triple Bock, compliments of Rex and Mary Halfpenny-This beer only had 3 vintage releases; 1994, 1995, and 1997. Brewed with two row malted barley, water, Noble hops and yeast, along with maple syrup, it was then aged several months in oak whiskey barrels before being bottled. At the time it was considered the world’s strongest beer, and a precursor of today’s Extreme Beers.

 •A bottle of 2007 Cyser made by Rex Halfpenny with juice from Uncle John’s Cider Mill

 •Lifetime OG Brew Crew membership!

•A variety of Swag

•More

 

Pete’s Garage’s New Beer Menu

I am excited to see that Pete ‘s Garage has added more taps and a brand new beer menu that includes Michigan beer. They did a nice job of getting a nice mix of beer too.
This is a good thing for Monroe and my daughter. She loves sitting in their car booths and I love boycotting places that don’t serve Michigan beer so this solves a big problem for us.
Thanks to Pete’s for creating a better eating experience for us beer geeks.

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Michigan Welcome Center Display

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The I75 Welcome Center Monroe invited me to set up a display in their lobby to promote Michigan beer. 1 million visitors stream into Welcome Center every year and even more go there and don’t use the bathroom. The display will be up for all of October.
I would like to thank Jake’s Liquor for supplying beer for the display some of the beer did come from my cellar, Rob for his help, Michigan Brewers Guild’s Scott Graham and the workers at the Welcome Center for allowing me to share my love of Michigan beer.

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Oberon Arrives Monday

In beer cellars, coolers, and storage rooms wherever Bell’s is distributed, kegs and bottles of Oberon are awaiting Monday, March 26, 2012 at 12:01 AM so that it can be shared with the public. It is the first sign of summer in Michigan even though this year it follows 4 or 5 days of 80 degree weather.

Harbor Inn & Ale, 129 Lounge and Mugsy’s in Monroe had kegs delivered Friday and hopefully they will have it on tap Monday. It will be in bottles at the usual stores that carry good beer.

Oberon is a fantastic summer beer and once we start getting into the season more places will have it on draft. If your bar is not one of those and you live in Michigan you should question why do you drink there? That is the equivalent of not having Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” in a jukebox in the late 70’s. It is some of the best stuff our state has to offer so have some pride and put it on draft. And don’t try to sell me a Sunset Wheat as a substitute. That is the Terry Jack’s “Seasons of the Sun” of beer. If you remember that song as being good you should go back and listen to it.

Locally, there will be a release party in Flat Rock at Big Bear Lodge. Here are the details…

Mar 26, 2012
7-9 p.m
Big Bear Lodge Telegraph Road
Brownstown Township
$3 for 14 oz.
$4 for 22 oz.
$5 appetizers
drawings and prices

Where to Find KBS in Monroe

The Founders Kentucky Breakfast release date is upon us! Tomorrow (March 16) KBS hits the stores but since it is a limited release that is in high demand not every store will have it. That is why I am saving my fellow Monroe County citizens some time and effort by letting you know which stores will have it. PLEASE! do not use this information to buy KBS with the intent of selling it on ebay. Let us beer geeks have our beer.

Here are the three stores that will be selling KBS…

Flick’s Package Liquor in Lambertville

Jake’s in Monroe

Broadway in Monroe

Founders is placing an 1/2 case per person limit on KBS but some places may limit you to less than that. I’ll see you tomorrow in the beer aisle.

Have You Been to OG Lately?

A few days ago Mike O’Brien posted about a recent  to Original Gravity on the Craft Beer in Michigan Yahoo group. I enjoyed reading it so I thought I would share it with you. I asked Mike to add a short introduction (he made it modest) for those who don’t know him.

I am Mike O’Brien  – BrewGyver. I spend my days – and some evenings – helping breweries stay running. I did help Brad install the equipment at OG and was there  the day I did the sampling  to help Brad rebuild the brewhouse pump. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Brad  and sampling a couple of his new beers. Brad’s Belgian offering  is now all grown up.  He has taken off his Training Wheels and is now serving 2-Wheeler Wit. A delicately balance beer  with ‘just the right amount’ of spice.

Ez-Duz-It is his offering for a lighter IPA (4.2%)  that is lacking nothing that you would expect in a hoppy IPA – great Amarillo character . . . and you can have more than one! 🙂

The latest addition  of his BellyWasher (Scotch Ale)  is nicely smokey with an addition of crystal rye?! If you think that his ‘famous’ 440 Pepper Smoker  now has just a little bit more of a kick  you are right. Brad added a couple of Habanero peppers to this batch – still super drinkable!

The current beer list on a chalk board -you can read from across the room 🙂 Brad’s  always delicious  sandwiches  are now available on beer bread from the Erie Bread Co. Wednesday’s Erie Bread Co.’s beer bread  is sold by the loaf. This week was Porter Rye – mmm! If you haven’t been there in a while – it’s time to go back! If you have never been to OG?! – shame on you! Look what you are missing!

Mike O’Brien
BrewGyver

I share Mike’s love of Original Gravity. It is what I would want my brewery to be if I owned one. Fantastic beer. Brad’s sense of community (using a local bakery, hosting a farmer’s market) and a family atmosphere makes OG a special part of the community. Thanks Brad! We will be out to drink one soon.

Charlevoix Seeks Brewery

This summer I received an email from Keith Carey of the Charlevoix Downtown Development Authority. In it he mentioned the DDA’s desire to have a microbrewery in their town so I asked him if he was willing to promote it on our blog. He was.

I agree with Keith. A microbrewery would be a fantastic addition to Charlevoix. Way back in 2007 when people had computer desks and you had to text using your phone dial pad Sarah and I drove through it looking for a brewpub. While we  didn’t find one, what we found was a beautiful city ( it made the Forbes list of America’s Prettiest Towns) in both location and architecture that was bustling with shoppers perusing great shops and dining at local restaurants.

I finally “sat down” for a virtual  Q & A  with Keith this week about the prospects of a brewery in Charlevoix. Here’s what he had to say:

What type of city is Charlevoix?

Charlevoix is a city of 3,000 year round residents that typically swells to 30,000 or more during the summer months. Our community welcomes a significant number of summer residents, or “resorters”, who relocate to their summer homes in Charlevoix between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Downtown Charlevoix is nestled on an isthmus between majestic Lake Michigan and beautiful Round Lake.  Along with its beautiful water views and million-dollar sunsets, Downtown Charlevoix is most noted for its signature drawbridge which opens every hour and half hour and its truly unique waterfront shopping and dining experience.

Downtown Charlevoix is also home to the second most popular municipal marina in Michigan.  This facility, along with the two square block expanse of East Park, received a $13.5 million upgrade less than five years ago.  This massive renovation project expanded the number of full-service boat slips to 75 and included a new harbor master building and state-of-the-art outdoor performance pavilion.  The project resulted in East Park being recognized as one of only ten “Great Public Spaces for 2009” by the American Planning Association.  Charlevoix was also recently recognized as the #2 “Best Yachting Town in the World” by Yachting magazine and its readers in July 2011.

What do you see as the mutual benefits of having a brewery in Charlevoix?

Charlevoix provides an excellent opportunity for a brewery due to its loyal, year-round customer base, strong summer tourism season, unique geographic location, and vibrant events and activities calendar.

The significant upgrades to Downtown Charlevoix’s municipal marina and signature East Park also make buildings within our downtown development authority boundaries eligible for participation in Michigan’s Redevelopment Liquor License program, offering licenses at a reduced cost in exchange for private building improvement investment.

Becoming home to a brewery would broaden Charlevoix’s eatery inventory and aid us in our efforts to make our downtown a must-stop destination for dining and entertainment.

Any brewer would want to know if your water source is Lake Michigan. Is that the case?

Yes, homes and businesses within the Charlevoix city limits, including Downtown Charlevoix, receive their filtered and treated water directly from Lake Michigan.

Can anyone interested in opening a brewery contact you?

I’d welcome any opportunity to speak with folks interested in opening a brewpub here in Charlevoix (or any other business, for that matter).  I can be reached by calling 231 547-3257 or emailing kcarey@cityofcharlevoix.org.  If someone simply wants to learn more about Downtown Charlevoix, they can visit our webpage at www.DowntownCharlevoix.com or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DowntownCharlevoix.

I would like to thank Keith for taking part in this short Q&A. I wish you luck in finding a brewer to make Charlevoix their home.