Buffalo Wild Wings Has Michigan Beer Night

I realize this is extremely short notice but the Monroe Buffalo Wild Wings is having craft beer night every Tuesday. Tonight, November 8, they are featuring Michigan beers. All Michigan beers will be a dollar off plus there will be a meet and greet with the local Rave distribution representative. So stop by on your way home from voting. Oh no! I knew I forgot to do something today! I better go do that.

A Craft Beer Lover’s Guide to Monroe County

It can be tough to live in a small town that seemingly doesn’t care for craft beer as a whole. At least as a resident you know where to go for good beer but what is a visitor to do? There are a lot of good sites that will help you find where to go but I have found that my hometown Monroe is not always covered well. This is where our new sidebar comes in. I am hoping it will help people find their way to the bars and restaurants that care about supporting local breweries.

I have been wracking my brain on how to promote bars and restaurants that support local beer since we started this blog years ago. I was stuck on the angle of blasting places that don’t support local beer by name but I have decided to go positive by giving credit to places that get it. Ranting about someone’s beer selection doesn’t help anyone.

Here is the list of bars/restaurants that serve Michigan beer as of this post. If you know of any I missed please let me know.

Oh and yes there are people who visit Monroe. We have the River Raisin National Battlefield Park which is nearing it’s bicentennial and we are the home of General George Armstrong Custer. We even had President Clinton pass the baton to Al Gore here to kick-off the Gore campaign. So if you want to lose in a monumental way this is a great place to visit or make your home.


UP Festival: Keweenaw Brewing

Earlier this week I sent Q & A emails about the upcoming UP Fall Festival  to some of the UP breweries. I quickly received an email back from Keweenaw Brewing.

Everyone should be familiar with this brewery. They were the trend setters that have been selling their beer in cans for years making it my solution to the no bottles on the docks rule where my parents dock their boat. The cans also fit easier in those tiny refrigerators. Factor that in with the taste and that is why Pick Axe Blonde is one of my favorite summer beers.

Thanks to Paul Boissevain for taking time out of his day and replying to my email.

What beers are you bringing to the festival? We will bring in cans:
  • Pick Axe Blonde
  • Red Jacket Amber
  • Lift Bridge Brown
  • Widow Maker Black
  • Olde Ore Dock Scotish

On tap we will have:

  • Solstice Hefeweizen
  • An IPA, though we are still deciding which to bring.

If someone could only try one of your beers what beer would you want them to try? I would want someone to try the Widowmaker Black Ale first. It is a unquely light flavored beer for its black color, filled with notes of smoky molasses with a very light hop finish. While there are a huge number of very good Blondes, Ambers and Browns out there in the Michigan market, this is a unique beer with not much else out there like it.

What is your brewing philosophy? Right on our can: turning beer drinkers into craft beer lovers. All our canned beers are on the light side of Micros, 5% ABV and less than 20 IBU’s. These are brewed as session beers, meant for drinking all through a long hot afternoon on the beach, or a cold evening around a campfire. Good drinking anytime, but being glass free, we are especially welcome in the great outdoors that Michigan has to offer.

What do you want us trolls to know about your Brewery? Our Brewery n Houghton, taproom and small batch experiments, is just a nice place to come drink with friends: outdoors in the summer or around the fireplace in the Winter. Just ask anyone you may know from Michigan Tech.

The UP Fall Festival

I feel like I’m back! It has been a busy summer. We had troubles at work, we were having a lot of work done to the house and I became an uncle for the third time. Then finally as my schedule was starting to clear my computer blue screened! It is still not fixed so I am forced to use the old computer in the basement. I have it set up under a window that gives me a Laverne and Shirley view of the world. I would like to thank Patti for keeping the blog going while I was out. I would also like to thank the Michigan Brewers Guild for giving Sarah and I an event to look forward to which is their UP Fall Festival . It is one of our favorite beer events and should be a nice respite from a hectic summer.

This event has everything: great craft beer, beautiful location,  it supports and promote Michigan products, it’s held around our wedding anniversary  and we have plenty of good friends to drink with.  And it all happens September 10 in Marquette, MI at Mattson Lower Harbor Park between 1 to 6pm.

The park sits between Lake Superior and Marquette’s downtown so you have a great view of the lake and the city. I believe it is the best location of all the MBG festivals. Marquette is one of Michigan ‘s most beautiful cities. It is a college town with industrial roots and was once a thriving port city which gives it an east coast port town feel. (The rolling hills that slope toward the water make it a lot easier to get to the festival than to get back.) The copper tinged buildings downtown give it that uniquely UP feel.

The festival is also a good chance to try out what is being brewed north of the bridge. Sarah and  I tried to hit every single brewery in the UP about 4 years ago but it’s tough because they are so spread out and you can’t just drive the most direct route. With this festival we finally had the chance to do so. They are brewing fantastic beer up there I have been extremely impressed with Hereford and Hops. There is a lot of postive buzz about  Blackrocks brewery and Soo Brewing Company. Hopefully I’ll get to try both this year.

I can’t forget to mention the Vierling Restaurant/Marquette Harbor Brewery which is just minutes away from the festival in. Sarah and I love this place.  Vintage decor hangs on the walls and an old oak bar sends you back to a time when the beer you drank was brewed near by and the food served was local. The good news is that the beer is brewed on premises and is damn good and Lake Superior white fish rivals any seafood I have ever eaten. Sarah can’t wait to have chocolate pecan pie with a little bit of their stout at the Vierling like she did last year. That’s one of the highlights she remembers from last year.

The main reason I love this festival is because of the people. There is an instant bond beer geeks have. You know, we always call each other beer geeks Like you said to, uh, somebody, “You’re gonna like this guy. He’s all right. He’s a beer geek. He’s one of us. You understand? We are beer geeks.” Ok most of this paragraph’s point is to reference “Goodfellas.” It makes up for mentioning Laverne and Shirley earlier in this post. We have met some really nice people(in particular Bay de Noc Brewers ) that we really only get to see once a year at this festival and we can’t wait to see them again this year!

This festival represents the best Michigan has to offer. Beautiful cities, awe inspiring lakes, world class beer and friendly people. Why would you not try to go to this event at least once. I’m convinced if you go once you will go twice. 

Click here for full event details and to purchase tickets on-line.

Here is where you can buy tickets… 

The Vierling Restaurant & Marquette Harbor Brewery in Marquette
Jasper Ridge Brewery in Ishpeming
Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette
Marquette Food Co-op in Marquette
Portside Inn in Marquette
Huron Earth Deli in Marquette
White’s Party Store in Marquette
Rochester Mills Beer Co. in Rochester
New Holland Brewing Co. in Holland
Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City
Mt. Pleasant Brewing Co. in Mt. Pleasant


Happy Birthday Original Gravity

<div class=\"postavatar\">Happy Birthday Original Gravity</div>

Looking for something to do in Monroe County today? You could go to the Mayfly Festival in Dundee and purchase Natural Light in make shift old milk jug pitchers which goes against almost everything I stand for. Or you can go to Original Gravity and drink a Bourbon Barrel Aged High Five IPA. If you are reading this I am sure you are more likely to do the latter.

Here are the details per Brad…

We will have 2 new small batch brews on tap, plus releasing the Bourbon Barrel Aged High Five IPA.

Some fantastic BBQ grub starting at 2pm.  BBQ menu for tomorrow includes Smoked Pork, Chicken Legs, and hot link sausage, mac-n-cheese, corn bread and spicy pickles!

Live music from “Out of the Sun” starts around 8:30pm!!!

June 2 Marks The Anniversary of the Roeder Brewery Fire

 June 2nd 1909 at around 9:30pm the last brewery in Monroe burnt down to the ground. This Thursday is the 102nd anniversary of that fire. Below I have the article from the June 3, 1909 Record-Commercial (word for word) plus my original post on Roeder Brewery.

Record Commercial, Thursday June 3, 1909

Heavy Loss Roeder’s Brewery Burns

Wednesday evening, shortly after nine o clock, Jacob Roeder’s brewery was totally destroyed by fire, only the stone walls of the main building remained standing Thursday morning. The heavens were illuminated and many in the city were of the opinion that some farmer’s farm near Monroe had been struck by lightning since quite a storm was raging at the same time and it appeared as if the heart of the storm was south of the cite. The fire was discovered at about half past nine at the west end of the main building near the engine room and in a few minutes had made great headway in the main building, and for a few minutes it seemed as if the brewery, storage cellars and Mr. Roeder’s home were doomed to be consumed .

A fire alarm was sent to the city and the fire department called out and told that the fire was outside the city and in the absence of the chief, George Renner, foreman of the Germania Hose Company was called up and he called out his boys and the run was made to the scene. It was known that the hydrants were few and scattering at this point and the engine was taken out and in a few minutes three streams were playing on the fire. It was apparent that the main building was doomed and the men put their efforts to saving the home and other buildings, which was successful and the fire confined to the main building. The wind was blowing from the north and this assisted materially in saving the other buildings. The cause of the fire is a mystery as one of the Roeder family was in the main building a very minutes before the fire was noticed and MR. Roeder is of the opinion that it was struck by lightning.

The plant consisted of a stone building facing north with wooden buildings covered with sheet iron on each side and in one of these was the artificial ice plant installed a few years ago at the cost of about five thousand dollars, this is in ruins and a total loss.

The storage cellars where the manufactured beer is kept were saved with their contents, also the office with the valuable papers and revenue stamps were not touched. The firemen and neighbors did heroic work to save the other buildings and Mr. Roeder is very grateful for all services rendered him at the time.

The loss will be between thirty and thirty-five thousand dollars with but a few thousand insurance. Mr Roeder expects to rebuild the plant. 

Monroe’s Last Brewery?

On a stormy Wednesday evening, June 2 of 1909, the last brewery left in the city of Roeder Brewery LocationMonroe was completely destroyed by fire. The Jacob Roeder Brewery had stood on the corner of Navarre and what was then called La Plaisance Bay Turnpike since 1874 (near where the VFW sits today and – sadly – equidistant from Rob’s and my house). Next to Wahl Brewing Co., it was Monroe’s longest running and most successful brewery. There is even a road named Roeder in Monroe fairly close to the brewery’s location. I could find no information on whether the road was named after the brewer but I like to think it was.

The Jacob Roeder Brewery story starts in 1853 when Jacob Roeder immigrated to the U.S. and landed in New York. He had apprenticed as a cooper and brewer back in Germany. He moved to Monroe and settled in the 1st district around 4th and Union Streets. Back then this was considered the German part of town. He first worked as a cooper, possibly making barrels for the other breweries in town. In 1874 Jacob Roeder opened his own brewery. Its original name  was J. Roeder and Bro. Brewery. In 1877 the named was changed from that to Jacob Roeder Brewery.

The brewery was a stone building facing north. It had two wooden structures on both sides of the plant, one being a artificial ice-house that was installed in 1904 at the cost of $5000. Before that was built the brewery would get its ice directly out of Plum Creek. It may have been a small brewery but it was still able to produce around 1,500 bbls a year – all for local consumption. Not bad considering that the county only had 32 thousand citizens and Wahl was selling 10 thousand bbls already.

When Wahl Brewery burnt down in 1905 it left a beer void in the city. Unfortunately Roeder AdRoeder’s was too small of a brewery to supply the demand so in came the competition. Out of town breweries such as Stroh’s, Buckeye, Springbrook, Goebel and Koppitz-Melzers all started advertising and distributing in Monroe. The success of Wahl had blocked these breweries from getting a strong foot-hold. But with Wahl gone the breweries knew that the beer market in Monroe could be theirs. Roeder started to advertise its beer as being “made in Monroe for Monroe People.” They were able to maintain their sales but never grew over 1,500 bbls in a year.

The biggest problem facing Roeder was the ASL(anti-saloon league). The ASL was out to close saloons with the eventual goal of prohibition. The idea came from Howard Hyde Pierce. He thought it would be better for prohibitionists to push for wet/dry votes in individual towns and precincts.  He was then hired by the newly formed Ohio Anti-Saloon League. The OASL’s tactics of going through the churches and a concentrated attack on one goal was a huge success in Ohio. The rest of the country took notice and the national Anti-Saloon League was formed. The number of both saloons and breweries was diminishing rapidly as 1910 neared. By 1910 half of the counties in Michigan were dry and Monroe actually had a wet/dry vote prior to the fire that destroyed Roeder’s. The good news  is that we voted wet. The bad news  is that our own hometown brewery wouldn’t be around much longer.

The fire started at the west end of the building. It was a stormy night and it is believed Roeder After the Firethat lightening struck the building shortly after 9 o’ clock. the fire spread quickly through the brewery. By the time the Germania Hose Company (the fire department at the time) got to the scene, the main building of the brewery was too far gone to save so they concentrated on the other buildings. The brewery and the artificial ice-house were gone but they were able to save the cellars (along with the stock at the time) and the office. Damage was figured to be between $30 thousand to $35 thousand.

Jacob and his son Herman who also worked at the brewery decided not to rebuild and both went to work as agents for Strohs in Monroe. It was probably a good decision to not rebuild since Michigan went dry on May 1st 1918. The years following the fire saw the battle for the right to drink being won by the prohibitionist. Big business interested in having a sober work force helped financially back the prohibition movement. The ASL used propaganda and scare tactics to help sway people over. Crooked owners who ran saloons that were connected to prostitution and con games made it easy for the ASL to create a case against them. Breweries didn’t help the cause either. Since the initial battle ground was basically for cities and counties, the bigger breweries didn’t realize the battle they were in until it was Strohs Adtoo late. It took 25 years but the ASL had slowly gained enough dry states to push for national prohibition. Anti-German sentiment because of WWI helped put the final nail in the breweries’ coffins. On September 6th 1918  Woodrow Wilson announced that in order to preserve the supply of grain and fuel for the war effort, breweries would close at midnight on December 1st. The war ended on November 11th of that year but still the breweries shut down. On January 16, 1919 Nebraska voted dry giving the required 36 states to pass prohibition as an amendment. The Volstead Act was passed on October 28th 1919 and the 18th amendment went into affect on January 16th 1920. The

Summer Beer Fest Tickets On Sale Now

Tickets for the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Summer Beer Fest held on July 22 & 23 in Ypsilanti, MI are now on sale. I don’t need to tell you that this event is a must for any craft beer drinker so I am writing this post to urge you to get your tickets early. The Winter Beer Fest sold out a month before the event and it is held outdoors in February. A lot of angry beer drinkers weren’t left out in the cold for that event. Don’t be one of them. Don’t procrastinate. How bad would you feel if you knew your friends were drinking world class beer (some brewed only for this event ) while you are weeding your garden?

Click here for the Michigan Brewers Guild event page. Below are the event details.

14th Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival
July 22-23, 2011
Depot Town – Riverside Park, Ypsilanti 
  The Summer Beer Festival is the Michigan Brewers Guild’s oldest and largest of our four annual festivals. The festival takes place outside in a lovely riverside setting and will feature more than 300 different beers from more than 50 different Michigan breweries. A variety of tasty food items are available for purchase from independent food vendors inside the festival and there will be a diverse selection live music from a variety of local bands. 
Friday $30 advance ($35 at gate if available)
Saturday $35 advance ($40 at gate if available)
The festival is expected to sell out again this year so advance ticket purchase is encouraged to assure admittance.