Can Monroe Support a Microbrewery?

The topic of Monroe needing a microbrewery pops up from time to time on Monroe based chat rooms. One poster will make the argument that this town needs one and inevitably someone else will reply that Monroe won’t or can’t support one. I’m sure you all know what side of the argument I fall on so this post will be about why I think we can.

First, I want to address why people feel Monroe can’t support one. Mostly they argue that the citizens of Monroe like their “macro-beer” and they won’t drink craft beer. This assumes that we are a bunch of rubes that likes what we likes and screw new fangled things.  I know what I am about to write is  anecdotal evidence but I do know that there are a lot of people who I talk to that  do enjoy the macro’s non lagers. When I hear this I always suggest a Michigan beer that is similar but better  It seems some of them are willing to try new beers.

Maybe people who say that Monroe wouldn’t support a craft brewery really feel, in general,  that the people of Monroe don’t support their own. I disagree. We do have a lot of chain restaurants in town that do a lot of business. But we also have plenty of locally owned places that do just as well. Plus we lead the state in “Out of a job yet?” bumper stickers.I do believe Monroe is a a town with civic pride and once there is a local brewery that we can see as part of their community we will embrace it.

Maybe we don’t like beer? Monroe has one distributor in town that according to has an annual revenue of 20 to 50 million dollars.  Let’s assume the low number is correct then consider that is only one distributor  so the overall revenue could more than likely be closer to 30 million. That number is just a guess but it is still a lot of money and it is hard to not conclude that Monroe loves beer.

Other facts that make me believe that we will support one is we have a beer community now. Not only do we have our own homebrew club, Muskrat Mashers but we also have our own brewing supply store, River Raisin Brewing Company. More proof that we love beer.

Another argument is we already have a Monroe County brewery, Original Gravity. Yes that is true but it is still an half hour away and there is no reason we can’t support them both in this county. During the late 19th century a much smaller city of Monroe  had two breweries that sold a combined 11,000 barrels a year. Yet they still had a third small brewery that did struggle but still was around for ten plus years. That was a long time ago and they drank more per capita but our population is greater. The real difference between then and now is that there economy was more local. 19th century beer drinkers bought local beer out of necessity, we have options. I will promise whoever opens a Monroe brewery that I will opt for your beer if you promise to make a good quality craft beer.

4th Annual Michigan Beer Tasting Menu

Here is our beer menu for our tasting (as of now) this Thursday, June 24. New to the tasting this year is Frankenmuth Brewery (which will be on draft) along with North Peak out of Traverse City and Motor City Brewing Works. B. Nektar Meadery will be represented again this year. They were a big hit last year.

Click here for more information about the tasting. Don’t forget …this year’s tasting is for good cause. (Calhoun County Relay for Life). Hope to see you there!

Bell’s Brewery
Third Coast Old Ale
Batch 9000
Amber Ale
Pale Ale
Third Coast  Beer
Kalamazoo Stout
Two Hearted Ale

Pale Ale
Centennial IPA
Dirty Bastard
Red’s RyePA
Old Curmudgeon

Arcadia Ales
Big Dick’s Ale
Scotch Ale
Angler’s Ale
Sky High Rye

New Holland
Mad Hatter
Golden Cap Saison
Sundog  Amber                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Full Circle                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dragon’s Milk

North Peak Brewing
Majestic Wheat
Diabolical IPA
Siren Amber

Motor City Brewing Works
Ghetto-blaster English Mild Ale
Nut Brown Ale
Summer Brew

Dark Horse Brewing
Perkulator Coffee Dopplebock
Sapient Trip Ale
Crooked Tree IPA
Reserve Special Black Ale

Arbor Brewing Co.
Sacred Cow IPA
Red Snapper Special Bitter
Tree Fort
Brasserie Blonde Belgian
Strawberry Blonde
Bavarian Bliss
Espresso Love Breakfast Stout
Olde 22 German Alt

Frankenmuth Brewery
Munich Dunkel

Custer’s Last Stagger?

I get excited whenever there is an article written about craft beer in my local paper and host site, The Monroe Evening News. This Sunday, Charles Slat wrote an article that had a little bit of humor mixed with a little bit of beer, mixed with a little bit of  history – all  of which interest me.

If you read the article you will learn that General George Armstrong Custer vowed to quit drinking in 1861 after getting caught staggering past his future father in law, Judge Daniel Bacon. I don’t buy it. He didn’t have a drop of alcohol during the Civil War? Plus what happens out west stays out west. He may have been sober in Monroe, but as far as his decision making before and during his last stand…well, let’s just say alcohol may have been a factor.

Here  is the link to Charles Slat’s story.

4th Annual Michigan Beer Tasting

“I heartily endorse the event or product”

                                                                                      Krusty the Clown

The Krusty quote is a reference to a testimonial from Art Linkletter and was on “The Game of Life” box that I had as a kid. It has nothing to do with our tasting but I thought it would be a good time to use it, in memory of the late, great Art Linkletter.  I would like to think that both Art and Krusty would endorse an event that promoted local beer and helped raise money for  Relay for Life.

This year, we will have beer from Dark Horse, Founder’s, New Holland, Bell’s, and more plus meads from B. Nektar. Anyone that was there last year can vouch for how great they tasted.

The money raised at the tasting will support our friend Michelle’s Relay for Life Team that will be walking in Marshall, MI on June 25-26. Click here to donate to that team.

And we will have beer goods to give away.

Here are the event details…

Title: 4th Annual Michigan Beer Tasting
Location: 129 Lounge
Description: Taste some of Michigan’s best breweries. The cost will be $20 for 8 tastes ($10 of that will go to Relay for Life). Additional tastes will cost $1.50.
Time: Thursday, June 24 from 6 to 9pm

The link on Facebook…!/event.php?eid=112201068822671&ref=ts

More details will follow soon.

Kentucky Breakfast Stout on Tap in Monroe

BIG NEWS! Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout ( click here for my 2008 review) will be on tap at Harbor Inn and Ale starting  Friday, April 2. The truck will get their around lunch and hopefully so will I. This beer is consistently rated as one of the top ten beers in the world by Beer Advocate and is in the top ten American beers by This is one of the greatest beers brewed anywhere and it is being served right here in Monroe. If you do decide to go, you should get there sometime during this weekend. I predict this beer won’t be on tap for long.

Also, the 2010 Oberon will be there on Friday as well. I assume it is going right on tap so you can enjoy a bit of sunshine in a glass on what is supposed to be a beautiful day.

This Week at Original Gravity

There are two events going on this week at Original Gravity. One is a small batch release which should please hopheads.

Here is the information on the small batch release…

Small Batch Release – Amarillo Imperial IPA
Tuesday March 9th @ 6:00pm

The other event is our homebrew club’s, Muskrat Mashers, March meeting. It is on Thursday, 3/11 at 6-8PM. If you are interested in joining our club click here for more information.

OG Winter Ale Seasonal Release & Ugly Holiday Sweater Party

Looking for something to do tomorrow? Head on up to Original Gravity for the OG Winter Ale Seasonal Release & Ugly Holiday Sweater Party. Below are the details from their website

Tuesday December 15th – 6:00pm

Come enjoy our next seasonal beer release…OG Winter Ale is brewed with cinnamon sticks, orange peel, crystallized ginger, and honey.

Wear your (or your dads) ugliest holiday sweater and enjoy $3 pints of OG Winter Ale all night long. THE ugliest wins a $50 OG gift card (8:00pm).

“Beer Wars” Screening to Benefit “Pints for Prostates”

By: Sarah Nash

There will be special screening of the film “Beer Wars” to benefit Pints for Prostates on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Original Gravity Brewing Co.P4P OG Beer Wars (440 County Street) in Milan, MI.

Pints for Prostates is a grassroots effort to reach men with a critical message about prostate cancer screening using the universal language of beer. Started by prostate cancer survivor and journalist Rick Lyke, the goal of the program is to communicate with men in a friendly and non-threatening way about the need for regular prostate health screenings.

“Beer Wars” is a no holds barred documentary exploring the U.S. beer industry. Told from an insider’s perspective, the film goes behind the scenes of the daily battles that dominate one of America’s favorite industries.

Cost of the event is $10.00. A raffle will be held for a lifetime “Brew Crew” membership. All proceeds will go directly to the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network. Come and enjoy great beer and a great film for a great cause!

Harbor Inn & Ale to Serve Original Gravity

This post is aimed specifically at people in Monroe and MTers.

At lunch on Saturday, November 15, I was told that Original Gravity’s Amber is the next beer to go on tap at Harbor Inn & Ale.  If you frequent HI&A but have never tried OG’s beer here is your chance. If you haven’t done either please go out a support a local business that supports a local brewery.

Hopefully it will sell and we will be able to enjoy a beer made right here in Monroe County without leaving town.

Beer List for Brews n’ Brats for Tots

Don’t forget that  the Brew n’ Brats For Tots event is this Saturday October 17. The proceeds go to the Monroe County Child Advocacy Center so you can drink great beer and help children at the same time.

Here is the beer list…

Arbor Brewing Company (Ann Arbor, MI)
Olde Number 22 German Alt
Brasserie Blonde Belgian
Sacred Cow IPA
Jackhammer Olde Ale

Allagash (Portland, Maine)

Dark Horse (Marshall, MI)
Perkulator Coffee Dopplebock
Crooked Tree IPA
Sapient Trip Ale
Scotty Karate Scotch Ale
Reserve Special Black Ale
One Oatmeal Stout

Founders (Grand Rapids, MI)
Breakfast Stout
Centennial IPA
Pale Ale
Dirty Bastard
Red’s RyePA
Harvest Ale

New Holland (Holland, MI)
Full Circle Kolsch Style
Ichabod Pumpkin Ale
Mad Hatter
The Poet

Erie Brewing (Erie, PA)
Railbender Ale
Heritage Alt
Presque Isle Pilsner
Mad Anthony’s APA

The Facebook link is