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.

IMG_1197-0.JPG

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.

IMG_1189.JPG

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.

IMG_1192-0.JPG

IMG_1190.JPG

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.

 

 

4th Annual March of Dimes Michigan Beer & Wine Tasting

2014 beer tastingA week that includes the first day of spring and St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty damn good week. But when it ends with The 4th Annual March of Dimes Michigan Beer & Wine Tasting, you just turned it up to eleven.

This fantastic event held on the Saturday after St. Patrick’s Day has become the biggest craft beer event in Monroe. It has great food, fabulous Michigan craft beer and wine and the money goes to a worthy cause, The March of Dimes.

Below are the event details and vendor list…

4th Annual Michigan Beer & Wine Tasting.

Saturday, March 22, 2014 1-4pm

Tickets are $35.00 in advance, $40.00 at the door.

Price includes 12 3-ounce pours, lunch buffet and door prizes. You’ll also have an opportunity to bid on silent auction baskets & 50/50 raffles. Tickets are available at Harbor Inn & Ale, by calling Darcy Merritt @ (734) 968-7991, (734) 457-4445 or by calling Mac Merritt @ (734) 552-6410 or at Keybank North Telegraph office. In order to make sure we have enough beer, wine & food we only sell a small amount of tickets at the door.  Advance tickets are recommended.

Vendors include…

Arbor Brewing Co.
Arcadia
Bell’s
Bonafide Winery
Brewery Vivant
Chelsea Alehouse
Dark Horse Brewery
Fenton Winery and Brewing
Founders
Motor City Brewing Works
Mt. Pleasant Brewing
North Peak Brewing Co.
Tabor Hill Winery
Uncle John’s Fruit House Winery

129 Lounge, Jake’s Liquor & Atwater Hop-A-Peel Launch Party

Is everyone ready for spring? I know I am! Good news everyone! The first day of spring is only 2 weeksHop-A-Peel away. The end of this winter deserves a good party and 129 Lounge, Jake’s Liquor and Atwater are throwing one.

This is a cool event. The premiere craft beer store is getting together with one of the best and first good beer bars in Monroe to put on a launch party. I am hoping it’s a nice enough night to walk down and enjoy some Hop-A-Peel. Let’s think positive.

129 Lounge, Jake’s Liquor & Atwater Hop-A-Peel Launch Party

Thursday, March 20 7:00pm until 10:00pm

Come join us at The 129 Lounge in conjunction with Atwater Detroit Brewery and Jake’s Liquor for Atwater’s 2014 launch of Hop-A-Peel!!! It’s the first time Hop-A-Peel will be available in bottles, Jake’s Liquor will be taking care of that, and we’ll have pints and samplings on tap of this wonderful I.P.A. from Detroit’s Atwater Brewery!!! We’ll have MI Craft Beer specials, stuff to give to you, Atwater Beer, more stuff, drinks, and fun. Come out and show your support for Atwater Detroit, Jake’s Liquor, and 129 Lounge…Say YES to Michigan!!!

Short’s Beer Tasting in Monroe

From the Short’s Brewing website…

Jake’s Liquor Store Beer Tasting

02/07/2014 6-8 pm @ Monroe, MI

Jake’s Liquor is hosting a Short’s Brewing Co. beer tasting. Come visit this great bottle shop to sample free Short’s and chat with Short’s Beer Liberator, Brian Talpos, as he guides your through the tasting. He will be happy to answer any beer related questions you may have!

1092 N Dixie Hwy Monroe, MI 48162

(734) 243-1133

Partyville Beer Event for the Humane Society

Monroe is having a beer and wine event! Actually the number of beer events are on the rise over the last few years but they are usually scheduled on days when I can’t make it… And this is no different. But I remember the days when there was not a lot going on so I get excited when I see local beer events.

It’s brought to you by Partyville  with partial proceeds going to the Humane Society of Monroe. So you have good local beer and wine plus a good cause. I did verify that Rave will be there so that means Bell’s and Founders.

Here are some details. Please check out the flier for more…

Saturday October 26, 2013 6 to 10pm

Location: Monroe Golf & Country Club 611 Cole Rd, Monroe (734) 241-5190

$25 per person advanced $35 per person at the door

Partyvill

JTrees

J. Trees Cellars

(Co-written with Sarah Nash)

Sarah and I were having lunch at the “The Stable” in Blissfield, Michigan (the casual JTreesdining partner of the famous  Hathaway House) a few weeks ago when she offered me a sip of the wine she was drinking. We went to the restaurant because we’d heard that they had a great craft beer selection but we had a moment which made us think,  “We have been living under a hop vine!” We drink wine so we weren’t surprised that we loved a wine. The revelation was that this wine was made right here in Monroe County.

J. Trees Cellars opened in 2008, growing grapes and producing wine and cider in Petersburg, Michigan. A tasting room was soon added in Blissfield across from “The Stable.” In their words they are a “small Michigan winery, crafting fine wines & ciders from estate grown fruit, as well as other high quality Michigan fruit.”

Once we discovered that they existed we knew we needed to visit them as soon as we had a free night. We  finally paid a visit to their tasting room yesterday.  Our hosts were charming, very excited about their products and extremely patient. (We brought our kids and… well… they were kids being kids but didn’t faze them a bit.)

Every single one of their offerings was excellent. We said we weren’t going to do a full tasting JTrees1but once we got started we couldn’t help ourselves.  We like our wines on the drier side, which most of theirs are. I really enjoyed their Dry Riesling, a recent silver medal winner at the Indy International Wine Competition and the Michigan Wine Competition. Sarah enjoyed their Dry Rose which was fruity, luscious and tart yet well-balanced and would make a great base for a summer sangria. Their House Red  was a spot on I-could-drink-this-any-time-of the year-any day-of-the-week simple yet finely crafted red wine. They also sell  hard ciders including “Farmstead,” a crisp, refreshing dry cider, fermented by the wild yeast in the orchard and “Cin-ful” a cider fermented with cinnamon bark. Sarah suggested that they offer a warmed version of the “Cin-ful”  in the fall. They also sell an “Ice Cider” made with apples frozen on the tree and harvested and pressed in January making it the very sweet high ABV character you would expect from a traditional ice wine. We were also lucky enough to get a “sneak peak” of their Sparkling Riesling which they released today!

As I mentioned earlier, a few of their wines are served across the street at The Stable which is a JTrees2great place to enjoy it with a number of great “upscale pub food” offerings.  You can also find their wine at the Hathaway House, Evans Street Station in Tecumseh, Flicks in Lambertville and a number of other places across Michigan. You can find all locations on their website. Unfortunately, while their products are created in Monroe County you can currently only find them at one location in the city of Monroe,  Danny’s Fine Foods. We’ll happily shop for it there but have made it our mission to try to make them more widely available in Monroe. Until then, “like” them on Facebook and take a trip down to Blissfield and enjoy a flight in their tasting room and maybe a glass at “The Stable.”  It’s well worth the trip.