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

Learn to Make Beer Event in Monroe

The Muskrat Mashers are having a “Learn to Make Beer” open to the public event this Thursday, February 9, from 6pm to 9pm at Harbor Inn & Ale. The event hopes to encourage new people to brew by having educational displays, a Q & A session with experienced homebrewers plus one lucky person will be walking away with a brand new starter kit from Adventures in Homebrewing!

Click here for the facebook page. Here is more information about this event from the Muskrat Mashers website.

If you’ve ever kicked around trying to make your own beer, we invite you to stop out to our February gathering. Our plan is to have some equipment set up, some fliers to hand out, and members of the club will be on hand to answer any questions you might have about getting started brewing. Also if you haven’t checked out Harbor Inn and Ale, they have a fantastic lineup of Michigan made beers!

The Muskrat Mashers is an informal homebrew club that meets once a month to discuss one thing: How to make beer. The group isn’t made up of a bunch of chemists or master brewers, we’re just regular people, that get together to enjoy quality beer and talk about how we made it. The club has a mix of people from newbies to seasoned brewers. We love helping new people get started with brewing, because somewhere along the way, someone experienced helped us get started.

Learn to make Beer!Thursday, February 9th 6-9pm @ Harbor Inn & Ale – Monroe, MI (click for map)

Public Welcome! Ever wonder how beer was made? Ever consider making it yourself? Stop out for an evening dedicated to how to brew your own beer. Members of the local homebrew club Muskrat Mashers will be on hand to discuss the basics of making your own beer from buying equipment and choosing a recipe to bottling or kegging the final product.

  • • Equipment and ingredient displays/discussions/handouts
  • • Discussions on how easy it is to make your own beer
  •  • Already brewing? Meet other local homebrewers!

Learn To Make Beer

Our homebrew club, Muskrat Mashers, is holding a membership drive/homebrewing demo this Thursday, February 10. Sarah wrote a press release that does a great job of describing the event so I will let her take it from here. 

 The Muskrat Mashers will host an informational session on home brewing on Thursday, Feb. 10 from 6-9 p.m. at Harbor Inn and Ale in Monroe, Michigan.
Have you ever wondered how beer was made?  Have you ever considered making it yourself? Would you like to meet and share ideas and experiences with other home brewers?  If you answered yes to these questions, then stop out for an evening dedicated to home brewing.  Members of the Muskrat Mashers homebrew club in Monroe will be on hand to discuss the basics of home brewing from buying equipment and choosing a recipe to bottling or kegging the final product. This gathering will feature equipment and ingredient displays as well as discussions and handouts on how to begin home brewing. It will also be an excellent opportunity to meet and network with other local home brewers.
“The Muskrat Mashers is an informal homebrew club that meets monthly,” says Muskrat Mashers founder and President Rob Gorczyca. “The group isn’t made up of a bunch of chemists or master brewers. We’re just regular people who get together to enjoy brewing and drinking craft beer. The club has a mix of people from beginners to seasoned brewers. We love helping new people get started with brewing because somewhere along the way someone helped us get started.”
This event is free and open to the public. Harbor Inn and Ale is located at 13993 Laplaisance Road in Monroe, Michigan. For more information about the Muskrat Mashers go to

Facebook page:

Beer brewing demonstrations – May 1st – Harbor Inn & Ale

When:  Saturday May 1st 2009 – 10AM-4PM
Where: Harbor Inn & Ale – Monroe, MI

In 1988, May 7th was announced before Congress as National Homebrew Day. The American Homebrewers Association created Big Brew as an annual event to celebrate National Homebrew Day not only in the United States, but around the world. Big Brew is held each year on the first Saturday in May. – AHA

Join Monroe, MI local homebrewing club Muskrat Mashers as they brew several batches of beer in the parking lot of Harbor Inn & Ale, located on Laplaisance Road in Monroe, MI. Handouts will be available for anyone interested in learning the hobby, as well as open invitations to future Muskrat Mashers meetings.  Local brewers are welcome to join us – please contact us at the email below for info.

Brewing kicks off at 10AM and will last most of the day. Stay for lunch @ Harbor Inn & Ale and enjoy one of their many Michigan made craft beers on tap.

For more information, see or email

Why you should brew your own beer

By Sean Fallon – Gizmodo – Aug. 26, 2009

Did you know that in most states, you can brew up to 100 gallons of beer or wine per adult in your home, 200 gallons max? So why are you still buying it from the supermarket?
To put that into perspective, 200 gallons will fill roughly 2000 12 oz bottles of beer or about 1000 standard 750mL bottles of wine. You can’t sell it, that’s illegal, but you can drink it yourself. While setting sail on a river of beer might seem enticing, many people are wary of homebrewing because it appears to be overly complex and scientific—but the truth is that basic beer and winemaking isn’t much more difficult than making soup. And the best part is that doing it yourself can have you enjoying a better quality of beverage at a substantially reduced cost….  click here to read the rest of the article


And while we’re on the subject, if you haven’t heard, Monroe, MI has a homebrew club!   We meet the 2nd Thursday of every month.  This months meeting is September 10th @ Harbor Inn & Ale from 6-8 p.m..  The topic of discussion will be:  Growing, harvesting hops and how to use them in your homebrew.   See: for more info.

Monroe Homebrewing Club – Muskrat Mashers

Muskrat Mashers Homebrew Club
Wednesday April 29th
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Harbor Inn & Ale
13993 Laplaisance Rd – Monroe, MI

Details: We don’t officially have a “club” formed just yet.  This meeting will be the first, to see if there’s actually any interest in forming a homebrew club in Monroe.  If we get enough people interested, we’ll make these monthly meetings and register our group with the American Homebrewers Association.

Monthly meetings might consist of discussions on various topics, such as, a beer style;  how it’s made, what hops to use, etc.   Another topic might be cleaning techniques.  Another, might be an actual brew session.  Our first meeting, we’ll probably discuss some very basics on making beer and what it takes to get into the hobby.

Who should attend? Anyone interested in the hobby!  The one thing I’ve found about the homebrewing community:   everyone is very friendly and helpful.  Homebrew club meetings are for novices to experts.

We look forward to learning, sharing and meeting people interested in homebrewing.  If you have any ideas for the group, questions or comments, please contact us at:

*Edit:  Because we are having the first meeting at a restaurant, please do NOT bring any homebrew.  Harbor Inn & Ale has a nice variety of Michigan Beer on tap.