Maumee to get a Granite City

Just heard about this brew pub restaurant opening in early February. It will be located in the Fallen Timbers complex in Maumee, OH. This will be the chains first in Ohio, and is one of fourteen new locations scheduled to open in 2008.

I did a little research on Granite City beer, and they have an interesting story. Their beer is brewed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, piped into trucks and delivered to the various locations where it is then put into tanks to ferment. I read several reviews on the place, most say the food is awesome, and they do serve other beers than their own. Here’s an interesting thread from several people that have been there.

* Thanks to Ben for the article tip!

Featured Homebrewer – Kevweiser

Name: Kevweiser

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

How long have you been brewing: August 2006

Why did you start brewing: It was something I had wanted to do for a long time.

Style of brewing: Partial Grain

First beer ever brewed: Wheat -My notes say ” Not what I wanted, a bit of a smokey flavor” It was over carbonated.

Favorite batch: I’m on batch #24 a chocolate raspberry porter that should be interesting. I made a nice Pumpkin Ale that went pretty quick Halloween night, looking forward to making that again. I like having variety on tap. I sometimes will split up a five gallon batch when raking into the secondaries and spice 1/2 the batch.

Method of serving: Keg

Suggestions to others considering brewing: I would start by brewing a few times with others. Maybe join a home brew club. Find a good home brew shop. Consider kegging. When I was bottling I found myself delaying brewing because of the hassle of bottling. Plus once you’ve kegged you can give away beer by the growler.

I’m just an intermediate brewer. There are a zillion people out there that know more about brewing than I do. I was lucky enough to get some good advise early on, that saved me a lot of grief. I spent a day brewing all grain with Randy Lemueix, and Bob Barrett answered a ton of questions. Adventures in Home Brew in Taylor was recommended. Those guys are fantastic! I was originally dealing with a different shop who were not very helpful, had I continued with them I’m sure I would not be as geeked about brewing as I am. When you first start you have a lot of questions. I probably made it more complicated than I needed to.

I haven’t made anything horrible, at least not yet. I have certainly made beers that were not exactly what I wanted them to be, but everything has been drinkable.

It is a great hobby. I have met some of the best people because of it.

– Kevin made sure to include a “Kevweiser babe” with the pictures he sent. What a woman!

Historic Journey To India

Most craft beer drinkers learn early that IPA stands for India Pale Ale and that it is a beer style designed to be strong and very “hoppy”, so that it could last the grueling trip from London to India. It was brewed to supply British Troops and citizens occupying India with non-spoiled ale and it was thought that the general public wouldn’t want to drink anything that bitter. Some think that IPA might have disappeared with the end of the British occupation of India if it wasn’t for the “good fortune” of a shipwreck with a shipment of IPA leaving London. Some of the casks that were in the shipwreck were damaged and ended up for sale on the local market. The extra hoppy beer was a hit with the locals, who started to demand IPA for themselves.

IPA was (most likely) created by George Hodgson at the Bow Brewery in East London. Hodgson controlled the IPA market very skillfully, but eventually breweries in Burton got a foothold in the market and became the major IPA producers of the time.

Beer author, cask beer enthusiast, and blogger Pete Brown wanted to do a book on the journey of IPA to India, so for research he recreated the historic journey from Burton to Calcutta. He began his adventure by brewing the beer he would travel with to India at the White Shield Brewery in Burton with head brewer Steve Wellington. Most of Pete’s blog posts for his trip are here. Start at the bottom.

Notable milestones were:

For those who poke around his main blog, you’ll find that there are some posts that didn’t make it into his summary. You’ll learn that Pete and Barry got off to a rocky start, and the beginning of the (now outdated) trip up the canal through the Midlands was slow and expensive.


Monroe Bell’s Hopslam Release Party

129 Lounge

129 E. Front st.

Tuesday Januaury 22nd


Hopslam(brewed in Kalamazoo, MI by Bell’s Brewery) on draft and giveaways for Hopslam drinkers.                                                                                                            

If you love hoppy beers you already know what Hopslam is but if you don’t know here is a description from the Bell’s web-site of what kind of beer Hopslam is …

 A biting, bitter, tongue bruiser of an ale. With a name like Hopslam, what did you expect?

Original Gravity:1.087

Alc. by Vol.:10.0%

Dates Available:Limited Release, January 7th through February


Basic Brewing Radio

Basic Brewing Radio: Kevin has been telling me about this podcast for quite some time now, and I finally took time this weekend to listen to a few episodes. I was really impressed. Host James Spencer keeps things really basic, and doesn’t come across as a “know-it-all” expert, although I’m sure he is!  I found myself entertained the entire show, and wanting to go on to the next one after listening. The show is definitely entertaining enough to keep your interest for an hour. Humorous at times, and extremely informative. Looking back on past episodes, Basic Brewing Radio covers topics like brewery tours, food pairing, recipes, things that could go wrong with brewing, and of course, tips and tricks to make you a better brewer.

James has several guests throughout the various episodes, from brewers to experts in the industry. If you’re a beginner brewer, as I am, you’ll really get a lot out of this. I listened to an episode about all grain brewing, which is a little more advanced, but still really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. Basic Brewing also put together some instructional DVD’s for the beginner to the advanced brewer (shop). Take a listen, and don’t forget to enjoy the show with your favorite brew!

Recycle that grain into dog treats!

Whether you all grain or partial grain brew, this is a nice way to make use out of all that leftover grain. My new home brew friends “All Grain Mike” and his wife, told me about this recipe. I dug up the procedure online, and made it tonight with the leftover grains I had from my last brew. After it was finished, I tested it on my dog – now I can’t get her away from trying to climb onto the stove to eat the rest of them.

Spent grain dog biscuits
4 cups spent grain (do not use grains that have interacted with hops)
4 cups flour
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together (I used my hands to mash it all up). Spread the mixture out onto a cookie sheet and flatten. Mine turned out a bit dry, powdery, I probably should have added a little water, but the next step is to cut/score into bite size squares. Bake for about half an hour to an hour at 350 F until they are hard.
Remove from the oven and break them apart into separate biscuits, and place them back onto the cookie sheet. Bake them for an additional 8-10 hours at 225 F. This gives them time to really dry out, to prevent mold. Store in an airtight container. These smell pretty good coming out of the oven, but I wasn’t brave enough to try one. Maybe I’ll serve them up at the next beer gathering I have. 🙂

Monroe City Brewery

The Monroe City Brewery was short lived but it had one unique thing that the other Monroe breweries didn’t have. The owner/brewery wasn’t German. He was born in Ireland. Brewers in early America were from English speaking nations and brewed Ales. Whiskey was popular in both America and Ireland in the early 1800s and many Irish immigrants made whiskey. Toward the middle of the 19th century German immigration  changed the face of brewing and drink in America and turned America into a lager drinking nation. One might wonder though why weren’t more Irish brewers popping up in the United States? After all, Irish immigration was high. We’ve all heard the stories of Irish peasants leaving Ireland due to the Potato Famine. Maybe that is one of the main reasons right there. Perhaps Irish immigrants were too financially strapped to open their own business upon settling in America. On the other hand, most Germans Monroe City BreweryMonroe City Brewery Adimmigrated to the United States for political and religious reasons. The latter was true especially for German Catholics. Another factor that could have contributed to German brewers  outnumbering their Irish counterparts was the sheer number of German immigrants. German immigration doubled to around 950 thousand between 1851-1860 surpassing Irish immigration. While Irish immigration leveled off, German immigration peaked between 1871-1880 reaching almost 1.5 million people.

All of the Monroe breweries I could find were owned by people of German descent. One exception to this was Michael Phelan, owner of the Monroe City Brewery. I couldn’t find out much about Michael other than the fact that his brewery stood on the north-side of Front Street and east of the lower bridge.  I believe it would’ve been somewhere near the intersection of Wadsworth and Front. Phelan ran his brewery during  the onset of a German brewery boom.  

Sometime between 1863 and 1870 Phelan got out of the brewing business and by 1870 he was working as a surveyor/engineer.

He brewed a Stock Ale, Brown Stout, Porter and “Present Use Ales”. He also brewed lagers. I attached an ad from 1863 which shows that, yes, back then beers were brewed for family use. Porters and brown stouts were styles that an Irish immigrant would have brewed. The interesting one there is the “Present Use Ales”. This beer is an ale version of a lager and today is considered  a Cream Ale which is a Light Hybrid Beer. In the 19th century this was an ale brewer’s answer to the lager and was basically an American Lager with a top fermenting(ale) yeast strain. Phelan must have been hedging his bets because the ad claims he brewed both “Present Use Ales” and Lagers.

Phelan died in 1909 in Chicago. I believe after Michael left brewing that the brewery itself became Van Miller Brewing. I’m still working on some definitive information on that one. One thing that is for sure –  that along OBrien Street with Wahl Brewing Co. and Laplaisance’s Roeder Brewery, Front and Wadsworth was another location that had a brewery.

Monroe had many other breweries in the mid 19th century and I still plan on digging for more stories. Here are a couple of teasers for you: A Monroe born brewer who opens his own brewery in another town?and of course (dum dum dum!) another brewery fire!

Daddy Oh’s – Toledo, Ohio

Since I have family and friends living in Toledo, I’m often in the area, and up until a year or so ago, I never really knew where to get a good beer. Someone tipped me off to Daddy Oh’s, and it soon became my favorite. Daddy Oh’s is located at 4044 Monroe St. – kind of close to the Toledo Hospital. The bar is your typical Toledo bar, kind of grungy from the outside, but a very relaxing atmosphere inside. The front room has 3 flat screens hanging on the wall. The bar area is nice, my favorite is to sit across from the 20 or so taps and stare at all of them, trying to decide which beer to get next. There’s an outside patio area too, last time I was out there it was enclosed – I think that’s for smokers now.

Now, to the good part – the beer. I definitely can’t name them all, but for a small bar in Toledo, this place has got an amazing line up. On tap, just to name a few there’s Dog Fish Head 90 minute, Flying Dog Imperial Porter, Bells, Great Lakes, Arrogant Bastard, Stella, Labatts, Loose Cannon IPA (Clipper City – and my personal favorite), Mad Hatter (New Holland) among others.

The bottle selection is pretty amazing too, I’m not even going to try naming them, but there’s probably a good list of 75-100 beers listed. Last night I enjoyed a Stone IPA.

Daddy Oh’s also has a full dinner menu with a wild pizza line up (coney island hot dog pizza to name one of them) and excellent deli-style sandwiches.

If you happen to be in the Toledo area, I would strongly suggest checking out Daddy Oh’s. And when you’re finished, swing by Joseph’s Beverage Center for the best carry-out beer selection in Toledo.
(More reviews on Beer Advocate – click here)

Hereford & Hops – Escanaba, MI

Guest Post by: Josh Marenger

Believe it or not there is actually some good beer to be had north of the Mighty Mac. The closest place to me, and my favorite is Hereford & Hops in Escanaba. They have other locations in Wausau, WI and Pennsylvania, but this is the original. Since I’m from Escanaba and can attest to the fact that the local distributors seem to be atrocious at carrying different micros, this place is definitely a diamond in the rough. If I’m ever sick of sixer after sixer of Bell’s there are always pints and growlers to be had here.

Placed in a historic landmark hotel in downtown Escanaba, this place has great character. The pub area has 15-20 tables for dining while the bar area has a few more tables as well as a ~20 seat marble bar. There’s also a “sports bar” area in the back with about 7-8 more tables, 2 pool tables, dartboards, HDTVs etc as well as a dining area for a more formal setting. This is also one of those “grill your own” steakhouses so that’s available for those who are interested as well. There’s definitely the right atmosphere available no matter what your mood.

They have a constantly rotating tap list with several winners at the WBC and GABF including the Whitetail Ale (golden ale) and Cleary Red almost always available. Other favorites of mine personally are the Blackbird Oatmeal Stout, St. Edmund’s Porter, Sawtooth Stout, Redemption IPA, and Shwarzbier. Also just starting recently they are going to be offering an oak-aged beer pretty consistently as well. The only one offered so far was a bourbon-oak aged Sawtooth Stout that was absolutely amazing so I’m looking forward to the next one. I’ve also heard of an old ale and imperial stout coming down the pipe so those are being anticipated as well. Typically there are 6-8 beers on tap at any given time. Also most of the bartenders are beer geeks themselves so don’t be afraid to chat them up – just be sure to ask for that stout in a warm glass (many local people complain if they get an unchilled glass so they do it by default, ugh). You’ll definitely get a nod of fellow beer-appreciation if you do though.

This place is definitely a can’t-miss if you’re travelling through the U.P. or maybe even worthy of a road trip. Then buy several growlers and go camping for a few days. No really we do have electricity up here. Seriously, we do.