Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Detroit Beer Co. brings beer-making back to the Motor City

In a town known universe-wide for making cars, music and not-very-good football teams, it’s easy to forget that Detroit was once fairly reputable for manufacturing another of life’s comforts: beer.

The city’s beer-making stature went flat when the Stroh Brewery closed up shop in 1999, so it’s refreshing to learn that in the heart of Detroit’s downtown, just a few blocks from its re-energized entertainment district, taps are once again spewing Detroit-made pilsners, lagers and ales.

The Detroit Beer Co. – the cool bar/restaurant with the factory-type name - never intended to crank out the golden goodness in Stroh-like quantities. What it does, though, is treat customers to a menu of unique, homemade flavors while helping fuel the city’s push to re-establish downtown as a place that’s still worth visiting. Opening in 2003, the DBC is precisely the type of business venture that city officials had in mind when Comerica Park and Ford Field were built nearby a few years earlier. You don’t need to look far to find similar reminders of that effort, such as Small Plates next door.

Even with the stadiums nearby, Greektown Casino an equally short walk, and the Detroit Opera House across the street, the DBC has been quick to build a reputation as a destination in itself. The two-story microbrewery, fashioned into the recently restored Hartz Building where clothing was once sold, is one of the city’s hippest hangouts, whether you’re looking to sample some of the award-winning succulence created by brewmaster Kevin Rodger, feast on something from their full menu of lunch and dinner offerings (you’ve gotta try the battered cod), or just get an earful of conversation from a bartender who’s well-versed in everything from Detroit politics to Detroit sports.

The food and atmosphere are great, but it’s the beer that shapes the Detroit Beer Co.'s identity. Go ahead, order a Miller Lite. Or a Heineken. You won’t find one at the DBC, which only serves Detroit-original flavors, each named to pay homage to the hometown. From the amber Detroit Dwarf to the chocolaty People Mover Porter, the Detroit Beer Co. knows where it lives. There’s even a Broadway Light, for folks who aren’t so adventurous with their beverage intake.

Dark or light, red or brown, the Detroit Beer Co. has its own version, and every drop of it is made right here at home. These days for Detroiters, that alone is worth toasting.

For more info: Visit the Detroit Beer Co. at 1529 Broadway, or check them out online at The DBC is open until midnight Sunday through Thursday, and until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.