Work took me to Detroit over Memorial Day Weekend, and I got a chance to hit some of the fine craft breweries in the Corktown and Midtown neighborhoods. I was put up in a hotel downtown, and these were all within walking distance, and an easy Uber back too!
441 W Canfield St. #9, Detroit, MI 48201
These two breweries are sort of to Michigan what The Lost Abbey & Port Brewing are to San Diego. Both brewed at the same production facilities in the central Michigan town of Dexter, they also share tasting rooms in upstate Michigan’s Traverse City, and this newly opened tasting room in Midtown Detroit. Jolly Pumpkin is a Belgian / European-centric brand with amazing Sour Ales, Saisons, and other artisan styles, and North Peak is a more aggressive modern American Ale type brewery with a line-up of IPAs, Stouts, and Porters.
My favorites from their taps were the Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire – a light bodied Dark Farmhouse Ale with some great tart fruit notes to it, and the North Peak Vicious American Wheat IPA, a really citrusy and spicy take on a Wheat IPA, and pleasing to my San Diegan palate.
Also served on site are craft pizzas, and the North Peak sister brand Civilized Spirits.
*Warning: they make look at you side-eyed if you ask for flights. Go big, it’s well worth it.
1400 Porter St. Detroit, MI 48216
This newly opened nano brewery is located in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit, and has a similar neighborhood vibe to San Diego’s North Park. I spoke with founder and brewer Stephen Roginson and he described the brewery as “built by Detroit for Detroit.” They were crowd-funded, won a local small-business incubator contest, had help building out from lots of local home brewers and friends, used lots of salvaged wood and material from local buildings, and now have a fun brew house with a tasting bar and restaurant too. Stephen was walking the bar all night, talking all things beer and having a great time entertaining the busy Friday night crowd. I tried about 3/4 of their line-up, and was very impressed by the tart and refreshing Nuestros Vecinos Tamarind Wheat beer, the Parade Wave Belgian Pale Ale, and the Better Together which was an interesting mash-up described as “Scotch Ale + Imperial Stout?”
These guys don’t only do good beer, they do good for the neighborhood too. Lots of the additive ingredients they brew with are sourced from local markets and farms, and they also do a monthly rotating “Feelgood Tap” which donates $2 from every pint served to a local nonprofit. Batch Brewing is a fun place to visit, put them on your to-do list when visiting Detroit.
470 West Canfield St. Detroit, Michigan 48201
Out of the three brewery stops on my adventure, this is the only one that was there when I visited Detroit last year. As such, I didn’t spend a lot of time here on this trip, but I did pop in for a beer since it’s directly across the street from Jolly Pumpkin / North Peak. Brewing strong since 1994, they have a solid line-up of ales, plus a lager and cider on tap. The IPA I drank was a tasty East Coast style brew, heavier on the malt profile and sweetness than a West Coast IPA. The locals rave about their English mild dubbed Ghettoblaster, which is billed as “the ‘Beer You Can Hear’ – an on-going documentation of the Detroit music scene.”
Although I was limited on time during this trip and didn’t have a car, I got to some great spots and met a lot of knowledgeable brewers and drinkers too. I was told of dozens of other great breweries and brewpubs in the greater Detroit area, and I look forward to getting back there soon to report back on them. This map shows that there are a lot more to check out!