Is Detroit A “Domestic Beer Town?” Comerica Park’s Beverage Boss Thinks So

photo courtesy tigers.com

We get where the Associated Press was trying to go with a story titled, “World Series beer battle: Suds taps give insight into Tigers, Giants fans.” They wanted to highlight how different San Francisco Giants fans and Detroit Tigers fans are by talking about what beer they drink at the ballpark.

Your typical Giants fan? They’re eccentric and hip and they drink craft beer like it’s their job.

“In a trendy, gourmet food-and-drink obsessed place such as San Francisco, a generic “cold beer” at AT&T Park often doesn’t cut the mustard as a companion to the stadium’s pungent garlic fries or a Caribbean-style concoction called the Cha-Cha Bowl. Revelers can choose between 56 different beers inside the waterfront ballpark.”

A typical Tigers fan, however, is portrayed as a guy named “Mack” who wears ill-fitting flannel shirts and ripped jeans – but not because they’re cool – but because they’re old.

“At Detroit’s Comerica Park, where only a couple of locally made beers are on tap, die-hard Motor City fans are just fine with the unpretentious, established American beer brands.

Detroit is a “blue-collar, domestic beer town” said Bob Thormeier, who oversees food and drink services at the Tigers ballpark.”

We, and we’re sure the (hundreds of?) thousands of craft beer drinkers and Tigers fans in metro Detroit, and most definitely the craft breweries that are within a 20 minute drive of Comerica Park take exception to that.

Now we’re not going to argue that San Francisco isn’t a really trendy city with great craft beer, because it is. But we don’t think of Detroit as a hard hat, lunch bucket town anymore, see Beverly Hills Cop.

So, Mr Thormeier, since you are in charge of food and drink at Comerica we have a few suggestions for you next baseball season.

First and foremost, you can probably ditch the phrase “domestic beer” because the domestic beer you’re likely referring to isn’t exactly domestic anymore. The parent companies for the likes of Budweiser, Miller and Coors aren’t located in the United States anymore so it’s a stretch to call those beers “domestic.”

But they’re brewed in the U-S aren’t they? Yes, yes they are. But to invoke that argument you then must also acknowledge that so is Beck’s, a pilsner that had long been brewed in Bremen, Germany.

Implying that the blue-collar worker only drinks Bud or Miller products – as you would define a “domestic beer” – is outdated thinking and, frankly, pretty stereotypical.

Secondly, Mr. Thormeier, there is some really great beer brewed right in your backyard – locally brewed by people who live and work in Michigan. In fact, metro Detroit breweries have brought home 24 medals from the Great American Beer Festival since 1989.

Drive 20 minutes to the North or West and you’ll run into the likes of Kuhnhenn, Dragonmead, Royal Oak Brewery, Bastone Brewery and countless others. Hell, you’re practically a Miguel Cabrera home run away from Detroit Beer Company and Atwater Brewery (According to the article, the latter is served at Comerica as is Bell’s).

Venture out into other parts of the state and you’ll find other great breweries like the aforementioned Bell’s, Dark Horse, Founders and so many others..

But here’s what we find most interesting, Mr Thormeier, you had this to say about purchasing locally made sausages and hot dog buns.

“And it’s very important with the way the economy has been around Michigan and around Detroit to try and keep things local and try and boost the local companies as best we can,” said Thormeier.”

So you’ll support the local sausage maker and bun maker but you limit your support of the local brewer to a mere 10 vendors out of 130?

You’re probably wondering why some guys in Chicago are taking a stand for Detroit. Truth be told, Mr Thormeier, we like Detroit. We think Detroit is making a comeback. Please don’t slow down that progress by limiting your support of local businesses and by pinning an outdated stereotype on the city. Drinking a craft beer doesn’t make you any less blue-collar.

From The Cellar: Dragonmead Armageddon Grand Cru 2009

Dragonmead says:

“Grand Crus are traditionally known as ‘The best beer that a brewery makes.’ This Belgian-style quad lives up to that name and then some. Available once a year, in May to celebrate our Anniversary.”

Dragonmead Armageddon Grand Cru
Quad, 11% ABV

Sayeth the Guys:

Ryan: I kind of handled the cellaring of this beer backwards. Much like what you read in my review of New Holland’s Pilgrim’s Dole, I bought a bottle of this and threw it in the cellar without ever trying it first. The only difference between that experience and this one is, a year later I found a fresh bottle of the Armageddon so I snagged it and gave it a try. It gave me a very nice comparison and, frankly, I was wowed when I cracked open the 18 month old bottle in November.

The fresh bottle of the Armageddon was water thin with cloying flavors of pears, cloves and cherries. If you like your beers puckering and sweet, than a fresh off the shelf bottle is the one for you. But if you prefer your Quad with a heavier body and a restrained sweetness than give it some time in the cellar.

18 months did this beer a lot of good. Instead of pouring out a watery mess, the cellared bottle poured a thick, cloudy dull orange in color. An aggressive pour unleashed tons of sediment, I’m guessing yeast from the bottle conditioning, spilling out of the bottle and in to my glass. In fact, you can see the dark colored floaties in the picture below.

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Review: Dragonmead Final Absolution Trippel

Dragonmead says

“The very high gravity of this beer is balanced by the smoothness of its finish. Banana and Clove aromas come from the Belgian yeast strain combining with the generous dose of Belgian Candi Sugar. The Saaz hops help to give this beer a balanced bitterness with no noticeable hop aroma.”

Dragonmead Final Absolution Trippel
Tripel, 8.5% ABV

Sayeth the Guys

Ryan: This Belgian style Tripel – the flagship beer of Dragonmead – was poured from the taps of Dusty’s Tap Room in Okemos, MI and enjoyed on their patio on a sunny afternoon in early June.

The beer pours a lovely creamsicle orange in color with a finger or two’s worth of white, marshmallowy head. Banana and spices fill the nose. Continue reading