Atwater Brewery Michelada

Maker: Atwater/McClure’s, Detroit, Michigan, USAwpid-2015-11-02-11.58.52.jpg.jpeg

Style: Lager with Bloody Mary mix.

ABV: 5.2%

Price: $7.50/4 Pint cans (Holiday Market)

Appearance: Moderately foamy, soapy looking head. Hazy orange.

Nose: Sweet and malty. Tomato, tabasco sauce, celery salt.

Palate: Full bodied and mildly effervescent. Spicy, sweet, tomato juice, pickle juice, pickled jalapenos, salt.

Finish: Sweet, then briny.

Parting words: A Michelada is a beer cocktail. It’s served all over Mexico in different local styles, but it usually includes tomato juice, lime juice and often Worcestershire Sauce, hot sauce and/or soy sauce. In the US it often takes the form of a Bloody Mary made with beer, which isn’t really too far off after all.

This is a joint project from Atwater Brewery and McClure’s pickle factory. After consolidating their operations in Detroit, they branched out to other non-pickle products. They have three varieties of pickle-flavored potato chips, they sell jars of their brine and they also have a Bloody Mary mix. The Bloody Mary mix has lots of fans, but I am not really one of them. There is way too much pickle juice in the mix, rendering it undrinkable (to me anyway) except when cut with V8.

The can describes this products as “the world’s first craft Michelada”. It also recommends that it be served in a salt-rimmed glass or sipped right out of the can. I drank three out of the four cans in a standard 12 oz glass. It did just fine that way. I tried the fourth one in a salt-rimmed glass. It tasted ok, but I’m not sure if the salt added anything.

I usually don’t purchase premade cocktails, but this one intrigued me and got a recommendation from a friend so I picked it up. I was not disappointed. The beer cuts the briny mix perfectly. It pairs nicely with greasy brunch food and Mexican food. The price is fair, and the cans are really cool looking. Atwater’s Michelada is recommended.

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Blueberry Cobbler Ale

Maker: Atwater, Detroit, Michigan, USAwpid-2015-08-31-20.11.02.jpg.jpeg

Style: (Dark) Ale brewed with blueberries.

ABV: 6.9%

Appearance: Dark brown, like cola with a bluish tinge.

Nose: Burnt blueberry pie, asphalt, alcohol.

Palate: Dark roasted malt, cooked blueberries.

Finish: Pleasant. Bittersweet stout and blueberry pie.

Parting words: I’ve been reviewing Atwater’s beers for years and they haven’t once made any sort of contact with me on social media or anywhere else. Not even a like or a favorite. That’s a little annoying but I don’t hold it against them. Some companies are good at social media and some aren’t. My annoyance in no way negatively influenced my review, but didn’t help either.

This beer is OK, but the nose is really weird. It’s called blueberry cobbler, but it tastes much more like blueberry pie than cobbler. There’s no biscuity-topping flavors. It’s just all cooked fruit. Heck, even the guy in the Atwater logo is carrying a lattice top pie, not a cobbler. Yes, it’s a minor quibble but it points to the confused state of this beer. There’s some blueberry in there but there’s not enough to make it actually taste like blueberries. I get that they were going for a baked blueberry thing here, but the toasty malt just makes it taste like the burnt drips that stick to the bottom of the oven after the pie is done.

I like, nay, love most of Atwater’s beers but this is a failure. Blueberry Cobbler is not recommended.

Grand Circus IPA

Make: Atwater, Detroit, Michigan, USAwpid-20150622_193214.jpg

Style: Session IPA

ABV: 4.5%

Appearance: Dark copper with a big sudsy head.

Nose: Very sweet malt, citric hops

Palate: Medium bodied. Hops, balanced by malty sweetness. Hops are present but not overwhelming. Bitterness on the back end.

Finish: Bitterness intensifies and lingers.

This is a part of Atwater’s series of beers named for places around Detroit. The name may sound strange but any clowns one may encounter in Grand Circus Park are purely coincidental. Grand Circus is a semi-circular park in Downtown Detroit that was created as a part of a planned (then abandoned) city-wide network of hub and spoke style roads. In 1865 George Armstrong Custer delivered a eulogy for Abraham Lincoln there and now the park is home to the Russell Alger Fountain, which was designed by Henry Bacon with the statue sculpted by Daniel French, who both did the same for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The park is adjacent to many of downtown’s most important buildings including the David Whitney Building, David Broderick Tower, Central United Methodist Church, The Detroit Opera House and Comerica Park.

Grand Circus the beer is billed as a session beer and it fits that bill. It’s a porch sippin’, food accompanyin’ beer. I got a pack of twelve cans of this for a party so that there would be something hoppy there that everybody could enjoy. It was moderately popular. If you’re a hop head, this probably won’t satisfy your lust, but I liked it, even more since it’s available in cans. Grand Circus IPA is recommended.

Atwater Summer Time Ale

Maker: Atwater, Detroit, Michigan, USAwpid-20140804_170659.jpg

Style: Wheat ale brewed with lemon peel & grains of paradise.

ABV: 5%

Purchased for $9/6 pack

Appearance: Dark copper with a light foamy head. Slighly cloudy.

Nose: Malt, mandarin orange, peach.

Palate: Medium bodied and effervescent. Lightly roasted malt, hint of yeast, balanced by some acidity.

Finish: Fruit then a bit hit of bitterness. Lingers for a long time with a bit of stickiness on the lips.

Parting words: This Atwater’s take on the summer wheat ales that Michigan brewers have made popular (we can all name at least one).

This one is different than its cousins, though, because of its bitterness and much more subtle fruit flavors. If I hadn’t read the label, I would never have known that lemon peel was used in the brewing of this beer. That’s not a knock, though. Some of these types of beers can be too fruity and ham-fisted in their use of fruit and spice. If anything this is a little too far on the other side of the spectrum. There’s a little too much bitterness and richness for a summer ale. Seems more fitting for fall.

Still, it’s enjoyable and the price is typical for microbrews. Atwater’s Summer Time Ale is recommended.

Traverse City Cherry Wheat

Maker: Atwater, Detroit, Michigan, USAAtwater Traverse City Cherry

Style: Wheat beer with brewed with cherry.

ABV: 6%

Appearance: Light auburn with a short-lived, foamy head.

Nose: Malt, sourness, fruit.

Palate: Medium bodied. Slightly sour with sweet malt and a splash of tart cherry juice.

Finish: Cherry flavor, some malt and a little hoppy bitterness.

Parting words: Not to be confused with Atwater’s Cherry Stout. This beer is also included in Atwater’s summer party twelve pack. It’s an easy drinking, lightly fruity and sour wheat beer. Nothing earth- shattering but tasty on a hot and sticky summer evening. Traverse City Cherry Wheat is recommended.

Vanilla Java Porter

Maker: Atwater, Detroit, Michigan, USAVJ Porter

Style: Porter with coffee and vanilla extracts added.

ABV: 6%

Appearance: Very dark brown, like coffee. Moderate head.

Nose: Vanilla syrup, coffee.

Palate: Medium bodied, semi-sweet and effervescent. Gas station vanilla “cappuccino”, a little bitterness and slightly sour.

Finish: Coffee and hint of fruit. Lingers for a while.

Parting words: This beer delivers on its promise. I taste vanilla, I taste coffee, I taste porter. I expected something a bit more intense than this, but I can’t complain that it tastes exactly how it is described on the label. It could have used more bitterness and a fuller mouth feel but it’s fine as a change of pace. Vanilla Java Porter doesn’t pair very well with food. It’s best as an after meal dessert pour. Vanilla Java Porter is mildly recommended.

Au revoir et bon jour!!

In lieu of a whiskey review this Friday night, I offer up to you a review of a Michigan micro-brew sold only at my local Meijer store. Cheers!

bonneamieknits

Detroit was home to the longest running state fair in the United States. The state fair grounds are located just a few blocks from my house. When the boys were little, we always walked to the fair and trudged home at night, exhausted. But alas, a series of economic downturns in the last 10 years left all government budgets pared to the bone. The Michigan State Fair was a casualty. So the grounds sat empty for several years, many plans have been (and continue to be–it’s a large parcel) floated for land use. One that got a lot of attention was for auto racing. Why not, in Motown? I’ll tell you why not. It’s extremely noisy for what is otherwise a stable, quiet residential area. Thankfully, that idea went bye-bye.

The northern-most section of land is now developed. It is a new strip mall with a great big, beautiful Meijer…

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Atwater Winterbock

Maker: Atwater Brewery, Detroit, Michigan, USAATWATER_WINTER_BOTTLE

Style: High gravity bock.

ABV: 7.5%

Appearance: Chestnut with a short-lived foamy head.

Nose: Malt, prunes, dark toast.

On the palate: Medium bodied. Bitter with just a bit of sweetness and malt. Like the burnt drippings of off a mixed berry pie.

Finish: Fruitier, but fades into warm toastiness.

Parting words: Bock is one of my favorite styles of beer. This is a decent example and a decent beer. Still, I would have appreciated a little less bitterness, a little more sweetness and a lower price. Atwater Winterbock is mildly recommended.

Double Down

Maker: Atwater Block, Detroit, Michigan, USAatwater-block-double-down-imperial-amber-ale

Style: Imperial Amber Ale

ABV: 7.5%

Appearance: Cloudy burnt orange with an insanely foamy head that took the better part of a half hour to go down enough to be drinkable. Don’t believe me? The picture below is the beer fifteen minutes after being poured into a frosty mug. Still hadn’t poured the whole bottle in. Open and pour over a sink

IMG_20121104_185828Nose: Malty and fruity. Strawberry licorice candy, mango, papaya.

On the palate: Medium bodied. Nice interchange of fruity, malty and bitter.

Finish: Like most of my ex-girlfriends: pleasantly thick and sweet, with a hint of bitterness.

Parting words: Aside from the weird head behavior, this is a very nice beer. In spite of its imperialness it is food friendly and easy to drink. It comes in four packs for $9-$10, but considering the high alcohol content, it’s not that big of a deal. This one might even respond well to bottle aging of a few months. A nice pour. Double Down Imperial Amber Ale is recommended.

Dirty Blonde

Maker: Atwater Block, Detroit, Michigan, USA

Style: Spiced Blonde Ale

ABV: 4.5%

Appearance: Not surprisingly, dirty blonde.

On the palate: full-bodied, a little bitterness but a lot of sweet, fruity, a very subtle hint of spice.

Parting Words: A serviceable, summertime ale, but not much to write home about. Not a bad buy but not a very interesting one. Mildy recommended, especially if on tap. It always seems to taste better from the tap at Grand Trunk Pub.