Microbrews

258. Axle Brewing Company – July 7, 2017 – Ferndale, MI

20170707_203746 (2)Hi guys – TGIF! I’m really excited about the place I’m highlighting today, Axle Brewing Company. I LOVED this brewery when I visited it back in early July and NEED to go back – it’s a revisit-category establishment, for sure!

Axle Brewing opened in early June and is located in Ferndale north of Eight Mile; it’s close to the Detroit border and the Avenue of Fashion neighborhood (an area I visited for the first time last weekend and am excited to explore more of). The brewery is a beautiful facility, sleek and modern looking, with white-tiled walls, a brick-paver patio with a fire pit, and plenty of communal seating. The wait for a table was long when we got there on a Friday evening; we put our name in but ended up getting seats at the bar because it was first-come, first-serve there. We weren’t called for a table until we were halfway through our food, but we didn’t care at all because sitting at the bar was fun, and the food at Axle was IN-F’IN-SANE!

Truly, the eats were phenomenal, like engaging-a-food-orgy-your-mouth-phenomenal. The lamb burger I got with an onion marmalade, arugula, cheese, and a pesto mayo was juicy and tender and flavorful and about 100 more delightful adjectives. The Twice-Fried Frites with spicy dipping aioli were beyond addictive. The Dill Pickle Cheese Curds dunked in the accompanying ale-infused barbecue sauce . . . seriously! This is NEXT-LEVEL food here!

Probably there is nothing better to my Type-A, go-go-go personality than turning off my brain for a while and enjoying the company of loved ones and libations while I consume the most delicious, flavorful, saturated-fat-laden food ever, so eating this meal at Axle Brewing with friends while sipping on the well-crafted Noble Ghost Grindgeist blonde beer with its fruity undertones was complete heaven.

Worth noting: Axle Brewing is closed on Mondays; it opens at 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and at 11 on Saturdays and Sundays (and there’s a brunch menu!).

567 Livernois St.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.axlebrewing.com

257. Urbanrest Brewing Company – July 7, 2017 – Ferndale, MI

20170707_190418 (2)20170707_190413 (3)Nestled in a residential-ish area about a half-mile north of downtown Ferndale is Urbanrest Brewing Company, a brewery that opened a few months ago. I visited it only about a week after it opened to sip some TGIF- themed brews with a few friends.

Housed in what looks to be a former industrial building, the interior of Urbanrest emanates those chill, industrial-chic vibes that so many recently-opened Detroit-area restaurants have got going on (Phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes-brandishing-reclaimed-wood-and-exposed-ductwork is kind of our thing around here. I dig it.). It’s welcoming and homey, with flowers in glass-bottle vases on the tables, a cluster of comfy chairs here, a pool table there. And board games! Board games and beer are pretty much a match made in heaven, in my opinion.

During my visit, I tried a sampler of the pale ale, porter, and saison that were on the menu at the time; all of them were delicious. I’m obviously sorely lacking on details as to how they tasted (this visit being two months ago and my knowledge of beer being rudimentary). But I can confidently share that the place garnered my beer connoisseur friend’s seal of approval – and she knows her stuffs.

I need to go back to Urbanrest and try some of its kombucha. I’m no kombucha expert, either (I’ve drank it once in my life), but the Jasmine Jun Kombucha, described on the menu on Urbanrest’s website as “Jasmine green tea fermented with local wildflower honey,” sounds phenomenal. And at only .5% alcohol by volume, it’s a great choice if you’re looking to keep it sober-ish, because you’d have to drink like a dozen of those to match the alcohol content in one of Urbanrest’s beers (helpful tidbit to know, right?).

Urbanrest doesn’t have a full food menu, but it offers some charcuterie boards, and its website says that food trucks regularly come through, and who doesn’t love the whimsy of ordering from a food truck?

Worth noting: the Urbanrest taproom is only open Thursdays through Sundays (check its website for hours).

2615 Wolcott Ave.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.urbanrest.com

141. Brew Detroit – September 26, 2015 – Detroit, MI

Brew Detroit Beer

Photo courtesy of J. Otto

I loved Brew Detroit! The tasting room is a cavernous space with an industrial vibe – spare bulb lighting and furniture made out of packing crates. It was slow the Saturday afternoon we were there; there were just a few of us huddled around the center bar area. The bartender was very cool; he explained to us that while the tasting room is relatively new, Brew Detroit is actually the third largest brewer in Michigan. In addition to brewing its own small-batch creations served in its tasting room, other businesses contract it to make some of their recipes (Atwater Brewery and Kid Rock’s Badass Beer are two of its notable clients).

Brew Detroit chalkboard

One interesting fact about Brew Detroit’s beers; not only are they brewed in small batches, but if I understood correctly, none of the beers served there are ever made again beyond the first batch (about five kegs’ worth, the bartender told us) that is created. That makes for a lot of variety! The bummer: if you like a beer, you’re not likely to see it the next time you’re back, so grab a growler and take that sucker home! The above photo is of the chalkboard above the bar showing the beers on tap during my visit.. I tried a pint each of Experimental Batch #2 (a saison flavored with lavender and chamomile) and Tootsie (a blonde infused with vanilla beans and cacao nibs – phenomenal!).

1401 Abbott St.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.brewdetroit.com