Tag Archives: beer

Beverage World’s Craft Brewer Champion Oskar Blues makes its awaited Michigan debut

Beverage World Cover - Oskar Blues

Orion, Mich. – Craft beer consumers in Michigan finally have their hands on the blues – Beverage World’s inaugural Craft Brewer of the Year Oskar Blues.

For the past decade, Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery has been brewing craft beer-in-a-can and attracting a following with its trend-setting concept. According to Chad Melis, marketing director for the brewery, 2012 marked the first year the brewery could consider expanding to other markets. With 52 percent growth in the market, Oskar Blues’ established its new Brevard, NC brewery to supplement distribution from the Colorado brewery.

“Michigan offers a craft beer community filled with loyal beer lovers,” said Melis. “It’s also a state that embraces a variety of hoppy beer styles, which means our selections will fit right in.” Dale’s Pale Ale, Deviant IPA, G’Knight Imperial Red IPA and the new seasonal GUBNA Imperial IPA all represent that hop-forward flavor profile embraced by beer fans across the Mitten state.

What’s more, Oskar Blues is known for its attention to quality. By canning the beer, the product itself is protected from sunlight and exposure to oxygen.

“In a can, our beer also offers great portability,” said Melis, “which is ideal for Michiganders who enjoy the variety of year-round outdoor activities, such as spending a lot of time by the Great Lakes.”

Oskar Blues hit the shelves in early March and brewers didn’t hold back. The full line of craft beers are currently available throughout southeast Michigan, and through Powers Distributing in Oakland and Macomb counties. “We felt that Michigan had such strong support of craft beer, our full line-up would be embraced,” said Nick Lensing, Oskar Blues regional sales manager.

And it has. According to Powers Distributing Chief Operating Officer Gary Thompson, one Sterling Heights location that carries the brand welcomed Oskar Blues with a line-up of patrons waiting for the shelved to be stocked on the first day. “This is a great group to work with and we can’t wait for everyone to taste the product,” said Thompson.

Lensing said: “We have always focused on brewing better beer, not more beer. That’s amazing news that people were waiting for our beer to hit the shelves in Michigan. We see it as a proud craft beer market.”

On the heels of Oskar Blues’ Craft Brewer of the Year award, the introduction to Michigan beer fans couldn’t come at a better time. The brewery actually started the craft-in-a-can trend 10 years ago. “When Oskar Blues was established we were the only craft beer brewery canning beer,” said Melis. “Today there are 256 breweries canning beer.” It’s an honor, he said, that the brewery shares with its distributors.

What does this mean to Powers, as a local distributor? It’s an opportunity to introduce a fresh craft brewery into a market that embraces craft styles.

Thompson’s hope is to increase beer distribution by more than 40,000 cases of beer with the addition of Oskar Blues.

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Oskar Blues - Logo

About Oskar Blues Brewery

Founded by Dale Katechis in 1997 as a brewpub and grill, Oskar Blues Brewery launched its craft-brewed beer canning operations in 2002 in Lyons, Colo. Becoming the first American craft brewery to brew and can their beer. Today there are more than 200 craft breweries canning their beers. The original crew used a hand-canning line on a tabletop machine that sealed one can at a time. Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont packaged 59,000 in 2011 and grew to 85,750 in 2012 while opening an additional brewery in Brevard, NC late in 2012. Oskar Blues brought its beers to Michigan in 2013.

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Shakeup at Bastone in Royal Oak

Bastone-Brewery-logo

By Jeffrey Buck

Bastone has always been known for their craft beer but they will be taking it to new heights this spring as they revamp their cluster of restaurants. Two city favorites, Commune Lounge and Café Habana will be closing their doors to make way for new comers Monk, a Belgian Beer Abbey, and Craft. Bastone Brewery will also be expanding to two levels.

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Monk will occupy the space formerly home to Café Habana for the past nine years. But don’t be to sad though as Union Brewery, LLC, the owners who have invested $300,000 to make the new spaces possible, have future plans for a new, bigger space elsewhere in Royal Oak for Café Habana.

“It wasn’t without hesitation that we closed Café Habana,” said David Ritchie, operating partner, Union Brewery, LLC. “Café Habana has always had very solid sales, but we decided to move forward with our plan to strengthen the Belgian theme that Bastone Brewery was built on.”

An expanded kitchen, new doorways, a new sit-down counter and flat screen TV’s will revamp the new space for Monk. The layout will feel similar but will feature new banquettes and tables flanked with lantern style lighting and wood reaching 10 feet high along its walls. Patrons will notice the largest change come nicer weather as Monk will feature a new outdoor patio along Fifth Street with 36 new seats.

The dinner only establishment will open at 4 p.m. daily. The beer list will include Bastone’s craft beers along with an extensive selection of bottled Belgian beer and french wines. The menu will focus on chef-created burgers, mussels, frites, and waffle sandwiches.

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The lower level of the building, formerly Commune Lounge, will be a step back in time as it captures the look and feel of the 1970s. The new concept, Craft, will create a space with inspiration from vintage record players, bicycles, Edison bulbs, wood panels and will feature a wall of old speakers behind the bar. A new stage will offer live music on Wednesday and Thursdays. Both Friday and Saturday nights will continue to welcome a DJ.

“We want it to embody the craft of musicians as well as the craft of beer, spirits and unique cocktails,” said David Ritchie.

Bastone beer will still flow from the taps along with an array of other craft beer cocktails, craft spirits and absinthe.

The expansion of Bastone will see six tables added to the main floor and a second level that will overlook the bar and have a capacity of 20. Vinoteeca Wine Bar will not see any changes except to its menu which will be new sometime this year.

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Royal Oak Restaurant Week returns for its third year

March 1 – 10, 2013

By Jeffrey Buck

Tomorrow is the start of Royal Oak’s Restaurant Week featuring several of its well known food and drink landmarks. The 10-day long celebration kicks off its third year with an expanded list of 25 Royal Oak establishments representing all kinds of styles. This years group will be offering three-course dinner menus with tier-level pricing; $15, $25 and $35 per guest (excluding tax and gratuity). A select number of participating restaurants will also be offering a lunch option as well. This years group includes:

  • 526 Main
  • Andiamo
  • Bastone
  • Blackfinn American Saloon
  • Café Habana
  • Cafe Muse
  • Cantina Diablos
  • D’Amatos Restaurant
  • Fifth Avenue
  • Gemmayze Lebanese
  • Lily’s Seafood Grill & Brewery
  • Lockhart’s BBQ
  • Oak City Grille
  • O’Tooles
  • Oxford Inn
  • Pizzeria Biga
  • Pronto!
  • The Rock on 3rd
  • The Royal Oak Brewery
  • Star Lanes Restaurant & Sports Bar at Emagine Royal Oak
  • Tom’s Oyster Bar
  • Town Tavern
  • Vinotecca
  • Woody’s Diner
  • Zumba

For more information on the week as a whole or any of the participating restaurants, visit royaloakrestaurantweek.com. A map of the locations of participating restaurants can be found by clicking here. Reservations are not required but highly recommended.

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Labor Day Weekend Fun

By Jeffrey Buck

Looking for something fun to do this Labor Day Weekend? Look no further, here is a handful of ideas to get you outside and enjoying the long weekend! Leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions for readers looking for some fun.

  1. Detroit Jazz Festival– Several downtown Detroit blocks will be taken over this weekend for the 33rd annual Detroit Jazz Festival. 100 acts will perform on five stages over the four day jam session. Music is not the only thing visitors will enjoy with offerings such as educational activities for both children & adults and fireworks.
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    Dates: Friday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 3. Hours: Fri. 4-11 p.m. | Sat. & Sun. 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. | Mon. Noon to 8:30 p.m. Admission: FREE
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  2. Ford Arts, Beats & Eats – Downtown Royal Oak will once again be rocking as Ford Arts, Beats & Eats celebrates its 15th year. Visitors this year have choices to make as more than 200 artists perform on ten stages and several local restaurants dish out some fantastic cuisine. Oh and don’t forget to stoll around and taken in all of the art!
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    Dates: Friday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 3. Hours: Fri. to Sun. 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. | Mon. 11:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission: Fri: Free until 5 p.m., $5 after | Sat. to Mon. $3 until 5 p.m., $5 after
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  3. Tigers Home Stand – In what could be one of the most important series of the entire season, the division leading Chicago White Sox travel to Comerica Park this weekend to take on the Detroit Tigers. Sunday’s day game time was recently changed to 8:06 p.m. because it was selected as ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball game.
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    Dates & Times: Friday, August 31 @ 7:05 p.m. | Saturday, Sept 1 @ 7:05 p.m. | Sunday, Sept. 2 @ 8:06 p.m. Admission: Varies, visit tigers.com
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  4. Michigan Renaissance Festival – It’s that time of the year again! You can go as you are or you can dress up in your best Renaissance outfit. Throw tomatoes, watch full contact jousting or bite into a big juicy turkey leg. There are games, food and music for all ages!
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    Dates: Open Weekends & Labor Day, Plus Friday Sept. 14 Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. | Rain or shine Admission: Varies, Adults: $20.95 | Child: $11.95
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  5. Great Lakes State Fair -The Suburban Collection Showplace plays host to a tradition that’s been absent from the state. Moving north and taking on a different name Michigan agriculture will be the center of attention once again at this weekends Great Lakes State Fair. There will be Michigan made products on display, livestock & agriculture areas, beer gardens and much more.
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    Dates: Friday, August, 31 through Monday, September 3. Hours: Varies, Fri. – Sun. 8 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.| Mon. 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: Varies, Adults $6-$25 | Children $5-$20
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Mario Batali dishes on Pure Michigan

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By Jeffrey Buck

World-famous chef Mario Batali is a part-time Michigander and loves to cook with ingredients and produce grown in our great state. He shared his tips and recipes with Pure Michigan this year and gave a list of his top must-see destinations in the state this summer. Take advantage of his vast knowledge this Labor Day with one of his three recommendations!

  1. Piadina with Michigan Cherries, Bologna & Raclette – A piadina is a type of traditional flatbread found in Italy that is stuffed with every conceivable filling. The dough is easy to make and once lightly grilled is layered with raclette, bologna and topped with fresh Pure Michigan cherries. Quick and delicious!
  2. Michigan Walleye in Prosciutto with Pesto Fregola – So delicious, with crisp, salty, porky prosciutto enveloping the fresh Michigan Walleye. Refrigerating the fish before cooking it helps make its “shirt” of prosciutto adhere. Nutty, flavorful fregola tossed with pesto adds another dimension to this flavorful Walleye recipe.
  3. Beef Braciole “Pinwheel-style” – All the lusty flavors of braciole wrapped up in a butterflied tenderloin with Italian Caciocavallo, Bella Fortuna Restaurant’s sliced Artisanal salami and Michigan dried cherries–the results are spectacular. This dish is so good it’s sure to become a family-favorite recipe.

And be sure to visit Mario’s must-see destinations in northern Michigan!

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After Hours Summer Zoomance

Detroit Zoo

By Jeffrey Buck

Those of you 21-and-older who missed the first Summer Zoomance shouldn’t be upset. You have a second chance! The Detroit Zoo’s second Summer Zoomance is scheduled for Thursday, August 23rd from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., rain or shine.

Guests will enjoy a twilight stroll of their favorite award-winning animal habitats while enjoying food and adult beverages, which can be purchased at Zoo concessions. The event will feature free tram tours, music from the Sun Messsengers, animal enrichment and zookeeper talks. Admission for all guests is $10 in advance and $12 at the gate. As always, Detroit Zoological members will be offered free parking. Parking for non-members will be $5. Tickets can be purchased online in advance at www.detroitzoo.org.

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Royal Oak’s Bastone Brewery dishes out Pasta and a Pint

By Mike Fossano

Bastone Brewery has added a new set of menu items for patrons to enjoy during the winter months. From now until February 23, the restaurant will feature several new comfort food entrees and craft brew selections for their new promotion, Pasta and a Pint.

Over the next month you’ll have the chance to experience the flavors of comfort food classics as only Bastone can create, and to top it all off, your first pint of beer will be free during the length of the promotion.

Patrons will be able to choose from several homemade pasta selections, including cajun chicken pasta, pesto shrimp pasta, vegetable cannelloni, hunter steak pasta and chipotle seafood pasta. Continue reading

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