Lapeer Area Brewers made a road trip on Sunday to the Southwestern Detroit suburbs of Taylor and Lincoln Park. We visited Adventures in Homebrewing, where we bought several corny kegs and assorted other homebrewing products and Fort Street Brewery, where we sampled some great beers and fine food.
Adventures in Homebrewing has a great deal on Cornelius kegs. They sell used, pressurized, five gallon ball-lock kegs in decent shape for $17.99 apiece. That is about four or five dollars cheaper than the prices elsewhere. They also have a great selection of all the little items homebrewers need in their hobby and a whole bunch of the items we are all wishing for! Their prices for equipment were generally very good. Their prices for yeast and grain were beatable, however. Still, the overall experience was pretty darn good, as you can see from the shot of the club members leaving with their swag.
Fort Street Brewery was a great experience. Brewer Doug Beedy was present and as hospitable as any brewer I've ever met. He took the crew on a tour of the brewery and answered all questions with ease. We learned a lot about the brewery and it's short history, as well as the beer served there. We even got a chance to sample the newest of the Twelve Beers of Christmas, the 8th beer, "Hearth Ale". Doug described it as being brewed with eight different malts plus orange and lemon peels. It was a complex mouthful but not too heavy or harsh to have a few. We sampled it right out of the fermenter! It was a mahogany colored beer with excellent malty, bready flavors, with a hint of dark fruits and some hop spiciness. Yum!
I had two pints while there and sampled a few of the other available beers. There was not a bad beer ion the bunch. The first beer I tried was "Gentlemen, The Queen", an Imperial Engllish IPA. It was wonderful! If I didn't notice the glow I got after only about half the pint, I would never have known it weighed in at near eight percent ABV. The aroma was flowery and earthy hops. It poured with a slight, tight white head which dissipated quickly. The flavor was heavenly hop-charged, with a very flavorful, near perfumed hop presence. The sweetness was just enough to balance the 101 IBUs, and was bready and toasty in nature. Not exactly what one would think of when drinking an English IPA but it certainly was good! I can't remember the bittering hops used, but the flavor and aroma hops were E.K. Goldings and Fuggles. They were more pronounced and spicy than I would have guessed, though. All in all, a very fine beer!
The second beer was a lager brewed with Barley, Oat, Rye and Wheat malts, called "4X4". Interesting, to say the least! I love the spicy character, rye brings to beer and this one was no exception. The crisp, clean character of the lager beer only enhanced this effect. I liked this one a bunch, too.
Doug showed us his brewery and we saw many an interesting item that will soon be served to the lucky patrons at FSB. Two casks held highly hopped creations that were spiced with two different herbs. One was spiced with Astragula (i guess this is a root with some medicinal qualities)and the other with Angel-something or other. I do remember Doug say that he added hop additions every two minutes until he passed out, or something like that...Here's one of the firkins:
The food was interesting bar fare accentuated with such rare gems as Scotch Eggs, sauerkraut balls (check the menu)and pierogis. I didn't hear a bad comment from any of the ten diners there that night. In fact, while food was being eaten I didn't hear anything! Below is a pic of my pizza, Imperial IPA and Scotch Eggs on the right. YUM!
In short, good people, great service, great beer and a very nice location made this one of my favorite brewpubs to visit. If you are in the neighborhood, you MUST stop in! Check out Doug's Wall of Foam, if you do. It's a wall of posters created for the beers he makes. Very unique and creative.
The craft beer scene is certainly alive, here in Michigan! This is just one great example!