Sunday, December 19, 2010

Road Trippin': Midland Brewing Co., Frankenmuth Brewery, Redwood Lodge

Sorry for the dearth of posting the past few days. Your correspondent was up north on assignment, but on his way home he conducted some quick investigations.

First stop was the Midland Brewing Co., which just opened in October.  They presently have eight beers on tap that run the gamut: a light lager, a blonde, a pale, an IPA, an amber, a nut brown, a stout, and "Copper Harbor Ale," which was originally meant to be the amber but came out not quite right (and is now their best seller, go figure).

I tried all the beers, and for my money, the best were the pale -- nicely balanced and quaffable -- and the stout, which was slightly sweet and roasty and delicious. The lager and blonde were really light, practically indistinguishable to my palate, and not to my taste. Following a tip from the bartender, I mixed the IPA and stout into a "Stormy Night," which was indeed tasty.  Midland Brewing is a microbrewery, and according to owner and brewmaster Pete Hayes (who is a chemist by day -- I know! in Midland!) they plan to bottle and distribute in 2011. As a microbrewery, Midland also didn't have much food to speak of. For that, I traveled south to...

...the Frankenmuth Brewery, which I hadn't visited since it re-opened under new management in summer 2009. For a while I've heard their pilsener is really good, but I was disappointed to learn on my visit they were sold out.  So I had an English IPA and some spicy garlic chicken wings, both of which I thought were just okay. At 58 IBUs, the beer had good bitterness but not the X-TREME hoppiness that I've come to not care much for anymore. I also sampled the Harvest Ale and Munich Dunkel, but neither really grabbed me. On to the next destination.

The Redwood Lodge near Flint, a place I've driven by a thousand times but never stopped at until now.  Well, let me tell you if you find yourself in a similar situation, do make the effort to stop as it is well worth it. The beers and the chicken wings here impressed me. It helped they had some of your correspondent's favorite styles pouring, including a Helles, Pale Ale, and a Kolsch. Of course, by this time it was getting late and there were miles to go before I slept, so no detailed tasting notes... you'll just have to trust me this place is worth a visit; the dining space is large and open, living up to the "lodge" feeling.

Of course, back in Ann Arbor, I couldn't resist a visit to Wolverine State Brewing for a growler fill of my new favorite session beer, the Big House Brown...

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