Friday, June 20, 2014

Road Trippin': Dark Horse Crawfish Boil

Note: A version of this article appeared June 19 as "Dark Horse Brings a Bit of the Bayou to Michigan" on

If you think Michigan is hot and humid in the summer, try going down to Louisiana in June. Better yet, why not just bring the bayou up to Michigan?

That’s exactly what Dark Horse Brewing does the second Saturday of every June for their annual Crawfish Boil. This year’s edition attracted hundreds of revelers throughout the day June 14, all seeking good beer, live music, and, of course, some tasty crustaceans from the waters of Louisiana.

For the all-you-can-eat event, 1,800 pounds of live crawfish were express shipped up from Louisiana, double the amount ordered last year, according to Dark Horse manager Joanna “Party-Pants” Hollyday. Both the crawfish and the live music began around 1 p.m. and continued unabated (as did the sunny, warm weather) until this reporter left, five heaping platefuls later and fully sated, around 7 p.m.

Actual Louisianans among the crowd attested to the quality of the boil, which included the traditional elements of garlic, onion, corn on the cob, and potatoes (the Andouille sausage was notably missing, however). At $25 a ticket (plus $4.25 per beer, or five for $20), the deal was especially reasonable for those adept at putting away piles of mudbugs.

Picnic style seating throughout the Dark Horse beer garden and parking lot made for a jovial atmosphere of shared community, which included people from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even further away. Locals were, of course, also well represented – and at least one area farmer was happy to invite strangers – or, as he called them, “new friends” – over to his farm for a party.

Three different tap areas (four, counting the bar inside) poured plenty of good Dark Horse brews, including Amber Ale, Boffo Brown Ale, Boffo’s Belgian Cousin (Boffo fermented with Belgian yeast), CoffPA (IPA brewed with coffee), Raspberry Ale, Reserve Special Black Ale, Sapient Trip Ale, Smells Like a Safety Meeting IPA (formerly Smells Like Weed), Thirsty Trout Porter, and several more, including a guest beer (Sweet Leif Belgian-style Ale) brewed at Dark Horse by the crew from Chicago’s Local Option.

All in all, this is one fun event that any Michigan beer drinker and lover of delicious seafood ought to mark on his or her calendar every year. Consider yourself forewarned for 2015!

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