It could be saidthat Detroit's story is one of betrayal and heartache. Despite that, it began a renaissance in the 1990s. The beautiful Comerica Tower at Detroit Center first scraped the city skyline in 1993. Later, under Mayor Dennis Archer, three casinos opened: MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City Casino, and Greektown Casino. Comerica Park was built, replacing the crumbling Tiger Stadium a few miles away. The Detroit Lions found a new home in Ford Field, bringing the team back to play within the city limits for the first time in two decades.
Detroit Beer Company was part of this revitalization. It opened in 2003, housed in the historic Hartz building. On the once-neglected Broadway Street, it sits in the shadow of both Ford Field and Comerica Park. The famed Detroit Opera House is right across the street. Other Motown Landmarks within a short drive include the Renaissance Center, Fox Theatre, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Science Center, the Tuskegee Airmen Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), and the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID).
DBC is affiliated with two other Detroit-metro area breweries: The Royal Oak Brewery and Rochester Mills Beer Company; both great craft microbreweries.
It has a nice small patio outside, which is an awesome rarity for Detroit. As you walk in, you'll notice a long and narrow bar. Brew tanks are positioned on the right, seamlessly meshing with restaurant, making for a unique working-brewery ambiance. Two big-screen televisions hang over the bar for those who'd rather watch the Tigers, Pistons or Lions with a great beer in hand. This year it has served just one game!?! Sorry, I digress...
The atmosphere is outstanding. The Hartz Building is one of those great old Detroit pieces of real estate: high, tin ceilings with exposed rafters, an old staircase leading to the top floor and walls with real history. The owners really did an amazing job of blending the old with the new.
DBC is a family-friendly restaurant and one that serves its patrons responsibly.
In an ideal world, teens and alcohol should never mix, but since many teens are tricking people into serving them alcohol anyway, they might as well be educated about drinking responsibly.
The Restaurant The food here is definitely not your average brewpub grub. Even if you aren't a beer fan (and if so, why not?), DBC is a great restaurant in its own right.
Appetizers range from an Asiago Cheese Dip ($8.59) to Brewery Quesadillas ($8.59, $6.75 cheese only) and Boneless BBQ Rib Sliders ($9/full order, $6/half order). Other appetizer highlights are the Blarney Stones ($8.59) and the Ruby Red Tuna ($10), which, as they describe it, melts in your mouth.
Entree highlights include Blackened Catfish ($12), Bayou Steak Pasta ($13), Brewmaster's Shepherd's Pie ($8.59), and the Goat Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Chicken ($12). They have great pizza, soup, and salads plus a well-rounded lineup of 13 sandwiches, like the Cajun Salmon & Avocado Sandwich ($10), the half-pound Hair of the Dog burger ($8.29), and my personal favorite, California Veggie Wrap ($9).
Some of their dessert choices are decadent, like the Deep Fried Twinkies ($5.50) or Grilled Banana Split ($5.95), both of which are large enough to share.
The Beer DBC has seven year-round offerings: Broadway Light, Detroit Lager, Detroit Red, Local 1529 IPA, and The Detroit Dwarf (named after the "Nain Rouge" dwarf who haunts the city and serves as a harbinger of doom). The People Mover Porter (named after Detroit's downtown public transportation system) and Steam Tunnel Stout rotate availability. Beyond these, Brewmaster Kevin Rodger brings out some excellent seasonals, like Diamondale Dunkelweisenbock, Pumpkin Spiced Ale, Downtown Double IPA (a real hop-head delight), Home-Run Hefe-Weisen, Grand Slam Gold, and Hot Town Wit.
Local 529 IPA 6.3 - 6.7% ABV Appearance - Pours a cloudy, medium-amber color with a fine, crisp, snow-white head. Smell - Strong fruity hops hit first, then sweetgrass, lemon-zest, orange and grapefruit. It also has light notes of rising bread. Taste - The heavy taste of hops is first to the tongue, then you'll notice tastes of sweet spiced fruit. Undertones of malt become more present as you work your way down the glass. Feel - Medium-bodied with a smooth, almost velvety mouthfeel. Finish - Expectedly bitter. Unexpectedly peppery bite to the finish. Overall Impression - A hearty malt presence creates a nice canvas for the hops to do their dance upon. Local 529 doesn't overwhelm with the hops. It may not satisfy the most hardcore of the hop- heads, but this classic IPA is a crisp and refreshing beer.
The Detroit Dwarf (Zwickel/Keller/Landbier) (for the legend of the Detroit Dwarf, click here.) 6.8% ABV Appearance - Pours a nice ruby-red brown with a hint of glistening gold. A skinny finger of a just-off- white head with decent retention. Smell - Mild aromas of roasted almonds, tanned leather, and warm apple crisp. Aromatic hops gently tickle the nose. Taste - Mildly hopped with a sweet medium-roasted malt foundation. Spiced rye bread. Notes of brown sugar and sweet cherries. Feel - Medium bodied with light to medium carbonation. Finish - Smooth on the swallow with just a mild alcohol burn. At almost 7% ABV you'd expect more, but no complaints on that. Overall Impression - As you may notice, the word "mild" comes up quite a bit when discussing the Detroit Dwarf. There is nothing over-the-top in this Zwickel/Keller/Landbier, a style not too common... especially here in the states. This isn't a put down. It's a very drinkable beer, one that the Dwarf would be proud of.
Broadway Light Ale 4.5% ABV Appearance - Translucent yellow, almost gold with a full white head that sticks around the whole time. Smell - Light aromas, but there are scents of sweet malt grains, mild hops, fresh-cut grass with some hints of citrus. Nothing overpowers. Taste - Very light taste but sweet malts, gentle hops, grass and spiced orange are there. Feel - Light but not thin in feel. What you'd expect from a light ale. Finish - Crisp, clean, and just a bit astringent. Overall Impression - When those not interested in diving into the world or craft beer find themselves here and order a Bud, Miller, or Coors Light, DBC could give them this. They might think it's the best beer they ever had. It's an ale meant to please the general beer-drinking public. Many brewpubs will offer a beer like this, but Detroit Beer Company's Broadway Light beats most of them. This is a light, lively, and tasty brew that, while not impressive to everyone, won't offend anyone.
People Mover Porter 5 - 6% ABV (The People Mover is the above-ground train system that serves the downtown Detroit area. To learn more about it, visit the official People Mover website here.) Appearance - Dark brown, not quite black with a tan cafe-latte-like head that leaves some beautiful lacing. Smell - Sweet milk chocolate, roasted barley, and fresh roasted coffee. Hints of sweet tobacco smoke sneak through. Taste - Fresh coffee hits first, then baked multi-grain muffins. An unexpected (for a Porter) level of hop bitterness makes itself known. Feel - Not as heavy as expected. Light to medium light in body, but smooth and silky. If Sade's voice was a beer, this might be it. Finish - Goes down smooth and warm with a lingering bitter bite on the back of the tongue. Overall Impression - People Mover is a very well-balanced Porter. The hops go mano a mano with the richness of the malts. Since it is a Porter, the malts win, but the hop bite at the end lets you know that while it may be down, it definitely is not out.
Detroit Beer Company 1529 Broadway Street Detroit, MI 48226 Phone: (313) 962-1529 Brewer: Kevin Rodger