1 parade, 3 brew-pubs, 5 hours… What up, Detroit?!

29 Mar

Yet again, I’ve been away from blogging for a while… but the reason this time is very much in my favor – I was searching for a  new job and, I’m super stoked to say that, I got one! After six years working for the non-profit ACWIS, I’ve moved back into the for-profit world and secured a position as an Administrative Assistant at consulting firm AlixPartners! It’s a really good move for me in a number of ways… one of which was that I got the opportunity to travel to Michigan for new-hire orientation!

So, what’s the first thing a craft beer-lover does when learning of a trip to a new city?!?! Why ask about the craft beer scene, of course! 🙂

I put the question out to Facebook, asking if anyone had any recommendations on the craft beer scene in Detroit – where I was flying in – and I intentionally booked an early morning flight out of New York on Sunday, so that I could take advantage of exploring Detroit before training was to start on Monday morning. As luck would have it, a friend of mine from college responded saying that she lived in downtown Detroit, and that we should get together! Brilliant!

About a week later, she e-mailed me to let me know that, as luck would have it, there was a festival of sorts taking place the day that I would be in town… and that it was loosely connected to the Detroit craft beer scene! 🙂  Timing is everything, huh?

So on Sunday, March 25th I landed in Detroit, and at around 1:00 we headed to the start of the parade/festival, which was at Traffic Jam and Snug, which was the first brew-pub in the state of Michigan! The festival was called La Marche Du Nain Rouge, or the Banishing of the Red Dwarf!

As a result, almost everyone was in costume,
based on the event websites’ suggestion…

Also from the event’s website, here’s a little bit on the history of the event!

Over 300 years ago, around the same time the city of Detroit was founded, an evil was discovered in and around the city. An evil that has plagued the people and the city, and even wrecked havoc upon the founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. This ‘evil’ was said to have been a Nain Rouge, other wise known as the “red dwarf of Detroit.” This malevolent spirit cursed generations and brought ill tidings for many Detroiters. It wasn’t until La Marche du Nain Rouge, held the Saturday closest to the vernal (spring) Equinox, did the people of Detroit come together to abolish the Le Nain Rouge — until his fearful return the following the winter Solstice.

As I said, our first beer was had at Traffic Jam and Snug, and I opted for their Pale Ale, which was absolutely delicious!

Funky tap handles, at Traffic Jam and Snug!

We decided to have our drinks out on their patio, where we could enjoy the sun & watch the costumes milling about…

Behold, the revelers!

… and they had one of the coolest fountains ever!

Ahhhh... first beer of the day!

Even though the parade was starting, we decided to grab a quick beer at the brewpub across the street, Motor City Brewing Works! I again opted for their Pale Ale – which was also quite good – but really enjoyed the taste I had of Meg’s Nut Brown Ale… deliciously nutty and very well balanced!

The beer board at Motor City Brewing Works!

From here we joined the parade & marched down to its end at the Masonic Temple, where there was a great banner hung…

Apparently, there's a political message also being communicated in this banner's language... I can't remember what it is though 🙂

… and a super tricked out “surrey bike,” that had a huge flame-thrower attached!

 

Inside the Masonic Temple, a party was going on… complete with a band, dancing, food, and, of course, beer! We all opted for the 24oz Red Dwarf beer from the Detroit Beer Company! Fitting 🙂

Beers, masks, and college reminiscing!

Much to my delight… there were also some incredibly dapper Pirates (and a bagpiper!) among the revelers!!!

We had a blast milling around admiring costumes, dancing, and posing for pix… and then after a short walk home to collect my bags, we headed over to the Detroit Beer Company for some more beer tasting, and a much-needed snack!

There, I was able to sample a flight of their beers… my favorite of which was the Baseball Beer, a “smooth, golden, Belgian-style rye beer.” Their Batch 500 barley wine – at 13.5% – was quite a hefty way to end the tasting!

Sadly, my ride to the hotel was scheduled to pick me up promptly at 6, so I couldn’t stay with Meg & Helena for dinner & drinks… but I’m pretty satisfied with my whirlwind, 5-hour craft beer tour of Detroit! On top of the great beer, fun festival, and amazing company, we had absolutely glorious weather… so glorious, in fact, that I got a bit of a sunburn on my chest! Perfect timing, considering that the first agenda item on our training schedule Monday morning was having our corporate pictures taken 🙂

I know people might have some criticism of Detroit… but for my first visit, I couldn’t have had more fun, or been more impressed by the really creative, fun, and proud spirit I got to see in action! For the beer and for the fun… I’m already looking forward to my next visit 🙂

~HH~

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