Detroit Festival of Books (aka: Detroit Bookfest) inside
Shed 3 @ Eastern Market
Detroit Festival of Books (aka: Detroit Bookfest)
Official Detroit Bookfest Afterparty @ EMBC
This is where the magic happens.
Present are Downey brothers Dan & John and EMBC brewers Jesse Ho-On and Alex Sebastian.
In addition to the several great beers they’re bringing to Bookfest, the Downey-EMBC team is co-brewing a special, exclusive beer for Detroit Bookfest called Et Tu Brute, which is a Brut IPA, a dry champagne-like beer.
“Et Tu, Brute?” is the line “Even you, Brutus?” from Shakespeare’s 1599 play, ‘Julius Caesar’.
Brut IPA is a new beer style which started in San Francisco a few months ago. Nicknamed “Hop Champagne,” the Brut IPA has a ‘pale color, light body, highly carbonated, champagne taste.’
Jesse Ho-On, the head brewer at Eastern Market Brewing Company, says “We’re using Galaxy hops and an enzyme that will dry it out even more, for a nice dry, champagne-like taste. It’s really interesting!”
In between being a hanger-on’er and vulture observing the brewing process, I’m drinking a delicious Detroit Black IPA (6.5%) and a nifty Blueberry Hefeweizen, where the beer color itself is blue.
Jesse tells me his path to EMBC, “I’m from Chicago, then started brewing in Traverse City at Right Brain, then Terra Firma, then did some baking at 9 Bean Rows Bakery where they have some killer croissants. I moved down to Detroit and was working at Avalon Bakery as a baker, then I transferred here to the Eastern Market Brewery.”
Meanwhile, the Downey Brothers are keenly observing and inquiring.
Downey is a family brewery located in their grandfather’s old warehouse in East Dearborn. Father Dean and sons Dan (marketing) and John (head brewer) crank out some tasty brews.
“I’m really excited for Bookfest,” says Dan who is looking at the beer and smiling, “it’s going to be a great day and we’re gonna have some great beers there.”
Jesse, our beer guide for the day, explains more about the Brut IPA, “this dry champagne IPA has an enzyme that’ll drop it lower, but it’s hopped up on the backside with floral tones from the Galaxy Hops and very carbonated. By adding an enzyme, it takes the sweetness out, so it’s dry and tastes like champagne.”
“For this Brut IPA, we’re using Southern Hemisphere hops and wine. The Galaxy Hops are from New Zealand. The wine is in the form of grape must flavors Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Grape must just means crushed grapes.”
John tells us about his path to the beer kettles, “My dad Dean started homebrewing in the 1990’s. I picked it up in college when I worked in a homebrew store. For the most part, I’m self-taught, like most brewers, although several aspiring brewers will typically shadow a Master Brewer as an apprentice until they learn the ropes.”
Alex, the assistant brewer, is carrying massive 55-lb. bags of grain up a ladder and pouring them into the mash tun, which is a large stainless-steel vat. Alex explains, “We got pre-milled grain from Germany and we’re pouring it in here to mix it with hot water in order to pull out the enzymes.”
“It converts the starches into sugars for fermentation,” adds Jesse, who is now holding a clear plastic pitcher and mixing around salts and water with a silver ladle.
He sees me looking weirdly at it and elaborates, “I’m stirring the calcium chloride and gypsum. Detroit water is ‘soft’, which means it’s low in minerals. Every type of water has its own profile and might need to be treated depending on the beer. Water chemistry is critical.”
Both Downey and EMBC brew about two times per week.
EMBC has a 5-barrel system and Downey has a 3-barrel system. Conversely, John says “MillerCoors in Milwaukee has a 3,000-barrel system. They brew more in one day than we do in five years! In terms of craft breweries, Sierra Nevada has a 300-barrel system, which is a huge system for craft beer.”
We’re all staring intensely at the Brew Home Controls box Jesse just opened. This is a wall-mounted box from Brewmation in Memphis, it’s full of circuitry and gizmos, and includes a touchscreen panel for temperature control, timers, all types of monitoring and adjusting.
“Mash temperature and the length of mashing determines the sweetness or bitterness of beer,” says Dan.
“After 60-90 minutes in the mash tun, we’ll transfer the wort to the boil kettle,” exclaims Jesse, “That’s where we start to balance it with hops. Hops give beer aroma and Galaxy is ‘high alpha’ which means it has some bitterness. Hops are like the spice of beer, they help balance the sweetness.”
“In 3-4 weeks, we’ll have a finished product. There’s 31 gallons in a barrel. We’ll have 4 barrels of finished product, so 124 gallons of Et Tu Brute, the Brut IPA Detroit style.”
Definitely be sure to try this amazing new beer at Detroit Bookfest! Thank you Downey and EMBC for the brew-a-thon.
Cheers! Drink up.
Detroit Festival of Books (aka: Detroit Bookfest)
Official Detroit Bookfest Afterparty @ EMBC
Opening a brewery in the Eastern Market section of Detroit is a genius idea.
The upcoming Eastern Market Brewing Co. has several brave young entrepreneurs at the helm who are combining delicious beer, bold new ideas, a focus on community spirit and a healthy obsession with elephants into what is shaping up to be one of the hottest new brewery openings in a long time for Detroit.
Dayne Bartscht, a snappy dresser with a British university education (ie: MBA from University of Cambridge in England) and advanced sense of community unification, is co-owner, along with friends Devin Drowley, Paul Hoskin, Brad Silverman and Dave Keyte.
Four of the five friends attended Northwestern University outside Chicago. Devin is a homebrewer and Dayne owns a barn in Ann Arbor where beer experiments are conducted on a 1-barrel (ie: 2 kegs) pilot system.
Recently, I toured the brewery with co-owners Dayne & Devin and Caroline Forster, the PR and events coordinator. I was able to hear the fascinating tale of the creation of the Eastern Market Brewing Company.
“Everything just kind of fell into place for us with this whole thing,” says Dayne, “My wife and I have a one-year old. We were living in England and found that many people in Europe have a very bad impression of Detroit, so I found myself becoming a passionate advocate of the city. We finally decided to move back, start a family and a business.”
“I saw this building was for sale, so I called the faded phone number of the side of it. The owner called me back two weeks later. We bought the building and we’ve been working on creating a startup brewery here ever since.”
The building Dayne is referring to is the circa 1929, two-story, 5,200-square foot old meat packing plant located at 2515 Riopelle Street, which will soon house their brewery.
“We’re going to have a main taproom on the ground floor,” says Dayne, “Beer will stay in big tanks and be tapped directly to the bar. There will be long German-style beer hall tables here.”
“Upstairs, we have a large open room of exposed and sand-blasted brick walls, that will be a games room of cornhole and shuffleboard. Then above this, we will have a rooftop beer garden.”
“We also want to create a small brewery-related library on the ground floor comprised of shelves overflowing with books about beer and the brewing industry for anyone to read.”
“We are starting off small with a 5-barrel system,” Dayne says, “We’ll have an interesting portfolio of 9 to 12 beers and we will use local ingredients from Eastern Market in the beers.”
“No bottling plant as of right now. However, we will have some food in the form of a food truck outside and a small kitchen inside for pop-up’s and later, food pairings.”
“Hazen Schumacher, who is a native Detroiter, is our head brewer. He has major street cred since he worked at Bells Brewery, Atwater Brewery for 16 years, Brew Detroit, etc. We’re very lucky to have him on-board. Hazen will be joined by assistant brewer Sean Bourke.”
Danny Jacobs designed their elephant logo, which is significant because not a lot of breweries have animals as logos.
“The elephant is a really social animal, an animal that works well with their community. The elephant is a sign of luck and collaboration, values we think best represent the brand,” says PR & Events Coordinator Caroline Forster.
Caroline Forster says, “I grew up on Detroit’s Eastside, then moved to Paris and the Netherlands, got into craft beer while living in the Netherlands, and wanted to be a part of the Detroit renaissance, so here I am.”
Devin Drowley has also been intimately involved in the entire operation.
“We’ve been incredibly lucky and fortunate,” says Devin, “The City of Detroit has been very supportive through this whole process. The hardest parts have been navigating the maze of paperwork, plan review, zoning, getting contractors, etc, it’s been a lot to organize.”
“It’s also surprisingly hard to find a mason. A lot of the masons are booked up. Our general contractor is great though. Once again, we are very thankful to everyone who is helping us out.”
Until they open, you can catch Eastern Market Brewing Co. selling merchandise at the end of Shed 2 on Market Street.
When they do open for business, you can enter the main door on Riopelle Street or they will also have an A-frame easel sign in the alley with an alley entrance, so you can walk right from Eastern Market to the brewery!
Dayne sums everything up nicely, “Beer is a great way to bring people together.”
After you check out the 1st annual Detroit Festival of Books on Sunday, July 16th, you can walk from Shed 5 down the street to the Eastern Market Brewing Company!
Great books, great beer, great Eastern Market, great day in Detroit, what more do you need?
Eastern Market Brewing Company
2515 Riopelle Street
Detroit, MI 48207
Danny Jacobs graphic designer