Monday, July 25, 2011

[HOT LIST] Beer bars

Berkley Front (Photo by Nicole Rupersburg)

How much does Michigan love beer? Enough that our local brewers guild throws not one, but four annual festivals – the bare minimum, really, to accurately showcase the state's best suds. Perhaps you made it to Beer Fest in Ypsi this past weekend; maybe you're holding out for the fall event in Detroit (October 22, mark your calendars). Then again, who needs a festival to celebrate beer? Metro Detroit is filled with bars that show off the good stuff every day of the year. Here are five spots to sample.

#1 Roast Detroit
Downtown Detroit's best restaurant is known widely for top-notch cooking and cocktails, but it also happens to be one of the best places around town to drink beer, thanks to the expertise of Joseph Allerton, the restaurant's sommelier, He is prone to packing the very serious list with plenty of Jolly Pumpkin, which means we get to take all the gas money we used to spend driving over to the brewpub in Ann Arbor and spend it on beer, right here at home.

#2 Grand Trunk Pub Detroit
We'll always know it as Foran's, but they can call it whatever they want, really, as long as they keep more than a dozen awesome Michigan beers on tap at this perennially popular little bar that occupies an old railway station at the bottom of Woodward Avenue.

#3 Slows Detroit
One of the city's best-loved restaurants also doubles as a great beer bar, thanks to an incredible selection of taps that focuses on Michigan but doesn't mind wandering off the reservation to all sorts of places where good beer is made. At off-peak times, it almost feels like a friendly neighborhood hangout.

#4 Cadieux Cafe Detroit
The rumpus room of Detroit's Belgian community for decades, this old shoe-comfortable East Side spot is always a good time, whether you stop in for a bottle of Duvel on a rainy afternoon or drop by Tuesdays and Thursdays to watch the very serious league night action on the featherbowling lanes. Bonus: $8 pitchers after 10pm, Monday-Thursday.

#5 Berkley Front Berkley
There are places that have a lot of taps and a wide range of choices, and then there is The Front, a downtown Berkley staple known for having dozens of selections -- sometimes up to fifty -- on draft, plus a cask or two, if you're lucky. Local they've got, sure, but this is best treated as a place to come when you're in the mood to drink your way around the world from the comfort of your barstool. (The bottle selection is pretty ridiculous.)

BUBBLING UNDER Ye Olde Tap Room (Detroit), Woodbridge Pub (Detroit), Oak Cafe (Wyandotte), Sidetrack (Ypsi), Ashley's (Ann Arbor)

Grand Trunk Pub on Urbanspoon