The Atwater Block Brewery is located in the heart of Detroit’s Rivertown district near the banks of the Detroit River (in other words, at the water, or more simply, ‘at-water’). Housed in a reconditioned turn-of-the-century factory building, the 20,000 square foot brewery features a state-of-the-art Kaspar-Schulz German brewhouse. Now, having a German brewing facility doesn’t necessarily mean that authentic German-style brews are magically going to bubble forth. Using traditional German brewing methods is an obvious necessity, and Atwater does just this, enabling them to deservedly boast their traditionalist nature and authenticity. Notable among their genuine Bavarian techniques is the practice of Kräusening, the Old Bavarian practice of blending in fresh wort (the unfermented concentrated liquid created early in beer production) at the end of fermentation to give the beer a secondary fermentation at colder temperatures. This process not only allows carbon dioxide levels to build up slowly in the beer, but also smoothes out the flavor over weeks of conditioning. The largest brewers in the United States moved away from this practice years ago, opting instead to adopt ‘more efficient’ and ‘faster’ processing methods—thankfully, Atwater retains this important step. Also in accordance with tradition, all of their beers are produced exclusively with German malts and the finest hops available.
In addition to the brewery, the location has a 170 seat restaurant featuring a 60 foot bar with two-story glass walls that gives the consumer a direct view of the brewhouse. Here, beer-loving patrons can see where the magic happens—getting an inside look at where their favorite Atwater beers are born. With their Helles lager (a.k.a. Atwater Hell) and Dunkel brews being produced year round, customers always have something to see in the brewhouse. Plus, their other beers are produced here as well, including a 1997 Great American Beer Festival silver medal-winning Pilsner and an Oktoberfest, as a limited seasonal release. This lager-only line up has garnered praise from locals and traditionalists alike, and has earned additional Great American Beer Festival awards, such as their 1998 silver medal for the Oktoberfest.
Today, the Atwater Block Brewery is one of only three breweries in Michigan’s largest city of Detroit—a surprisingly low number for a state that has more than 60 breweries! But those who have visited this establishment’s brewpub aren’t likely tocomplain about the low number of local breweries and brewpubs—Atwater’s sprawling facility offers a plentiful amount of liquid refreshment. In addition to the Atwater brands, this is also the production site for the Stoney Creek line of beers, which contribute as many as 10 additional beers to the facility’s impressive ensemble of malty nectars (and contributes some ales to their otherwise all-lager selection).
With all their tasty brews at the ready, the addition of anything else might be overkill, right? Wrong. In an ambitious and enterprising move, they recently became one of a very limited number of breweries to also make their own wine as well. In fact, they currently offer an impressive list of nine homemade wines. Thus, while there are few breweries or brewpubs in the motor city, there’s plenty of variety to sample from atthis one alone! From great ales to stupendous stouts, fine wines to culinary fanfare, this brewpub has, to say the least, a lot to offer. If you’re ever in the Detroit area, we encourage you to stop in for a visit (at least once).
For more information about the brewery & brewpub—and scheduled tours—call (313) 877-9205 or check out their web site at www.atwaterbeer.com.