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Craft Beer Conversations

Craft Beer Conversations

By Zach Clark
Join Zach Clark as he explores metro Detroit’s craft beer scene by interviewing the brewers and craft beer / bar owners that make it flow along with those that inspire and celebrate the flavors we love.
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American Craft Beer Week & The Beer Professor

Craft Beer Conversations

Metropolitan Variety Store & Ashley
It's been a year in the making -- a Detroit variety store with a bar and kitchen attached. The Metropolitan Variety Store in the West Village is now open and I was eager to get down there and talk to co-owner Ashley Price, a veteran of the retail side of the craft beer industry. He and I spoke about the here-and-now while also looking ahead a bit.
November 12, 2021
Good C.O.P. & Ryan
In November of 2016, Wayne State Police Officer Collin Rose was shot and killed in the line of duty. As we approach the five year anniversary of Officer Rose's murder, The Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation teamed up with Copper Hop Brewing Company to honor Officer Rose's memory and help raise funds to support the foundation by brewing a porter called Blueberry Maple Good C.O.P. The beer is available starting November 17th at Copper Hop in St. Clair Shores and 8 Degrees Plato in Detroit, near where Officer Rose was killed. I went to SCS to hang out at Copper Hop with co-owner Ryan Balicki to talk about this charitable pairing. 
November 05, 2021
Well Whiskey Wishes & Jason
Detroit punk rock group the Suicide Machines hooked up with Detroit City Distillery to collaborate on a whiskey AND on a Halloween concert (information on both here). I met up with Jason Navarro, the lead singer of the Machines -- he and I went to DCD's Eastern Market tasting room to have a cocktail or two and talk about how this unique collaboration came about.
October 22, 2021
The 2 Way Inn & Danielle
There is a little spot on Detroit's east side that serves as a time warp -- things have changed around the 2 Way Inn since it began serving alcohol back in 1876, but little about the 2 Way itself have changed. Danielle Pantallersco is the current caretaker (or General Manager, your choice) -- her mother Mary (the GOAT) owns the bar and Danielle's grandfather bought it back in the 1970s, so it remains a family affair. I went to the corner of Mt. Elliott and Nevada and got buzzed in to have a beer with Danielle
October 08, 2021
Norden Aquavit & Robyn
Norden in Chelsea makes craft Aquavit, a centuries old Scandinavian cousin of gin. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Norden teamed up with Mothfire Brewing Company in Ann Arbor to benefit The Pink Fund. I went to the Ugly Dog Distillery where Norden is made to hang with President and Distiller, Robyn Cleveland to get a crash course in Aquavit and their benefit project.
October 01, 2021
Hop Runner & Michael
What happens if during your next party you run out of craft beer? Or, maybe you're looking to put a spread of beers together ahead of time. Regardless, Hop Runner has you covered. I sat down with owner Michael Groebe to pick his brain and learn more about how I can get beers delivered to my door!
September 24, 2021
Drinking With Nick Drinks
Nick Britsky, AKA Nick Drinks, has been showcasing the local spirits, cocktails and our favorite places to enjoy them for years. He joined me for a couple of flights at Loaded Dice Brewery and we talked about the vibrant craft cocktail scene in Detroit and what's behind it. Of course we talked craft beer -- malt liquor too!
September 17, 2021
The 140 Club & Dave
Nothing surprising about a craft beer mug club. They're everywhere. But about a mugless club? One that's based on a secret society? That's what's about to happen at Brew Detroit. Their marketing and branding wiz, Dave Cicotte, invited me to the Corktown taproom to learn more. But not too much more. The rest is a secret. 
September 10, 2021
DCD Four Grain Bourbon & Michael
Yes, this is a beer podcast but it turns out things other than craft beer taste awesome too. Detroit City Distillery is introducing a new permanent spirit to their lineup -- Four Grain Bourbon. I went down to the Whiskey Factory on Gratiot to talk to DCD co-owner Michael Forsyth to learn about the new whiskey and to hear the story behind it.
September 03, 2021
Urbanrest Downtown & Zach
The original Urbanrest opened 4 years ago on Woodward Heights in Ferndale. Instead of growing outward, Zach and Mary Tympinski decided to dig more deeply into Ferndale, opening a second location -- this one downtown on 9 Mile -- this week. You can expect the amazing craft beers but you'll also get custard! Some of the custard is family friendly but some of it is made with Urbanrest beer. I headed downtown to Ferndale to talk with Zach and catch up.
August 27, 2021
The Fat King + Dank Vegas & Jef
Jef Smith at Loaded Dice Brewery in Troy is always up to something which makes his spot so much fun. As the 1-year anniversary of Loaded Dice approaches, Jef is releasing some crowd favorites -- A 3-part Fat King series and the ever popular Dank Vegas IPA. These releases are a big deal for Loaded Dice. Take a listen to find out why.  Also -- This episode has, um, what my grandmother would call 'uncouth language'. Be advised. 
August 20, 2021
Two Birds & Kyle
Two Birds is nesselled in Detroit's West Village where it offers custard, wine, beer and cocktails. Opening earlier this spring, Two Birds has caught on quickly. I went to the city's east side and hung out with co-owner Kyle Hunt to find out where drinks meet dessert
August 06, 2021
Jimmy John's Field & Nate
Pro baseball in Utica? The four-team USPBL has been playing at Jimmy John's Field since 2016 and it goes far beyond baseball. I went to the Macomb County ballpark to sit down with Nate Liska, the Food and Beverage Director for Jimmy John's Field, to learn about their craft beer offerings and I discovered that what's happening goes far beyond the diamond.
July 16, 2021
Motor City Gas & Rich
This is indeed a craft beer podcast but we have to expand our horizons from time-to-time, right? I went to Motor City Gas Distillery in downtown Royal Oak where Rich Lockwood and his team are doing one thing and one thing only -- cranking out amazing whiskey. I toured the facility and then sat down in the tasting room to learn more about Motor City Gas over some amazing whiskeys. 
July 09, 2021
Arctic Circle Opens For Business
Arctic Circle Brewing Company has been in the works for almost two years but today is the day the taproom doors swing open in Chesterfield. At their industry preview night, I spoke to co-owners Eric Lehman Jr and Deven Sills about what it's like to be at the end of the beginning of the road and where they go from here. NOTE -- There is 1 inappropriate word in this episode, so shield younger ears for this one. Apologies in advance.
July 02, 2021
Brew Pipeline & Scott
Hyper-local beers are awesome, they drive the market. But, what if all beer was local, no matter where it was brewed? That's where Brew Pipeline comes in -- matching retailers and brewers while working to take the guesswork out of distribution. I spoke with Brew Pipeline President Scott Ebert about what makes the company tick and what they're working on for the future. 
June 25, 2021
Altes & Eric
There was a time in Michigan when Altes was as popular as it gets when it came to beer choices. But, through consolidation and bankruptcy in the 1980s, the brand faltered and by the 90s, it was gone all together. But, a group of friends revived the brand and Altes started again appearing on shelves in 2016. I spoke to co-owner Eric Stief about the iconic brand and what's it been like bringing it back.
June 11, 2021
CBC BEER BULLETIN: Urbanrest Expands
The original plan for Ferndale's Urbanrest was to be located downtown. Plans changed but fast forward 4 years and Urbanrest says they will open a downtown facility later this summer. I spoke to co-owner Zach Tympanski to get the details.
May 29, 2021
Brewery Faisan & Paul
Brewery Faisan is dedicated to the ancient (literally) art of brewing Belgian beer. Paul and Rachel Szlaga opened the Islandview Detroit brewery in October of 2019 and like many great craft brewers in the area, they are doing things there way, bringing a different flavor to the Bell Isle adjacent neighborhood.
May 28, 2021
Why Isn't Craft Beer More Inclusive?
In an article from May's Hour Detroit Magazine, Ryan Patrick Hooper interviewed Harry Weaver III from the Brewz Brothaz to examine what it's like being a black craft beer drinker. Plus, how can things become more inclusive? It's a tough question but Ryan Patrick and Harry did an excellent job of getting the point across. Listen to the pod, read the article and check out the Brewz Brothaz.
May 24, 2021
Small Business Tap Takeover
It's been a long time since we've really been able to gather and enjoy beer in groups or a crowd. And while we aren't all of the way back yet, the Small Business Tap Takeover at Steampunk Tap Room was one of the first events, big or small, in well over a year. Loaded Dice, Copper Hop, Arctic Circle and Fieldstone took over 19 taps with beers, seltzers and ciders. Props to Sean from Draft Therapy for sitting in on the conversations.
May 21, 2021
American Craft Beer Week & Aaron
We continue to celebrate American Craft Beer Week by taking a look at what makes Michigan craft beer so special - like the state's ability to grow hops. It's not all rosy -- local/state/federal regulations can be a nightmare for craft breweries. To get a better understanding, I spoke with Aaron Staples -- a PhD candidate in Agricultural Economics at Michigan State University. 
May 13, 2021
American Craft Beer Week & Motor City Brew Tours
It's been a long 14 months for Steve Johnson, owner of Motor City Brew Tours. But just over a week ago, he gave his first tour since the pandemic began last March. As things open up, Steve is offering more opportunities to learn about Detroit's beer history. But, Steve and Zach didn't spend too much time looking back, more time looking ahead.
May 11, 2021
American Craft Beer Week & The Beer Professor
Happy American Craft Beer Week! We're going to start things off by going to class. I spoke with Dr. Neil Reid, a professor of Geography and Planning at the University of Toledo. One of Dr. Reid's areas of study is how craft breweries impact communities, which is why people call him the Beer Professor. 
May 10, 2021
Paddle For Pints & Troy
Nothing beats being on the water on a gorgeous Traverse City afternoon, right? What could make it better? How about mixing kayaks and a pub crawl? Bingo. I spoke with Paddle For Pints owner Troy Daily about how this concept came together and what a day is like on the Boardman River.
May 07, 2021
Detroit City FC & Sean
Detroit City FC has been growing over the last decade and the wins at Keyworth have begun to pile up. To up the ante with their community involvement, they have again partnered with Brew Detroit to release a craft beer. This year it's a crushable IPA called Smoke Delay. I went to the City Clubhouse to chat with co-owner Sean Mann about the collab and how the supporters themselves help move the needle.
April 30, 2021
Craft Weed?
This episode is something different. We'll turn our attention back to beer on the next episode but this time, we're taking a look at how the medical and recreational marijuana industry is mirroring the craft beer industry, at least in some metrics. I went out on 4-20 to a couple metro Detroit dispensaries and chatted with all different kinds of folks and took a closer look at how the 2021 High Times Cannabis Cup is unlike any other before it.
April 26, 2021
SommBeer & John
Covering the craft beer world can be a daunting task but the folks at have been doing it for years, one of the best in the country run right in our own backyard. What drives the website and their massive social media network? I hung out with co-founder John Fahrner to figure it out.
April 16, 2021
North Center Brewing Company Turns 6
Aren't birthdays awesome? For Kevin Degrood and the folks at North Center Brewing Company, their 6th anniversary is extra sweet as the pandemic drags on. I went to Northville to chat with Kevin about how they are celebrating and how it feels to mark another year rocking in downtown Northville.
April 14, 2021
Why Beer?
We're doing something a little different on the podcast this week. Wednesday was National Beer Day (or 'everyday' as we think of it). So, in honor of beer's day, I called some friends of mine and ask them what makes craft beer and the craft beer industry special. Big thanks to Dave Cicotte from Brew Detroit, Jef Smith of Loaded Dice Brewery, Devin Sills from Arctic Circle Brewing Company, Stephen Roginson from Batch Brewing Company, Dani Fracassa from Girls Pint Out and Kevin DeGrood from North Center Brewing Company!
April 09, 2021
Dog and Pony Show Brewing & Kyle
The entertainment scene is rapidly expanding in Oak Park and in thanks in part to places like Dog and Pony Show Brewing. The brewery on 11 Mile Road won't open until later this spring but the work is already fast and furious. I went to the tap room to chat with one of the three Gierada brothers behind the space -- Kyle -- and we chatted, past, present, future and, of course, dogs.
April 02, 2021
Collect Beer Bar & Kyle
Drinking beers at Collect Craft Beer Bar is an experience unlike any other. The ambiance is serene and the selection of beer and wine (they have liquor too) is amazingly wide-ranging. I went to the Eastern Market adjacent tap room to hang out with Kyle Hunt who owns Collect with his wife Lea. We talked about Collect in the past, present and future.
March 26, 2021
Mothfire Brewing Company & Alexis
Mothfire Brewing Company in Ann Arbor doesn't have a taproom (though you can find their beers at nearby York) but their beers have been flying off of the shelves since they launched in late summer of 2020. What makes their beer so special? A big part of the answer is head brewer Alexis Jorgensen. Zach and Alexis hung out in the brewery and talked about how they create, what's next and how Alexis forged her path in the brewing industry.
March 19, 2021
CBC BEER BULLETIN: Blake's Hard Cider Adds Lemonade
Michigan summer is just around the corner and Blake's Hard Cider Company is celebrating by kicking off their new Farmstand Series with two cider-based lemonades. Zach sat down with Blake's VP of Operations, Mike McAlpine to get the inside track on their strawberry and blueberry lemonades. 
March 13, 2021
CBC BEER BULLETIN: Brew Detroit Releases New Citrus Blonde
It's that time of year when we transition from big heavy delicious stouts, to lighter, equally delicious selections that are more refreshing as the warmer months approach. Brew Detroit just released their Citrus Blonde so I bet up with their Director of Sales and Marketing, Dave Cicotte, to get a taste and learn what it's all about.
March 08, 2021
Kickstand Brewing Company & Brendan + Adam
Kickstand Brewing Company in Commerce Township offers a combination of consistent flavors and experimental varietals on their beer menu. Add a full food menu along with a cocktail and beverage program and you have everybody's favorite neighborhood hangout. I hung out back in the brewery with Co-Owner Brendan Rogers and Head Brewer Adam Beratta to learn all about their passion.
March 05, 2021
M4 CIC & Mike
If you're grabbing your favorite craft beer off of a shelf or ordering one at a bar, there is a decent chance it was delivered by M4 CIC. I hung out at their new facility with co-owner Mike Turriff to learn about how the company has grown as it has and why Michigan flavors are so hard to beat.
February 26, 2021
The Copper Hop Brewing Company & Ryan
The Copper Hop Brewing Company is part of a set of breweries that is really making St. Clair Shores a craft beer destination. Zach hung out in downtown SCS with Copper Hop co-owner Ryan Balicki to figure out what powers the brewery and how they continue to evolve in the strange world in which we live. 
February 19, 2021
Loaded Dice Brewery & Jef + Jen
Loaded Dice Brewery in Troy is an open book full of new and fresh ideas. Zach went to the taproom to talk to Jef and Jen Smith about why they think the way that they do and how the Loaded Dice customers make the brewery a better place. Follow Zach on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for more!
February 12, 2021
Tilted Axis Brewing Company & Tom
Craft beer, wine, mead, spirits and pizza all coming from the same spot in downtown Lapeer -- Tilted Axis Brewing Company. Zach ventured onto I-69 to sit down with Tilted Axis owner Tom Hanson to get an inside look at why the drive to Lapeer is well worth it. Follow Zach on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for more!
February 06, 2021
Motor City Brewing Works & Pat
Motor City Brewing Works is a landmark in the Michigan craft beer scene -- around since 1994, it's Detroit's oldest craft brewery. Zach ventured to the heart of the Cultural Center to sit down with industry veteran Pat Scanlon who is overseeing MCBW's production efforts. Pat looks back on the history of MCBW and what's next for this Detroit classic. Follow Zach on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for more!
January 29, 2021
CBC BEER BULLETIN: Michigan Beer Map App Debuts
Need help finding a brewery? Curious as to what many of Michigan's 400+ breweries feature? Well, good news today with the release of the Michigan Beer Map App from Better on Draft Media and MEFTEK, Zach spoke with Ken Konarzewski Jr. from Better on Draft to get a better idea of what the app has to offer and how it came to be. More information on the app (it's free on both Apple and Android platforms) can be found here.
January 28, 2021
Arctic Circle Brewing Company & Eric + Deven
Arctic Circle Brewing Company plans to open in April so Zach went out to Chesterfield Township to hang out with co-founders Eric Lehman Jr. and Deven Sills. The three talk about what it's taken to get to this point, how COVID forced them to pivot (hello, Kickstarter) and what to expect when the tap room doors finally fling open. Check out their Kickstarter campaign by clicking HERE. Follow Zach on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for more!
January 22, 2021
Ascension Brewing Company & Brandon, Ben, Mike + Nate
Zach found himself in Novi, talking to the four brewers at Ascension Brewing Company about what it's like to not have a head brewer, how they've progressed throughout the pandemic, what drives their popular canning line and what lies ahead for Ascension. Follow Zach on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for more!
January 17, 2021
Holiday Market & Ashley
With one of the most thoughtful selections of craft beer / spirits / wine in metro Detroit, Holiday Market is a favorite destination for our boozy favorites. Zach hit up the downtown Royal Oak grocery story to talk with Beer Director Ashley Price about how he curates their offerings. Follow Zach on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for more!
January 08, 2021
The Year In Beer 2020
2020 was a year like no other -- the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way metro Detroit craft breweries operated in a big way. But, Michigan isn't called the 'Great Beer State' for nothing. Zach not only looks back on the coronavirus and craft beer but looks beyond, discovering what makes local flavors so special. HUGE THANKS TO: Michigan State University's College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Motor City Gas, Blake's Hard Cider, Jamex Brewing, Brown Iron Brewhouse, Dearborn Brewing, the Detroit Chapter of Girls Pint Out, Fillmore 13 Brewery, Ferndale Project, North Center Brewing Co., Detroit Beer Co., Royal Oak Brewery, Motor City Brew Tours, Witch's Hat Brewing Company, Batch Brewing Company and Brew Detroit! Follow Zach on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for more!
December 28, 2020
Brew Detroit & Dave
Brew Detroit started as a contract-only facility but the Corktown facility has been turning out it's own high caliber line of craft beers while producing some of the most notable state and regional brands. Zach toured the almost 70,000 square-foot facility with Head of Sales and Marketing, Dave Cicotte to understand how it all works. Follow Zach on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for more!
December 18, 2020
Frankenmuth Brewery & Steve + H
The Frankenmuth Brewery has been making beer since 1862, making it Michigan's oldest microbrewery and one of the oldest in America. Zach travels to the land of Bavaria and Christmas to chat with owner Haithem Sarafa and brewmaster Steve Buzka to find out what happens when history meets innovation in Michigan's most popular tourist spot. Follow Zach on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for more!
December 11, 2020
Batch Brewing Company & Stephen
Batch Brewing Company has been around since 2015, repping Detroit's oldest neighborhood. The standard-setting brewery has seen a lot of changes in the last 5 years, but certainly over the last several months. One of their biggest innovations has been their charitable Feel Good Tap. Zach sits down with Batch Brewing Company founder Stephen Roginson for the full story. Follow Zach on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for more!
December 11, 2020