Detroit is getting exciting! The Tigers are doing well! Hell, the Lions are, too! Who woulda thought that, eh?
But, of course, we have our troubles. We all know it. Unemployment. A stagnant economy. Forclosure rates. I could on.
What can we offer that might offset some of that bad?
While "Tashmoo" might mean "meeting place" for some or be a sidewheel steamboat to others, it is now a biergarten. Yes, biergarten. Not beer-garden. The short story goes like this.....
This fellow, Aaron, and his friend, Suzanne, read an article about pop-up biergartens in New York. (These pop-ups were, of course, influenced by the biergartens of Europe.) Basically, a vacant lot, with permission from the city, accommodates folks and their beer in a fun and festive atmosphere. The main goal is to have fun, be cool and enjoy people and beer.
Aaron (whom I met and spoke to for a while) and Suzanne wondered why Detroit couldn't do it, too. After pursuing the proper paperwork, Tashmoo Biergarten was born (fermented?) in a vacant lot in the West Village neighborhood. (For you former Metro-Detroiters, it is down by Belle Isle).
First impressions were a bit mixed. The property line was marked with wooden palettes set upright at fences. Tables were old doors from old buildings. Benches, made from 2x4s, were simple, but well crafted. Portable bathrooms were in a corner. The bar was in a corner (obviously a different one!) with corn hole along the front fence. Food service was along a different fence. A few bucks bought you a few tickets. A few tickets could secure some beer - the better the beer, the more the tickets. Recycling stations were scattered around.
After we settled in, everything was just great. Really. The palettes? Free. The neighbors? All for the project. The City of Detroit? In. (Otherwise, they would have rejected the idea, right?) No drunks. No SWAT teams. Nothing stupid or crazy. Just good people enjoying good Michigan beer!
For the record, I secured a new beer! #1,101 was the Brik Irish Red Ale from Millking It Productions. Damn good. The sweet malty tones were simply awesome. Good. I mean really, really good.
I got the impression from Aaron that the whole temporary feel (the palattes and all) was just to test the waters. With various folks coming together on their own time and with limited funds, it makes good sense. Dumping money into a flop-of-a-project would be frustrating.
However, 1000 people is not a flop. The first day, last week Sunday, had 1000 people. By the time I left yesterday, Aaron estimated 700 or so. The Tigers and Lions on the TV at the same time in the afternoon probably did not help. But 700? Cool! I wonder what next Sunday will bring!
If all goes well, they plan on setting up something more permanent. Better fencing. Perhaps a permanent bar. Maybe permanent bathrooms. Some shelters of some sort? There is certainly lots for them to think about.
Will I get back there? Yes. Definitely. I will have to watch the weather. It was quite chilly by the time we left. Maybe the next time around they will have some porters on hand. Now THAT is a cold weather beer!