Eastern Market Brewing Company: Detroit

Photo by Laura Jude at Optical Amusements, courtesy of Eastern Market Brewing Co.

Photo by Laura Jude at Optical Amusements, courtesy of Eastern Market Brewing Co.

2515 Riopelle St btw Winder and Adelaide Sts, Eastern Market, Detroit MI

By Juliana Simpson, Guest Writer

The Place: A craft brewery located right in the middle of Detroit’s Eastern Market, the largest open-air flowerbed market in the US.

The Time: Saturday June 22, 1pm. It’s the first day that really feels like summer in a record-breaking rainy spring, which to me means a perfect day to drink a little beer.

Happy Now Coconut Imperial Stout at Eastern Market Brewing Company

Happy Now Coconut Imperial Stout at Eastern Market Brewing Company

The Vibe: This brewery is open and airy with community style picnic table seating so it’s first-come, first-serve. One wall has planters with succulents and greenery and the lighting is hanging Edison bulbs. It seems like they are playing to the farmer’s market going hipsters, but it also feels genuinely chill. There’s an eclectic crowd hanging out today: old people with graying hair, man-bunned dudes, young people, and chubby babies in strollers being fed organic puffs. Everyone is pleasantly in their own little world.  Sometimes going to such a people-y place can make a professional party of one start getting sweaty palms and a twitching eye, but not here. As bustling and busy as it is on a sunny Saturday afternoon, it doesn’t feel packed or congested. Even though I am here alone, I somehow feel connected to this earthy crowd. They use reusable cloth totes and watch documentaries, who are low-key woke AF, but being from Detroit (ish, being from Detroit-ish) they will name drop their connection to Eminem when they need to one up someone (but not Kid Rock, not this group). Sitting at the table next to me is a girl wearing a black, probably fair trade, cotton maxi dress, and the irony of her dramatic, clearly false lashes is sweet enough to make me smile. That’s my girl. Save the world, but also look cute too. When I ask if I can sit here she is welcoming, explaining that she is only saving spots for her three friends. I could psychoanalyze if there is an undertone of pity when it dawns on her that I am alone, not waiting for anyone, no my boyfriend isn’t in the bathroom, but she is polite and I’ll leave it at that. When her friends get here they begin playing a card game while swapping Bumble horror stories. I half eavesdrop while taking in the view of the murals across the street, which totally counts as a culturally relevant experience in my book.

The Bartender: There are no servers and no seating at the bar. You walk up, place your drink order, and then walk down to the end of the bar where your drink is poured and placed in your hand. The bartenders are young, likely studying at the creative arts college in downtown Detroit. I am sure on a less busy day you could chat with them, but I don’t know what I would say to a wide eyed Gen Z-er who hasn’t gotten a student loan bill yet. 

The Drank: The beer list is cleverly thought out, with something for both the beer snob and the novice alike. There is a Mexican Lager, a Shandy, an IPA, and an Imperial Stout all available, as well as several others, all with simple and accurate descriptions. I order the Happy Now Coconut Imperial Stout, a truly delightful beer. It is smooth and full of flavor; I can taste the notes of coconut which make it a perfect summer dark beer. It does pack a punch, as an Imperial Stout should, and three quarters of the way through I feel a wee bit of a humming buzz. Just the kind that heightens your senses a bit, and makes you realize you are also a tad hungry. I could easily have another, or something else on the menu, but I decide to mosey along and head out to the market.

Was I Hit On?: Nope. As I get my stout, an older gentleman with salt and pepper hair wearing boat shoes chimes “she’s happy now!” but it’s in a fellow beer lovers way, a “cheers!” of sorts while he waits for his drink, and a play on the name of the beer. It’s not the typical “you should smile more” remark that makes me want to throw a right hook. Other than that brief encounter, not one passing glance is tossed in my direction, and I value that. I am perfectly content even at a community table.

Should you Drink Here Alone?: If you’ve ever said “lettuce turnip the beet’ to be funny, or listen to NWA on the way to transcendental yoga, this place is for you. Or if you just need to get produce and want to reward yourself with a drink after, yes you should drink here. Just don’t forget your eco-friendly tote. 

Juliana Simpson is a witty metro-Detroiter and mom to two rescue cats. Among other things she is a vegetarian, a fitness instructor, and the first one out on the dance floor.