July 15, 2014 at 11:59 am

Bustling Ale Mary's in Royal Oak has plenty of friendly froth on tap

Royal Oak's new Ale Mary's offers a well-organized beer list and a hearty menu. (Melody Baetens / The Detroit News)

You may think that this area couldn’t possibly need another beer bar, but the crowds that have streamed into Ale Mary’s Beer Hall in Royal Oak since it opened on July 5 indicate otherwise.

Located in what was once used as extra seating for adjacent Tom’s Oyster Bar at 316 S. Main, the renovated space now offers a well-organized list of beers from around the world in bottles and more than two dozen draft offerings that change daily.

The shareable food menu has the obligatory meat and cheese plate and beer cheese soup, as well as ultra-trendy Brussels sprouts, macaroni and cheese, poutine, pork belly and Scotch egg. What’s unique are the housemade sausages, entrees such as Oberon-glazed whitefish and the “beeramisu,” which is tiramisu made with vanilla porter.

Seating is varied with comfortable spots at the bar and a row of high top tables. Taking up most of the dining area is one 16-person communal table that sits under rustic-style light fixtures made with tap handles and old-timey looking light bulbs. There’s also patio seating for breezy sipping and dining.

On your first visit to Ale Mary’s, ask one of the knowledgeable and friendly servers about about the text club, which offers alerts on the bar’s special deals, tap takeovers and exclusive beer dinners.

Alaskan Brewing comes to Michigan

Beer lovers who have been paying attention to the tap list at local beer bars may have noticed Alaskan Brewing Co. products recently became available in Michigan.

While our largest and northernmost state isn’t a big player in the craft beer game — they rank 31st in the country; Michigan is fifth — it does rank seventh in breweries per capita.

Look for Alaskan Beer Co.’s clever titles like Icy Bay IPA and Hopothermia on draft at area restaurants such as Vivio’s, Pat O’Brien’s Bar, One Eyed Betty’s, Cantina Dialbos and Republica. Also available: Alaskan Summer and my favorite, Alaskan Amber.

Select beers from the northern brewery will be available in stores and bars in bottles next month.

Deliciously brief

■Gilbert’s Lodge in St. Clair Shores reopened Thursday after a fire in May forced the neighborhood pub to close. It’s been a rough year for the hunting-themed bar and grill, which also caught fire in October.

■Ferndale’s John D Bistro added chef Christopher Tietz to the kitchen. He previously worked at Big Rock Chophouse, Ronin, Cafe Via and others. John D’s former chef, Scott Breazeale, moved on to be executive sous chef at Ford Field.

■The Root Restaurant & Bar in White Lake Township will start serving Sunday brunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on July 27. Chef James Rigato’s inventive menu includes buttermilk biscuits with house-cured chorizo gravy, lox and cream cheese and fresh mimosas.

■Happy one-year anniversary to Papa Joe’s Bistro in Birmingham. To celebrate, the restaurant added $1 oysters and $2 sliders to its daily 3-6 p.m. happy hour, plus added a few specialty entrees.

■The Del Taco fast food chain is celebrating its 50th anniversary by offering menu items from days gone by, including the bun taco, small taco salad and orange shake.

Food and beverage events

Festa Italiana at Freedom Hill: Enter your best recipe into the meatball contest or chow down in the cannoli-eating competition (the record is 12). 5-11 p.m. Fri., noon-11 p.m. Sat. and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun. Free, $10 parking. 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights. (586) 228-3030.

Terrace Barbeque at Rattlesnake Club: Bone-in rib eye steaks and other meats, plus cheeses, vegetables and salads are on the menu for this outdoor dining event, which includes music spun by WDET-FM’s Ann Delisi. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Fri. $55 in advance, $60 at the door. 300 River Place, Detroit. (313) 567-4400.

Pig & Whiskey in downtown Ferndale: Barbecue from local restaurants, plus loads to sip or enjoy in a cocktail. 6 p.m.-midnight Fri., 11 a.m.-midnight Sat. and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun. Free. E. Troy at Woodward, Ferndale. www.facebook.com/pigandwhiskey

Michigan Bier Celebration at Harvey Kern Pavilion: Sample beer and cider from Michigan breweries, plus local vendors and DJs. 1-7 p.m. Sat. $12, $30 VIP, $10 designated driver. Weiss at Riverwalk, Frankenmuth. www.charitycelebration.com.

Selden Standard Pop-Up at Oakland Art Novelty Co.: Chefs Andy Hollyday and Evan Hansen from the soon-to-open Detroit restaurant Selden Standard will serve up a la carte small plates, while Oakland bartenders mix up craft cocktails to complement them. Seating on first-come, first-serve basis. 5 p.m. Tues. Free admission; all plates and drinks are a la carte. 201 W. Nine Mile, Ferndale. (248) 291-5295.


Alaskan Brewing Co. labels are new on tap in Michigan. Bottles will arrive ... (Alaskan Brewing Co.)