Paczki beer, barley wine and more at S.C.S. breweries
Lakefront suburb St. Clair Shores has blossomed into a mini craft beer destination seemingly overnight.
In the last few months two brew pubs — Jamex Brewing Company and Shipwreck Brewing Company — popped up on the scene, joining the established Baffin Brewing Company, which opened in 2015.
Baffin, at 25113 Jefferson, recently made news by starting a five-barrel batch of paczki beer using the actual Polish doughnuts that are eaten on Fat Tuesday. The stout, a collaboration between Baffin and Corktown’s Brew Detroit, was made using 40 pounds of the jelly-filled pastries, which were crumbled up and thrown right into the pot.
The stout has been fermenting since Paczki Day, Feb. 13, and could be ready to be kegged and tapped at Baffin as soon as this week.
The Paczki Stout will join other Baffin brews, like the popular Mango Unchained and a new dry-hopped IPA called Mind Money, Money Mind that uses juniper berries for notes of gin. (Hence the name, inspired by the Snoop Dog classic “Gin and Juice.”)
Baffin isn’t afraid of using puns to name their beers, either. Recently they’ve served Tripel Me Elmo, Holland Oats and a coffee stout named Bob Barley.
Baffin doesn’t have a kitchen, but it sometimes hosts pop-up food service from local restaurants and caterers. Food can be ordered from Pat O’Brien’s bar and restaurant next door.
Baffin is open 4 p.m.-midnight Mon.-Thurs., noon-1 a.m. Fri.-Sat. and noon-midnight Sun. Call (586) 218-7990 or visit baffinbrewing.com.
A 10-minute walk south on Jefferson — this stretch is also known as the Nautical Mile — from Baffin is the newest of St. Clair Shores’ three breweries: Shipwreck Brewing Company.
Opened on New Year’s Day 2018, this 6,400-square-foot brewery and restaurant includes a seven-barrel brewing system.
It has a few advantages over other area breweries, besides having a kitchen and full menu, Shipwreck is extremely spacious. There’s a bar and dining area with fireplace, and a second section with a lounge that has an up-north-ski-lodge feel and a second dining area. This summer, Shipwreck will also get a 60-seat patio. The whole place has a nautical theme and a “Pure Michigan” vibe.
When the brewery first opened, though, owners were hit with a big disadvantage. Co-owner John Demers told me there was damage to the chiller unit and the repairs caused delay to the beer-making process. For a while, Shipwreck was only able to offer two beers on tap, but Demers said by St. Patrick’s Day weekend they should have several suds ready to go, including Nautical Mile IPA, Big Fatty Foreign Extra Stout, Even Keel Kölsch and others.
The St. Patrick’s Day bash starts at 7 a.m. March 17, but Shipwreck will serve Irish food — corned beef and cabbage and corned beef sandwiches — 4 p.m.-midnight on March 15-16, as well. Come early on St. Paddy’s Day morning for breakfast and beer specials, including Scotch eggs.
Demers owns Shipwreck, 24409 Jefferson, with his childhood pal Tony Bellestri. Both are lifelong St. Clair Shores residents. Demers, a home brewer and sailboat racer, said they’ve been working on Shipwreck for at least eight years, but didn’t open sooner because they were looking for the right facility.
Formerly a banquet hall, this building was perfect, in spite of it needing a boatload of updates. Coincidentally, Demers’ parents had their wedding reception here in 1952 after their original location, nearby Blossom Heath, suffered a kitchen fire.
Besides the overt nautical theme, Demers said the focus at Shipwreck will be classic styles of beer with some seasonal offerings. No fad beers, he says. He’s teamed up with brewmaster Hazen Schumacher, who has also brewed for Atwater, Bell’s and Eastern Market breweries.
Shipwreck is open 4 p.m.-midnight Wed.-Sun. Call (586) 944-2266 or visit facebook.com/pg/ ShipwreckBrewingCo.
The third St. Clair Shores brewery I want to tell you about is Jamex Brewing Co. at 21721 Harper. Opened last August by Jeff and Kat Kaye, Jamex is a 2-barrel batch system and the tap room has a cool, industrial feel. Pull up a metal stool and play some classic board games while you sip a pint.
An English barley wine named the Holy Grail was recently added to the chalkboard. It’s served in a 12-ounce glass and has a high alcohol by volume of 10 percent. It joins Jamex staples ’Merica Pale Ale, a Baltic porter called the Keymaster and Belgian-style ale Rubble on the Dubbel.
There’s no permanent kitchen at Jamex, but they make sure no one goes hungry by regularly having pop-up events.
All City Dogs hot dog cart will be on deck at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Next weekend, a St. Patrick’s Day party will kick off at noon with flaky, stuffed pasties from the Motor City Pasty Company.
Jamex Brewing Co. is open 4 p.m.-midnight Thurs.-Fri., noon-midnight Sat. and noon-10 p.m. Sun. Call (586) 944-2030 or visit jamexbrewing.com.