Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Detroit Dwarf

Detroit Beer Company
Detroit, MI

Style: Altbier
ABV: 6.8%

Rings’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

In my “real” life, I’m part of a company that is fortunate to hold season tickets to the Detroit Tigers. Part of the great experience in attending a game at beautiful Comerica Park is visiting a few of the classic Detroit watering holes before and after a game, including the legendary Nemo’s, which has taken over cult status for old Tiger Stadium fans after the demise of the Lindell AC.

As a Beer Dork, it’s probably needless to say, but the Detroit Beer Factory is nearly always one of our post-game stops, where we’ve been known to go “around the world” in the most refreshing sort of way. Open since 2003, it’s a great little brewpub, with a two story restaurant & hospitality area surrounding the bar and fermentation tanks built in a restored brick urban building. There’s a nice little terrace out front and plenty of diverse Detroit vibe inside.

The DBC’s flagship has always been the Detroit Dwarf, billed as the “Legendary Nain Rouge Lager.” Although dubbed a dark red lager, and I’ve seen it described as a zwickle or Landbier, it’s won numerous GABF medals as an altbier and I tend to think it’s probably fermented using an ale yeast, as most of their beers are.

Unfortunately, by the time I typically call into the brewpub after a ballgame, my “taster” is a bit overwhelmed and under the weather, so an actual tasting allowed me the opportunity to really appreciate this nuanced and tasty brew.

I was delightfully surprised. I’ve actually taken the Detroit Dwarf for granted, I think.

While it pours thin, with a deep red or pale brown color and very little head, the first sip blows up any lack of expectation. The nose and initial taste opens with a big fruity, nutty sweetness and a slight alcohol burn on the roof of the palate—which is expected at nearly 7 percent ABV. It rolls over the tongue with hints of brown sugar, cherry, nuts and tea as it slides off the sides, complex and lingering. The potent body fends off any sourness, which can sometimes negatively decay the sweeter brews. Even better, the Dwarf opens up at warmer temperatures, with a firm, but not overpowering, flavoring of hops that rounds out the aftertaste and cleans things up in a satisfying and spicy finish.

Do me a solid and get to Detroit … and for those who prefer the darker side of “red lagers,” it’s good stuff and a solid four mugs.

Reviewed by Rings on September 7, 2010.
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