Sunday, July 15, 2018

Maillard Tavern

The Maillard Tavern is the chemical reaction that browns meat when it's heated, so I guess that it's appropriate to name a burger joint after it.  It was founded by, the chef and restauranteur of popular Italian restaurant, Piccolo Sogno and is actually located across the street from it in a small triangular building that had been empty for more than 20 years.  While I will grant that a good chef is constantly learning and burgers are relatively easy, when I think of Italian chefs/restaurants, fried foods and burgers are not the first things that come to mind.  Tony Priolo, the chef, has been working with the market for many years and is very familiar with the farmers and vendors, so the food could be counted on to be fresh and local.  Despite it's small size, it might seat 36 people, the space actually has two entrances.  The main entrance is at the front corner, but there is a small step inside, so there is an ADA compliant entrance that comes in in front of the kitchen in the back of the dining room.  The bar is located along one wall with the kitchen opposite it in what is essentially the back corner.  There is a large service counter for the kitchen where you can see inside the kitchen somewhat.  While you really can't see the complete layout, because of the shape of the building, I have to imagine that the kitchen is also triangular.  There are big windows surrounding the entrance with the other walls painted blue.  Other light comes from the lights laid out vertically from the high ceiling, but hanging horizontally.
Seating was either at a four top or at the bar.  As I was by myself, there was no reason for me to take a four top, so I sat at the bar which I like to do anyway.  They had a good liquor selection and a small but well varied tap list.  I was amused to see a Minion standing at the bar seemingly running things.  I do suppose that they can run things as long as they can be kept from touching anything.  Things seemed to run well, so I guess that they were being successful in that regard.  While they did have a good tap list and beer does go well with burgers, the cocktail list spoke to me more and I ordered a Good Vibes which had Ford's Gin, Luxardo, Kombu Syrup, Cucumber, Lime, and Bubbles (Prosecco).  I liked it a lot, it tasted very fresh and green and was both sweet and tart.
For my burger, I went with the Maillard.  There are 7 burgers on the menu plus salad, soups, and 3 other sandwiches, including a veggie burger, but I decided to go with the standard served with Duck Fat Fries.  The Maillard came with two Grilled Burgers, Crispy Onions, Bacon and Onion Jam, Cheddar, Pickles, and Dijon Mayo.  It was very good.  The burger was juicy, the cheese was nice and gooey (and flavorful), the crispy onions added a nice crunch, and the bacon and onion jam and pickles added a flavorful finish.  Duck Fat Fries are always a win.  They were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and well salted.  While I was served ketchup on the side, it was unnecessary.
As this is a burger and milkshake place, I couldn't leave without having both.  As I already had a drink for while I was eating, I figured, it would work for dessert.  All of the Milkshakes start with Vanilla Ice Cream and Creme Anglaise (and garnished with a mint leaf), after that you can add Chocolate, Vanilla, Mixed Berries, Banana, or Maple.  You could also add a shot for an additional charge.  I will always go with chocolate first, so that's what I did.  I had had a few drinks before I got there, so I decided to lay off on making the milkshake boozy.  It was good in any case and was what I thought would be a nice finish.
I thought that the milkshake would be a nice finish, but it turned out to not quite be the case.  As I said, they have a pretty good tap list.  There was only one beer on the list that I had not tried.  When the bartender heard me asking someone dining next to me what she thought of it when I saw that she had ordered it, he poured me a sample.  All American Macro Brews are Lagers, so it could potentially be pretty boring.  This was very nice.  It has a clear amber color and some nice lacing, and a light bready flavor.  This turned out to be the nice finish to a nice stop at a good burger joint that I will have to return to.  

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sauce and Bread Kitchen - Foraged Feast 2018

I like Sauce and Bread Kitchen, the Bakery/Hot Sauce factory/Cafe that does pizza on Fridays and the occasional dinner that you have to be on their mailing list to attend.  I am on their mailing list and have attended several of their dinners, but it has been a while, so I was happy to see their announcement for their Foraged Feast, a dinner where many of the ingredients used in the various dishes were foraged.  Looking at the menu beforehand, things looked very good, so I was pretty excited.  Dishes are served family style, though Sauce and Bread Kitchen is a BYOB, so anything that you want to drink, other than water and coffee at the end of the meal, you have to bring yourself.  Whether you want to share that is up to you.  I brought enough beer that I thought interesting that I was able to share some.  I brought an Ommegang Fire and Blood Red Ale with Ancho Chilies and Jaden James Monkey Butter Porter.  The Red Ale was good with a nice head and the Ancho Chili bite was very light.  The Peanut Butter Porter was weird, but I expected it to be weird.  It had a strong peanut aroma and finished with flavors of chocolate and coffee like many dark bears.  It was like eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup for breakfast.

We actually started with an Amuse Bouche, 3 Sisters Crostini with Hominy, Winter Squash, and Chickpea Miso, and Radish, crisped on Pickle Bread, with Ramp Giardinera.  As with all amuse bouches, it was a little bite of wonderfulness.  I tried the crostini with and without the giardinera and it was good either way, though better with the giardinera.
Our first actual course was a Hawks Wing Bao with Smoked Dryad Saddle Mushrooms, Sweet Onion in Peanut Miso BBQ Sauce, Shaved Asparagus/Birds Eye Pepper Salad, Wild Chive, and Chili Peanuts.  It was fresh, spicy, crisp, and crunchy, and was a lot easier to eat than I expected.  I would have expected that trying to hold it together while trying to eat it, might have squeezed many of the vegetables out.  This did happen to a small extent, but for the most part, it stayed in the bun.
After our first course of mushrooms, we continued with another course of mushrooms.  We were served Wild Mushroom Pasta with Chilled Buckwheat Noodles, Ramp Olive Oil, Poached Morels, Sauteed Morels and Golden Oyster Mushrooms, and Fried Pepitas.  This was really good.  It was tender, nutty, and the ramp olive oil acted as a nice vinaigrette.  It reminded me of a vegetarian dish that I make every summer.
Our entree was our only dish that actually had meat and that was fine because everything else had been great, thus far.  We had a Choucroute.  Choucroute is the Alsatian version of Sauerkraut (and sausage).  This used a Venison Andouille Sausage.  While venison eaten at home is generally wild, venison found in a restaurant is generally farmed.  For the Choucroute itself, that was pretty wild, using Grilled Escarole and Ramp and Carrot Kimchi (the Korean version of Sauerkraut).  It was tart and flavorful with a little spice, though admittedly, the escarole was a little tough to eat.
For dessert we finished with a Financier Pistachio Vanilla Cake with Rhubarb Sorbet, a Candied Basswood Leaf, and an Edible Flower.  While the ice cream and cake were good, the best part about this was the candied basswood leaf.  It was sweet and very delicate with a lightly crisp texture.  The flower, also very delicate, unsurprisingly tasted like a flower.

This dinner was a lot of fun and I would be happy to see what they come up with next year.  

Sunday, July 1, 2018

DryHop Brewers - Brunch

As obvious as it might be, I like trying out different breweries as well as places with good food.  What makes things easier is when a brewery/brewpub has good food.  I was recently able to combine several things that I like at Dryhop Brewers, sharing a table with friends and enjoying a good brunch with some good beer.  They don't take reservations, but that was okay because I was unsure until the last minute how large my party was going to be.  Because of this, I did plan on meeting when the place opened at 11 am on Sunday.  The only problem with this was the fact that the day was a little cold and rainy and we had to wait a little outside.  When they opened, they quickly accommodated us (there was a toddler in the party) and we were seated near the large front window.  It was a good location because even without a beer list in hand, there was a chalkboard beer list on either side of us. As for the rest of the space because it is a brewery, it has a long bar that runs back into the space with the fermenters and bright tanks behind it.  The brewing tanks were in a small glassed in area opposite the bar.  Their brewing capacity is small, so their distribution is limited to a small amount that might go to their sister brewery Corridor Brewery & Provisions which is located about 1.5 miles away.  The floor is hardwood as is all of the furniture.  Just inside the door was a collection of old style woodworking vices and it was both a little rustic and homey at the same time.  There were eight beers on tap and it was possible to get a flight of all of them.  While they all looked good and it might be fun in some circumstances, I had plans for the rest of the day, so I limited myself to a couple, Shark Meets Hipster Wheat IPA (similar to Three Floyd's Gumballhead Hoppy Wheat Ale) and Karmavore Double Dry Hopped New England IPA.  I will frequently order juice as well as coffee for brunch, a New England IPA tends to be very juicy and the Karmavore generally fulfilled the juice side of things. 
For the coffee side, I simply got coffee.  I'm not sure where it came from, but I am sure that it was a local roaster and it was pretty good.  Before our respective main courses, I ordered some Poutine for the table to share.  This poutine was really good, containing the requisite French Fries, these were actually Frites (double fried fries that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside), Aged White Cheddar, and brown gravy, in this case chunky Sausage Gravy.  In addition, it also had Applewood Smoked Bacon, and Scallions.  It was a great dish to share, because while it was a very good, it would be a lot of fries for a single person to eat, especially if they planned on eating anything else.

For my main course, I ordered a breakfast sandwich.  There was a little confusion though because I was first served my neighbors order, which really looked good and was actually my second choice.  Things were corrected very quickly, but I would have been happy with his Skillet Scramble which had House Made Chorizo, Scrambled Eggs, Crushed Breakfast Potatoes, White Cheddar, Salsa Verde, Sour Cream and Scallions.  My Breakfast Sandwich, which was served with Crushed Breakfast Potatoes, was served open on a board, but I did put it together before I ate it, had Scrambled Eggs, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Avocado, Pickled Fresno Peppers, and Raw Milk Cheddar.  Everything about this was good.  The Crushed Breakfast Potatoes were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  The eggs were fluffy, the avocado was creamy, the peppers added some spice, and the bacon added crunch.

 I really liked brunch here.  The food was good, as was the beer, and of course the service.  They did an excellent job handling a large party with a toddler and they even have a kids menu which was much enjoyed by my niece, the toddler.  I will definitely return for more food and possibly the full flight, though probably not with a large party again.         

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Mabel Gray Kitchen, Hazel Park, MI

For my last trip to the Ann Arbor/Detroit area, while I started with breweries, food was going to be a major part of it.  I previously wrote about the day in Ann Arbor starting at Zingerman's Deli and ending at Vinsetta Garage.  The next day started with Supino Pizzeria, which I had visited before and liked a lot, but our crowning finish was at Mabel Gray in Hazel Park.  The cinder block building has been a neighborhood restaurant for many years, but it opened as Mabel Gray in 2015 as a scratch kitchen serving local, seasonal, and farm-to-table food with no set menu and a choice of tasting menu or a la carte and it blew up.  It won Best Chef for Chef James Rigato in the Eater Detroit Awards in 2016, James Beard Semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2016, and Detroit Free Press's Restaurant of the Year in 2017.  They take reservations one month in advance and on the day that reservations opened, the earliest we were able to get a reservation was 10 pm, but as we had a large lunch, a late dinner was fine.  Located in the north Detroit suburbs, the road was quiet when we got there despite the fact that it looks like a major road.  The neon sign was on top of the awning, which with walls, formed an enclosed entrance/dining area that was open on one side.  Entering, the space is long and narrow with the bar/grill/kitchen taking up one side behind a counter and a banquette on the other side.  It kind of has the appearance of an old diner or cafe. The lighting was a combination of track lighting and lights that seemed to be built from/supported by recycled lab equipment.  The lights above us were supported by a lab stand.  We were seated and really enjoyed the menu because it was hand written.  While we could have gone either with the tasting menu or a la carte, we decided to go with the tasting menu, because we figured that we would be able to try more things and it would be a better value.
After quickly deciding on the Tasting Menu (we had actually pre-decided to do the tasting menu), the next decision was what to drink.  While there was a beverage pairing for the tasting menu, I had to get up in the morning, so I decided I would take a pass on that, though I did look at the cocktail list.  There were several interesting cocktails on the menu as well as a dealer's choice, where given the choice of liquor, the bartender creates a drink for you.  The prices for the cocktails were fairly standard, in the $11-14 range, but the Dealer's Choice was Market Price.  This worried me a little, but I figured that I was splurging a little, I can splurge a little more if necessary.  I ordered a gin drink and was brought a drink with Citadelle Gin, Lemon, Yellow Chartreuse, Grapefruit, Angostura Bitters, and a few other things that I don't remember.  It was complex, but similar to a couple of cocktails that I like already and I liked it as well.  After getting the bill I discovered that it was less than the cocktails on the menu, so it made it even better.
And then the Tasting menu started.  It started simply enough with an Oyster, Hibachi Grilled, with Chipotle Butter, Garlic, and Bread Crumbs.  It was similar to Oysters Rockefeller with less green and more spice and it was a great one bite wonder.  It was cut from the shell, so it was easy to swallow quickly and with the garlic and chipotle butter, it was a taste explosion.
The use of the hibachi continued with the second course as well.  We got Hibachi Grilled Asparagus,
Fermented Chile Mayo, Green Almonds, and Fried Lemon.  I like asparagus and the grill added a nice char flavor.  The fermented chile mayo was interesting.  It had the spice of chile peppers, though softer and with a tartness.  The green almonds were also very interesting.  I had never had them before.  They are unripened almonds and apparently have a very short season when they taste good.  After that, they get a woody flavor and it's better to eat them after they're ripe.  These have a slightly tart and green flavor with a texture that is much softer than ripe almonds.  The fried lemon contributed both lemon tartness and a char flavor.
The next course stayed vegetarian with Artichoke and Kimchi Salad with Black and White Sesame Seeds, and Sour Cream. I hadn't though about it before, but artichokes and kimchi pair pretty well together.  Artichokes have a tartness (with a little woodiness) and the kimchi is very sour and spicy. The Black and White Sesame contributed to the Asian flavor, and the sour cream contributed to the tartness.
From a Korean-ish flavor, we then wandered over to Japan with a Hamachi Crudo with Shishito Peppers, Grapefruit, Ramps, and Grilled Taro Root.  The hamachi was very tender and flavorful.  Shishito peppers are funny. 90% have no heat at all and taste like slightly sweet bell peppers, but the other 10% have some heat.  It isn't a lot of heat, but there is enough to surprise you.  It is fun to eat them because getting some heat is like hitting the lottery.  My Shishito remained mild.  Ramps are wild onions and have a flavor between a green onion and garlic.  The grapefruit added some bitter tartness and the taro root was similar to a corn chip which added a little texture and a vehicle with which to eat the softer components of the dish.
The next course was an Aged Goat Cheddar Dumpling, which was similar to a Tortellini.  It was served in a Benton's Ham Broth with Chili Oil and Greens.  The broth had a significant amount of Chili Oil, so it had a bite in that respect, but it also had a huge amount of ham flavor and it was like drinking liquid ham and all together, it was like a ham and cheese sandwich presented differently.
Normally, palate cleansers are served after the last savory course and before the dessert.  I do however, understand the logic behind serving a palate cleanser after the previous dish.  It was so savory, it may have overwhelmed any more delicate flavors that came after.  For our palate cleanser we were served a Strawberry Rhubarb Granita (a semi-frozen ice dish similar to a sorbet) with Sesame and Mint.  It was simple, tart and sweet, and very good, both with its taste and the ability to clear the palate.
A dessert would normally follow a palate cleanser, but as I said, the dumpling and broth would have overwhelmed the flavors of the next dish, Quail with Polenta, Fried Green Tomatoes, Greens, Benton's Ham, and Parmesan.  The quail was breaded and the body was boned, with only bones in the wings and legs remaining.  It was good, but I am glad that it was mostly boned, because it is so small that it would have been a lot of work to get the beet off of the bones.  With the breading, the greens, the tomatoes, the ham, and the cheese, the flavors were similar to a club sandwich.
And then we came to dessert.  We were served Chocolate Ganache with Founder's Stout Caramel, Raspberry, Fennel, Graham Cracker Crumbs, and Meringue.  The chocolate was very dense and on the dark side which made sense for the caramel which had a bit of a bitter flavor from the stout.  The fennel added a light licorice flavor, the raspberries brought in a little tartness and the toasted meringue added some lightness.  It was a great finish to a creative and very good dinner.  I'm glad that I had the opportunity to come here.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Vinsetta Garage, Berkley, MI

While I like to be knowledgeable about the restaurant scene in Chicago, when I travel, I also like to get an idea of the noteable places to eat and drink.  I went to a few places when I was in Southeastern Michigan that were pretty good.  I mentioned Zingerman's Deli, we then went to a few breweries in Ann Arbor (Arbor and Jolly Pumpkin), before traveling to Berkley to visit Vinsetta Garage.  Vinsetta Garage was originally the oldest garage east of the Mississippi, originally built in 1915, but converted to a restaurant, serving foods that the mechanics that worked in the garage would appreciate (pizza, pasta, burgers, etc.).  The building is still the garage complete with neon trim and garage doors and the space still retains equipment from its garage days including an old tune up machine.  The floor is cement with some tile (and pennies encased in resin in the bathroom).  The bar is curved and looks into the open kitchen and the ceiling is unfinished with large skylights and hanging lights to provide additional light.  To provide additional atmosphere, an antique dragster sits on a ledge above the entrance. 
For drinks, they have a full bar with a good beer list and some cocktails, but they also go the soda fountain route with some very good milkshakes and concretes (which could also work as dessert).  We started out with a Chocolate Milkshake and a New Belgium Hemperor HPA.  The shake was nice and thick with a lot of chocolate, and as I said, could have served as dessert.  The New Belgium Hemperor was a Hemp Pale Ale.  I had read about it and it sounded too weird not to try if I ever saw it.  It was on the menu at Vinsetta, so I tried it.  It was very dank.  The flavor was very pronounced.  Hops and Marijuana are related and I have had some beers that aimed for the skunky flavor of marijuana and got there generally, but this was like drinking a joint.  While I will say that I was glad I got to try it, it also won't be a regular thing for me.
For food, we started with Chili Verde, with Pork Shoulder, Tomatillo, Jalapeno, Sour Cream, and Corn Tortilla Chips.  It was really good.  It had a lot of flavor with some spice, tender pork shoulder, and crunchy corn tortilla chips to add some additional texture and to finish things off.
For our main courses, while I did try both things we ordered, we essentially ordered separately.  There was a Coney Island Pizza (Sir Shakes Coney Pie) with Hot Dogs, Housemade Coney Chili, White Onions. Cheese Blend, Aged Cheddar, and French's Mustard.  It was unusual, but it was really good.  I had a slice, but it wasn't mine.  What I had was the Union Mac and Cheese which won an award as the area's favorite Mac and Cheese.  It had Vermont Sharp Cheddar, Pinconning Colby, Penne Rigati, Parmesan, Bechamel, and a Crunchy Crust, served with Ham.  It was big, rich, and I took over half of it with me.  The crust seemed to be made of a combination of breadcrumbs and fried cheese.  It was crunchy and had the great flavor of fried cheese, which led to the cheese covered pasta which was cooked perfectly and had the perfect amount of ham. 

While this is where dessert would have come, we were too full for dessert.  In addition to the milkshakes, they had several very nice looking pies.  The place was a lot of fun, the food was really good, and I would be happy to return.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Zingerman's Deli

Years ago when perusing cheese shops around Chicago, I started seeing cheese from a place in Michigan called Zingerman's.  After doing some studying, I found that they had started as a Jewish Deli that focused on the best local food that could be had.  This made them a little more expensive than you standard, but it also made them really good (and Popular).  Over the years, they developed a Creamery, a Bakery, A Candy Manufactory, a Coffee Roaster, a Mail Order Business, a Fish Store, and a sit down restaurant, in addition to the Delicatessan.  Their sit down restaurant, Zingerman's Roadhouse, won a James Beard Award a few years ago, showing that they are doing some really good work.  When I traveled to the area recently, visiting the Deli, the start of everything, was very high on my list.  Located in downtown Ann Arbor, it's easy to walk from from the train station.  The is located in the front of the deli and has an amazing selection of meats, cheeses, bread, coffee, and other specialty items.  There were many things that I was interested in, but as I was traveling by train and didn't have a way to refrigerate anything for the trip, my choices were limited and while I ended up trying a few things, I didn't buy anything.
As one might guess from their market selection, they also have an amazing deli selection.  While Zingerman's is ostensibly a Jewish Deli, they do also serve a variety of hams and bacons.  In addition to the Pastrami, Corned Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Fish, and other things, as well as a wide variety of salads.  They do not serve beer or liquor, but they have a variety of specialty soda's, in addition to Coffee, Tea, and Malteds.  I started things off with a Blenheim Ginger Ale, a Golden Ginger Ale that has a pronounced ginger flavor.  I much prefer the Golden Ginger Ales to the Dry (Canada Dry, Schweppes), but I prefer Vernor's to Blenheim.  For my sandwich, I decided to go with a specialty of Jewish Delis, the Reuben.  They had 6 different variations on the Reuben, I went with the S. Muno's Montreal Reuben with Wagshal's Smoked Brisket, Emmantal Swiss Cheese, Brinery Sauerkraut, and Russian Dressing on Grilled Rye Bread.  It was served with one of two Dill Pickles, New (Crunchy and Cucumbery) or Old (Garlic Cured).  I went with the New, which had a nice crisp crunch and a lot of flavor.  There was obviously a lot of dill flavorm but there was also a pretty good garlic flavor as well.  The sandwich was really good with a good crunch and flavor.  The brisket was tender and had a good smoked flavor, the sauerkraut was crisp and sour, and the Emmantal added some creamy bitterness.  On the side, I ordered Swiss Potato Salad with Redskin Potatoes, Neuske's Bacon, Switzerland Swiss Cheese, Sea Salt, Tellicherry Black Pepper, Scallions, Mayo, and Dijon Mustard.  I like potato salad, but this was a very good potato salad.

I really enjoyed my trip here and will definitely have to return when I return to the area.  While I could order food from them (I could order the ingredients for a sandwich and build it here), the place is very friendly and the selection they have is pretty incredible.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Lansing Breweries and BBQ

When I made plans for my recent trip to Lansing, MI, it was going to be about Brunch, Biking, Breweries, and BBQ.  I brought my bike with me so it would be easier to get from one place to another.  When I got up in the morning, I made plans to go to brunch, which I have already talked about, but the route took me along the very scenic river trail with a dock-like wooden trail that ran over the river in many places, and many scenic places like the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum, and the River Trail Theater.  The rest of the day was about biking to breweries and finishing with BBQ.
The first place I stopped after brunch was Ozone's Brewhouse, a small place in Old Town Lansing, located about a block from Golden Harvest.  As it was early, I was one of the first people there, which gave me time to study the place and peruse the menu.  The space reminded me of an old woodshop with everything made of wood and the bar topped with a glossy resin finish with a multicolored bottle cap design inlaid in several places.  Ozone is three Oxygen atoms bonded together and with a chemical formula of O3.  The design of the Ozone's Brewhouse label has both the chemical formula and structure of ozone in the name which I, as a chemist, thought was pretty cool.  They have a twelve beer tap list with a pretty good variety.  When I go to a new place, I prefer to maximize my samples and order a flight.  Ozone's did not have a set flight and they had a price for four ounce pours, so you could create your own flight.  As I had just had an enormous brunch, and I planned on visiting several places, I decided to keep things a little light and only ordered 4 - four ounce pours of a variety of styles.  I started out with Tyrannosaurus Razz Raspberry Saison.  It wasn't incredibly sweet or tart, but it had a nice raspberry aroma and finishing flavor with definite saison funk.  After fruit, I went to bourbon with Black Roses Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout.  This tasted big with a definite bourbon flavor.  The next beer kind of blew my mind which is exactly what it was supposed to do.  Called White Collar Crime, it was labeled a White Stout.  Now the idea of a white stout is a bit mind blowing because stouts are made with roasted malt, which gives the beer its dark flavor.  This beer is a pale ale brewed with cocoa nibs and cold brewed coffee, flavors that are frequently found in stouts.  While it certainly tastes like a stout, it very definitely did not look like a stout because it did not use roasted malt.  My final beer was Hopbreaker, which was an Imperial IPA.  It was pretty hoppy and flavorful with a nice body and with that it was time to get on the road again.
The next stop was the biggest brewery in the Lansing area, Lansing Brewing Company.
It takes its name from the original Lansing Brewing Company that operated in the city from 1898 until 1914 when it was closed in the movement toward Prohibition. The new Lansing Brewing Company opened in 2014 and uses the theme of the labor movement to build on.  Lansing was very important in the Labor Movement and the original was popular among the laborers in the new Oldsmobile Factory.  They had an Amber Cream Ale that was very popular which the new brewery also has.  I am going to guess that it is also very popular because when I tried to order it, they were out.  I started with a pint of Union Golden Ale and a small pour of Munchies Double Dank Double IPA.  The golden ale was solid and very drinkable.  The Double IPA, as it's name implies was dank and was going for a taste like marijuana smells.  It was not the dankest brew that I have ever had, but it was pretty dank.  While I was drinking these, I noticed some serving trays that seemed to be for flights.  Flights were not listed on the menu or else I would have ordered one when I sat.  I asked if they did flights, they did, so I ordered one.  I had already had the Golden Ale and their double IPA so they were off the list, but they had 12 beers on tap so I had choices.  In my flight I chose Michigan Medley Session IPA, Sly and the Family Saison Black Saison, Urban Grove Wheat Ale, Fox in the Henhouse Saison, and Saiko Himitsu Rice Lager.  Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have chosen the rice lager because the idea reminds me too much of Budweiser, but I wanted something on the lighter side.  It wasn't bad, but it also wasn't something that I would drink regularly.  Everything else was pretty good with my favorite probably being the Black Saison.  Lansing Brewing Company seems to be the most popular brewery in the Lansing Area, though they are also the safest as far as styles and flavors are concerned.
The last brewery that I stopped at was Ellison Brewery & Spirits, located in East Lansing, east of the MSU campus.  As I went to MSU, I did have to make a few stops to see landmarks and my dorm, but I didn't have to really go out of my way.  Located on a dead end road off East Lansing's main drag, you would think that it would be relatively easy to find.  Unfortunately the entrance is in the back of a generic factory building off the road and there is only one small sign on a door in the front, so it can be a little difficult where it is.  If you look into the alley/driveway behind the building, you can easily see a brewing tank, so I used that as a direction aid.  I had had some beer from Ellison and I liked it, so I was determined to find it.  Once you find the tap room, you see that it's kind of small with seating at the curved bar, high tops, and picnic tables for about 60 people (tightly).  There is a garage door at the entrance and space for the area to be used as a patio when the temperature was warmer than it was when I was there.  It was pretty busy, but I was waited on pretty quickly and found a spot to sit at a picnic table.  Their beers were little more on the exotic side and they did them well.  I ordered the Big Black Stout, BRB Fruit Ale made with Raspberries, Blueberries, and Blackberries, Crescent Fresh IPA, and Relativity Double IPA.  All of the beers had big flavors and were very good.  The two IPAs were West Coast and East Coast.  The Crescent Fresh being the West Coast IPA was very clear.  The Relativity was an East Coast IPA that was very hazy and had a juicy and citrusy flavor.  The Big Black Stout was solid with a nice coffee flavor, and BRB was tart and fruity.  Of the four, I think that I liked the Relativity Double IPA best.  My only issue was in the way the beers were served.  While I do understand the logic of serving beers in the order that they were ordered, the problem with that is that you could start with a beer that overwhelms your taste buds and kills your taste for the rest of your beers.  I prefer to have my beers served from light to dark.
I finished off the day with more food, stopping at the inventively named Meat BBQ, located very close to where I started in Lansing.  It was very popular when we went, I met my brother there, so there was a wait.  Luckily, my brother arrived before I did which alleviated most of our wait.  They have a pretty good beer list, but as I had been drinking all afternoon, I was not in the mood for any more.  We started things off with their Nachos.  These started out with hand cut Tortilla Chips topped with Pork, Brisket, and Bacon, Cheese and BBQ Sauce, and drizzled with Onions, Tomato, Jalopeno, and Avocado.  It was sloppy but it was really good and while it was served as an appetizer, it could have easily served as a main course.  For my main course, I went with a Half Rack of Ribs served with two sides.  The sides offered were normal BBQ fare and I went with Mac and Cheese and Potato Salad (although this Potato Salad was made with Blue Cheese and Bacon).  The ribs were dry rubbed and glazed with a sweet and spicy sauce, similar to Memphis-Style.  It was all good, but with my my high caloric intake for the day, I ended up taking most of it home which was fine because it was still good warmed up.  My day of Brunch (with Bacon and Broccoli), Beer, Biking, and BBQ was complete.  I had a lot of fun and enjoyed my experience at all of my stops.