Friday, February 03, 2012

Witch's Hat Brewing Company: Brewery Review

Written by  Patti Smith
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Witch's Hat Brewing Company - Brewery Review

Two hours to get in on opening day? Lines around the block? Completely full even days after the opening? Wow! This place had better be good.

I am talking, of course, about the newest brewpub in Michigan: the Witches Hat Brewpub in South Lyon. Witches Hat opened for business on December 26 with, as mentioned above, crowds and lines and long waits to get in. Before we even talk about how good the place is--and it IS good--I want to mention how awesome this spectacular opening is for the state of Michigan and the state of craft beer. Other than midnight releases of Harry Potter, when is the last time you've heard of anything like this?! It was like an, err, "mash" mob (if you will allow me to rip off that term) descended upon the new brewpub and worked it.
Witch's Hat Brewing Company BeersBoyfriend Ken and I tried to go a few days after the grand opening and found it full up. (This ended up being okay as we went to Lake Street Tavern, which had good food and a nice selection of craft beer). I finally made it out again last Saturday and it the place was still jam packed! If not for a reservation for my Meet Up group, I couldn't have gotten in.

So, is it worth the wait? In a word, yes.

The space: Yep, it's cozy. There's a little fireplace, darkly colored furniture, a short bar with the requisite stools and of course tables and chairs. Ryan, one of the owners, took our Meet Up group to the back, where the magic happens. A LOT of magic happens in a small space! Magic like....

The beers: There were seven beers on tap on Saturday and I got to sample 5 of them: After Christmas Ale, 1908, Ed's Brown, American Pale and Train Hopper. My personal favorites were the After Christmas and 1908. The After Christmas is an excellent winter ale with many of the usual winter spices (allspice, cinnamon and ginger) but also with a lovely taste of honey. The 1908 is a smoked wheat beer and absolutely delicious! Malty, well balanced and not too smoky...wonderful! All of the beers were quite good though, so you should have no problem finding a favorite.

The service: The service was impeccable. Our waitress took our orders on little slips of paper and knew our names right away. Glasses were never empty very long and the waitstaff seemed genuinely happy to be there (rare these days).

All in all, this was well worth the wait! More beers are coming out all the time, so hitch up the wagon and get up to South Lyon. Cheers!

Patti Smith

Patti Smith

Patti “TeacherPatti” Smith lives in Ann Arbor with Boyfriend Ken, her dog Buddy and her stepcats Ali and Cyrus. She is a special education teacher by day, local history buff and brew drinker by night (see the hybrid history/beer blog at www.teacherpatti.com). She also loves watching most Detroit sports on TV, boxing, brewing beer, storytelling, board games and recently wrote a middle grade/YA book that she hopes to convince a publisher to publish! Meantime, she is working on a book about the history of downtown Ann Arbor for Arcadia publishers. Her favorite beer styles include Russian Imperial Stout, pumpkin beers, Kolschs and most things with peppers in them.