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This summer, Tim and I took a long anticipated trip through the great beer regions of Europe. We flew in and out of Munich since Delta has direct flights there. Since we had planned this trip for over a year, we were able to get decent fares.
We took an overnight flight from Detroit to Munich. Directly after landing, we took the S Bahn, which is mostly an above ground train, to Salzburg, Austria. The train, tram and underground systems in Europe are the best way to get around. They run on-time and are clean and efficient. The only problem we had the entire trip was in Hungary where the trains were late and some display boards were not working.
In Salzburg we had to hit the most iconic beer gardens, Stiegl and Augustiner. Stiegl was such a beautiful setting perched on a hill overlooking the old town area near Mozart Square. I chose a raspberry Radler while Tim went with the more traditional Helles. Anytime you can get a beer right there from the place it was brewed is a treat. Both beers were excellent. We both had a great meal there two. I was a bit tired from the flight and just had the Radler and pork dinner and Tim had two beers and an incredible charcuterie plate which included a basket of bread, cheeses sausages and marrow. I know our bill was only around 38 Euros.
(View from Stiegl)
The next day we ventured to Augustiner to their 400 year old beer garden that seats over 1700 outside. The huge Beech trees sheltered the garden from the heat that day. It was an amazing site to see. Here, you go in and pay for your beer first, grab a glass from the shelves on the wall, wash it yourself and hand it to the beer tender who grabs beer after beer in a mindless state one after another. Make sure you throw a tip into his basket! Although there are one or two stands at the beer garden to grab something light, go upstairs in the hall and make a selection form one of the many stands which feature anything from traditional German fare like sausages and schnitzel to the cheese or fish mongers and bakeries selling all sorts of goodies.
In addition to the classic breweries, we also had a beer at Die Wiesse brewery which was a small independent brewery with a beautiful shaded beer garden. We both had the Helles and a rye pretzel. It is worth the stop
(Augustiner Beer Garden)
(Washing Our Mugs!)
While in Salzburg, make sure to hit the Trick Fountains. It is out of the city but a bus takes you right there. It was so much fun! Also take a ride up the aerial car to the top of the mountain and have a beer at the summit.
(Beers at the summit)
Next we headed by train to Zell am See, Austria. It is a picturesque town where the real Band of Brothers stayed during WWII. We enjoyed a beer by the lake and had great craft cocktails at the Gin House in town.
(Monty Python Cocktail at the Gin House)
(The Grand Hotel)
The next day we took a train to the Alpine lake town of Hallstatt. It is such an iconic image of Austria. We enjoyed beers by the lake and took the funicular up to the beer garden at the summit. The views were stunning and pictures do not do it justice.
The next day was a train trip to Graz, Austria. It is the second largest town in Austria. I had to go to Frankowitsch deli. They make these tiny sandwiches and serve these cute mini beers in tiny mugs. Everything there was so good. When we travel, we watch a lot ahead of time on YouTube to get ideas and this was one place I had to try. Everything there was between 2-3 Euros each.
(Mini beer and sandwiches at Frankowitsch deli)
We left Austria by train and headed to Budapest, Hungary. We had drinks on the rooftop at the Duchess bar. The views from here gave you a great panoramic view of the city. If you can make it, try to hit the Ruin bars there which is an area of small bars in the old Jewish Quarter. It is a very eclectic area. Budapest is by far such an affordable city. I hate to say cheap but it really is. You can get 2 liters of beer for around 11 Euros. In Budapest, we met up with family and friends and boarded a river cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg.
One of our stops along the way was in Vienna. It was 95 and humid that day so a shady beer garden was in order! Often, public parks have beer gardens. We stopped at Biergart’l im Stadtpark Again, it was a great shady spot under the Beech trees for a cold Helles.
Another stop we did was Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. Some of the Game of Thrones was filmed here, Specifically this is where Cersei did her “walk of shame”. It is a fun town with a river, rafting and little restaurants along the river to grab a Czech pilsner. Again, this was a very affordable country.
We finished our trip in Munich. You must get to the outdoor beer garden as you pass through Hoffbrauhaus. It is so much cooler out there. Ladies walk around selling huge pretzels and the beer is great. This was the first place I saw a Dunkel Radler. It was quite good! The food there is excellent as well. There is a strolling band and the atmosphere is fun! One of my favorite places to sit and have a beer while people watching is the Vitualianmarkt. It has all sorts of food vendors and you can get a beer and sit in the shaded beer garden. A Favorite!
(Tim having fun!)
Another all-time favorite place is The English Gardens in Munich. The Chinese Tower is a must to visit. There is plenty of food and beer with seating for over 7,000! It never felt crowded though even on a Saturday. A short walk later and you can hit Seehaus Beer Garden located next to a lake in The English Gardens. This is much smaller but the setting is relaxing. In the evening, we headed to Wierner Platz Beer Garden which is more of a neighborhood beer garden but still well worth the trip.
I still find Munich to be one of my favorite cities to visit. There is so much to do. It is central to a lot of things and all of the public transportation choices make it an easy place to get around.
We are working on a trip for Brown Iron and our patrons for next year to Europe. Stay tuned!
We will be importing several of the Munich beers for our Oktoberfest and I hope you can come enjoy some of those with us!
Brown Iron is proud to have established 6 core pillars for our business model:Teamwork, Passion, Innovation, Quality, Growth and Community.
During the recent shutdowns “which shall not be named anymore”, it was difficult for us to participate as strongly as we had in the past with community events. This fall, we were approached by “Ales for ALS” to participate in a brewing event to help fight the terrible ALS disease that kills so many young people.
WHAT IS ALES FOR ALS™?Ales for ALS™ is a national fundraising campaign created in 2013 by a Yakima Valley hop farming family to raise funds and awareness for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Each year, their hop farm, Loftus Ranches, and Yakima Chief Hops donate a unique hop blend, developed by master brewers, to select breweries across the country. Brewers create a special brew from the hops and donate a portion of their sales to ALS TDI.
WHAT IS ALS?
Every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or Motor Neuron Disease (MND). It is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, difficulty breathing and swallowing, and paralysis while leaving the senses intact. Most survive three to five years after diagnosis. An estimated 500,000 people worldwide live with the disease. There is no effective treatment nor cure.
ABOUT THE ALS THERAPY DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE
The ALS Therapy Development Institute and our scientists actively discover and develop treatments for ALS. We are the world’s first and largest nonprofit biotech focused 100 percent on ALS research. Led by people with ALS and drug development experts, we understand the urgent need to slow and stop this disease. Learn more at
This year, I lost a friend to ALS. He was 53 years young…A family man, a loving husband and great friend to so many. His only negative trait for me was that he was a huge Alabama fan! His name is Tommy. He was a classmate of mine and grew up in the area. He was the handsome and funny athlete everyone loved. As with many, we connected again through Facebook and shared the joys of our families, trips, events and everything else you do on Facebook together. ALS hit Tommy fast and hard, but he always had a smile on his face.
According to his wife Debbie, Tommy loved a good beer and he loved his family and Alabama. He had the nickname of Mongo. Tommy would have been flattered to name a beer after him.
This beer is for you, Tommy, and all of those affected by this terrible disease.
It’s always exciting and fun to come up with a new recipe or a twist on a flagship beer. Brown Iron Brewery has the luxury of having a smaller brewing system, 7 barrels, so we can have a bit more freedom to experiment.
Craft Beer at Brown Iron Brewhouse
We are often inspired by other breweries, reading books about flavor profiles (we love the book The Flavor Bible), trends in food and cultures and just walking down the grocery aisles or local markets. Some of our favorite spots for inspiration are the fruit section, breakfast and candy aisles as well as the unique Oreo section!
The recipe development is often the fun part! We can spend hours tasting and mixing flavors. We choose “real” ingredients over extracts or flavorings. It’s not uncommon to spend a few hours unwrapping Reese’s peanut butter cups, making gallons of cold brew coffee or cooking down strawberries to add to the fermenters.
You would think the hard part is making the beer. Of course there is the recipe development, the brewing, the cleaning and the constant monitoring to make a great beer but then comes the name.
How do we name our beer? As we taste it throughout the entire process, flavor notes will appear or become more pronounced. Sometimes names of beer come from exactly what it tastes like such as our Cinnamon French Toast, Chocolate Cherry Cordial or Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. Others take their names from a twist on something we have heard before like Strawberry Zeals Forever, Hot Tub Beer Machine or He’s Bad Bad Pecan Brown. Pop culture also plays into beer naming such as the Kramer line from Seinfeld, “The Mackinac Peaches, Jerry” or the phrase Boi was added to our beer called Hop Boi. Then there is “Do You know the Muffin Man?”. There are names that feel good rolling off your tongue such as Mongo Like Mango and Freaki Tiki. Tim likes to name beers with a deeper, more sophisticated way using legends and folklore such as Helheim Hammer. In Norse mythology Helheim literally means “House of Hell” which is fitting for our high ABV beer or Haka Happiness. Haka is a ceremonial dance in the Maori culture.
Naming beers isn’t as easy as it may seem. Usually there are a lot of comments from the staff like “ewww no way” or “that’s a hard pass” or “we love it!”. Poor Tim wanted to name a beer “Citrasaurus” and we banned him from using dinosaur names lol. Later the name started to be a common joke but it grew on us and we were going to use it but someone else took it!
Once we decide upon a name, we have to research the internet to see if the name has been “taken” or trademarked. We always search Untappd first. We want to be the only ones using the name.
Are you creative and want to come up with a name? Do you have “thick skin” if we reject it? Send me your thoughts if you have any to patti@BrownIron.com and HAPPY NAMING!
The statement, “We are all in this together.” really doesn’t apply in 2020. As many Fortune 500 firms grow and grow, the challenges faced by the hospitality industry at this time are immense. It is astonishing that U.S. Billionaires have added over $1 Trillion to their collective net wealth since the start of the Pandemic. We do not begrudge the success of these Wall Street-backed companies but in Michigan, we faced 85-consecutive days of closed dining rooms earlier this year and have operated at 50% capacity ever since. Now, a 3-week (and potentially much longer) ban on indoor dining will make it more challenging for the industry to recover. As we identify most with the craft beer industry, things are tough indeed. At the ground level, the negative ripples of the pandemic are visible at every level.
As we look to 2021, our wish is that craft beer recovers quickly. This industry is cemented in the concept of community. With all the challenges of 2020, it is clear to us that the local charities and causes have been the most negatively impacted. Visit any craft brewery in Michigan and you will typically see efforts to support multiple charitable causes throughout the year. At Brown Iron, the cancellation of annual events like St. Baldrick’s or our golf outing made us just sad. As we enter this Christmas being closed for indoor dining, our traditional giving trees are being shuttered as well. This year, we were hoping to provide a full Christmas to 15 families. Now, this year, we are simply focused on the task of making it through the COVID-19 Pandemic. The increased demand for services, the inability to have fundraisers and the reduced availability of monies have devastated many charitable organizations. Still…lets do what we can.
When possible, all we can ask of everyone is support your local charities, business and brands. Unfortunately, next year, a few of those special places that we were used to seeing on a regular basis will be gone.
Wishing everyone the best holiday season possible. If anyone is in need of meal or any assistance this season, please email us at email@example.com and we will see what we can do to help out. Thank you.
No beer talk today. Instead, as we approach this Veterans Day, I would like to reaffirm this Veterans Day as a celebration to America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of America, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good of this world. Being an Army Veteran, I would like to thank all Americans for their commitment to this cause. As a veteran of veterans, I have come to understand the sacrifices that were made. From one grandfather dropping with the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment into Corregidor to the other suffering through Africa, Sicily and Italy, the deeds are amazing.
Although debated, our isolationism prior to World War 2 (WW2) was certainly a cause that led to the great suffering. As a result, approximately 70 million people lost their lives over a six-year period. These numbers equate to nearly 32,000 deaths every day. Before America entered the conflict, the outcome was certainly in doubt. If you have the opportunity, please visit one of the 25 American cemeteries found in France, Belgium, England, Philippines, Panama, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands and Tunisia. These cemeteries remind everyone of the service and sacrifice of Americans.
Since WW2 and no longer isolated, America has been at the forefront of The Long Peace. Although it certainly has not been ideal, the lack of major intercountry conflict since WW2 is something to say thank you. The will of our military backed by its citizens is simply incredible. Over the next year, the military budget for the USA is estimated to be $740.5 billion. This treasury we spend, coupled with our dedication of our military, goes to prolong The Long Peace. Again, thank you to our veterans and thank you to its citizens for creating the greatest military the world has ever known.
Have we been perfect? Can we do better? Must we do better? Yes, yes and yes. To quote, Ulysses S. Grant, “My family is American, and has been for generations, in all its branches, direct and collateral.” It’s time to throw our identity-based politics and remember that we are Americans. I can’t imagine a world without America and the world looks to us to be that beacon of light. Thank you.
– Tim Eisenbraun
I would like to thank everyone who happened to make it out for Oktoberfest. It was nice to see everyone enjoy the nice weather, beers and special menu. It is always sad to see summer go but that brings fall’s opportunity for some beer and hiking the outdoors. We decided to take a mid-week break and run up to the U.P.
Our tour begins right across the bridge. We tried to visit Les Cheneaux Distillers in Cedarville. Unfortunately, they were closed. It looks great and we started out desperate for a taste of beer. It was on us for not double checking on the hours before we got there. The hours had just changed that day and we were not able to stop. Due to cooler weather, staffing issues and the pandemic, open hours vary greatly. Hopefully next time.
Next, we had the opportunity to hit Sault Ste. Marie. Our first stop was to Soo Brewing Company (SBC). We had a few beers and met up with Brown Iron customer’s Autumn and Jake from Port Huron. In the near future, SBC will relocate to the corner of Ashmun and Portage. The building is currently occupied by 1668 Winery & Lockside Brewery. It will have a rooftop deck as well. We had all the beers and all were good and they have a pretty loyal following. Sadly, no IPA this day. There are several nice breweries on the other side of the river to visit when the bridge into Ontario opens. Hopefully soon.
Next day ,we made the run up to Whitefish Point and the fall colors were trying to come out. We had a nice fish meal up at Brown Fisheries Fish House in Paradise. Although there is no dining inside, they have a nice routine for car delivery. Nothing fancy but the meal was great. After a nice hike along the Lower Falls of the Tahquamenon River, we made the stop at Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub. They have four beers on tap that are severed from serving tanks. We went with the Honey Brown Ale and Tannin Red. Both beers paired well with the rain. I was desperate for an IPA.
Then it was off to Munising and Pictured Rocks. Finally had some time to take some hikes and we were not disappointed. We were able to hit 11 waterfalls in the area. One of our favorites not to miss was Memorial and Tannery Falls. There were few people on the trail and you basically have the entire area to yourself.
Local beers can be had at ByGeorge Brewing Co. and East Channel Brewing Company. Established in 2019, ByGeorge Brewing is the new place to go. The building has a nice layout with a partially covered patio. Beers at both places are great. Finally…plenty of IPAs.
We had a chance to hike the Pictured Rocks Loop along the Chapel and Mosquito Trails. The entire loop was just about 11 miles and the photos do not do the area any justice. If you have the time to do it, it is a hike sought by people throughout the world. After the hike, you will have earned that beer!
It’s that time again! Oktoberfest continues to be one our favorite things we do at Brown Iron. Dating back to 1810, Oktoberfest was the celebration of the wedding between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese. Unlike many royal unions, this one was a celebration for all of the citizens of Bavaria. Based on its success, the decision was made to continue the tradition annually.
The Oktoberfest we celebrate today is a great experience for anyone. Patti and I had the opportunity to visit Oktoberfest in 2017. I can say that everyone should put it on their list of things to do. If you do, make sure you bring your dirndl and lederhosen. You will feel silly without it! Another tip would be to avoid consecutive days. The liver needs to recover.
Although they call the structures “tents” on the grounds, they seem like full-on building structures. It’s hard to believe they put them up and take them down every festival. Each tent serves only their brand of beer sold in 1 liter or half liter sizes. Your selection typically comes down to a Festbier, Radler or Alkoholfrei. A few tents offer wine and each tent has its own personality. In addition to the festival tents, there are a wide range of stands selling all sorts of merchandise and food. A huge section of the fest grounds has an array of carnival rides which was fun to see. Check out “The Devil’s Wheel” on Google to see an insane ride experience. We went in and it was so fun to watch!
Unfortunately, the Wiesn (to the Germans) will not be celebrated this year. Although this isn’t the first time it has been cancelled, this year will be the 25th time it has been cancelled. With attendance of roughly 7.2 million, it really is an impressive production. We were planning on attending this year with staff; but hopefully, we can make it back in 2021.
But fear not! Undeterred, our Oktoberfest will run between Friday, September 18th through Sunday, October 4th. Why so many days? We try to mirror the event similar to what they do in Bavaria. Although we don’t have a single tent with a single beer, we give you the best option to try 30+ German beers. Look for your favorite beers from Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Spaten, Weihenstephan, Erdinger, Ayinger and a host of others. Although we can’t get our hands on draft beer from Augustiner or Löwenbräu, we have four of the six Munich breweries. Based on the challenges of bringing in and tapping all the different imported beers, I really don’t know of any other place that does what we do. Although our focus is American Craft Beer, we do it so we can bring these great beers to our customers. In addition to our full menu, we will have special Oktoberfest options daily.
The staff will be wearing traditional fest garments. Patrons wearing the full dirndl or lederhosen will receive 10% off their bill.