One of the reasons I fell in love with beer was the stories around it.
I’ve written two books on regional histories of beer, after all — Grand Rapids and Nevada. So, for today’s Drinks with Pat column, I checked in with Levi Knoll, co-owner of Archival Brewing, at 6266 W. River Drive NE in Belmont.
Pat: What’s new at Archival?
Levi: We just opened the beer garden. We have a large beer garden, with table seating, fire pits, corn hole, bocce ball and an indoor bar. And all of our outdoor seating is dog-friendly.
We look out (over) Township Park with beautiful landscaping. Outdoor seating is always a great thing to have in Michigan.
It was going to be a phase two, (but) with construction timing with COVID, we had a bit of scare of surviving with indoor-only service and pulled the trigger, so we could accommodate anything and anyone looking for seating outside.
Pat: I love the focus on historical beer styles. Tell me a little bit about the beer menu.
Levi: We wanted to focus on historic beer — styles people won’t know, they’ve become extinct, or styles they do know but done to original style, like West Coast IPA from the 1970s, or our English Pale is British Commonwealth.
We have beer going back a couple decades, but a majority of the beer is made pre-Prohibition and from all over the world. There’s a lot of beer a couple hundred to a couple thousand years old. We just focus on just straight-up beer, no adjuncts or added flavorings.
And then, we have a lot of family members who are gluten-intolerant or have celiac disease, so we always have gluten-free meads and ciders on designated lines. And the majority of our food menu can be made gluten-free. We are very conscious of allergens and lifestyle choices.
Pat: How did you get into the historical beers? And why the equal focus on food?
Levi: As a home brewer, I got started going down the rabbit hole of different styles and why we’re drinking what we are now and trying to find out why IPAs are what they are now. That led down long tangents of when it was created, what was created before, what led to that style, and that led to beers I’ve never heard of and led to other rabbit holes of culture, era and politics.
I was really intrigued by doing that, and I fell in love with the stories that historic beer tells about humanity. I fell in love with the possibility of drinking something my ancestors drank, and I love the romanticized connection of that.
As for food, I have a culinary background. I’ve been in restaurants for 19 years, started at 15 and they’re the only jobs I’ve ever had. I wanted to bring food to the table that paired well with our beer that wasn’t the average brewery or brewpub bar food.
We wanted to elevate and showcase food from the areas that historic beer would be consumed with. A lot is working-class, very approachable from different geographic areas that the beer was created.
Tasty Japanese Whisky hitting American shelves
This week, I took part in the first-ever American press tasting for Fuji Single Grain Whisky, which is debuting in America this year.
The whiskey is a blend of three different whiskeys, each one using a different distilling method: American, Scottish and Canadian.
The whiskey smells wonderful, almost white wine-like, while fruit, cinnamon and chocolate hit the palate before finishing lightly woodsy.
The Fuji Single Grain Whiskey was incredibly smooth and multidimensional, with a load of stone fruit characteristics.
If you can, and are a fan of whiskeys, I’d suggest picking up a bottle if you see it.
What Pat is drinking
The other day, after mowing the lawn, I poured myself a delicious glass of Paulaner Pils. Paulaner has been making its beers since 1634 in Germany, and they hit the nail on the head every time.
Sunday apparently is World Paloma Day, which I would not have known if not for JAJA Tequila.
JAJA is co-owned by musical duo The Chainsmokers. Celebrities can’t stop buying/starting tequila companies. Check out this ranking of celebrity tequilas.
Anyway, here’s a tasty Paloma recipe from JAJA:
- 2 ounces Blanco tequila
- 1/2 ounce of fresh-squeezed lime juice
- Grapefruit soda to top
- Lime wedge to garnish
Method: Combine tequila and lime juice in highball glass with ice. Stir. Top with grapefruit soda. Garnish with lime wedge.
On a similar note, Saturday apparently is World Whiskey Day (thanks for the heads up Jameson). So grab your favorite whiskey. I might pour a dram of Jameson as a nod of thanks, or maybe Woodford Reserve, to celebrate.