Steeped in history, this Michigan brewery harnesses traditional German style of brewing
Located in the Rivertown district of Detroit, Michigan, Atwater Brewery was founded in March of 1997 with the purpose of blending together the rich history of Detroit Breweries and the classic and traditional Brewing methods of Germany.
Following the traditional German brewing style, Atwater Brewery actually operates an "imported" Kasper Schulz brew house - meaning all of the main brewing equipment was brought in from Germany, where precision and passion for beer has its roots. On top of that, Atwater uses only the finest German malt and hops to brew their traditional-style American Lagers, and only the finest American hops are used for the specialty Ales. All ingredients reflect the fresh and flavorful traditional German beer styles of Atwater.
Back in the late 80’s Mark Rieth, Michigan State University graduate, was living in Boston, Massachusetts, brewing his own Sam Adams Boston Lager knock offs in his basement, and sharing them with friends at parties. With an automotive background, he already had a strong understanding of the three tier system of production to distributor to consumer. When he moved back to Detroit in 1997,he stumbled upon Atwater, and he knew immediately that he needed to be a part of their German style brew house.
Now owner, Rieth, first started investing in Atwater Brewery in 2002 and eventually bought it out in 2005 with a renewed focus on the brewing process and distribution. He has since been determined to produce the highest quality craft beers on the market while putting Detroit back on the national brewery map (In the 1850's, Detroit had more production breweries than anywhere else in the country!).
Atwater holds true to making traditional German style lagers, as well as unique boutique ales. In the Michigan market, Dirty Blonde and Vanilla Java Porter quickly became the front runners, along with Hop-a-Peel, an American IPA, and Decadent Dark Chocolate, which won the Bronze World Beer Cup.
Atwater Brewery has a strong list of year round, seasonal and special series beers. Their styles range from fruity wheat beers, to full body stouts, to India Pale Ales full of hop bitterness, and even a Gose sour beer, though these styles only start the long list of Atwater’s successful beers.
In 2012, a small group of Michigan investors opened a contract brewery operating in Detroit, Michigan, known as Brew Detroit. Their goal was to create a contract brewing company to provide larger capacity production services to the multitude of Michigan beer brands. One of the initial four Michigan brands included at Brew Detroit when their tasting room opened in 2015 was of course, Atwater Brewery, along with BADASS American Lager, Motor City Brewing Works, and Big Red Beverages.
Today the brewery is thriving and expanding at its original Joseph Campau location adding a full scale Biergarten and Tap House. Also, 8 miles from the brewery in a renovated church, they opened Atwater in the Park. Here they serve unique Germanic beer styles, great food, and Atwater Spirits and Wine. By October 2016, the Atwater in Grand Rapids had opened its doors in the renovated Rowe Hotel downtown.
In Atwater’s tap rooms, visitors can stop by to enjoy a cold one as well as delicious deli sandwiches, salads, and burgers.
Rieth is also embarking on something that's redefining the Atwater brand...a craft beer in a can! With just two brands "in the can" - and with incredible feedback thus far - Mark plans to expand the packaging to new brands in the years to come. On top of cans' ease and reliability, the new packaging also certainly supports the Atwater slogan, "We drink all we can, and sell the rest!"
We are lucky enough to feature a number of Atwater brews in our monthly beer club. Subscribe for an exclusive taste of these unique beer styles. Cheers!