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  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Sloshed 2011

All the news that brews

From Atwater, B. Nektar Meadery, North Peak and New Holland

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Atwater Brewery

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B. Nektar Meadery

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North Peak

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Yes, they can

Given the ever-growing popularity of craft beer in Michigan, it's only natural that residents of the Great Lakes State would want some suds packaged in lighter, grab-and-go cans. Great for camping, canoe trips and other getaways, they mean you can enjoy the great outdoors without lugging a 12-pack of heavy bottles. It's not a new idea — Keweenaw Brewing Company has been offering canned craft brews for years now — but we have a new entry in the aluminum-clad category, from Detroit's own Atwater Brewery, with Atwater Lager and Grand Circus IPA.

Atwater owner Mark Rieth points out that it isn't just campers who favor cans. "Cans are great for boaters, golfers, or at music venues — about 30 percent of the market is not going for bottles. I've wanted to do this for four or five years, so it's been a long time coming, but we're finally there with the cans — and people are really digging them."

Not only is it cool to have a can of beer that isn't mass-produced industrial beer, the can has some advantages over bottles. The precious beverage is protected from harmful ultraviolet rays, and the canning process allows for less air hitting the beer and changing its taste. Rieth also points out that cans are "lined" these days, so there isn't that tinny taste to canned beer you would have had a generation ago. 

And the offerings are great. They have canned their Atwater lager, the very first beer Atwater served in 1997. The traditional Munich-style helles lager is available in affordable 12-packs. Plus, they're offering cans of Grand Circus IPA. It's a session IPA, which means it's nice and hoppy without the typically higher ABV of an IPA. Which makes sense: If it's in a can, it should probably be more poundable.

Rieth also says that cans of Atwater's Dirty Blonde Ale will be available this coming spring.


Bees for beer?


Ferndale's B. Nektar Meadery, fresh off an expansion that will enable the operation to produce 400 times as much product, has also purchased special equipment that allows them to make "draft meads."

The meadery's Brad Dahlhofer explains: "It's lower alcohol, about the same level as beer, and we carbonate it. Typically people think of mead as a high-alcohol, wine-like beverage — and this is a product that sits more in the beer-cider category."

The push for fermented mead began almost a year ago. Last winter, Dahlhofer mixed up an experimental quaff called "Zombie Killer." 

"I'd been wanting to do a line of carbonated meads for a long time, and this just happened to be one of the tests we'd done." With a laugh, he adds, "We didn't have the equipment to do this on a large scale, so carbonated it by shaking up the kegs by hand."

The unusual work paid off at a springtime tasting party.

"People just went crazy for it. People were lining up for it out the door. So when we did our expansion here, we made sure to get the right equipment and got to work on new batches as soon as the apples started getting pressed for cider."

Are the 5.5 percent ABV brews poundable? 

"Oh, yeah," Dahlhofer says. "Quaffable, sessionable. We have more than 2,000 gallons in fermentation right now, and our release date is this Nov. 4, with a tasting. The following week, it'll hit stores."

The meadery also has a draft mead called Funky Monky. "We found a particularly earthy wildflower honey from Michigan with a kind of barnyard aroma that reminded us of a lot of those funky Belgian beers you find. In that spirit, we fermented it and added tart cherry juice, dry hopped it with Styrian Golding hops. It's big on the cherry, with notes of funk in the background, like a mead version of castile rouge, the Belgian cherry beer."

Next in the pipeline is B. Nektar's "Naughty Ginger," which should be out around Nov. 4 or later. It's made with Michigan star thistle honey, fermented to about 5.5 percent ABV, with ginger, coriander and hops. Dahlhofer says, "It's not hot ginger, just a pleasant balance between that mild sweetness and a bit of ginger bite." 



Get a sneak taste of Zombie Killer on Nov. 4, at at 1505 Jarvis, Suite B, Ferndale. Two-day tastings happen starting on the first and third Fridays of every month.


Let's get wet


Traverse City's North Peak has a few surprises up its sleeve this Halloween season, with Hooligan Hoppy Pumpkin Ale and Hoodoo Midwest Wet Hop IPA. Part of the Northern United Brewing Co. empire, which encompasses Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak, we expect them to get pumpkin spice right. But the new Hoodoo Midwest Wet Hop IPA is the brewery's first wet-hopped beer, using raw, unprocessed hops straight from the vine within hours of harvesting when they're less bitter. Naturally, hops this fresh can't be imported. They're grown just up the coast at the Old Mission Hop Exchange.

How hoppy is it? North Peak brewer Ron Jeffries says, "Given its strong malt-backed spine, we gave this Hoodoo hops to run. It starts hoppy, ends hoppy and is nothing but hops in the middle. Well, OK, a little malt in the middle — just enough to keep this Hoodoo from getting fussy."

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