Most Read
  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women 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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