6 Things You Need to Know About The District Detroit

The District Detroit is fast-underway, and with it, the budding excitement of a new downtown playground. As we look forward to the opening of this state-of-the-art district, we asked guest blogger Ed Saenz from Olympia Development of Michigan a few questions on what to expect and look forward to.

1. What makes The District Detroit a ‘district?’

This is a network of five new, mixed-use neighborhoods, featuring residential, office, retail and green spaces which will each be anchored by world-class venues. The District Detroit spans a 50-block area and will include thriving businesses, parks, restaurants, bars and event destinations.

Photo Courtesy of The District Detroit

2. What is going to make The District Detroit an attractive destination for travelers and tourists?

In addition to the new Detroit Events Center, The District Detroit will offer shops, parks, restaurants, bars and event destinations similar to the Fox Theatre and Comerica Park. More than 180,000 square feet of new retail and restaurants will be developed in the neighborhood around the new arena alone.

3. How will the district contribute to the comeback of the city?

Our organization has been committed to the city for more than 50 years and we’re proud to be a part of Detroit’s amazing comeback story.  This District Detroit is a catalyst because  it is transforming places and people’s lives.  We are redeveloping a 50-block area surrounding the new Detroit Events Center into restaurants, shops, offices and residential spaces where people can live, work and play. The goal is to create a contiguous, walkable area between the fast-moving Midtown and resurging Downtown areas.

Photo Courtesy of The District Detroit

4. What are some of the new amenities fans will experience within the new arena?

Dynamic fan experiences, like enhanced video and sound capabilities for a more immersive experience, creative food-service options, a “skin” on the outside of the arena bowl that can display video and graphics, additional elevators and improved seating options – such as gondola seating suspended over the event level – that create unique, memorable experiences.

Photo Courtesy of The District Detroit

Active community spaces like on-site practice ice, which will also be used for amateur hockey; an outdoor plaza featuring a massive video wall – along with more green spaces across the arena site – will be regularly programmed with music and entertainment.

The new Detroit arena will be a special place for fans of music, sports, and other events, and we know that it will deliver a world-class venue that our community will be proud of.

5. When will the district be open to the public?

The new arena will open in September 2017, in time for the start of the 2017 NHL season, along with nearby restaurants, shops and new residential units.

Photo Courtesy of The District Detroit

6. What is the number one thing people will love about The District Detroit?

The District Detroit will shops, living spaces and venues into one contiguous walkable area, where families, sports fans, entrepreneurs, job seekers, and fans can connect with each other and the city they love!

You can follow the latest on The District Detroit developments on DistrictDetroit.com or on their Instagram.

What are you most looking forward to about the opening of The District Detroit? Share with us by commenting below!

5 Michigan Breweries Famous on a National Scale

Craft Beer is becoming synonymous with Michigan, with some 250 breweries spread throughout two peninsulas. Ranking fifth nationally for that overall number of breweries, it’s no wonder the Michigan Brewers Guild uses the tag: “Michigan. The Great Beer State.” In celebration of National Beer Day, read more on five famous Michigan breweries (in no particular order), as shared by Dianna Stampfler of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

Did you know there are quite a handful of Michigan breweries and microbreweries that currently distribute outside the state? In fact, Michigan-based Meijer recently announced that it is taking the six largest breweries—Arcadia, Atwater, Bell’s, Founders, New Holland and Short’s—to more than 223-store locations in five states in the Midwest!

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @nickgezon

Currently, Meijer carries selections from 50 Michigan breweries and offers 550 different beers from 220 beer-makers in its six-state footprint. It expects to sell $90 million in craft beer in 2016, including $30 million of Michigan-produced beer.

Those who live in Michigan probably know most of the older, well-established breweries. But for those throughout the rest of the country, what do they think of when they hear the names of some of these noted craft producers?

1. Bell’s Brewery. The largest and longest-operating of Michigan’s craft breweries, Bell’s was founded in 1986 in Kalamazoo by Larry Bell—considered the patriarch of the industry.

Available in 23 states, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico, this brand’s most noted product is Oberon (introduced as Solsun in 1992 and renamed in 1997 due to a similar named beer from another North American brewery).

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

The release of this noted beer is nothing less than a National Holiday—Oberon Day was celebrated this year on Monday, March 21 (second only to Eccentric Day, held each December, in terms of Bell’s-focused festivities). Considered a summer seasonal for most states, it is available year-round in states with warmer climates such as Arizona, Southern California, Florida and Puerto Rico.

2. Dark Horse Brewery. Featured in 2014 on The History Channel show “Dark Horse Nation,” this Marshall brewery has a loyal-following for its cast of characters as well as its full beer portfolio. But it is the Crooked Tree IPA which is its top seller, currently available in 15 states, and overseas in Denmark.

An IPA (India Pale Ale) is a style of beer dating back to the early 1800s. Contemporary American IPAs are typically brewed with distinctively American hops. Dark Horse’s award-winning Crooked Tree IPA (6.5% ABV | 46 IBUs) is heavily dry-hopped with a blend of Centennial, Cascade and Columbus hops, to give it a big aroma of pine and grapefruit citrus.

3. Founder’s Brewing. Michigan’s second-largest brewery (and the fastest growing of the top 50 largest breweries in the United States), has been operating in downtown Grand Rapids since 1997 and currently offers a wide variety of beer styles available in 37 states (and growing).

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

Among Founders’ diverse portfolio, it is Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) which garners the most attention for the brewery.

“KBS is sold one day a year in outlying markets,” says co-founder Dave Engbers. “Usually. It doesn’t hit the shelves but is quietly held or reserved as a reward to retailers’ best customers. Beer enthusiast have been known to ‘tail’ beer distributor’s trucks so they don’t miss a delivery.”

While KBS is available in limited quantities starting April 1 across the brewery’s distribution footprint visitors to and residents of Grand Rapids were given access to this much-anticipated beer back in mid-March during KBS Week.

4. Jolly Pumpkin. Regarded as the nation’s first brewery focused on and offering an exclusive selection of oak-aged sour beers—often called farmhouse or rustic country ales—Jolly Pumpkin has under the watchful guidance of master brewer Ron Jeffries.

With a special interest in rustic country ales, Ron and his wife, Laurie, realized their dream in the summer of 2004 when they launched Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Dexter (along with North Peak Beer, both of which operate through Northern United Brewing Company). Currently available in 25 states (as well as Hong Kong, Belgium, Ontario and South Korea), the award-winning Jolly Pumpkin is recognized as the America’s premier all-sour brewery.

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

And while the creatively-named and inspired beers are all special in their own way, it is the Oro de Calabaza (translation: Golden Pumpkin) that is the #1 selling beer outside of Michigan. This Golden Ale (8% ABV | 30 IBUs) is a “wild ale” brewed in the Franco-Belgian tradition of Belgian Strong Goldens. Available year-round, this orange-yellow hued beer it is “spicy and peppery, with a gentle hop bouquet and beguiling influence of wild yeast.”

5. New Holland Brewing. Founded in downtown Holland in 1997, (and coming soon to downtown Grand Rapids), this brewery and distillery first produced Dragon’s Milk (11% ABV | 31 IBUs) in 2001 as a single-batch annual release. Today, it is the brewery’s largest selling year-round beer – available in all 24 states where they distribute. In fact, in 2015 New Holland renovated its Holland production facility to expand its cellar, where more than 3,500 oak barrels of Dragon’s Milk are now aging.

This Bourbon Barrel Stout is aged in bourbon barrels and is noted for its roasty malt character intermingled with deep vanilla tones that dance together in an oak bath before being bottled. In 2014, New Holland introduced their “Dragon’s Milk Reserve” series, including additional conditioning ingredients, like toasted chilies, and raspberries. The 2016 Dragon’s Milk Reserve series includes Vanilla Chai, released in January, Coffee & Chocolate released in March and will include Raspberry and Lemon and “Double Dragon” later this year.

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

It should also be noted that New Holland produces a full line of spirits as well, including Beer Barrel Bourbon – a bourbon-style whiskey finished in second-use Dragon’s Milk beer barrels for 90 days. For those who are so inclined, a snifter of Dragon’s Milk served with a shot of Beer Barrel Bourbon has affectionately been called the “Dragon Slayer.”

Dianna Stampfler is a freelance writer and promoter of all things Michigan. She has served as publicist for the Michigan Brewers Guild since 2008.

Explore Iconic Detroit Locations with the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Tour App

Detroit has been home to the filming of many Hollywood movies, but maybe none as action-packed as recently-released Batman V. Superman. What’s more, smartphone users have the chance to download an app and go on a tour of the historic Motor City locations that were featured in the movie.

The app (downloadable here) features content, extras and cool freebies that become available as you check in at the 12 respective Detroit locations. Read below to learn more about five of the local destinations featured in the app and be sure to download to check out the rest!

1. Wayne Building in Gotham (Guardian Building)

Originally named the Union Guardian Building, it was created for the Union Trust Co. when it required more space after merging with the National Bank of Commerce. It was also known as the Cathedral of Finance because of the building’s architecture. Its taller north tower and smaller octagonal south tower are connected with a nave-like block similar to the plan of a cathedral. (From the app)

Guardian Building, Photo Courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

2. Museum Gala (Detroit Public Library)

Measured by volumes in the collection, the Detroit Public Library is the largest library system in Michigan and the 20th largest in the United States. Designed by Cass Gilbert, the library was constructed with Vermont marble and serpentine Italian marble trim in an Italian Renaissance style. Gilbert also designed the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. (From the app)

3. Diana’s Hotel (Masonic Temple)

The largest Masonic Temple in the world has hosted many of the world’s greatest entertainers for four generations. The 4,400-seat theater exudes a charm – and acoustically perfect surroundings – that thrills spectators. This historically significant 1,037-room architectural gem, designed by George D. Mason, lends itself to numerous events, including prearranged tours.

4. Meeting in Washington, D.C. (Belle Isle – Detroit side of bridge)

Rich with history and natural beauty, Belle Isle Park is a Detroit gem and Michigan’s 102nd state park. The 987-acre island park features a nature zoo, conservatory, golf practice facility, maritime museum, an aquarium, picnic areas and more. The park includes three lakes, 150 acres of wooded area and spectacular views of the Detroit and Windsor skyline.

MacArthur Bridge on Belle Isle

5. Raffi’s Restaurant (Hygrade Deli)

Nate Stutz opened the Hygrade Deli about 65 years ago in what was then the Western Market. The deli got its name from the market’s largest vendor, Hygrade Food Product Corp. After the Western Market was leveled to make way for I-75, Stutz moved the restaurant to Michigan Avenue. It has been there ever since, in an unaltered state, serving some of Detroit’s best corned beef sandwiches.

How many of these Detroit destinations have you visited? Share with us by commenting below!