• January 19, 2017

The First Draft

Erik Papke
  • Erik Papke
  • Blogger
  • Beer reviews and brewery tours for the impenitent drinker.
Saturday 11/16/2013
Frankenmuth Brewery has it all - Part II

Saturday was the day of the wedding. My family and I had promised to help set up the reception at, you guessed it, the Frankenmuth Brewery.

I’ll spare you the boring details of setting up a wedding reception, but after we were finished we watched some college football and relaxed all day until it was time for the actual wedding ceremony.

We made our way down to the huge St. Lorenz Lutheran Church, which has a pretty cool background itself if you have  time to read about it. The wedding was beautiful and blah-blah-blah, and then it was time for the real fun to begin. Back to the brewery!

We got to the brewery and made our way down to the bottom floor “party” area. Of course it was set up for a wedding reception, so the typical tables, dance floor and DJ booth were all there. However, one feature caught my eye almost immediately - a full bar with all eight Frankenmuth beers on tap. I knew it was going to be a fun night.

With my family, an open bar wedding is pretty standard, so I made sure to get my fill of delicious craft beer. I tried the few I hadn't sampled previously and finally decided to stick with the American Blonde Ale. With its crisp flavor, smooth finish and lower alcohol content, I knew I would be able to fly hangover-free Sunday morning. 

Posted in First draft on Saturday, November 16, 2013 3:21 pm. Updated: 5:30 pm. Comments (0)

Thursday 11/14/2013
Frankenmuth Brewery has it all - Part I

Hey beer fans!

I am finally back from Michigan, and like I promised before, I bring back tales of my awesome journey.

This trip was for my cousin's wedding, who was getting married in one of the coolest little towns I have ever had the privilege of stepping foot in, Frankenmuth, Mich. If you have never heard of Frankenmuth (and let’s face it, you probably haven’t), it is an old German town about an hour and a half north of Detroit.

Nicknamed “Little Bavaria,” Frankenmuth was settled in 1845 by German Lutheran missionaries, and is the location for the “World’s Largest Christmas Store,” Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, and home to the Frankenmuth Brewery.

I arrived in Frankenmuth late Thursday evening. The chilly weather reminded me of my college days in Iowa and the early dusk kind of camouflaged the city's attractions. I was pretty tired from my day long flights and was excited to dive into my hotel bed that night.

Friday rolled around and after a much needed night of sleep I was ready to go explore the town. I made my way to downtown Frankenmuth and began to see the sights the little city had to offer.

I was quite surprised that a town with a population under 5,000 could have such a great mix of historical buildings to go along with many new and recently renovated ones as well.

My first stop was Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the self-described “Largest Christmas Store in the World.” Pulling into the packed parking lot it is pretty clear to see that this title is warranted and deserved. I entered from the West entrance and was astounded by the number of ornaments and elderly people I saw. I wandered around for a little over an hour, making my way through each of the store's 16 sections. I became a little parched and decided the brewery would be my next pit stop.   

I found the Frankenmuth Brewery, and along with my family, made myself right at home. Housed in a four-story, 28,000-square-foot building, here beer lovers can enjoy a tour, rent out space for a gathering or party (more on that later). On the second floor, patrons can sit down and eat at the large sports-bar-esque restaurant.

We grabbed a table, ordered two pizzas and searched through the beer menu. Each of us ordered a different pint to sample. I decided on the Batch 69 American-style India pale ale and discovered this was definitely my favorite out of the eight varieties they were brewing at the time.

We drank and ate and decided to kind of just kick back at the brewery. We didn't take the official tour, but decided to walk around the premises ourselves and see the place. I was very impressed with everything, their beer, and even the food at the restaurant. All in all, I kind of fell in love with the brewery, the awesome atmosphere and its location right on the banks of the river.

To be continued ....

Posted in First draft on Thursday, November 14, 2013 3:18 pm. Updated: 5:31 pm. | Tags: Frankenmuth Michigan , Michigan , Frankenmuth , Frankenmuth Brewery , Bronner S Christmas Wonderland , Bavaria , Largest Christmas Store , Brewery Comments (0)

Tuesday 11/05/2013
Leinenkugel's Hoppin’ Helles: Mild taste, grassy aroma
What's up beer fans? 
Like I promised last time I am finally getting around to that Leinenkugel's Hoppin' Helles review. Before I start, let me explain what a Helles style beer is. According to the German Beer Institute, Helles is a German noun meaning "light one." However, this only refers to the actual color of the beer and not the caloric or alcoholic strength that we Americans view as a "light beer."
I personally can not recall ever having a Helles style before this one, so I have little to compare it to other than other tasty beers I have had. But I will say right off that I was a big fan of this beer. With a kind of pale yellow color and a head that disappears almost entirely, the Hoppin Helles certainly looks very inviting from a pint glass. With its hoppy, grassy, grainy aroma, and hoppy yet mild flavor, the Hoppin' Helles is definitely an enjoyable beer to sip on. Add in its 5.50 percent alcohol by volume rating, and this beer is easy to enjoy whether you are having one or a few with your buddies. 
If I had one complaint about this beer it would be that the flavor could be a little more aggressive. The aroma is so fantastic that the actual flavor is a slight disappointment, but overall a pretty good beer. 
What is your opinion of the Hoppin Helles? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

Posted in First draft on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 2:57 pm. Updated: 5:36 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 11/04/2013
All about me ... and beer

Welcome to the first post of the Final Draft! For those of you who have stumbled in without reading any of my “about me” content, let me give you a brief introduction to myself and what this blog is all about.

First and foremost, I am Erik Papke. I'm in my early 20s and can best be described as a young Frank the Tank. Put simply, I love to drink beer. Which is what this blog is all about, the greatness of that hoppy beverage.

But here at the Final Draft we will be doing more than just discussing the awesomeness of beer. We will be reviewing beer like a fine wine, taking field trips to local breweries, and sharing some fun beer-driven stories and experiences.

Now that we made it past the introductions, let me give you an idea of what’s on tap for the next couple of weeks. I recently drank a Leinenkugel’s Hoppin’ Helles and have been dying to talk about it ever since. Lucky for me, I have a blog where I can do just that, so expect a beer review soon.

Last weekend I made my way down to the University of Texas in Austin to party with the brothers of Delta Epsilon Psi. Halloween may be officially over, but the costume parties sure aren’t.

And finally, next weekend I will be heading north to attend a family wedding in Michigan’s “Little Bavaria,” Frankenmuth. Like a family wedding wouldn’t already be fun enough, my cousin had the bright idea to have his wedding at the Frankenmuth Brewery. I promise I shall return with photos and the best stories I can remember.

Until next time,


Posted in First draft on Monday, November 4, 2013 12:42 pm. Updated: 3:31 pm. | Tags: Frankenmuth Michigan , Beer , Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company , Michigan , Bavaria , Hoppy Beverage , Frankenmuth , Frankenmuth Brewery , Recreation , Austin , University Of Texas , Texas Comments (0)