Motor City Brewing Works
470 W Canfield St
Visited on November 8, 2010
The one brewery in downtown Detroit that I managed to make it to wasn’t very impressive. The building was nice enough – old and brick as you might expect in an old neighborhood. But the pizza was decent at best and the beer was unremarkable at best. Their featured brew was something of an enigma with a ton of different grains and ingredients, but I just didn’t get it. Maybe the lines were dirty. Maybe they’re beer just isn’t that good.
Driving into the dilapidated city that is Detroit, I pulled down a cobblestone street just off of the highway with some particular expectations for my first, real Detroit brewpub. And thankfully, Motor City fulfilled none of them.
I pulled in behind the restaurant into a giant parking lot, parked nearly next to the back door, and wondered whether or not they were open. There just weren’t any cars. They must have been in the front. I walked in and was pleasantly surprised to find a nice assortment of folks enjoying a brew after work, along with a few other patrons waiting for some food. The tables were nice, solid colored, and probably from Ikea. The restaurant was small, comfy, clean, and a pleasant surprise. I liked the place, though it is not very big nor is it very special.
The beer is fairly solid, pretty drinkable, but certainly nothing outstanding. The sampler came with six different varieties, four regulars and two seasonal. The regulars were fine, with the pale ale slightly edging out the lager. Neither would do very well in any sort of competition, but they didn’t completely suck. I’d heard a lot about the Ghettoblaster while reading up on the place and I have no idea where it’s reputation came from. It’s slightly sour and not hoppy at all, which is odd since it’s advertised as a pale ale. I thought it sucked. The best, by far, was the harvest ale that was quite spicy and slightly dark and hoppy, not just a light, spiced ale.
The menu is mainly pizza. They do have some appetizers like chips, salsa, chili, artichoke dip, and such. The pizza crust seems to be prefabricated and just cooked in a pizza oven. I really don’t think they make the dough based on the uniformity of the crusts I saw popping out of the kitchen. However, they were crisp on the bottom, chewy in the middle and the toppings rocked. I got a lamb pizza with cucumber spears, feta cheese, tsziki sauce, and general deliciousness. It went down great.
The service was slow at times but genuine. I won’t harp on it since I was sitting in a corner and they were kind of busy. If I’d had more attention, I would have ordered another harvest ale after the sampler, but they missed out on that one.