We had a hankering for a beautiful brew, savory barbeque, and some sweet tunes. We hit the trifecta at Batch Brewing in Corktown, Detroit. It was the first night of their Smoketoberfest, which featured a smorgasbord of smoked delights paired with a host of German beers. Why is it called Smoketoberfest? Why not? Actually, the last weekend in September is the final weekend of Oktoberfest, so smoked meats, German beers, you get the picture. The “we” on this evening of fun included me, Brenda, our friends Doug, and our son Avery.
Smoketoberfest: Beer, BBQ, and Tunes
The seats outside were going fast, as the weather on this late September evening was gorgeous. We grabbed a picnic table just outside the front door. As I fired up my phone to gander at the special Smoketoberfest menu, Stephen Roginson (owner and pitmaster at Batch) popped over to say hello. Hair up in a bun, enjoying a pint, he was all smiles despite being up since 4:30 am to get the BBQ rolling.
Stephen shared the exciting news that Batch is putting together a collaboration with City Built Brewing in Grand Rapids. They plan to celebrate with a Detroit Fall Beer Festival pre-party on Friday, October 27th. On top of splendid beers and food, the party will include live music. All of this will raise funds for the Detroit Latino community. Keep an eye out for more details, as we’ll be sure to share them. I have to say, I never tire of sharing a few minutes with Stephen, as he is delightful.
No sooner had Stephen left us and we turned back to the menu than our buddy Tony Muggs stopped to say hello. Tony is an extraordinary dude and musician. He is also the author of a brilliant book about his life, which was nearly cut short by a stroke called Autobiograffitti. You may also know Tony from The Muggs, The Hourlies, or Dude. However, tonight, he was jamming with Mega Weedge, a tribute band to the weirdly wonderful and impossible to categorize rock music of Ween. Tony gave us a hug and made for the stage.
Dig Into Smoketoberfest
After these most excellent greetings and salutations, we ordered pints of beer and plates of food. Our plates of food included the Pit Master’s mix along with some ass-kickin’ buffalo smoked cauliflower (I saw that nose scrunch, cauliflower rules!). The Pit Master’s mix included smoked sausage (killer), pulled pork (awesome), brisket (tender, moist, and super awesome), and smoked turkey breast (mega tender, moist, and awesome). On the side, the Pit Master mix included pickled veggies, with the hot pickled cabbage stealing the show!
German beer offerings at Smoketoberfest included Berliner Weisse, Beirgartenbeir, Festbier, Dortmunder, Rauchbier, Radler, Schwarzbier, and Zwickelbier in addition to Batch’s impeccable IPAs, stouts, lagers, and kettle sours. They also had the slushie machine rolling out an Apple strudel beer slushie to keep the German theme humming. Clearly, the brewers at Batch are not fucking around when it comes to celebrating Oktoberfest in style.
I was so damn hungry that I failed to get a single picture of the terrific food. But let me tell you, it was delicious. I did manage to get a picture of my lovely Beirgartenbeir. On top of this beer, I sampled the Festbier and Zwickelbier. Each one was true to style and stupendous. I loved that they were also low on alcohol so that I could enjoy a few without any worries.
The Batch Brewing Stage
Smoketoberfest was an opportunity for us to witness the new stage at Batch. It is a giant cinder block structure that resembles an open warehouse. The inside walls are lined with bourbon barrel staves. Dave Cicotte, Batch’s marketing and event director, showed me the stage’s coolest feature. As we walked up to the stage, the buzz of a happy crowd was loud and boisterous from a mix of conversations. However, it was nearly dead quiet when we stepped onto the stage. Dave smiled. I’m like, how did you guys soundproof this stage?
Dave shared, “We framed everything on the inside, and then we had rockwool inside, and then once we had all the rockwool, we took weed barrier that you put in your garden, and put that over it so that you couldn’t see any of the wood or any of the exposed rockwool, and then the slats that you see are on each column is two different areas of bourbon barrels.”
This isolation gives the musicians an optimal on-stage mix, which is carried out to the audience via the PA. I’ve been to a lot of music venues, and the sound at Batch Brewing is sublime. Of course, a big part of that sound is thanks to the sound engineer, who happened to be the excellent Taylor Greenshields of Fundamental Sound Co.
If you aren’t familiar, Ween was a curious band. They took pop hooks and blended them with out-of-left-field songs. It’s solid rock music that is both upfront and in the side pocket. It’s sort of grungy, a little trippy, definitely unorthodox, and fun. Keeping the music of Ween alive in Detroit is the tribute band Mega Weedge.
Mega Weedge started in 2005. On rhythm guitar is Andy Misuraca, with his brother Paulie Misuraca on vocals. Tony Muggs hits the grooves on the Fender Rhodes piano bass and chimes in on backing vocals. Travis Harett drives the band with a great feel and a bit of swing on the drums. Michael Latcha lights up the fretboard on lead guitar.
Mega Weedge at Smoketoberfest was fun, loud, and rocking. You could see they were having a blast, and the audience loved it. They captured the rollicking nature of Ween, with standouts being “The Grobe” and “Gabrielle.” Kudos on a great set.
Given the long drive home and more adventures set for the next day, we didn’t make it for the last band on Friday night. Smoketoberfest had another day of brews and BBQ on Saturday. (Did you go?) We had a fantastic time sharing outstanding food and beverages with wonderful people at Batch Brewing in Corktown. If you missed it, have no fear. Batch always has killer food and beer on tap with plenty of events coming up (Mark your calendar for Friday, October 27th for sure!). Head over to our gallery for more photos from our Smoketoberfest experience.
Become a Supporter!
We wholeheartedly extend an invitation for you to become part of our Life In Michigan community. Your support is not just appreciated—it is vital. It is the lifeline that allows us to continue unveiling the unique and captivating narratives that paint Michigan in its true, vibrant colors. Whether you buy us a beer or choose to offer more sustained support via Substack, every contribution enriches our mission.
If our content has resonated with you, we urge you to become ambassadors of our stories. Share our work on your social media, or forward a link to someone who would appreciate it as much as you do. We are grateful for your support in every form. It is you who breathe life into our cause and keep the spirit of Life in Michigan thriving.
We’d love it if you’d like our Facebook page. Better yet, subscribe to our newsletter through Substack. Life In Michigan posts and our Sunday Sip Newsletter are delivered directly to your email box. You can also find us on Instagram.