Opening in 2004, Bastone Brewery cornered the market on Belgian ales in the Royal Oak area. After a few years of experimenting with their identity, Bastone decided to market themselves primarily as a brewery. Operating Partner David Ritchie and Master Brewer Rockne Van Meter agreed they had something special and should promote their niche.
“We wanted to be known as a brewery that served food instead of a restaurant that made their own beer,” Ritchie says. “We enhanced our brand, trained the (current and incoming) staff, and included beer and food pairing recommendations on the menu.”
“The core staff averages 6+ years and takes pride in all aspects of the brewery,” Ritchie says. “There have been a lot of restaurant closings in the area recently; we”re pleased to be going strong.”
Bastone Brewery has undergone a few renovations this past year, including expanded seating capacity and a rebranding of the former Café Habana space as Monk Beer Abbey. “We’re looking forward to relaxing a bit (on construction and expansion) this year and seeing how these latest round of changes pan out,” Ritchie says.
At the brewery, a distinction is made for what is the most popular beer as opposed to what is their best-selling beer. “The Monumental Blonde is the best selling beer we have, but the Nectar des Dieux Triple is the most popular, based on reviews and comments,” Ritchie says. “Everyone tries the lightest beer at most breweries.”
To celebrate the milestone, Van Meter has brewed four takes on the Saison style. “Each version of the Saison is unique. I worked with our chef to build a distinct flavor profile,” he says. “We picked complementary flavors, and each one has a different yeast. I didn’t want to just flavor the same base beer, I wanted to create distinct flavors; we’ll see how they all come out in a few weeks.”
Van Meter, who joined Bastone in 2005, realized his vision for brewing after stints at Big Buck and Rochester Mills. “I am a fan of Belgian Ales, it’s always more enjoyable brewing beer that you really enjoy,” he says.
Van Meter prides his brewing methodology on the fact that he remains true to the style while making ongoing adjustments to the recipes. With over 100 medals in various competitions — including The World Beer Cup and The Great American Beer Festival — Van Meter knows what he is doing.
“We strive for quality, in both the beer we serve regularly at the brewery and what we release for festivals and competitions,” says Van Meter. “We take a few chances and bring different beer to the festivals; we don’t serve them regularly at the brewery. You won’t be able to try the Peanut Butter ale here.”
“I’m lucky to have Rockne,” adds Ritchie, “I hope he never leaves or takes one of those job offers I am sure he is receiving.”
Wednesday, April 16 20 at Bastone
Don’t miss the biggest Mug Club party of the year. Enjoy live music with The Blue Water Kings, free hors d’oeuvres, and a complimentary commemorative tasting glass from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Guests will have the chance to sample Bastone’s award-winning craft beers and four unique offerings: Pink Peppercorn Sage Saison, Lemongrass Thai Chili Saison, Raspberry Rosemary Saison, and White Oak – Riesling Saison.
Sunday, April 20 at Bastone
Bring the family to celebrate the Easter Holiday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – kids eat free! Executive Chef Robert Young will prepare plated Easter brunch specials and each adult entrée will include two free kids’ meals. Kids will enjoy face painting and balloons by Sparkles the Clown.
Thursday, April 24 at Vinotecca
Indulge in an evening open house wine tasting from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., featuring favorites from the past and hidden gems just discovered. Enjoy complimentary hors d’oeurves and live music from The Blue Water Kings starting at 6 p.m. Don’t miss the best happy hour in town from 9 p.m. to midnight with half off all small plates, wine by the glass and 20 percent off bottles.
Wednesday, April 30 at Monk
The month-long anniversary celebration comes to an end with 5th and Main’s newest addition: Monk Beer Abbey. Welcome in the next 10 years with a Belgian beer and whiskey tasting, free small bites, and DJ Just B spinning Disco Punk from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
419 S. Main St., Royal Oak, MI 48067