The Royal Oak Brewery will be hosting their 18th anniversary party on Wednesday, Sept. 18. The party runs from 11:30 a.m. to close, and features $2 pints from 11:30 to 6 p.m., and $3 pints from 6 p.m. until close. Food specials will also available. Live entertainment (including beer festival favorites The Reefermen) begins at 8:30 on the patio.
Brewer Tim Selewski attributes the longevity of the business to the loyal local customer base, as well as the growth of the Michigan beer industry in general.
“We’ve been around since 1995, and have grown with the expansion of Royal Oak,” Selewski explains. “We opened as a neighborhood restaurant when there were smaller, independent businesses, and have grown our customer base as the city added more restaurants, bars, and breweries. We’re lucky and fortunate to have so many regulars, many of which live within walking distance.”
Selewski says the growth of craft beer in Michigan (20 percent annually, over the last few years), has added to the client base. “Younger drinkers have been exposed to a greater diversity of breweries and styles of beer from the beginning, and it shows,” he says. “We’re seeing more people looking for full-flavored products across the board. We started out selling the aesthetic of craft beer, and now that it has been established, we’re all benefiting. Michigan’s beer palate has advanced, which is why we’ve been able to maintain the level of growth we have been experiencing.”
“The Michigan brewing community is great! We view it as a collaboration instead of a competition,” Selewski adds. “We have several breweries in Royal Oak, and look to each other for support and ideas; when one brewery succeeds, we all win. We brew different styles and have different strengths; we all feed off the success of each other.”
The brewery’s success can also be tied to the friendliness and accessibility of the staff and the quality of the food. The brew house is nestled in behind the bar in full view of the patrons. Selewski brews, transfers, quality checks, and kegs in the open, while greeting almost everyone that walks by the bar – many by their first names.
“It’s like I’m the publican of the old days — I’m not isolated behind a glass wall. I think it’s very important to be out front talking to patrons, swapping stories and answering questions about brewing,” Selewski says. “I would rather be talking to people than appear like a mad scientist in a lab.”
The beer at Royal Oak Brewery is a combination of remaining true to traditional recipes and experimenting with the tastes of the current trends. “I try to brew according to the seasons – I make adjustments to the recipes depending on the time of year,” Selewski explains. “Higher alcohol in the winter helps fight off the colder temperatures, while more refreshing beers are better-suited for the summer.”
For their Anniversary Ale, and in conjunction with the marketplace, Royal Oak Brewery is offering an Imperial IPA clocking in at 8.5 percent alcohol. “Simcoe hops will be coming at you from every direction,” Selewski promises.
With continued quality food and beer, and the friendly attitude of the staff, the Royal Oak Brewery should be a mainstay for a long, long time. Stop in and say hello to Selewski, chances are he already knows you and will talk with you about brewing, music, or The Detroit Lions.