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Tuesday
Sep202011

Tashmoo Biergarten to open in Detroit's West Village

Just as the cool fall breeze kicks in and the leaves begin to change colors, Tashmoo Biergarten will open this Sunday, September 25th in the West Village neighborhood of Detroit.

What the heck is Tashmoo Biergarten, you ask?

“What to do with all that Detroit space? Well, drink beer. Or should we say, bier? This fall, over five Sundays, we're transforming a vacant lot in Detroit's West Village into a European-style biergarten with a little Detroit moxie.” ~ from their Facebook page.

Yes, I was quite pleased that they called it “Detroit moxie.”

I love this project for many reasons. First, I’m a fan of beer. Also, I love hanging out with friends, chatting and playing games.

But most importantly it’s the sense of community and the “do-er” attitude. If you’ve ever been on an Inside Detroit tour or spent even just a bit a time with Jeanette Pierce then you know what I’m talking about.

The “do-er’s” of Detroit see a need and fill it. Whether it be a Detroit welcome center, bagels, bike rental or a bakery—the “do-er’s” build it. Well, a few people thought Detroit needed a European-style biergarten and now we have one.

And that is just brilliant.

I had the opportunity to ask Tashmoo team member Jessica Cheney Soulliere a few questions about the biergarten.

1. Who is behind Tashmoo?

While the Tashmoo Biergarten was the brain child of both Suzanne Vier and Aaron Wagner, it's taken a team of professionals whom we like to call Team Tashmoo who have donated their time and skills, pro bono, to make it all come together. These include local artists, designers, writers and foodies. The team members are:

Jim Boyle, Will Branch, James Cadariu, Matthew Clayson, Elizabeth Wagner DeLuca, Katie Else, John George, Evan Hansen, Brian V. Hurttienne, Vittoria Katanski, David Knapp, Bil Lusa, Anna McAlpine, Brian Merkel, Jason Peet, Adrian Pittman, John Schoeniger, Mike Shalast, Marvin Shaouni, Jessica Cheney Soulliere, Kim Stricker, the Villages Community Development Corporation and Land, Inc.

2. Where did the idea come from?

Suzanne has always enjoyed the communal feel of European-style beer gardens where people can hang out, enjoy beer, play games and relax. On a recent trip to New York she happened upon a beer garden by New York Chef, Tom Colicchio, and decided she'd like to bring one to Detroit. Aaron, who lives in West Village, loves the neighborhood and wanted to do something there - and so the Tashmoo Biergarten was born.

3. Tell me about the name.

Tashmoo Biergarten preserves the authenticity of a European-style beer garden while paying homage to local history. Tashmoo has many meanings to us. It's a Native American word meaning "meeting place," and it happens to be the name of a famous steam ship that ferried passengers to and from Harsen's Island on Lake St. Clair, former home of the Tashmoo Park. Tashmoo Park was an amusement park owned and operated by the White Star Line company that built and operated the Tashmoo ship in the early 1900's. West Village has deep roots in the history of the Detroit River—as did most of the villages. A home recently demolished on the beer garden site was occupied for generations by the family of a former Tashmoo crew member.

4. It’s running for 5 weeks this fall. Are there any plans to bring it back in 2012?

We look at this as an opportunity to test the waters and see if the area is ready for a more permanent beer garden. If 2011 is successful, we're all looking forward to reinvesting in next year.

5. How did you find the space? Were there any zoning issues? Was the city easy to work with?

Tashmoo team member, Jason Peet, suggested the location and arranged a meeting with the property owner of the site, Land Inc., who generously donated to the space for this project. Because we are using privately owned property, there have been few barriers to development and the City has been very supportive of our efforts.

6. Has the neighborhood been supportive?

Since we launched our Facebook page, it's been really fun watching news of the beer garden travel, and community support and excitement has really been growing. On Saturday, when we trucked over all of the build-out materials, we had 10 volunteers. But by Sunday, we had 25, most of whom wandered over from the neighborhood to help out. People were telling us, "Thank you for doing this! It's so exciting!" We are truly thrilled this is being so well received.

7. You’re serving Michigan craft beer, correct? Want to tease us with some of the breweries participating?

We know a lot of people want to see the beer list up-front, but because we are working with local and craft brewers, we won't always know which brewer's we'll be featuring until the day before. What we can tell you is that all the brewers are Michigan-based brewers and we'll be offering a full range of session brews in styles to suit a variety of tastes. 

8. Will you be serving anything else besides beer?

We'll be serving up board games and corn hole (note to Oct. 1 corn hole tournament registrants - this is your chance to practice!).

They have been working hard over at the biergarten to make it just right. One door from the demolished house joins thirteen others to make the tables. 28 benches have been built so we have somewhere to sit and relax.

The fun all starts this Sunday and I’ll be there. I hope you all come down and raise a pint with me.

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Reader Comments (11)

We'd like to be a part of this, who do we contact?

Stan

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStan Thornbury

Stan,
Try and contact them through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shopautoweek?ref=ts#!/tashmoodetroit

September 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

I am pretty excited about this too. Probably won't make it this Sunday though.
Let us know how it is!

September 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSchmee

Great place! Me and the wife had a few beers a watched the Detroit Lions play football. The beer was cold and the Lions won, perfect get away!

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