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Things I Hate #7: Atwater Block Brewery

Pro Tip: Beware products that are advertised with the tagline “SAVE YOURSELF!“. Also, never ever buy anything brewed by Atwater Block of Detroit. And if, in a fit of masochism, you do buy one of their beers, be sure to open it over a sink.

Last summer I picked up a six-pack of their IPA. I guess the massive chunky sedimentation in the bottles should have been a warning sign, but honestly, that just isn’t something you should have to check for in commercial beer. Or homebrew, for that matter.


I will look into this immediately. We cannot control they [sic] distribution and rotation of our product so it must be an out of stock situation. This is a “Gusher” which means that the protein has settled and it is on [sic] out of code product. I will reimburse you if you give me your address and how much you paid. I would also invite you to the brewery if you are ever in Detroit.



So if it looks like an infection and it smells like an infection and it tastes like an infection, it must be old product. They decided to bullshit me (“protein settling”) rather than own up to a widespread problem with their beer; that might say something about personality (“Mark” could well be Mark Reith, the owner) but issuing a refund is pretty solid customer service. Except that I replied with the requested information, and followed up about a month later, with no response, and never did receive a refund. I guess that could be a legal strategy, since that’s right about the time one of their bottles exploded and severely injured someone.

But, whatever. They made a bad batch; I’m certainly not innocent on that front. And as far as I can tell no one, you know, actually died as a result. I resolved never to buy another of their beers and moved on. Until a couple weeks ago when I needed a sixth bottle to round out a mix-pack and was pretty much stuck with their Vanilla Java Porter (BA “review” here). Imagine my surprise, then, when I opened another gusher. Reflect, too, on the fact that this was an entirely different beer, brewed over a year later. Something is rotten in the state of Michigan.

To this point I’ve bought seven bottles of Atwater Block beer, and 100% have been gushers – and I’m not the only one, either.

So potential investors in my brewpub project, take note. Apparently you don’t have to brew good beer to turn a profit. In fact, you don’t even have to brew below-average beer. Actually, Atwater Block could probably increase their profit margin if they just started putting Detroit River water in the bottles. It would have less bacteria in it.

Fuck you, Atwater Block Brewery.

3 comments to Things I Hate #7: Atwater Block Brewery

  • Tara J.

    Last night we had one of their bottles of Voodoo Vator explode in our bedroom. It was being stored at room temp (approx. 69 degrees F) and has not been jarred, etc. Thankfully, none of the chunks of glass hit myself, my boyfriend, or my cat, but several pieces landed around us. There is a lot of damage to our walls, flooring, etc. One piece of glass was traveling at such a high rate of velocity that it dented our air duct. This was very disturbing. When we contacted Atwater, they said that once the beer leaves the Brewery, it’s out of their hands. But clearly there is contamination happening. This morning I opened all the other bottles of Voodo Vator, as well as the Vanilla Java Stout, and guess what…one of each was near explosion and gushed out tons of foam. This is clearly a very dangerous situation and they are not handling the matter properly. This has happened in several different states that have different distributors, etc. It’s not the distributors’ or the stores’ fault. Hopefully we will get an appropriate resolution soon!

    • Yowza, glad there was no serious damage done.

      If this is still happening I have to say it’s borderline criminal negligence. Hopefully they’ll do the right thing without someone having to involve the authorities.

  • I’ve had about 10 different beers from Atwater, about half of them have had a noticeable infection. Thankfully none of the bottles have shattered, but I have had a few gushers. They have issues in their bottling line. I don’t think they can blame the distributors.

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