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Royal Oak Brewery
Royal Oak, MI

Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5.6%
Located in a suburb north of Detroit, Royal Oak Brewery is one of the long-standing brewpubs in the state of Michigan.

Established in 1995, the brick-face building was obviously a refurb and the place has a pub feel to it, with a nice “fancy pub-grub” menu. They also make good use of its relatively simple infusion mash system. Pat Scanlon is a co-owner of the place and has been a fixture in the Michigan beer scene for nearly two decades now, as a homebrewer, brewer and proprietor. I first met him back in the original Michigan brew-on-premise over 15 years ago.

They typically stick to Reinheitsgebot brewing and traditional styles, some with a twist. Their Royal Oak Red is their best seller, but I went through the sampler platter on my most recent visit and found all of their beers to be clean, tasty and above average.

The Czech Pilsner intrigued me, mainly because true German styles are less frequent in the brewpub scene and a pilsner isn’t easy to brew regardless.

Pouring a pale straw color, the head was soft and foamy – as it should be – although it didn’t have quite the staying power of a traditional pour. The nose is herbal and a lighter body is accented with a rolling soft dryness, as would be expected in a Bohemian style pils. It was not overly bitter – nor über-dry, as a Northern pils might be – nor confused with a pale ale as many local versions seem to be.

In short, the balance was outstanding as this was probably one of the most authentic attempts I’d ever had in an American brewpub. Well done and na zdraví.