Whiskey, Beer and Mac at the Royal Oak Farmers Market

By: Amber Ogden | February 18, 2015
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Whether you’re a fan of burgers, sports or booze, there’s always something going on to fit your fancy in Metro Detroit. And oftentimes, the three of those aforementioned activities go together hand in hand.

If you like food and alcohol, you’re in luck, because the Royal Oak Farmers Market, 316 E. 11 Mile Rd., Royal Oak, is hosting a series of events that you’ll want to purchase a ticket to immediately. Here are a few can’t-miss events coming up within the next week that just so happen to be taking place in the same venue:

Whiskey Business is first up and takes place this weekend on Saturday, Feb. 21. The tasting event will feature over 100 whiskies from all around the world, and participants will be able to sample whatever they’d like to whet their whistle—bourbon, scotch, you name it.

Sponsors of Whiskey Business include Metro Times and Ultimate Fun Productions.

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“(The event) gives Metro Detroiters an opportunity to experience whiskey, especially higher end ones, before they go out and purchase a bottle. There will be brand ambassadors and spokespeople for the brands, so they can get educated as well,” Matt Flynn, producer of Ultimate Fun Productions, said.

Whiskey Business 2

(Photo provided by Adam O’Connor, Metro Times)

Local distilleries Two James (Johnny Smoking Gun Whiskey) and Detroit City Distillery (Bloodline Whiskey and Two-Faced Bourbon) will represent and are not to be missed. Other popular whiskey varieties you’ll spot include Jack Daniels, Woodford Reserve, PIEHOLE and Fireball.

Don’t miss out on the cigar lounge, where you’ll have a chance make a purchase from Churchill’s Cigars of Birmingham. No whiskey event would be complete without food, either (you can’t drink on an empty stomach, now can you?), and there will be barbecue and all the fixin’s available for purchase, as well as items from Delectabowl food truck. Those who purchase VIP tickets will be able to enjoy free samples from A Serendipity Cakery, too!

What’s a better way to spend a Saturday night? If you’ve got one of the five to six signature cocktails in hand from Whiskey Business, you’ll be a happy guy or gal. Besides the few mixed drinks, the rest of the half-ounce samples will be served neat.

Whiskey Business

(Photo provided by Adam O’Connor, Metro Times)

“This is the only high end whiskey tasting event in the Metro Detroit area that will allow businesses to come out and (allow participants to) choose from 100 whiskies, scotches and bourbons in one place,” Flynn said.

General admission tickets to Whiskey Business cost $50 (10 tasting tickets, admission from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.) while VIP tickets cost $70 (15 tasting tickets, meet and greet with brand specialists and early admission at 6:30 p.m.). If you’re the unlucky friend this weekend and have to cart everyone around, a discounted designated driver ticket is available for $15.

Get tickets while they’re still available, as Flynn suspects the event will sell out by Friday. Remember that after the event, Uber will be available to provide you a safe ride home, and the company always offers discounts to first-time users.

Now, if whiskey isn’t your thing (what are you, an alien?), consider the following as well.

Mac N’ Brews combines two of everyone’s favorite things ever: beer and macaroni and cheese. Now is the prime time for comfort food, and when is it ever a bad time for a cold one? Head to the Royal Oak Farmers Market on Thursday, Feb. 26 for the tasting event that will feature approximately 40 food vendors, along with some 60 different beer choices from 20 different breweries.

“I think this time of year, everybody loves comfort food. Over the past few years, mac and cheese has made a huge comeback,” Regina Stocco, president of The Social Connection, said, noting that the event was strategically planned for mid-winter when Metro Detroiters would be craving comfort foods.

The Social Connection and Ultimate Fun Productions are co-hosting the fabulous food event, and have succeeded in doing so with similar projects, including last year’s Burger Bash and Bacon Bash.

Participating local eateries include Tom’s Oyster Bar (Lobster Mac N’ Cheese), Mt. Chalet (Pulled Bacon Mac N’ Cheese), Republica (Beer and Pretzel Mac N’ Cheese), Motor City Meatball Kitchen (Meatball Mac N’ Cheese) and Ale Mary’s Craft Beer Hall (Duck Confit Mac N’ Cheese), amongst many others. Keep in mind that there will be more food than just mac and cheese to sample, including chicken and waffles and barbecue rib tips and cornbread.

Mac N Brews

(Mac N Brews photo provided by Regina Stocco of The Social Connection)

There will also be plenty of sweet dishes to sample, including Hot Beer Fudge and Ice Cream (courtesy of Treat Dreams) and Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream (from A Slice of Heaven).

As for the beverages, you’ll have your choice of brews from Dragonmead, Right Brain Brewery, Griffin Claw Brewing Company, North Peak Brewing Company and more.

“It’s a beer tasting on steroids,” Stocco said.

While this is the first event of its kind (focused on mac and cheese and beer) put on by the two companies, Stocco said that based on past food and drink tasting events, she expects to see 900 to 1,100 guests at Mac N’ Brews.

“We usually, by far, offer triple the number of options that other food sampling events offer,” Stocco said. “People just get more bang for their buck.”

General admission tickets cost just $35 with early bird pricing (includes food samples and 10 beer samples with entry at 7:30 p.m.), and VIP tickets cost $50 (food samples, 15 beer samples and early admission at 6:30 p.m.).

Additional upcoming events at the Royal Oak Farmers Market include a Food Truck Rally on Wednesday, March 11, Whiskey and Brews on Saturday, March 14 and Sip, Savor, Stomp on Saturday, March 28. Be sure to enjoy each and every one of them!