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Look Around Axle Brewing Co.’s Sprawling Ferndale Beer Hall

This might be your new favorite patio

Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Michigan is known for its breweries but it’s rarer to find a taproom that offers quality food to match the beers. Livernois Tap, opening on June 3 in Ferndale, is aiming to achieve a balance between both.

Royal Oak-based Axle Brewing Co. launched in 2015 as a production-only operation supplying canned brews to restaurants and bars across metro Detroit. Last year the company announced its plans to open a taproom and biergarten in a 10,000-square-foot building at 567 Livernois Ave. in Ferndale.

The look and convivial atmosphere of Livernois Tap was developed by Detroit-based firm Patrick Thompson Design. The main dining area features high ceilings and industrial touches like exposed ductwork and rough, black metal-topped tables. Blonde woods, large windows, and doors that swing open to a large patio give the brewery a lighter feel. Bright blue elements including a mural on the south wall next to the long 30-seat bar add pops of color to the room.

All together the restaurant seats roughly 110 patrons inside with an additional 65 seats in the outdoor biergarten. The facility also features a 10-barrel brewing system that will supplement Axle Brewing’s regular lineup of beers with special brews exclusive to Livernois Tap. The brewpub will offer between 12 and 15 beers and ciders ranging from kolsches to an IPAs and pale ales. Patrons can choose 5-ounce tastings, regular sized pours, or pick up a 32-ounce crowler (canned growler) to-go.

The biggest surprise from Livernois Tap might be the food. Axle Brewing revealed in December that the team from Brush Park eatery Grey Ghost had agreed to manage the day-to-day operations at the brewpub. Chef Reid Shipman, previously sous chef at Gold Cash Gold, is helming the kitchens.

Chefs John Vermiglio and Joe Giacomino as well as Shipman have devised a menu that feels both familiar and a little unexpected. A “snack” dubbed Crispy Animal Parts features several types of crunchy animal skin — pork, chicken, fish, and more — seasoned with a spicy mix that tastes like something akin to Doritos. The fried bologna corn dog topped with cream cheese, cheddar, and jalapeños and the chicken paprikash also pack a punch of heat. Other items like the mussels & frites are clear homages to traditional Belgian fare.

Photographers Chris and Michelle Gerard paid a visit to Ferndale’s new beer destination ahead of the anticipated debut. Take a peek around the space in the gallery below.

The front of the beige and black building housing Livernois Tap shown on a sunny day in Ferndale.

Livernois Tap opens at 4 p.m. on June 3; located at 567 Livernois Ave.; regular hours are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Website.

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