8 Degrees Plato has opened a second storefront this month in Cass Corridor, joining a number of small businesses that make up Midtown's thriving dining district and Detroit's ever-growing entrepreneurial scene. Expanding on the concept of the original Ferndale location, 8 Degrees of Plato Detroit is not only a bottle shop, but also a bar as well — featuring 16 heavily rotating taps (with one tap dedicated to hard cider) and reclaimed wood seating. The shop itself is a beer lover's paradise, with stacks of bottles and canned craft beers at every turn, as well as coolers stocked with chilled brews, and shelves of drinking vinegars, and chocolates and artisan foods for pairings.
Scottie Kearns, the manager at the new Detroit location, gave us the lowdown on the meaning behind the business name, which is a brewing term used when measuring the concentration of sugars in the beer prior to fermentation (the number 8 was added for aesthetic). A reference "for beer geeks," Kearns admits, but also pleasing to the ear — and hopefully inviting to a wide variety of people. In fact, the new part-bar, part-shop format was inspired by a collective vision shared by owners Brigid Beaubien and Tim Costello to create a "hub for beer lovers, aficionados, and newbies." Customer service drives the business, and the expert staff pride themselves in recommending new beers to try, food pairings, glassware, and a little bit of history behind each brew.
The advice proves welcome when you take in the sheer size and variety of their inventory, which ranges from Michigan craft to regional beers, hard-to-find imports, Belgians, and other non-traditional beers, ciders, and meads. Glancing around, you'll spot overseas brands from countries like Singapore, New Zealand, and Russia — and a lot of Michigan names like Short's, Oddside Ales, Motor City, Dragonmead, Bell's, Atwater, and more. There's also a fine selection of ciders and meads, including B Nektar, St. Julien, Uncle John's, and Blake's.
Currently, the Detroit location offers two exclusive beers made from 8 Degrees Plato's partnership with two local breweries: Beaubien's Ribbon Farm, a sour mash red ale from Right Brain Brewery (Traverse City); and Axiom, a Belgian-style triple ale with orange zest and coriander from Greenbush Brewing Co. (Sawyer). Both are great choices for the current season and are available on tap and in bottles. Growlers (64 oz.) and howlers (32 oz.) are generally also available for purchase, though Kearns recommends "checking social media for who we're tapping," since the selection is constantly changing. 8 Degrees Plato's Facebook page is also a good resource.