Black Lotus Brewery

Black Lotus BreweryBlack Lotus Brewery

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

1 East 14 Mile Road
Clawson, Michigan, 48017
United States

(248) 765-3051 | map

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Added by northertimber on 03-14-2006

View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
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Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 42
Photo of JasonR1975
3.45/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Decent enough vibe, downtown Clawson. Big downgrade on quality (always flies when your food comes) and beer is just average although last visit had a couple of better beers. Service and food is always good and taplist if usually varied even if quality is meh.

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Photo of red94tt
2.25/5  rDev -31.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 2 | food: 3.5

Vibe - Black Lotus has a small town feel to it. Smack dab in the middle of downtown Clawson, their location has been a fixture in the quiet community for years. The bar seating is enjoyable, it's a square design with a giant projector TV on the back wall so watching a game from this area is great. The tall ceilings of the building are nice, it makes the smaller floor space seem larger than it really is. Outside seating is available in the warmer months and being that it's located alongside the downtown stretch, it makes for an enjoyable experience.

Quality - Unfortunately, this is where my review starts to go down hill. The overall quality of Black Lotus' product is average at best. Most of their beer is ok enough to appeal to the masses but if you're looking for a place that will standout or even compete with some of the other local breweries, you're not going to find that with BL. Some of their viewable practices have made me scratch my head as well. While sitting at their bar one night, my wife ordered a glass of their "apricot wheat". We watched as the bartender added some sort of apricot flavored syrup to the freshly poured glass of regular World Wide Wheat beer; come on man....

If going, I'd recommend the Detroit Hip Hops, it's a good, serviceable APA/IPA. For limited releases, their Sky Farm Saison (Gin Barrel Aged) is solid.

Service - Hit or miss. Sometimes the servers are on point, other nights they forget about you. On busy nights, a waitress will typically take your name and let you know when a table is ready. I've watched guests that have come in later than our party get seated before us. Mind you, they do not take reservations. If you're lucky, one of the owners/brewers will come around to chat and "talking shop" has resulted with them bashing other local breweries several times in the past.

Selection - Depending on the season, they usually have a few of their brews on tap. They also have guest taps. To me, this isn't a good look. As a brewery, if you have multiple guest taps on-site, it screams that either you can't produce enough different beers to keep everyone happy or you don't have enough faith in your own product. It's possible that it's a combination of both or maybe it's neither but in my opinion, it's a bad practice. They also no longer do flights of their own beer...strange for a brewery.

Food - Not bad, their menu is failry extensive and has a lot of good eats. This is probably one of the shining stars of the operation.

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Photo of MIBeerGeek
3.38/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4

Small little brewery with a great Vibe.

Only have a few beers on tap usually, but always a good mix.

Food and atmosphere are great. Live music on Fridays and Saturdays.

Try the Imperial Oatmeal Stout!

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Photo of gmorri0
1.6/5  rDev -51.2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 1 | service: 3 | selection: 1 | food: 1

Never been to a brewery that didn't offer a flight until going here. Then the beer I chose was a Jalepenao Beer, but was spicy and didn't taste anything like beer

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Photo of onespartan
4.31/5  rDev +31.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I've been coming here on and off since it opened. Substantial improvements have been made lately with their new brewer. Ten of their own taps and a nice selection of guest taps.

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Photo of Mothergoose03
3.31/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

This was stop #5 of our pub crawl on this Thursday, although our group was now down to two people, my wife and me. We came here for dinner and to try the beers, in addition to experiencing the place.

The pub is located on a very busy street corner with constant traffic, even at 7:30 PM, so we chose to select a seat inside instead of on the patio at the front of the building. Watching traffic and hearing the noise just doesn't appeal to me while eating. We chose the last available table and it happened to be out of view of the servers' station so that we sat there 4-5 minutes before I went and got a someone to take our order. (The servers were very busy too because the place was full, which probably contributed to them not seeing us.)

We chose a sampler flight with 4 of the 7 beers that were on the menu, but our server informed us that one of my choices was unavailable (which was the one that I was most curious about) so I had to choose another. There were 10 guest beers listed on the menu, although it wasn't stated whether they were tap or bottles. We felt that the beers were just average and pretty close to style, but there was nothing exciting about them. We graded them at a C rating.

The food menu consists of typical pub food selections, although some of the ingredients seemed to be kicked up a notch per the descriptions on the menu. We each ordered a sandwich and thoroughly enjoyed them. So we rated the food higher than the beer at a B.

It was an okay visit to this pub so that I'd probably go back there again, but it would be more for the food rather than the beer.

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Photo of Tommyblocks
3.58/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3

I have been to Black Lotus a dozen times and its pretty enjoyable. I think both the beer and the food are okay. Nothing was bad and at the same time nothing just jumped out at me like it was on a different level of excellence. I enjoyed the atmosphere, there really isn't too much like that right in that immediate area so it sets itself apart from the other local places. I can say that I am blessed to have so much variety living in downtown Chicago, I have lots of options on a daily basis and I think that may weigh a bit on this average review. I have lots of friends from that area who swear by Black Lotus. So if you may like this place more than my review reflects.

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Photo of Kerrie
3.43/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3

I've been here twice, but only had the food once. I see that the reviewer before me mentioned the coffee shop atmosphere, and I'd agree with that. They have an area for live music, but the place is so small that it gets too loud in there when that's going on. My boyfriend and I were unable to carry a conversation when the band was playing (and he's a musician, so I normally wouldn't complain about live music, but the noise in the small, cramped building is too much).

The quality is okay. My food was mediocre, and the selection was very low, so I wouldn't eat there again. The beer selection is quite short, too. I had a flight of 4 last time I went, and most were mediocre except the pumpkin ale.

The service is spot-on, probably because the place is so small.

Overall, it's not a place I'd frequent, but their pumpkin beer was by far the best pumpkin beer I've had last season. I'd go again just for that, but nothing else.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
2.6/5  rDev -20.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 2 | food: 4

As some other people have mentioned, the vibe is more of a coffee shop than a bar. The open-air feel was noticeable, even in January. We were there in the early afternoon, so I don't get a sense of the crowd at night.

The main problem is that the beer just is not that good and they only serve their own. My sister ordered the apricot wheat, but it came out with a terrible tan color, cascading like crazy. It turns out it hit a 'yeast bubble,' and after a few tries she had the amber, which was ok. The Thai porter was an interesting concept, but it ended up watery. 'The Gift' was anything but. Credit to the brewer for trying to mix up the style a little bit, but the flavors just did not do it for me. It tasted like 2/3 of a Hefe and 1/3 Belgian dark.

The bright spot of my experience was the food. The wings were good, the wasabi salmon wrap was good, and my sister's pulled pork had just the flavor I like.

Unfortunately, the food is not enough to get me back there without any decent beer. Even just having 10 Shorts / Founders / Bells in bottles would be enough, but a brewpub without good beer does not get very far.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev +13.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Reviewed on 6/21/2010.

This is a neat brewpub with a relaxed atmosphere. It definitely has a coffee-shop like appearance. They have indoor and outdoor seating and a large screen TV projection. There were 7 or 8 beers on tap which were all pretty solid. I especially enjoyed the Detroit Hip Hop APA. The food menu is alright - I just ordered a hummus platter but it was pretty tasty. The service is great - very friendly and attentive. A great place to chill with a tasty brew! I would definitely seek it out.

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Photo of tipperofcows
3.63/5  rDev +10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4

I live within walking distance of this place, so I've been there quite a few times. When you first walk in, the place seems a lot more like a trendy coffee shop than a bar. It's a breath of fresh air when you're used to the other bars in the clawson area though, simply because it's different. They offer live music from time to time, which is really hit or miss... either i've really liked it, or really hated it. Definately not a good place to watch sports though, as they only have one screen, and it's rarely on; however, they'll turn it on for you as long as no one else is watching it.

Beer-wise, they offer several on tap, a couple of which change with the season, but most of them stay the same year-round. Personal favorites are The Gift (strong belgian), Apricot Wheat (fruity, but not TOO fruity, if you know what i mean), and the Pumpkin Ale they bring out in october, which has some great spice to it. A couple of the beers are spectacular, but most of them are just decent.

Price-wise, most beers are 4.50 a pint, with some (such as the gift) costing a little bit more. It's a little steep, but it's the best beer within 10-15 miles, so I don't mind paying it every now and then. Food prices are really cheap though (4 dollar burgers, for example), and the food is really good for bar food, so if you're going for dinner and some drinks, it'll balance out. The free popcorn machine is also a plus.

Service is off and on. It's never been downright awful, but there have been a few times that it's taken a while to get our beer. They offer beer-to-go in the form of growlers (no six packs) if you like to take beer home. If I remember right, they're around 15 bucks or so.

Overall, if you're in the area, the Lotus is definately worth checking out. I wish they'd branch out more and offer some different selections from time to time, but it's definately the best in the immediate area and totally worth at least a look.

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Photo of ElGrecoVerde
4.25/5  rDev +29.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Sat outside on a nice Spring day. The patio seating felt a bit close to the road, especially when trucks would drive by, but hey, outdoor seating is always a plus.

As for the beer, it ranges from boring to exciting depending on what you get. I believe the brewery is new, so maybe they're still working out their styles, but I found the beers they got more aggressive with turned out better. It's like painting, if your too uptight and careful it won't turn out right.

An example: Their Ms. Michigan Pale Ale tasted like a slightly sweet lager. They clearly held back on that one. But The Gift, their Belgian style ale, was clearly more aggressive and an all around good brew.

Food was excellent, and very cheap. Beer prices were a tad high, but cheap food balances the costs.

I will definitely be going back. I hope they loosen up the flavors as they start refining their brews.

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Photo of SaucyA
2.96/5  rDev -9.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.5

Was doing a job for someone in Clawson and passed by this place. I've heard of it so I figured I'd stop in. It was around 3:30pm when I went in.

Atmosphere is definitely coffeshop/hipster vibe. Free wifi, nice bar, fireplace... it seems like a nice place for a beer and a chat. Non smoking and quiet music. My kinda place.

Quality is hard to be judged. I sampled their strong belgian pale, and ipa. The belgian was a bit sweet, but hid it's abv well. The ipa tasted a lot like marijuana. The growler of amber lager I bought came in a nice bottle, but the product inside was less than spectacular. Not nearly enough "oomph".

Service seemed to be good. Friendly bartender was more than helpful. Can't say for certain if they'd be awesome whilst packed, but was greeted as I sat down, and she seemed nice enough.

Selection was decent in terms of amount, they had about 8 or so beers if I remember correctly. Too many easy drinkers if you ask me (apricot wheat, a couple lagers, oatmeal stout and the like)... Black Lotus, I wouldn't mind seeing a big beer on the menu next to the belgian pale. Do an RIS or barleywine or something for the people that like to taste their brew :)

Growlers are $5 for the bottle and $13 for the fill. I believe they're $10 a fill on Tuesday.

If I lived in the area, I'd probably come in a bit. If I was coming from out of state, however, I'd definitely stop by the heavy hitters first. Let's see some big beers, crew!

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Photo of willygreen
2.41/5  rDev -26.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 4 | selection: 1.5

Dropped in on a Saturday afternoon to try out their beer with a buddy. The atmosphere seemed more coffee shop than brewery.

We sat down at the bar and were immediately informed that they were out of the IPA and their Oatmeal Stout. Tried a sample of the porter but wasn't impressed.

We each settled for a pint of pale ale ($4.50). Unfortunately, there weren't enough hops in this beer to cover all of its sins.

I won't be going back. The staff was friendly enough but the beer sucked and the price wasn't worth it. Afterwards we went down to the Royal Oak Brewery and pints were only $4.00. You just wouldn't expect to pay more for a beer in Clawson than R.O.

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Photo of DackAchan
2.28/5  rDev -30.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 3.5 | selection: 1.5

There seems to be a trend. Wasn't impressed with Black Lotus. Went there with a couple of friends from high school. The inside is large but lacks any atmosphere. The atmosphere seems to get lost in the tall ceiling. We wanted to watch a baseball game but the bar was lacking any tv. We decided we wanted to go outside. To our notice the outside areas were very small, tables were stacked ontop of each other making it hard for a group of three to fit in.

I was disappointed at the number of beers available. We tried a stout and an ale and neither was that good. No strong impressions and as we drank we all were commenting on how they were just average beers. The lack of atmosphere and the lack of beer selection really makes this a place I wouldn't go to again. Although they did have about 30 different flavors of tea. So if you like tea, go there and try it out. If you like beer, save your money and go somewhere else.

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Photo of bozebus17
3.28/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 2.5

My girlfriend and I decided to try Black Lotus for the first time last night.

The atmosphere is unlike any other brewpub I've been to. It is dark and has a "trendy" feel to it. Even though this isn't really my thing it kind of works for being in a downtown area. The music was a little loud for my taste, I enjoy being able to have a conversation over my beer without straining my voice. There was a shelf with quite a few different board games to choose from, this was a plus in my book.

The quality was average. I only sampled one beer and it wasn't bad, but it also wasn't special.

Service was excellant. Our waitress was very friendly and attentative, no bad marks there.

The selection was not up to par with what I've experienced in other brewpubs in the area. They had 8 beers listed on the menu but only 6 were available. There was also nothing too adventurous on the menu. They also offered their wheat beer mixed with fruit juices, a little odd for a brewpub.

Overall I had a decent experience here. It's not a bad place to have a pint but don't expect anything exceptional.

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Photo of Salo
2.45/5  rDev -25.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 2

The beer was pretty average, nothing to write home about, except the seasonal Pumpkin Ale which was pretty good. The IPA had a burnt aftertaste. I'm a big IPA fan and have tried it on 3 seperate occasions and it always tastes burnt to me.

Inside they have no tvs, save for a projector above the bar which they use to show movies. (They did bring in TVs for the Tigers playoff run).

Overall the decor is beautiful, the staff is decent, but not great, and the beer is fairly average, I didn't try the food (it's catered) but the sandwhiches looked fresh.

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Photo of CoSMoSYS
3.13/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 2

Entered the brewery from the back entrance and walked down a long hallway just to get to the main part of the brewery. The front and side look right out onto the streets of 14 Mile and Main. It's always nice to have a great view of the hussle and bussle of life and the city with a brew.

The Black Lotus is huge inside. Very tall open ceilings allow you to see the duct work. There is a lounge area with a couple of couches and the rest are tables and chairs. The bar is located in the middle of the brewery which allows for customers to sit on all sides except one.

I'll agree with the previous reviewer and say that it did have a sort of "club" atmosphere to it. It also seemed like a posh bar where all the cool kids go to be seen. Music was playing and at the time I visited, they were playing Top 40.

Service was good as the staff was pretty on the ball with refilling the popcorn machine and your beer.

There wasn't much of a selection seeing as there were only 4 choices to choose from. They did advertise a Pumpkin Ale but when asked they said they were out.

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Photo of BelgianAleSlut
3.44/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Went opening night with a friend. Not much variety on tap but I tried a couple - one their IPA. It was not bad, but not distinct from any generic IPA.

Staff seemed friendly, but it was opening night. Tough to get a beer from the bar and table layout was awkward.

The inside decor seemed to make it feel less like a pub and more like a club. This was an instant turn off for me. Smokers had to toke outside in gated herd enclosure.

The city of Clawson needed a place with better beer and they got it. Whether it has enough appeal to make it a fixture in the town will have to play itself out.

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Black Lotus Brewery in Clawson, MI
3.66 out of 5 based on 110 ratings.
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