Atwater Brewery Releases ‘First Brown’ Ale

DETROIT, Mich. — What could be better for a fisherman than an afternoon of brown trout fishing in one of Michigan’s freshwater rivers, lakes or streams surrounded by a fall palette of colors and an icy cold six-pack of beer? Cue “First Brown,” the latest brew created by Detroit’s Atwater Brewery, just in time for the fall fishing season and for traditional Octoberfest celebrations.

In April 1884, the U.S. Fish Commission released 4,900 brown trout fry into the Baldwin River, a tributary of the Pere Marquette River in Michigan. This was the first release of the brown trout into U.S. waters. In the years since, the Brown has become an anglers’ favorite and its adaptability has helped it establish wild, self-sustaining populations across North American.

“Going fishing with a cold beer is a time-honored tradition,” said Mark Rieth, Atwater owner. “Atwater is all about continuing Detroit’s brewing tradition with great German-style beers and sharing them with beer lovers from around the country. The brown trout shares a common history as it was first imported from Germany, gained popularity in Michigan and has now traveled the country to great acclaim.”

In fact, the first brown trout U.S. introductions started in 1883 when Fred Mather, a pisciculturist and angler, under the authority of the U.S. Fish Commissioner, obtained brown trout eggs from Baron Lucius von Behr, president of the German Fishing Society. The von Behr brown trout came from both mountain streams and large lakes in the Black Forest region of Baden-Württemberg. The original shipment of “von Behr” brown trout eggs was handled by several hatcheries with the first fry release occurring in the Pere Marquette waterway.

Although “First Brown” has a “fishy” theme, it carries a smooth taste and color of fall. First Brown is a classically-inspired brown ale. It’s garnet-brown akin to nut brown ales and is brewed with traditional English hops and malts. It’s an easy-drinking malt-forward ale that finishes more dry than sweet (ABV: 6%, IBU: 8.0). It will be a perfect companion for fishermen or anyone else looking to enjoy an exceptional beer.

First Brown will look as good as it tastes. Atwater commissioned Derek DeYoung, a nationally known artist and avid fly fisherman, to create a richly textured and vibrantly colorful label that captures the majesty of the brown trout it depicts.

“Part of the brown trout’s mystique is its beauty, so our First Brown packaging needed to capture that. With DeYoung’s incredible talent, I assure you that this beer will stand out on retailers’ shelves or in beer drinkers’ hands,” Rieth said.

A portion of all First Brown sales will be returned to Trout Unlimited, an organization dedicated to preserving and protecting coldwater waterways and fisheries. “Both brown trout and Atwater beer depend on, and benefit from, Michigan’s abundance of cold, crisp, clean water. Partnering with Trout Unlimited to help advocate for our waterways is a privilege,” said Rieth.

The brown trout has frequently been called “the ultimate angling experience” because of the way the fish rises to take the bait, the clean waters where they live, the cool breeze which carries the scent from the nearby meadows, and the quiet noise of the forest, all coming together to create a perfect day on the river. Now, Atwater has captured the moment in delicious 12 oz increments.

First Brown will be available at select bars and retailers across Michigan beginning on October 1. First Brown will be initially available in 12 ounce bottles with cans to follow in Spring 2019.

Learn more at

About Atwater Brewery

Atwater Brewery. Born in Detroit. Raised Everywhere. Atwater offers 40 styles of beer led by its popular Purple Gang Pilsner, Better Life Choices IPA, Vanilla Java Porter, Dirty Blonde and its “World Beer Cup” award-winning Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale. Atwater distributes its beer to 21 states plus select international markets and offers a proprietary line of craft spirits. Atwater operates three full-service tap house and biergarten locations in Detroit, Grosse Pointe and Grand Rapids, MI. Find us on Facebook or visit

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