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Posted on Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:30 a.m.

The Week in Beer: Mother Nature loves a good brew

By David Bardallis

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Happy fifth birthday to Plum Market! Jolly Pumpkin is helping celebrate with a special oak aged plum beer, available Wednesday.

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It’s still American Craft Beer Week, all the way through Sunday, and Mother Nature loves a delicious craft brewed local beer as much as anyone, with warm temperatures and sunny skies all around. Why not partake of some all-natural beer, which is after all the apotheosis of harmonious living between man and the environment? The rest of your Craft Beer Week Week in Beer awaits.

Thursday, May 17

>> The Craft Beer Week celebration continues at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, with Industry Day: Brewery staff, homebrewers, Mug Clubbers, and Michigan Brewers Guild members receive 15 percent discounts all day long.

>> The Corner Brewery hosts “Suds, Snacks and Stories,” a special 7-9 p.m. bull session with brewery owners Matt and Rene Greff, who recently put in a proposal to open another brewery in Fenton. There will be an opportunity to sign up for Ypsi PRIDE, an annual volunteer effort to beautify Ypsilanti. Expect a special beer release, with $1 from the sale of each mystery beer going toward supporting Ypsi PRIDE.

>> At Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, it’s Wolverine Dark Day: All bottles of the beer recently rated 85/100 by DRAFT Magazine are $2.50 all day long. Also, don’t park by the bike shop. Somebody will throw a hissy fit.

Friday, May 18

>> Meet the men behind the Arbor beer during Brewer Day from 4-7 p.m. Head brewer Logan Schaedig and team will be on hand to give tours of the brewery as well as answer any questions about what makes Arbor Brewing beer so yummy. RSVP to sarah@arborbrewing.com.

>> And when you’re done meeting Arbor’s brewers, head over to the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, to meet Corner head brewer Bill Gerds and his beer gnomes for “Party with the Brewers,” which involves a candlelit chat in the beer garden from 9-11 p.m. accompanied by tunes from resident DJ Dannyboy. You never know what you’ll learn about the art of beermaking from the beermakers themselves.

Saturday, May 19

>> Ypsilanti loves American Craft Beer Week, and to prove it, seven area businesses are taking part in the third annual Ypsi Progressive Craft Beer Tour from 1-5 p.m. Tickets are $25 and include lunch and a beer at the Corner Brewery, where the tour starts, and a beer at most of the other participating locations, which include Woodruff’s, Sidetrack Bar & Grill, the Wurst Bar, Cafe Ollie, Aubree’s and Haab’s. Call the Corner at 734-480-2739 or drop in to get your ticket.

>> What’s the difference between a lager and an ale? Why are dark beers dark? Where does the bitter in bitter beers come from? Learn the answers to these and other vexing questions at Arbor Brewing’s “Vacation Beer School,” where brewery owners Matt and Rene Greff will explain all. Tickets are $40 and include beer samples and food pairings, a commemorative tasting glass, prizes and giveaways, and incomparable beer wisdom. Call 734-213-1393 to reserve your place, but be quick about it: Seats are limited.

Sunday, May 20

>> Mug Club Appreciation Day comes to Arbor: Half-off growler fills all day for Mug Club members. Time to load up on fresh beer to go with your barbecue — which you’ll be doing because the forecast calls for sun and highs in the 80s.

>> The only excuse for not getting out and barbecuing is if you’re at the first Halcyon Sundaze of the year, going down 2-10 p.m. in the Corner Brewery beer garden. Enjoy a special small batch beer brewed for the occasion, dig through crates of $1 records from Cousins Vinyl, soak up some sun, and, of course, relax to the soothing grooves spun by the roster of great Halcyon DJs, led by the one and only Dannyboy. Yours truly will also be playing a selection of tunes guaranteed to elevate your Sunday to that special place. Come by, say hi, and have a beer or three.

Wednesday, May 23

>> Don’t miss your chance to pick up Cinco Años Ale, brewed by Jolly Pumpkin to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Plum Market. Sales at Plum Market, located at 375 N. Maple in the Maple Village Plaza, begin at noon sharp, with bottles priced at $15 apiece and each customer limited to three. There will also be some on tap at the Jolly Pumpkin Café, 311 S. Main, beginning at 6 p.m. in case you miss out on picking up some bottles. OK, so what is the beer? It’s an oak aged sour amber, aged with plums. Read more here.

Notes on the Napkin

  • Northern United Brewing, aka Jolly Pumpkin, is working on expanding the presence of its headquarters in Dexter, hoping to take over an 85,000-square-foot building at 2319 Bishop Circle East to consolidate brewing, distilling, and wine-making efforts and add a tasting room as well. AnnArbor.com’s Lisa Allmendinger has the full scoop.
  • The results are in, and once again Ann Arbor Brewers Guild stalwarts Jeff and Susan Rankert have won another Grizzly Peak Mug Club Brew-Off. The beer judging took place May 14 and the panel — which included Grizzly head brewer Duncan Williams, Tim Schmidt of Blue Tractor, Karl Hinbern of Wolverine, John Ritenour of Corner, and other brewers — selected the Rankerts’ cream ale as the winner. The prize? Jeff and Susan, who won last year with their Baltic porter, will brew a commercial batch with Duncan to be served on the Grizzly taps later this summer. Congratulations to the Rankerts!
  • May 19 is the last day to drop off your homebrew at the Corner Brewery to enter the sixth annual Brews Crews Homebrew Competition June 9 at the Corner. The Ann Arbor Brewers Guild is still seeking judges and beer stewards for the event as well. See more details at brewscrews.aabg.org.


David Bardallis is a freelance writer and editor, blogger, bon vivant, and man about town. Visit “All the Brews Fit to Pint” at AnnArborBeer.com, follow @allthebrews on Twitter, or join the "All the Brews Fit to Pint" Facebook page. Email your beer-related thoughts to annarborbeer@gmail.com.