The Week in Beer: News and brews for your autumn in Ann Arbor
David Bardallis | Contributor
Fall is in full swing, and the great seasonal beers and events to go with it are, too. Other Michigan cities (ahem) may get a lot of press about being Amurka's Favorite Beer Town™ and such, but Ann Arbor and our surrounding communities are hardly slouches at this locally produced craft beer thing. Where's the love? Right here, in your Week in Beer.
Thursday, Oct. 18
>> The bar is open at Bill’s Beer Garden beginning tonight at 5 p.m. There’s already been plenty of coverage on it (including today’s piece by Janet Miller), so here’s a tidbit that might be new to you: the opening beer list. The 10 taps are an all-Michigan lineup as follows: Arbor Brewing's Brasserie Blonde, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA, Dragonmead Final Absolution Belgian-Style Trippel, Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch-Style Ale, Kuhnhenn Fluffer Session IPA, New Holland Dragon’s Milk Oak Barrel Ale, Original Gravity Primordial Porter, Schmohz Oktoberfest, and Wolverine Premium Lager. Two bottled choices are New Grist Gluten-Free Beer and Einbecker NA. Prices range from $4 (the bottles and Wolverine Premium) to $6.50 (Dragon’s Milk). Live music from Wire in the Wood commences at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 19
>> Today and Saturday, go to Witch's Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon, in your most inspired Halloween finery and get $1 off your beers. Then pose for a picture and enter the Witch's Hat costume contest: They'll post the pictures to their Facebook page, and the lucky one to receive the most "Like"s will win a lifetime Mug Club membership plus a custom mug.
Saturday, Oct. 20
>> It’s a Sparty party, and by that I mean a party where Michigan fans celebrate the impending defeat of the mouth-breathers from East Lansing following a 3:30 kickoff. Find a good one at the Wolverine tap room, 2019 W. Stadium, at noon, when Darcy’s Cart, Debajo del Sol, San Street, and A2 Pizza Pi will again be serving up the tailgate victuals and the lagers will be flowing. On the other side of town, Fraser’s will have the outdoor tent set up and will be pouring New Holland brews. Go Blue!
Monday, Oct. 22
>> Now that all the excitement of New Belgium beer’s arrival in Michigan has died down, it’s time to ramp it up again. First it was bottles, and now it’s drafts, as Ashley’s taps seven New Belgium beers at 6 p.m., including Fat Tire Amber Ale, Ranger IPA, Trippel, Snow Day Winter Ale, and three “Lips of Faith” beers: Biere de Mars, Peach Porch Lounger Saison, and Cocoa Mole Ale. I have faith these beers will soon touch my lips.
Tuesday, Oct. 23
>> Grab your pumpkin and carving tools and head over to the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, from 6-9 p.m. for a pumpkin carving contest! Children are welcome with parents, who enjoy happy hour pricing on all parental-type beverages for the duration, while the wee ones get free apple juice. Awesome prizes will be awarded for the pumpkins judged first-, second-, and third-most badass!
Wednesday, Oct. 24
>> Start your mid-week happy hour off right with IPA Day at Fraser’s Pub, 2045 Packard. Enjoy $1 off pints of fine Michigan IPAs including Arbor Buzzsaw and Sacred Cow (on hand pull), Dark Horse Crooked Tree, Founders All Day IPA, New Holland Mad Hatter, Bell’s Two Hearted, Witch’s Hat Big Doedish, Rochester Mills Cornerstone, and Arcadia Hopmouth until 7 p.m. After that, watch your Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the World Series on one of Fraser’s many TVs. You didn’t need to be to work early on Thursday, do you?
>> Over at Sidetrack Bar & Grill, 56 E. Cross, Ypsilanti, the beers of Founders are taking over the taps. The full list of 10 is unknown as of this writing, but a little bird informed me it will include Harvest Ale, Devil Dancer Triple IPA, and Frangelic Mountain Brown Ale. Word to your budgie.
Notes on the Napkin
- At long last, Liberty Street Brewing beers are available in bottles at your favorite store, such as, let’s say, The Produce Station. Look for Red Glare Amber Ale and Steamy Windows California Common Beer for now, with others to follow sometime next year. Or, of course, visit the pub in Plymouth to try Liberty Street beers on draft.
- Terry B’s Restaurant in Dexter is taking reservations for its Nov. 7 “Bell’s Campfire Beer Dinner.” $65 plus tax and tip gives you access to a sumptuous five-course feast plus reception. Call 734-426-3727 to reserve, and check out the mouthwatering menu here.
- Apparently, you can do other things with beer besides drink it. One of those things is baking, and I mean using beer as an ingredient, not just throwing a few back while making yourself some snickerdoodles. Zingerman’s Bakehouse is conducting a class for those who want to become proficient at making beer bread, beer scones, and beer crackers. Cost is $100; details and signup are here.
- On tap at Grizzly Peak now: Berliner Weisse, Oktoberfest Lager, Rot-Weizen Red Hefeweizen, and Keller Festbier. Coming soon: Schwartz-Weizen Black Hefeweizen, Biere d’Automne Belgian Style Ale, and Klevenkop Pumpkin Ale, which is Biere d’Automne served in a cask with roasted pumpkin and spices. Look for the latter around Halloween time.
- And Blue Tractor’s near-term rotating lineup includes Ballyhoo Belgian Blonde Ale (downstairs at mash), Two Mad Cows Imperial Milk Stout, Double Crop 2X IPA, Demonic India Black Ale, and Gourd to Death Pumpkin Ale. Yes, please.
- Link-a-palooza! Jon Carlson and Greg Lobdell — yep, the guys behind Grizzly Peak, Blue Tractor, and Jolly Pumpkin Cafe, among many others — get some love from the Detroit Free Press. The Metro Times explores what it will take to get more Michiganders to switch from swill (or out-of-state craft beer) to Michigan-made brew. And the beer list for the Michigan Brewers Guild Detroit Fall Beer Festival, it is out.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.