The Week in Beer: Drinking with Mom
David Bardallis | Contributor
If you’re a really good son or daughter, you might even take Mom to one of the many great beer-related events going on in our area, about which more below in your Week in Beer.
Michigan beer tasting time at Whole Foods again already? Well, why not? This time around, Melissa, Sean and the rest of the crew at the Cranbrook store, 990 W. Eisenhower Pkwy., are forgoing a single brewery in favor of staging a Battle of the IPAs, featuring Original Gravity High Five Double IPA, New Holland Imperial Hatter Double IPA, and others. As usual, there will be $3 drafts, $1 sample pours and bottled brews. Which IPA is best? You be the judge!
Is your beer bitter? How about floral? Malty? Taste something kind of citrusy? Are those really bananas you’re detecting, or is that something else? Learn all about the many wonderful flavors of beer and how they get there in “Beer: An Educated Palate,” a three-hour class conducted from 2-5 p.m. at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, by owner Rene Greff. Tuition of $49 includes beer samples, refreshments and a keepsake drinking glass. Spaces still available; sign up through the Washtenaw Community College Lifelong Learning program.
The Spring Michigan Cask Ale Festival is going down at Ashley’s Westland, 7525 Wayne Road, from 2-6 p.m., and all the cool kids are going. Well, I am, anyway, which is almost the same thing. And so is Jolly Pumpkin, whose firkins of Calabaza Blanca with Hibiscus and Diabolical IPA will be among the roughly 20 varieties of cask-conditioned brews featured for the thirsty festgoer. Others include selections from Arbor Brewing, Arcadia, Bell’s, Dark Horse, Founders, Dogfish Head, and other Michigan and national breweries. Tickets are $35 and include 12 drink tokens (additional tokens can be purchased, 3 for $5). Go to ashleys.com to order or call 734-525-1667.
Sunday, (Mother’s Day)
Buy your mom a beer.
From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. it’s the first-ever A2 Brewpub Crawl for Mug Club members of any of downtown Ann Arbor’s four brewpubs (Arbor Brewing, Blue Tractor, Grizzly Peak, Jolly Pumpkin). For your $40 ticket you get beers and appetizers at each brewpub, the chance to talk to the brewers about their beers, and a logo pint glass from each establishment. What better way to support local business, drink great beer, nosh on tasty eats and pick up some new glassware for your home bar? (You do have a home bar, right?) Get tickets at any of the brewpubs, but you must be a Mug Club member at at least one of them to participate in this groovy event.
Tired of all those X-TREME HOP beers from breweries trying to one-up the competition in X-TREME bitterness? Then you might want to come to Arbor Brewing’s Bocks and Trappists Beer Tasting for a change of pace. Two dozen or so beers of these generally maltier styles will be available to please your palate, along with an appetizer buffet and a door prize drawing. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door and may be picked up at the pub or ordered by phone at 734-213-1393. Event runs from 7-9 p.m.
Notes on the Napkin
- The first batch of Wolverine Beer brewed entirely by new Wolverine State Brewing head brewer Oliver Roberts (Wolverine was previously brewed by folks at Michigan Brewing Co. in Webberville) has been picked up by distributor Arbor Beverage and should be available in stores soon. Your job: compare and contrast the old with the new. Wolverine’s "Beer Wench" E.T. Crowe will expect a written report from you.
- Speaking of Wolverine and the Beer Wench, both get a shout-out in, of all places, the May-June issue of Art Showcase magazine. Click here and scroll down to page 22 for "A Summer Craft Brew Odyssey" by Amy Johnston (warning: big PDF).
- What's on tap around town? At Grizzly Peak, enjoy an El Hefe Hefeweizen (banana, clove, and wheat goodness in a 4.7 percent ABV package) or, at the Peak's main bar, a wood-aged Farmer's Daughter Saison Ale, a tart, vinous, oaky joy sporting 6.1 percent ABV, (It may be gone by the time you read this; that's because it's frickin' awesome.) The Clementine Lemon Thyme Ale is up at Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty St., Plymouth; it's a citrus explosion of zest from hundreds of clementines and lemons added to an American wheat base and accented with springs of thyme for a nice herbal aroma. On Ann Arbor's Liberty Street, Bar Louie, 401 E. Liberty St., is serving Bell's Oarsman Ale, a Berliner weissbier style of brew -- light, refreshing and slightly tart with a dry wheat finish. (Drop by on a Wednesday when all Bar Louie drafts are $3!) As of this writing, Arbor Brewing still has Chips and Salsa Ale on tap for the insane and/or adventurous. And coming soon to Blue Tractor are Bad Moon Ryeizen, a wheat and rye ale dry hopped with Cascade hops, and Spring Fling Lager, a spiced concoction for drinking in the warm weather.
- Ann Arbor’s Main Party Store, 201 N. Main St., has a couple May beer specials worth noting: All six-packs from Flying Dog Brewery (In Heat Wheat Hefeweizen, Tire Bite Golden Ale, Snake Dog IPA, etc.) are $7.49; six-packs from North Peak (Diabolical IPA, Siren Amber, Majestic Wheat), Avery (Avery IPA, White Rascal Belgian White, Karma Ale, etc.), and new-to-Michigan Big Sky Brewing (Moose Drool Brown, Scapegoat Pale, Big Sky IPA, etc.) are $8.99; and six-packs of Huma Lupa Licious from Short’s are $9.99. Pick some up for Mom!
- I’ve got some good news and some bad news for beer drinkers. First, the good news: A recent study published in the Journal of Science of Food Agriculture suggests that drinking beer may actually help strengthen bones by increasing mineral density. (See? Make sure you bring your mom beer to help her stave off osteoporosis in her golden years.) The bad news: Another recent study, conducted by French researchers, has found that mosquitoes apparently prefer to bite people who have been drinking beer. I can’t say as I blame them, but still, malaria seems a steep price to pay just to enjoy a brew out on the deck.
- And in what some would say is good news, but which your correspondent, who would prefer Washington to keep its crappy politics out of my beer, is ambivalent about, the U.S. House of Representatives is apparently poised to adopt a resolution embracing American Craft Beer Week, May 17-23. Well, if it leads to lower beer taxes, then maybe it is good news.
That’s all the brews fit to pint this week; until next time, don’t let yo mama go thirsty. Raise a glass to her and all the great moms the world ‘round. Cheers, ma!