The Week in Beer: September is a banner month for good brew
September is a pivotal month for beer in so many ways. You have the Labor Day weekend, which typically involves coolers full of brew transported to points north for that last fling of summer. You have the noticeable cooling off as our spot on this rotating ball of space rock begins to turn away from the sun, sending a cue to brewers to start making heavier, maltier, and often more complex beers.
You have Oktoberfest celebrations, with all the beer-and-sausage Bavarian caricatures that entails, ramping up. You have the start of college football season — kind of a big deal around these parts — resulting in, one assumes, an uptick in weekend beer consumption for many. And you have the harvest season, which in Michigan includes an ever-growing variety of hops.
So while this next week is a little light on specific events, just consider it prep time as you get ready for all the other great beer releases and parties that will come fast and furious later in the month.
Thursday, Aug. 30
>> Brew for the River heads to Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, from 5-7:30 p.m. tonight for more river trivia contests, door prizes and, of course, a special beer release to support the Huron River Watershed Council’s education and conservation work. Join head brewer Logan Schaedig and the HRWC crew for the unveiling of Silver Creek Ale, brewed with 20 pounds of Michigan cherries. For more information, see here. Don’t forget your Brew Passport, and mark next Thursday, Sept. 6, on your calendar for the last Brew for the River event at Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery.
>> Some out-of-town guests will be making the rounds as the official New Belgium Pub Crawl kicks off at 6 p.m. at Ashley's, 338 S. State. Local New Belgium Ranger Brian, State Manager Gary, and assorted other Colorado folks will be joining forces with Ypsilanti-based distributor O&W for an evening of beer, swag, and camaraderie. Other stops include Sava’s, the Arena, Arbor Brewing, Palio, Old Town Tavern, Babs’ Underground Lounge, The Last Word, Good Time Charley’s, and the Brown Jug. And let AnnArbor.com entertainment director Bob Needham know what you think of New Belgium’s flagship beer, Fat Tire Amber Ale, here.
Saturday, Sept. 1
>> In case you’ve been living in a cave and didn’t know, the Michigan Wolverines take on the defending national champs, the Alabama Crimson Tide, at 8 p.m., in the opening game of Michigan’s 133rd season of the footballs. And if you’re looking for a good football-watching party to join, you could do a lot worse than hitting up the “Virtual Tailgate” at the Wolverine State Brewing tap room, 2019 W. Stadium, where you can drink nine different awesome lagers and catch the action on four big tellies in HD. Go Blue!
Tuesday, Sept. 4
>> Swing by the Grizzly Peak Den, 120 W. Washington, for another Brewer’s Night from 6-9 p.m. with head beermaker Duncan Williams. Brewery tours, beer specials, and a cask of Anniversary Black Ale dry-hopped with Michigan-grown Cascade hops will be part of the fun.
Wednesday, Sept. 5
>> The beer garden at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, sponsored by the HomeGrown Festival, is in full swing tonight from 4:30-8:30, and not only that, it’s the deadline for submitting beers for the HomeGrown Festival’s “Keep It Local” Homebrew Competition. Drop off two bottles of your brew to be judged, and come back to the Farmers Market Saturday, Sept. 8, for the HomeGrown Festival and to see if you’ve won any amazing prizes and accolades for your beer. It’s just that easy! Check out homegrownfestival.org for more details.
Notes on the Napkin
- Great news! The vintage, iconic “Drive Thru” sign that graced the Beer Depot in downtown Ann Arbor for decades, wrecked by an April 2011 windstorm, will be returning, following a complete restoration. Get the scoop here.
- Who is the mysterious Ypsi Gypsy? Or the alluring blonde of Bollywood Blonde Ale? Get the story behind Arbor Brewing’s re-design (and, in some cases, re-branding) of the label art for their bottled brew lineup here.
- Fox News, of all places, named Jolly Pumpkin’s Bam Biere Farmhouse Ale to its list of Top 10 Craft Beers. Congratulations?
- On tap now at Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon, is Three Kord Kolsch, a 5 percent alcohol-by-volume (ABV) lager in the easy drinking Cologne style (the German city, not the smelly man-fume). While you’re trying it, be sure to sign up for the upcoming Witch’s Hat euchre tournament. Grand prize is two lifetime Mug Club memberships complete with custom hand-blown mugs and second prize is two $100 gift certificates. Ask a server for details.
- Down in Milan, Original Gravity, 440 County St., will soon again feature new small batch releases on Tuesdays. No list is available as of this writing, but owner and brewer Brad Sancho says he’s been experimenting with local hops grown at a farm in New Boston. Stay tuned for more info soon.
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.