The Week in Beer: Getting sour on the holidays
David Bardallis | Contributor
What we’ve come to call “the holiday season” is officially in full swing, meaning five more weeks of frenetic activity and freaking out about gift buying, visiting relatives, cleaning and decorating, and all the rest of it. For anyone feeling overwhelmed with stress, I have one magic word: beer. Beer will make everything better. If you need more details on the wheres and the whats, read on.
Friday, Nov. 23
>> It’s shopper hell/retailer heaven day, and if you’re feeling the itch to hit the streets in search of bargains, consider Arbor Brewing’s annual Black Magic Friday Holiday Sale. All day long, all clothing, glassware, carry-out beer (including the just bottled 2012 Grand Cru), gift cards, gift sets, and even Mug Club memberships are discounted. Plus while you shop, you can enjoy Black Magic Coconut Porter, specially brewed just for this event. If, like me, you plan to spend the day hiding in a bunker, sister joint Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypislanti, is having its annual holiday sale Nov. 28 through Dec. 4.
Saturday, Nov. 24
>> The boys in blue head down to the snake pit of Columbus to play The Game, and if you’re looking for a good place to watch and drink beer named after the good guys, the Wolverine State Brewing taproom, 2019 W. Stadium, is open early for all your football and beer needs, beginning at 10:45 a.m.Go Blue!
Friday, Nov. 30
>> It’s been a while, but beer tastings are back at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, and this time New Holland returns to the eight taps of the Wine and Beer Bar and Jimmy New Holland (formerly Jimmy Whole Foods and before that, Jimmy Corner Brewery) will be on hand to toast the holiday season, hand out swag, and answer questions about the beers. Event runs 5-7 p.m.
>> Tucked away in a strip mall on the north side of town is The Wine Seller, 2721 Plymouth, a store with a mouthwatering selection of beers, making it kind of like Christmas all the time, except Santa expects you to pay. At least most the time he does. Tonight from 5-8 p.m. stroll in for a taste of Arbor Brewing beers, courtesy of the lovely and talented Miss Kayla Marie of ABC. And while you’re there, you can get ideas for brews to get for the beer lover on your list (wink, wink).
>> Over in Kerrytown, the Fourth Annual KindleFest runs from 6-10 p.m. The Farmers Market will be full of local merchants and artisans selling crafts, goods, and other assorted wares as shoppers and revelers enjoy music, fire pits, roasted s’mores and chestnuts, and, most importantly, local beer and even some mulled wine. I don’t have a list, but previous years have included beers from Arbor and Jolly Pumpkin. Yum!
Notes on the Napkin
- Not that anyone wants to think about the Detroit Lions, but at least anyone foolish enough to have season tickets and stubborn enough to attend the last few home games this season can find Liberty Street Brewing beers at Ford Field. Belly up to the stand in Section 127 (visitors’ side) to drown your Lions fan sorrow with Liberty and other Michigan craft beers, generally for only 50 cents more than you would pay for the regular swill. At least the Lions are doing something right.
- This week Liberty Street has also released in their Plymouth taproom, 149 W. Liberty, Glutenous Minimus, a 5.7 percent alcohol-by-volume (ABV) gluten-free beer brewed with sorghum, raspberry blossom honey, agave nectar, and cinnamon sticks. An interesting brew even if your body is fine with gluten.
- Arbor Brewing’s head brewer Logan Schaedig has officially touched down in India to help Matt and Rene Greff finally launch ABC India in December. He’s expected to be there six months to train the local brewers and otherwise make sure things get off to a smooth start. But before he left, he made Vishuddha Amria, a special lager brewed with lemongrass, rye flakes and German noble hops that will be on tap at Arbor this week.
- As mentioned above, Corner Brewery’s annual sale begins Nov. 28, and it’s a good time to go sour on the holidays. Bottles of four great Arbor sour beers are now available, including Sodibo, Divette, Flamboyant Red, and Framboozled. Santa is tired of milk and cookies, so maybe you wanna hook that brother up with something nicer this year. Also available is Dirty Love, a nice version of Espresso Love Breakfast Stout aged in bourbon oak barrels with vanilla beans, chipotle peppers, and cocoa nibs.
- Trader Joe’s, 2398 E. Stadium, is once again readily accessible thanks to the new Stadium bridge, and just in time for you to cruise over and pick up a bottle or three of their annual Vintage Ale, a tasty, high-gravity, bottle-conditioned brew featuring noble hops, roasted malts, and spices. Good for enjoying now or putting away in your cellar for later consumption, it’s a great value at only $5 a 750ml bottle. Astute observers will note it’s made for TJ’s by Unibroue, famous for their great Belgian-style ales including La Fin du Monde Tripel.
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.