The Week in Beer: Have a hoppy Halloween
David Bardallis | Contributor
Thursday, Oct. 25
>> Ashley's, 338 S. State, is hosting a scary good tap takeover beginning at 6 p.m. and featuring the beers of Benton Harbor’s The Livery. Brewer Steve Berthel makes some amazing stuff, and you’d just be plum nuts to miss this. The lineup includes the delicious Maillot Jaune Biere de Garde, an oak-aged version of same, and the Eruption Sour Ale brewed in collaboration with Brewery Vivant and our own Arbor Brewing. See the full list here.
Saturday, Oct. 27
>> Are you ready for the Nightmare on Norris Street? Once again the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, is doing Halloween up right with another spooktacular fright fest. From 8 p.m. to well past the witching hour, partake of an eerie beer garden full of live art, fortune tellers, tarot card readers, and other things wondrous and strange. Small-batch Rat Pad libations include Zombie Fuel Pumpkin Ale, Chinook Norris IPA, and Ahhhhmish Cider Slaughter. The Wax Kings and Halycon DJs will spin the terrifying tunes, and MC KCD will host a costume contest with prizes for first, second, and third place as well as for “Punniest/Funniest,” “Most Creative ABC Beer Theme Costume,” “Best Group Theme Costume,” and more. No cover.
Sunday, Oct. 28
>> What’s better than Halloween pumpkin carving? Halloween pumpkin carving in a brewery! Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, has some handy, so grab the kids and carving tools and come out beginning at 2 p.m. to enjoy a brew or two while putting your artistic stamp on everyone’s favorite squash-type thing.
Tuesday, Oct. 30
>> Hey, hey, hey, it’s Phat Abbot! Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, hosts a release party from 6-8 p.m. for their excellent Belgian style dubbel ale, brewed with candi sugar and fermented with Trappist yeast for a complex brew of toffee, toasted malt, and dark fruit flavors. Snacks, discounts on merchandise and take-out beer, and some unbeatable beer-drinking fellowship are part of the deal. Cost is free for Mug Club members of Arbor or Corner, and $10 for all the rest of y’all.
>> Head down to Milan for a devilish good time at Original Gravity, 440 County St., as brewer Brad Sancho releases a small-batch pumpkin brew and the Movie That Started It All, Night of the Living Dead, screens beginning at 8:30 p.m. Movie’s free, but I’m guessing you’ll need to pay for the beer. Unless, of course, a real zombie outbreak happens, in which case in all of the confusion you can probably make off with a growler or two.
Wednesday, Oct. 31
>> If you’re not passing out candy to kids in costumes, head downtown to Bill’s Beer Garden and observe all the ghouls and gremlins while you sip on some delicious beer. Bill’s is open for Halloween, from 5-11 p.m., in addition to its regular Thursday-through-Sunday schedule.
>> Arbor is celebrating the big night beginning at 7 p.m. with live music from Rockasaurus followed by tunes from DJ Ayron Michael Nelson (9 p.m.) Fortune telling, plenty of good beer including Night Stalker Pumpkin Cream Stout, and a costume contest are all part of the fun. Contest is judged at 9 p.m., and there’s no cover.
>> Just down the street is the “Monster Mash” at the bar underneath Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery, 207 E. Washington, fittingly named Mash. Doors at 6 p.m. with DJ Madman Mike playing your spooky favorites from 9 until 1. Drink specials and a costume contest ($100 gift card for “Best Overall” and $50 gift cards for “Most Original” and “Sexiest) will ensue. And look for Gourd to Death Pumpkin Ale from Blue Tractor to be on tap. No cover.
>> On the west side of town, Wolverine hosts its usual Wednesday trivia night, but with a twist. Not one, but two, costume contests will be held for fun and prizes, and the night wraps up with live music from local faves Dragon Wagon.
Notes on the Napkin
- By the time you read this, Fuego del Otono Ale, a seasonal brewed with chestnuts and spices, should be pouring from the taps at Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery, 311 S. Main. It’s good. You want some. You should get some. These people all like it, too, so it’s not just me.
- While we’re on the subject, don’t forget about La Parcela No. 1 Pumpkin Ale, which the Wall Street Journal recently put on its shortlist of best pumpkin beers. Food blog Serious Eats did likewise. Whoa, the world is catching on to what we already knew.
- Curious about other pumpkin beers on tap around town? Consult the pumpkin beer guide from earlier this week and make your grownup trick-or-treat plans accordingly. Not mentioned for reasons of space and focus: Witch’s Hat Brewing's Spiced Pumpkin Porter and Liberty Street Brewing’s beloved Punkin Pie, both on tap now.
- Lots of big news on Wolverine’s expansion, new bottled beer, and plenty more, but rather than re-hash it I’ll just send you to the Beer Wench’s blog where she details all as only she can.
- Tickets are on sale now for the Nov. 4 Rouge Brew, a guided beer tasting at Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth, to benefit Friends of the Rouge, a nonprofit that promotes stewardship of the Rouge River. Join Michigan Beer Guide editor and publisher Rex Halfpenny as he walks you through samples of beers brewed within the Rouge watershed. Advance tickets are $30 for FOTR members, $35 for nonmembers, or $40 at the door if still available and include pizza and a take-home souvenir glass. Space is limited; visit the FOTR website for more info and to register.
- Tickets are also on sale for the Nov. 7 Know Your Beer tasting at The Last Word, 301 W. Huron, or the Bar Formerly Known As Goodnight Gracie. Local beer maven Patti Smith and Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings will compare and contrast ales and lagers, porters and stouts, and American and English IPAs, as well as mead and cider. Tickets are a mere $25; go here to reserve your spot.
- And finally, for those heading to Detroit for this weekend’s Fall Beer Festival, you can download the official program here and start making your “must-try” list in advance.