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Posted on Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 8:30 a.m.

The Week in Beer: Take time to enjoy a festive brew

By David Bardallis


Matt and Rene Greff are ready to return to Bangalore to open Arbor Brewing India.

David Bardallis | Contributor

It’s that time again, with Thanksgiving and, beyond that, Christmas fast approaching, when things seem to get a little crazy and hectic as we race to finish up the business of the old year and prepare to face a new one. But there’s still quite a bit of 2011 left, and no matter how busy you get, you should still make time to stop and smell the beer. And drink it, too, of course. Your Week in Beer has a few ideas for breaking up your end-of-year frenzy.

Thursday, Nov. 10

>> Tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, it’s Belgian and Belgian-style ale tasting time, Arbor’s most popular of the year. Get ready for a night of Trappists, lambics, sours, Flemish browns, and other exquisite brews; an appetizer buffet; and awesome door prizes. Tickets are $35, if still available. Call 734-213-1393 to find out.

Friday. Nov. 11

>> Join in-house beer expert Jimmy from 6-7 p.m. at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, for a tour through Michigan dark beers, including stouts and porters. The cost? A mere $6 for six tastes of some of the best black and brown beers our state has to offer. Space is limited; call the store at 734-997-7500 for more information and to reserve your place.

>> If you're a fan of San Diego County's Stone Brewing, you may be interested in a trip up to Howell to sample several rarer beers from this brewery as they pour from some of the many, many taps at The Shark Club, 1140 S. Michigan Ave. Join Shark Club's resident "beer geek" Jon Cole from 6-10 p.m. for $5 glasses of Lukcy Basartd (not a typo) Strong Ale, 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale, 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA, Double Bastard Ale, and Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout. These are some heavy beers, so unless you're local enough for a walk or cab ride, you may wish to bribe a pal or significant other into being your chaffeur for the evening.

Monday, Nov. 14

>> Why not get a jump on holiday shopping for that beer lover in your life? Today through Nov. 20, the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, is marking down all gift items, including T-shirts and sweatshirts, glassware, gift sets, and even Mug Club memberships. Six-packs and cases of Strawberry Blonde Ale are also discounted during the sale. It’s like Christmas came five weeks early!

Tuesday, Nov. 15

>> Arbor Brewing owners Matt and Rene Greff are heading back to Bangalore, India, in December to oversee the final phases of Arbor India’s construction and opening, scheduled for March. Come to the brewpub's Tap Room for a 6 p.m. tapping of Arbor India beers, including ChaiPA, Mango Blonde, Curry Spiced Belgian Ale and Garam Masala Pale Ale, and a menu of Indian-inspired food specials. And don’t miss out as the Greffs play music and show videos from their previous Indian sojourns — and maybe even break out a Bollywood-style dance or two. Put on your sari or sherwani and come on out to bid Matt and Rene farewell (for a while).

Wednesday, Nov. 16

>> Come to Mercy’s Restaurant, 300 S. Thayer, in the Bell Tower Hotel for a Michigan beer tasting featuring brews from Arbor, Wolverine, Jolly Pumpkin, Short’s, Founders, and Bell’s. Enjoy some great beers, nosh on appetizers and finger foods, and mingle with brewers, brewery reps, and other cool people — all for just $25. Call 734-996-3729 to get your ticket.

Notes on the Napkin

  • Another area brewery is about ready to open: Witch’s Hat Brewing Co., 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon, is awaiting final federal bureaucratic approval, which they anticipate coming in the next couple weeks. According to owner/brewer Ryan Cottongim: "We’re planning on 12 taps: five regular, two seasonal, and five rotating small-batch beers and meads. Hours are tentatively 4-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to midnight Friday and Saturday, and closed Sunday." Witch's Hat beers include Lyger, a light ale/lager hybrid; Train Hopper IPA; and Holy Confusion, a complex barleywine-style brew.

David Bardallis is a freelance writer and editor, blogger, bon vivant and man about town. Visit “All the Brews Fit to Pint” at, follow @allthebrews on Twitter, or join the "All the Brews Fit to Pint" Facebook page. Email your beer-related thoughts to