The Week in Beer: Celebrating American Craft Beer Week
Image courtesy of the Brewers Association
American Craft Beer Week is May 16-22, and if you haven’t been celebrating American craft beer every week (like you should), you certainly have no excuse not to celebrate it this week.
You probably read this column religiously (who doesn't?) and think to yourself, “Damn, there’s so many great beers to try and so many great beer events to go to around here — if only I had the time!”
Well, dear reader, here’s a piece of advice to help you get your priorities right: Quit your job, neglect your spouse and kids, give up soccer, do whatever you have to do, but resolve that you won’t let another week go by without tapping into the marvelous brews our area has to offer. It's just the right thing to do. And with that, I present to you the American Craft Beer Week in Beer.
Thursday, May 12
>> Did you forget? Tonight from 7-9 p.m. is beer tasting time at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington! Enjoy two dozen malty and rich bocks, doppelbocks and Belgian Trappist ales as well as an appetizer buffet and a door prize drawing. Tickets are $30; call 734-213-1393 or buy at the door, if available.
Friday, May 13
>> Another recurring event that should be on your beer calendar is the biweekly Michigan beer tasting at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower. This time around, the beers of Frankenmuth Brewery are featured, with three taps of goodness pouring out at $3 a glass or $1 a sample, plus other Michigan beers in bottles opened at your request with no corkage fees. Avoid the trip north and all the accompanying German kitsch and check Frankenmuth out right in Ann Arbor!
Saturday, May 14
>> Up for a short road trip? Tickets are going fast for Ashley's Spring Cask Ale Festival, held at their Westland location, 7525 Wayne Road. Enjoy over 20 exquisite “real ales” from Michigan and elsewhere, poured directly from casks to your glass to your throat. Tickets are $30 if ordered before May 13, $35 thereafter (if available) and include 12 drink tokens (additional tokens may be purchased on-site) and tasting notes. Visit www.ashleys.com/micaskale.html to order, and follow the event's Facebook page for the latest additions to the beer lineup.
Monday, May 16
>> American Craft Beer Week begins at Arbor, with happy hour prices all day plus bottles of Belgian ales half-off all day (limit five). Also from 4-7 p.m., enjoy those delicious Belgian ales by the glass!
>> Fans of Arcadia Ales should set their sights on Ashley's, 338 S. State, with a special edition of Motor City Trivia beginning at 7 p.m. incorporating questions about craft beer in general and Arcadia in particular. On tap look for Arcadia Whitsun, Sky High Rye, Hopmouth, Starboard Stout and Loch Down Scotch Ale.
Tuesday, May 17
>> Craft Beer Week continues at Arbor with "Sampler Day": Get a free keepsake tasting glass with any purchase of a sampler, all day long.
>> Today and tomorrow, Ashley's is celebrating craft beers from the East Coast, tapping brews from the likes of Dogfish Head, Southern Tier, Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams), Flying Dog and more. Wear a shirt from one of the featured breweries, or another brewery from the region, and get a discount.
Wednesday, May 18
>> It's "Firkin Day" at Arbor, meaning in addition to a cask conditioned Sacred Cow IPA being available, head brewer Bill Gerds will be tapping another cask of something special at 4 p.m., just in time for happy hour. What will it be? You'll have to stop in to find out!
>> The third Wednesday of every month is the Corner Brewery’s small-batch beer release known as the Rat Pad. This month’s offering is Mission Point Maple Stoutish-Porter, a 7.6 percent ABV hybrid sort of beer brewed by Corner’s own Angie Williams. It’s inspired by a defunct Canadian brewery's “red maple lager” and made with 64 oz. of Thompson's Organic Maple Syrup from Canada. Angie says she made this beer in honor of the lazy days she spent watching boats passing through the Soo locks at Mission Point, Ontario. Rat Pad releases commence at 6 p.m. and last until the beer’s all gone.
Thursday, May 19
>> The award-winning Buzz Saw IPA returns to the taps of Arbor, and today from 4-5 p.m., you can enjoy a small complimentary glass of it while you get a personal tour of the brewery from the Gerdster himself. The catch: You must RSVP; call the pub at 734-213-1393 to do so.
>> Today and Friday, Ashley's turns its attention, and its taps, to West Coast breweries, including beers from Stone Brewing, Avery, North Coast, Bear Republic and more. Again, wear a t-shirt from a western brewery and receive a discount. And don't miss the special collaboration beer from Green Flash and St. Feuillien called Biere de l'Amitie, a Belgian-style strong blond ale brewed with rye and wheat malt and hopped with Amarillo and fermented with St. Feuillien's traditional Belgian yeast. I'm getting thirsty just drinking about it. I mean thinking about it.
>> At Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, celebrating Craft Beer Week just got a little easier: It's happy hour all day in honor of the occasion. Get $1 off medium-sized beers from open to close. Boo-ya.
Notes on the Napkin
- As a followup to last week’s announcement about Arbor’s Buzz Saw IPA at the World Expo of Beer competition, Wolverine’s own Oliver Roberts netted two medals himself, both bronzes, for District 16 Vienna Amber (in the European Amber category) and Drag Me to Helles (in the bock category). Congratulations to Oliver on this recognition for the great beers he’s creating for Wolverine! And check out www.worldexpoofbeer.com for more information on the World Expo of Beer Festival May 20-21 in Frankenmuth. Maybe you can go enjoy that German kitsch after all.
- Congratulations also go to Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth, which walked away with a couple awards from the World Expo, too. Tart Cherry Porter won again in the Fruit Beer category with a bronze medal, and Clementine Lemon Thyme took a bronze in the Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer category. They are both on tap now, along with other wonderful LSBC beers such as the refreshing Lime Cerveza, Wheat and Rye ESB, 42nd Parallel IPA and Black and Blue Blonde Ale.
- Hey, why should commercial brewers hog all the medals? Homebrewers Jeff and Susan Rankert of Milford took top honors at Monday's Grizzly Peak Mug Club Brew-Off with their Baltic Porter, which beat out 28 other entries. They will brew a commercial batch with head brewer Duncan Williams to be served in the pub. If you missed that contest, the fifth annual Brews Crews Homebrew Competition, sponsored by Arbor Brewing and the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, is taking submissions beginning May 13. Check out brewscrews.aabg.org for details on how and where to drop off your entry and win your ticket to homebrewing fame and fortune. Judging for Brews Crews takes place June 4 in the Corner Brewery beer garden.
- The rooftop deck of Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery is now open for business! Unlike last season, the entire area is now available, which means almost 100 more people can enjoy the great beers and amazing food available at 311 S. Main — while working on their tans.
- Beginning Monday, the Wolverine tap room will have new business hours: Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, noon to 1 a.m.; and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. Adjust your drinking schedule accordingly. On the outdoor "beer garden" front, apparently state bureaucrats have to approve of letting consenting adults sip beers a couple feet on the other side of the tap room door. Here's hoping the nanny state works its magic before the end of the summer!
- To cap off American Craft Beer Week, consider taking part in the Ypsilanti Progressive Craft Beer Pub Crawl on May 22. Participants will meet at 1 p.m. at Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, then visit Aubree's, Sidetrack, Haab's and Woodruff's, wrapping up at 5. Tickets are $25 and include lunch and beer at Corner along with craft brew at each location. Call 734-480-2739 or visit the Corner for tickets.
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.