The Week in Beer: It's the most wonderful time of the year
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
Wednesday, July 25
>> The first-ever collaboration brew between Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, and Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington, which opened within a few months of each other in 1995, will be tapped today at both locations. Bear in a Tree is an English summer session ale brewed with honey malt to impart sweetness and balance the earthy English hop bitterness. Join brewers Duncan Williams (Grizzly) and Logan Schaedig (Arbor) at 4 p.m. at Grizzly Peak in toasting the ever-expanding local (and statewide) craft beer scene with this refreshing 4 percent alcohol-by-volume (ABV) brew. The pub crawl party shifts to Arbor at 5 p.m. to try Logan’s version.
>> At 6 p.m., the 50-year-old Fraser’s Pub hosts a tap takeover from Bell’s, featuring firkins of Third Coast Beer and Two Hearted Ale and regular drafts of Amber Ale, Best Brown Ale, Cherry Stout, Pale Ale and Oberon. At 7:30 p.m., Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout will also be tapped. Be sure to wish Fraser's a happy 50th birthday!
Thursday, July 26
>> Bell's takes over the taps of Red Rock Downtown Barbecue, 207 W. Michigan, Ypsilanti, beginning at 6 p.m. The lineup includes everything from the Fraser's event above plus Oarsman Ale. Timed tappings include Wedding Ale at 6:30 and Black Note at 7:30.
>> Not to be outdone, the Wurst Bar, 705 W. Cross, hosts a special New Holland tap takeover beginning at 5 p.m. Special food items include Marinated Mushroom Salad, Hatter Batter Jalapenos, and Hopwurst, which you can pair with Rye Hatter, Farmhouse Hatter, White Hatter, Oak Aged Hatter, Pilgrim’s Dole Wheat Wine Ale, and Sour Attitude Ale, making a rare appearance outside the New Holland taproom.
>> At Sidetrack Bar & Grill, 56 E. Cross, there’s a Short’s Brewing tap takeover, featuring at least 25 drafts of flagship and experimental brews from the brewery up north. Word is that these beers won’t duplicate anything Short’s is bringing to the Summer Beer Festival.
>> In Ann Arbor at 7 p.m., Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, is releasing Eruption, a collaboration brew with Benton Harbor’s The Livery and Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids. It’s a sour beer brewed at The Livery, fermented with Brewery Vivant’s ale yeast, and conditioned for an entire year in Arbor’s sour beer barrels. As a bonus, some of the beer received an infusion of fresh raspberries at the end of the process to create Raspberry Eruption, so this is really like a two-fer release party. A limited number of 750ml bottles will be available for takeout sale. The Livery’s Impeche Sour Belgian Ale and 5th Dimension Belgian IPA will also be on tap.
Friday, July 27
>> It’s what you’ve been waiting all year for: The annual Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival commences at Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park at 5 p.m. Something in the neighborhood of 545 beers from more than 60 Michigan breweries will be available, and this year is a little extra special, what with it being the Guild’s 15th anniversary. In fact, a number of breweries, working from the same base recipe, created their own versions of 15th Anniversary Ale to commemorate the occasion. Look for them amongst all those other great Michigan brews. Start your planning with the official program here, and if you like history, follow MittenBrew’s series on the Guild’s 15 years of existence, complete with embarrassing old pictures.
>> Following the Festival, if you somehow didn’t get enough beer, you’ll want to stop by the Wurst Bar, which is featuring $2 drafts of Founders beers starting at 8 p.m. Yes, $2: That’s not a misprint.
Saturday, July 28
>> Head to Ypsilanti early for a special 9 a.m. live radio broadcast at Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, with Bob and Jop, whose Grillin’ Guys show airs on Grand Rapids’ 107.3 FM WBBL. Owner Matt Greff will talk beer, Red Rock Downtown Barbecue will provide food samples, and you will enjoy happy hour prices until 11 a.m.
>> That little beer festival continues in Riverside Park from 1-6 p.m. (or noon, if you’re an Enthusiast member who gets to enjoy a whole hour in the candy store before the other kids are let in).
>> Lost in all the hoopla over the Summer Beer Festival is the second public German Park picnic of the season. All the great German food, oompah band music, and buckets of beer you can handle await at 5549 Pontiac Trail for this longstanding Ann Arbor tradition. Never been? This advice from several years ago is still sound. The fun goes from 4-11 p.m. Visit germanpark.com for more info.
>> So another Summer Beer Festival is done, but you’re not ready for the party to be over. The Wurst Bar has you covered with a tap takeover featuring the beers of Liberty Street Brewing. Come by after the Fest and clink glasses with owner and brewer Joe Walters over pints of Red Glare Amber Ale, The American IPA, Starkweather Stout, Steamy Windows Common Ale, Pooh Beer Honey Porter and 42nd Parallel Double IPA.
>> Ypsilanti’s not the only town to have a festival today; it’s also the day of Blues, Brews, and Brats in downtown South Lyon. From 4-11 p.m. the live music will be happening (courtesy of Barbara Payton and the Instigators), the brats will be hot off the grill, and the brews will be provided exclusively by Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail. Said brews will include three of their popular ales as well as a special pilsner brewed just for the occasion. There’s a $3 cover and kids (i.e., under 21) have to vamoose by 7 p.m. See here for more details and full music lineup.
Tuesday, July 31
>> Return to Ypsilanti for the release of Red Snapper Roasted Pale Ale at the Corner Brewery from 6-8 p.m. Part of the regular release schedule, the party will feature snacks, beer, and discounts on take-out (growlers and six-packs). Free for Arbor or Corner Mug Clubbers; $10 for the rest of you heathens.
Wednesday, Aug. 1
>> Back in Ann Arbor, Grange Kitchen & Bar, 118 W. Liberty, is hosting a BBQ & Beer Dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. $55 includes a five-course feast as well as tax and gratuity. Space is limited; call 734-995-2107 to reserve your space and see the full, totally amazing sounding menu here.
Notes on the Napkin
- This week bottles of Wolverine Amber Lager (nee District 16 Vienna Lager) should be hitting the shelves of your favorite local supermarkets and other purveyors of fine beverages. It’s a great beer and you should get some. If you can’t find it in your favorite store, the tap room at 2019 W. Stadium can sell you some to take home. After you have a mug or two there, of course.
- For those of you on the Twitters, the official hashtag for the Summer Beer Festival is #MISBF12. Your correspondent will, as always, be tweeting up a storm for those who can’t make it or are so bored as to watch Twitter for anything I might say. Word to the wise and all.
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.