food & grocery: The Week in Beer: April showers, May flowers, and spring seasonals
David Bardallis | Contributor
Mother Nature has thrown me a curveball as far as cliches to use in introducing this Week in Beer. April showers? Despite recent weather, it wasn't particularly rainy this month. May flowers? They've been up since March.
Maybe instead of blathering about the weather, we should talk about beer. Spring is in full swing, and so are the delicious warm-weather seasonal brews as well as increasing options for enjoying God's own beverage outside amongst the splendor of His creation. Let's go!
Friday, April 27
>> It’s Arbor Day, the quasi-holiday named after Arbor Brewing. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Anyway, get thee to 114 E. Washington to celebrate our friends, the trees, with a glass of Tusli Basil Spruce Ale, a small batch created by brewer Logan Schaedig just for the occasion. For every glass sold, $1 will be donated to Ann Arbor’s Adopt-A-Park program, which plants trees throughout the city. You don’t even have to be a Lorax.
>> For even more Arbor action, head to Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, from 5-7 p.m. for Michigan beer happy hour. The Wine and Beer Bar will be pouring Arbor brew for $3 a glass or $1 a sample pour. Oh, and you know what? Now you can get raw oysters sent over from the seafood counter to have with your beer. Yum!
Tuesday, May 1
>> I don't always get down to Milan, but when I do, I drink beer at Original Gravity, the best brewery in the city (and it would still be the best even if it wasn’t the only one). Now Original Gravity is coming up to Ann Arbor, beginning at 6 p.m. at Ashley’s, 338 S. State. Come out and enjoy a baker’s dozen of your OG favorites (and maybe something new) on tap, including Southpaw IPA, Primordial Porter, Evil Overlord Strong Dark Belgian Ale, Lumpy Oatmeal Stout, 2-Wheeler Witbier, 440 Pepper Smoker, Chocolate Vanilla Mint Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Ginger Ale and more. Plus, owner and brewer Brad Sancho will be there to help you drink his beer and explain all about what makes it taste so good.
>> It’s nighttime. There’s a brewer. Must mean it’s Brewer’s Night at Grizzly Peak. Come pal around with beermakin’ dude Duncan Williams from 6-9 p.m., who will take you a tour of the brewery (currently being expanded), maybe have a beer or two with you, and tell you your awesome. What else could you want?
Wednesday, May 2
>> Which goes better with food, beer or wine? Cast your vote at the Michigan Beer vs. Wine Dinner, featuring beverages from New Holland Brewing and Bowers Harbor Vineyards, respectively. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., Mercy’s at the Bell Tower serves up a sumptuous five-course meal, with every morsel paired with a complementary beer and wine. Reservations are required; cost is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Call 734-996-3729, and see the full menu at Mercy’s wesbsite.
>> Over in Dexter, Terry B’s Restaurant & Bar hosts its dinner at 6:30 p.m., but omits the wine. The beers of Bell’s get paired with six courses of delicious fare from the mind of chef Doug Hewitt. Tickets are $60 plus tax and gratuity; call 734-426-3727, and see the menu here.
Notes on the Napkin
- Tickets for the July 27-28 Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti go on sale May 1. You can pick them up at your favorite member brewery (or order online here), but you should be quick about it. Every year there are procrastinators lamenting they didn’t get tickets before they were all gone. Don’t be that guy (or girl)!
- May also brings us Lagerpalooza, a month-long lineup of beers and live music over at the Wolverine tap room, 2019 W. Stadium. Find out what’s on tap at wolverinebeer.com.
- What’s Jolly Pumpkin head brewer Ron Jeffries drinking? Follow @WhatsRonDrinkin on Twitter and learn what an acclaimed beermaker puts in his glass. Also see some nice Hawaiian scenery while he vacations on the islands.
- Combining Burton-on-Trent, England’s original beer style, IPA, with a brewing technique originating in Brussels, Belgium, wood-aging, the Burton-Brussels Express takes Sheerwater IPA, ages it in a barrel for a month, then dry-hops it with English hops (Fuggle and Golding, for those keeping score). The result is a golden ale sporting a mix of herbal, spicy hop notes and a dry tartness that finishes bitter. Sound good? Get some now at Grizzly Peak. And if you’re a Mug Club member and homebrewer and intend to take part in the May 14 Brew-Off, remember May 7 is the cutoff date for submissions. See details here.
- Due to popular demand, the Corner Brewery is extending its Sunday morning brunches through the summer. Beginning at 10 a.m., choose from a $16 prix fixe menu with four courses and a beverage, including mimosas and bloody beer Marys. See Patti Smith’s writeup of the brunch experience.
- While we’re on the subject of the Corner Brewery, mark your calendars for another hot summer of cool grooves and cold beer: The dates for this year’s Halcyon Sundaze have been announced. It won’t be long before you’re sipping brew in the beer garden while DJs lull you with relaxing music. Oh yeah! Follow Halcyon on Facebook and Twitter as well.
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.