The Week in Beer: Chase the winter blues with a good brew or two
David Bardallis | Contributor
Even a relatively mild winter can produce the blahs, but even a relatively mild craft beer can lift one's soul out of the doldrums. How much better, then, that we have so many local options that go beyond relatively mild to positively awesome?
Forgive me if I sound like a Johnny One-note, but if you decide to partake in any of the fine events in this Week in Beer, you’ll see exactly what I mean. You can thank me later.
Thursday, Feb. 2
>> Bambic, a deliciously sour blend of Bam Biere and Lambicus Dexterius, is making a comeback at Jolly Pumpkin CafÃ© & Brewery, 311 S. Main St. It will be available on draft and to go in 330-ml bottles at $7 apiece. Quantities are unknown, but are surely limited, so if you want some, you'd better get there sooner rather than later (doors open at 11 a.m.).
>> Swing by Ashley's in Ann Arbor, 338 S. State, for a 7 p.m. tapping of Bell’s Oracle Double IPA, as well as other great Bell’s brews like Hell Hath No Fury Ale, Quinannan Falls Special Lager and Hopslam Imperial IPA. The occasion? Beer buyer Monica Mooney is leaving Ashley's to join the Bell’s team, so come out to give her a proper send-off and enjoy some great brews, too.
Friday, Feb. 3
>> Not everyone's gotten down to Milan to enjoy the beers of Brad Sancho and Original Gravity Brewing Co., but the good folks at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, are providing an opportunity to check them out during the latest biweekly Michigan beer tasting at the Wine and Beer Bar from 5-7 p.m. As always, glasses are $3, sample pours are $1, and bottles of various Michigan beers can be popped sans any corkage fees.
Saturday, Feb. 4
>> Around about this time of year, I begin to think wistfully back to those lazy summer days of sitting outside while sipping on a nice cold beer. Well, it's not possible to make it summer in February, but Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, is making it possible to sit outside and drink beer — and for a nice price! From noon to 5 p.m., brave souls who agree to be served at ABC’s sidewalk tables during the annual Winter Warriors event enjoy $1 drafts beers. Hot beverage and chili specials will also be on tap to keep the warriors from freezing completely.
Sunday, Feb. 5
>> It’s that time of the year again, where Americans are encouraged to get excited about a sporting event that they're not supposed to name, at least not if they own businesses and wish to advertise specials in conjunction with said sporting event. Confused yet? Don’t be. Just know that Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, has you covered with their usual lineup of superb lagers as well as a free buffet of football-friendly chow and several large TVs to watch the nameless athletic action (and the associated expensive advertising).
>> If you’re up for a bit of a road trip or are local to Howell, beginning at 6 p.m. the Shark Club, 1140 S. Michigan Ave., is offering half off beers from all 68 of its taps as well as a $10 munchies buffet. There will also be games and prizes throughout the duration of the nameless sporting event, which you can watch on one of the Shark Club's 80 bajillion big-screen TVs.
Monday, Feb. 6
>> Head back to Ashley's for the long-anticipated official release of a new Founders beer, All-Day IPA, designed to be a "session," or lower-alcohol, alternative to big, hoppy beers that typically make you stupid after just one or two of them. Also on tap from Founders: Centennial IPA, Devil Dancer Double IPA, Red's Rye PA, Pale Ale, Porter, Dirty Bastard Scottish Ale, Imperial Stout and Backwoods Bastard Barrel Aged Scotch Ale.
Tuesday, Feb. 7
>> Brewer’s Night returns to the Grizzly Peak Den, 120 W. Washington, where head brewer Duncan Williams and crew hang out from 6-9 p.m. to talk beer, conduct brewery tours, and present a cask of something new and interesting. This month it's Count Schakuporter, aka Bear Paw Porter aged with chocolate nibs courtesy of Schakolad Chocolate Factory.
>> From 7:15 to 9:15 p.m., Arbor Brewing kicks off the WDET Essential Music Listening Party series, hosted the first Tuesday of the month by local music impresario Rob Reinhart. It works like so: Attendees submit in advance song ideas via Facebook and Rob selects from them to create a playlist for the event. Attendees have a chance to listen to, discuss, and rate each song, with the top five rated songs being featured on Rob’s show the following week. Each show concludes with a live performance from a local band, and best of all, it’s free. Well, no, what’s best of all is that there’s beer, but unfortunately, it’s not free. Visit wdet.org/RREMLP for more information.
Thursday, Feb. 9
>> From 7-9 p.m. Arbor Brewing serves up the perfect beer tasting event to shake off that winter chill. More than two dozen "strong ales" will be unleashed in the pub, including old ales, barleywines, double IPAs, Scotch ales, Belgian brews and other high-octane concoctions, along with the usual tasty appetizer buffet and fabulous door prize raffle. Tickets are $30 in advance, or $35 at the door, if available. Call 734-213-1393.
Notes on the Napkin
- Witch's Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon, is offering a Valentine's Day special: From now to the big romantic day, if you purchase a $50 gift certificate, you'll get a free T-shirt. Er, I mean, your significant other will get a T-shirt. And a gift certificate. Right?
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.