The Week in Beer: New beers and breweries for your late-summer enjoyment
David Bardallis | Contributor
New beers, new breweries, a wine vs. beer throwdown, and a dash of politics for good measure. Your Week in Beer has all the ingredients you need to enjoy a late summer celebration of everything that’s true and right with our little corner of the world, beginning, of course, with all that delicious, locally made brew.
Thursday, Aug. 11
>> The first of the series of “Brew for the River” events takes place at the Wolverine State Brewing tap room, 2019 W. Stadium Blvd., beginning at 5 p.m. Pizza buffet until 7, live music courtesy of Dragon Wagon at 8:30, and beer specials all night, including a re-release of the delicious Faustian Stout Baltic Porter, with proceeds going to help the Huron River Watershed Council’s work of preservation and education. While you’re there, pick up your Brew Passport and get it stamped at the other four upcoming Brew for the River events for a chance to win free beer. Visit hrwc.org for a schedule of events and more info.
>> You’ve heard of March Madness and Moonlight Madness. How about Micro Madness? That’s the theme of this month’s tasting at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington St.. More than two dozen hand-picked microbrewed beers — including Arbor’s own Super Snapper Very Special Bitter — plus an appetizer buffet and prize drawings await you. Tastings run 7-9 p.m.; tickets are $30. Call 734-213-1393.
Wednesday, Aug. 17
>> It’s been going on since April, but if you were unaware, every Wednesday from 5-7 p.m., Original Gravity, 440 County St., Milan, hosts a farmers market featuring fresh, local produce from Zilke Vegetable Farm; handcrafted, natural products from Garden Girl Soaps; breads made from spent brewer’s grains from Erie Bread Co.; and more. Plus, you can check out this abundance while you sip on some mighty tasty beers from brewer and owner Brad Sancho, including the new Eazy-Duz-It IPA, a "session" style beer at 4.4 percent alcohol by volume, brewed with lots of wheat malt and Amarillo hops. What’s not to love?
>> Which pairs better with fine cuisine: wine or beer? Chef Doug Hewitt and team hope to help answer that question at the “wine vs. beer” fifth anniversary dinner at Terry B’s Restaurant & Bar, 7954 Ann Arbor St., Dexter. From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., enjoy five courses paired with wines and Michigan beers specially chosen by Chef Doug and General Manager Diana Smalley and make up your own mind. Cost is $65; seating is limited and reservations are required, so call 734-426-3727 to secure your spot. Look for menu details soon on AnnArborBeer.com.
Thursday, Aug. 18
>> The second of five “Brew for the River” events takes place at Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery, 311 S. Main St., beginning at 4 p.m. Head brewer Ron Jeffries has come with up the goofily named Hummocky Lick Sumac Sensation beer, named after a headwater creek and brewed with sumac and cherries, two Michigan staples. How does it taste? Wish I knew, here's how Ron describes it: "Like many of my beers, it's part inspiration, part desperation, part salvation, part damnation, and the final credit should probably go to that little voice in my head." Once again, proceeds from sales of the beer go to the Huron River Watershed Council.
Notes on the Napkin
- Wolverine’s parking lot beer garden is finally open, and to celebrate, they’ve extended the tap room’s hours of operations. The new hours are as follows: Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday, noon to 1 a.m., or whenever they manage to kick the last lingering drunks out; and Sunday noon to 10 p.m.
- Who’s up for a road trip? The Local Pub & Brewery is now open in Jackson, 6020 Ann Arbor Road, and it’s worth a visit, especially for the yummy E.H. Pilsner and Yellow Dog Bit-Her (which may, unfortunately, be all gone by the time you read this). Homebrewer Phil Wilcox is making the transition into commercial brewing smoothly, and since his specialty is “session,” or low-alcohol, beers, the trip is that much easier. Look for a more detailed writeup soon on my blog, AnnArborBeer.com.
- On tap now at Grizzly Peak: at the main bar, summer fave Poolside Lager and Wee Owen’s Roggenbier, brewed with a generous dose of spicy rye malt, and in the Den, El Hefe Hefeweizen and Oasthouse Wheat Ale. Coming soon: Anniversary Ale, a hoppy black beer, and WeizenHopf, a more bitter kind of hefeweizen. Get ‘em while they — and the summer — last!
- At Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery, Lazy Sunday Hefweizen returns to the draft lines or, if you’re ready for something a little more substantial, there’s Barrel Aged “Hands Off My Goat!” Oatmeal Stout, aged in oak for six weeks. Hopheads will appreciate the latest incarnation of Hopicidal Maniac, a small-batch ale brewed exclusively with Chinook hops.
- Congratulations (I think?) to Arbor Brewing’s Matt Greff, who has been appointed to the new “Liquor Control Advisory Rules Committee,” which is tasked with recommending ways to rein in some of the more glaring idiocies and injustices of the state’s Neanderthal alcohol distribution laws. The 21-member committee is expected to issues its report within 120 days.
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.