The Week in Beer: Celebrating a harvest of brews
All right, listen up! I know you’re probably lying there in a post-Thanksgiving turkey coma, but you need to rally because there’s a lot of stuff going on around town this week, not the least of which is the annual visit of those scarlet-and-grey clad troglodytes from down south. You can easily avoid Ohio State fans, though, just by going to one of our many local establishments with good beer in it since a Buckeye wouldn’t know good brew if he was drowning in it. Your Week in Beer has the scoop.
Friday, Nov. 25
>> Maybe you’re not one of those maniacs who springs out of bed at 5 a.m. to go stand in line at some big box appliance store for a shot at elbowing old ladies and little kids aside to grab a Gigantovox 100-inch High Definition Extreme Flat Screen LCD TV for $200 (with $100 rebate, allow 6-8 years for delivery). Good for you. But Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, is offering a much more compelling reason to leave the comfy confines of home this Thanksgiving weekend: Black Magic Friday! All day long, enjoy discounts on all Arbor merchandise, including apparel, glassware, gift sets, Mug Club memberships, gift cards — even all carry-out beer. And while you shop, be sure to enjoy a glass of Black Magic Coconut Porter, the official beer of Black Magic Friday. See you at the checkout line (but keep those elbows to yourself).
Saturday, Nov. 26
>> It’s go time as the heroic Wolverines take on the Nuts from Columbus in the annual tilt often cited as the best rivalry in all of sports. It has lost quite a bit of luster the past few years, but this year's edition promises to be competitive, and for once the good guys are favored over the villains. If you’re looking for a place to hang before or during the game, Ashley's, 338 S. State, is open at 9 a.m. for its "Kegs and Eggs" tailgate featuring a breakfast bar, Bloody Marys, and the state's largest beer selection on tap. Arbor Brewing also opens early at 10 a.m. (kitchen 10:30), and the Tap Room space is available for pre-game drinking and general carousing. The Wolverine State Brewing Tap Room, 2019 W. Stadium, opens at 9 a.m. and again will be running a shuttle to and from the game for just $10 (and a purchase of beer); rumor has it there may be some free munchies available as well. Go Blue!
Tuesday, Nov. 29
>> The Beer and Burger Tasting series returns to Frenchie’s (next to Sidetrack Bar & Grill), 56 E. Cross St. in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town. Beginning at 7 p.m., enjoy a five-course meal featuring three-distinct gourmet mini-burgers plus an appetizer and dessert, all paired with five different craft beers. A bona fide beer nerd will discuss each pairing and music from a live band will serenade you while you dine — all for just $25. Call Jessica at 734-483-5230 or order online here — click on "Event Tickets."
Thursday, Dec. 1
>> What the world needs now is more beer dinners! The fine folks of Ann Arbor’s Wolverine State Brewing and The Quarter Bistro are collaborating for the "Westsider Holiday Beer Dinner," hosted at The Quarter Bistro, 300 S. Maple, beginning a 6:30 p.m. The feast includes five plated courses plus a standing appetizer and features such deliciousness as Cajun Steak Bites with Gulo Gulo Hoppy Lager and Bistro Jambalaya with Common Reaction California Common Beer — see the full menu at wolverinebeer.com. Tickets are $45 per person, including tax, tip, and a raffle for beer, Mug Club memberships, and gift certificates. Call Wolverine at 734-369-2990 or The Quarter at 734-929-9200 to reserve or for more info. But hurry — there are only a few tickets left, and even those may be gone by the time you read this.
>> You’ve heard of the 12 Days of Christmas; well, Ashley’s has 20 Beers of Cheers, featuring the brews of Bell’s. On tap you’ll find mainstays like Amber, Best Brown, Two-Hearted, and Winter White ales as well as specialties like Cherry Stout, Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury Strong Ale, and Sweet Potato Stout. Special tappings include HopSolution Ale (6:30 p.m.), The Oracle Double IPA (7:15 p.m.), and Batch 9,000 (8 p.m.). And don’t forget all the cool swag and prizes for good girls and boys. Jingle all the way!
Notes on the Napkin
- What’s on tap around town? Glad you asked! Over at Liberty Street Brewing, 149. W. Liberty, Plymouth, be afraid, be very afraid, at the return of C Monster Imperial IPA, a 9.5 percent alcohol-by-volume beast full of resin and citrus notes from all seven of the hops whose name begins with "C." Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery, 207 E. Washington, continues its Hopicidal Maniac series with a brew featuring one malt and one hop; this time it's the Glacier hop, a relatively new variety that's earthy and less citrusy. Also look for Mommy's Li’l Peanut, a peanut butter stout brewed with 30 pounds of real peanut butter, and No. 339 Wheatwine, an 8.3 percent ABV beer brewed with 50 percent wheat malt and hopped aggressively with American Cluster and Sterling hops. At Grizzly Peak, look for DubbelHop Belgian Pale Ale, Fouch Hill Dark English Mild and (coming soon) Yakima Biere Belgo-American Pale Ale as well as Humongous Imperial Red Ale.
- And for your road trip planning purposes, the Shark Club in Howell is teaming up with Chef Doug Hewitt of Terry B’s Restaurant and Bar in Dexter for the Dec. 5 "Great Minds Drink Alike" dinner featuring brews from Dogfish Head and Short’s Brewing. The four-course meal will be served at Shark Club, 1140 S. Michigan in Howell, and includes Dogfish Head specialty beers World Wide Stout, 120 Minute IPA and Festina Peche and Short’s Noble Chaos Marzenbier. Tickets are $60, excluding tip; call the Shark Club at 517-540-0300 to reserve yours -— they’re going fast!
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.