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Posted on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 11:15 a.m.

The Week in Beer: From Ann Arbor to Grand Rapids, three cheers for Michigan beer

By David Bardallis


The seventh annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Fest takes place Saturday in Grand Rapids, but there are some great local events this week for those not making the trip.

David Bardallis | Contributor

With a winter storm forecast for the weekend, the "winter" part of the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival is coming just in time for the seventh annual event, taking place Saturday in Grand Rapids. For those attending, be sure to bundle up, be careful, and keep warm with some high-gravity beers! For those sticking closer to home, be sure to stock your fridge well to ride out the snowfall and be ready to emerge into a solid new Week in Beer, chock full of local things to do and brews to drink.

Sunday, Feb. 26

>> Come taste delicious chili prepared by Depot Town restaurants, and then cast your vote for the best one. It's all part of the Depot Town Chili Cook-Off fundraiser for Ypsilanti’s SOS Community Services. For a $5 donation, you can enjoy samples of meat and vegetarian chilis made by Aubree’s, Café Ollie, Corner Brewery, Sidetrack Bar & Grill, Woodruff’s, Harvest Kitchen and the Ypsilanti Food Co-Op. Begin at Sidetrack at 3 p.m., then wind up at Corner at 5:30 for a beer after-party where the votes for best chili be counted and the winner announced. For more information, email or call 734-485-8730.

Monday, Feb. 27

>> Do you have a zest for life? Or, anyway, a zester? If so, bring it to Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth, for a 7 p.m. citrus-zesting party in the upper hall. It's for a good cause: to help prepare ingredients for the first few batches of Liberty's popular spring/summer seasonal brew, Clementine Lemon Thyme Ale. Brewer Joe Walters is prepared to show his appreciation for your help by buying your first beer. And, lucky you, the award-winning Liberty One Porter just went on tap, and the delicious Wheat and Rye ESB is also still pouring, amongst other groovy brews.

Tuesday, Feb. 28

>> When most people think of Mother Russia and alcohol, they think of vodka. Me? Nyet! I think Russian imperial stout, and so do the folks at Arbor Brewing, who are throwing a release party from 6-8 p.m. for their version, dubbed Steamroller. It’s a rich 8.7 percent alcoho-by-volume (ABV) ale with dry, roasted espresso and bittersweet chocolate flavors, and it's one of the five stouts Arbor brews this time of year for the big St. Patrick's Day release. Enjoy it along with light snacks and discounts on merchandise and carryout purchases. The event is free for Mug Club and $10 for non-comrades.

Wednesday, Feb. 29

>> Head back to Arbor on Leap Day for the release of a special small-batch brew in its honor, John Henry Imperial Olde Ale. Unfortunately, at press time, your correspondent has no further details on this beer, so you'll just have to pop in and try it for yourself.

>> At 6 p.m., Grand Haven’s own Odd Side Ales makes its Ashley's debut with a mini-tap takeover of eight interesting beers, including Irish Mint Stout, Peach Tea Blonde Ale, Pineapple IPA, Peanut Butter Cup Stout, Citra Pale Ale, and several others. Head on over to 338 S. State and take a walk on the odd side.

>> If you can't get enough of the Rat, check out Corner’s latest post-Rat Fest release party at 6 p.m., featuring beers from the Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club, including Dr. Pepper Stout, Orange Creamsicle Ale, Raspberry Chocolate Stout, and Winter Warmer. Growler fills are available after 9, assuming there's beer left.

Thursday, March 1

>> Ashley's in Westland, 7525 Wayne Road, is hosting a Bell’s tap takeover, featuring 18 excellent beers on draft, pub games and swag giveaways. Be there beginning at 6 p.m. for drafts of such Bell's brews as Hopslam, Q Falls Special Lager, Rye Stout, Golden Rye Ale, Hell Hath No Fury, Oarsman, and more. Running late? You’ll definitely want to be there by 7:30 p.m., when a keg of Black Note Stout, the much-sought-after bourbon barrel aged blend of Double Cream Stout and Expedition Stout.

Notes on the Napkin

  • The Brewers Guild has thoughtfully released the program for Saturday's Winter Beer Festival! For those who like to plan ahead a bit, you can download a PDF of it, including the full list of beers and where each brewery is stationed, so you can optimize your drinking experience. And look for yet another festival liveblog from your correspondent, who will be amongst the thousands of beer-drinking fools gathered outside in the elements.

David Bardallis is a freelance writer and editor, blogger, bon vivant, and man about town. Visit “All the Brews Fit to Pint” at, follow @allthebrews on Twitter, or join the "All the Brews Fit to Pint" Facebook page. Email your beer-related thoughts to



Fri, Feb 24, 2012 : 3:53 a.m.

Personally, I think if you put Bud Light in a bottle and labeled it Hopslam Light 75% of the craft beer nuts would rave about how better it was than swill like Bud Light.


Fri, Feb 24, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

You could also claim it was made with "organic ingredients" in "small batches" somewhere "in the woods" to make it sound exotic. Or you could just rename it PBR/Old Milwaukee/Black Label/Red Whie and Blue and hipsters would drink it.


Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

I don't particularly care for chili with my beer. Spicy foods make beer taste like water. Just give me a loaf of Wonder Bread and sixer of Bud Light!


Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

I'd buy her a beer anytime.