food & grocery: The Week in Beer: Follow me in merry measure
David Bardallis | Contributor
I'll be checking out some of the great holiday beers and events around town, so follow me in merry measure, be it a pint, growler, or keg, for a most festive Christmas Week in Beer.
Friday, Dec. 21
>> The end of the world or just the start of a new season? Either or both are a good excuse for a party, and that’s just what’s going on at Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium: The third annual Family Holiday/Solstice Sing-Along Party with popular local singer-songwriter Kevin Devine. Beginning at 6 p.m., join Kevin as he sings participatory seasonal songs for kids (and parents). At 8:30, Kevin is joined by his band the Glen Levens for an End of the World concert of epic proportions. There’s no cover for either event, but please bring a non-perishable food item for donation to Food Gatherers.
>> Over in Ypsilanti, the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, is celebrating Armageddon with a pajama party game night. The fun kicks off at 8 p.m. with games like euchre (tournament begins at 8:30), cribbage, Boggle, Pictionary, and plenty more, including something called Fajenga. Feel free to bring your own games, and do be sure to put on your jammies: Everyone so attired gets happy hour prices all night!
Saturday, Dec. 22
>> Ho, ho, hhhrrraaauuuggghhh! Everyone’s favorite pub crawl, Detroit Santarchy, is back, bigger, bolder, and badder than ever. Don your cheap Santa suit and get on the bus to D-Town’s best dive bars. Buses will be sent to pick up Santas at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, and the Plymouth ROC bar, as well as other points north and east. Passes are a mere $20, and yours truly is probably going to be the guy selling them at the 8 Ball. Visit detroitsantarchy.net or follow Detroit Santarchy on Facebook for more details on pickup times and locations.
>> Original Gravity, 440 County St., Milan, is getting into the spirit with a small-batch holiday beer release, ugly sweater contest, and screening of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Although no start time was given, it’s probably safe to assume it’s 8 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 23
>> From 6-8 p.m., the Corner Brewery is hosting a special holiday beer release party. Hold on to your Santa hat and get ready for Imperial Fruitcake Ale! Yeah, you read that right. According to those in the know, the beer “is brewed with loads of rich specialty malts and copious amounts of dried fruits, including dates, cherries, currants, and cranberries, and finished with sweet orange peel, black strap molasses, and citrus hops.” The entire festive monstrosity is a 9.3 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) waiting to pummel your taste buds into holiday submission. The party is free to Mug Club members and $10 for the teeming hordes of commoners and includes beer, light refreshments, and discounts on merchandise and carry-out purchases.
>> On Sunday, God may have rested, but here on earth the party don’t stop. Hit up the Wolverine tap room from 7-11 p.m. for their Festivus celebration, perfect for Grinches who don’t like to acknowledge Christmas exists but still want to vaguely celebrate “something” this time of year. Wear an ugly holiday sweater for a chance to win fabulous prizes, enjoy complimentary appetizers, and drink lots of good beer. Seinfeld quotes are probably a plus.
Monday, Dec. 24
>> Dunno about you, but it’s become a Christmas tradition for me. From noon to 4 p.m., the Wolverine tap room will be open and pouring growlers for the unbelievable price of half off whatever they cost! Your correspondent always drops by to fill a couple to take home to Ma and Pa All the Brews’s house, where they come in handy during the family Yuletide festivities. Trust me, you won’t regret following my lead.
Tuesday, Dec. 25
>> Merry Christmas! Drink some beer.
Wednesday, Dec. 26
>> Shake off that Christmas hangover and get up to Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon, to help owners Erin and Ryan Cottongim and co. celebrate one year in business. They’re opening at noon and releasing three new beers, including on tap Black Barley Wine, a “massively bitter, dark, malty, and mysterious” brew. At 1 p.m., get ready for After Christmas Christmas Ale, a 6.8 percent ABV Belgian holiday ale brewed with maple syrup, honey, and spices. It’s available on draft until it’s all gone and in 22-ounce bottles to take home (limit two per person). Then at 5 p.m., it’s time for Bourbon Barrel Aged Night Fury Imperial Stout, an 11 percent ABV monster brewed with molasses and aged in a Jack Daniel’s barrel, also on tap for as long as it lasts. Live music is also part of the fun.
Thursday, Dec. 27
>> Over at Ashley's, 338 S. State, the celebration is for Arcadia Brewing, which enjoyed its 16th anniversary earlier this month. In honor of this milestone, Ashley’s is putting on 16 drafts of Arcadia beers, including old favorites, new brews, and even a few surprises from the cellar. The lineup is unavailable as of this writing, but follow me on the Twitters or Facebooks, where I’ll post it when I know. Or just show up at Ashley’s at 6 p.m. because, like, it’s Arcadia and they make good beer.
Notes on the Napkin
- Great news! Biercamp, 1643 S. State, makers and purveyors of fine sausages, jerky, and other such delicacies, has received approval from the city of Ann Arbor to proceed with plans to add a brewery to their operations. Now owners Hannah Cheadle and Walt Hansen have to get the bureaucrats in Lansing to sign off and then, mirabile dictu, Tree Town will soon have six breweries! Read Ryan Stanton’s full article on this.
- More great news! The Sidetrack Bar & Grill, 56 E. Cross, Ypsilanti, has officially begun a $1.2 million expansion. AnnArbor.com’s Katrease Stafford has the scoop.
- Other things on tap around town: White Christmas White Ale, a witbier hopped up with Chinook and Cascade, and Holiday Hellion, a double IPA brewed with juniper berries at Grizzly Peak; Wassail Ale, a brown ale brewed with wheat, honey, ginger, cinnamon, and star anise, at Blue Tractor, and at Wolverine, The Smoking Gunn Scottish Lager, for smoked beer lovers only, and a marvelous Czech Pilsner. On Dec. 27, Wolverine is also releasing Shiny New Toy, a German-inspired brew with Munich and roasted malts and German hops, plus some American wheat and oats because why not.
- A few non-comprehensive notes on holiday hours for some places: Witch’s Hat is closed Dec. 23-25; Original Gravity is open noon to 5 on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day; Wolverine is closed on Christmas Day; and Ashley’s, Arbor Brewing, and Corner are all closed both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.