The Week in Beer: In search of new brews
David Bardallis | Contributor
That's my plan, anyway, as I head up to Traverse City for the weekend in search of new brews. But that doesn't mean there isn't plenty going on around here, beer-wise. Quite the opposite, in fact. Don't believe me? Well, just take a look at your latest Week in Beer, smartypants.
Thursday, Aug. 15
>> Get ready! When Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Trail, South Lyon, opens for its regular business day at 2 p.m., Mug Club members (only) can fight each other for the big bourbon barrel aged beer bottle release going on. While supplies last, choose from the following: Night Fury Imperial Stout with Vanilla Bean, Night Fury Imperial Stout with Coffee, or Fear of the Dark Black Barleywine. Each 12-ounce bottle is $7.50, and there is a limit of four bottles (any combination) per Mug Clubber.
>> Oh, you thought Hatter Days were over? No way, Jose. They’re back at the World of Beer, 1300 S. University. Beginning at 7 p.m., 15 of WOB’s 40 taps will be given over to the fine beers of New Holland Brewing, including Dirty Water Beer, a Belgian-style brown ale brewed especially to raise funds for Water.org, a nonprofit founded to ensure more people can enjoy safe, clean water. Brewery rep Jimmy will be there, and you could win fabulous prizes while quaffing your chosen pint of New Holland goodness. Follow World of Beer on the Facebooks.
Friday, Aug. 16
>> Not to be outdone by its sister store at the Cranbrook shopping center, the original Whole Foods Market of Ann Arbor, 3135 Washtenaw, also hosts beer tastings, and from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Brewery Vivant will be the featured brewery. Now, don’t I wish I could tell you which beers they will have? You bet I do. But I can’t. So, as usual, you’ll have to drop in and find out for yourself. Isn’t life more fun with a little mystery?
>> It’s time to celebrate some heritage, Ypsilanti-style, when the annual Ypsilanti Heritage Festival kicks off at 1 p.m. in Ypsi’s Riverside Park. There will be arts, crafts, music, games - wait, did someone say BEER TENT? Yes, yes, it’s true. And inside of that tent will be local beers from Arbor Brewing and Wolverine State Brewing, along with other Michigan breweries: Paw Paw, Saugatuck, Cheboygan, Right Brain, the Hideout, and Griffin Claw. The good times roll until midnight, then start up again Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Learn more about the festival here.
Saturday, Aug. 17
>> Steel your taste buds for an onslaught of awesome. The long-awaited Fury for a Feast event at Witch’s Hat kicks off at 2 p.m. Bring a powerful hunger for roasted pig and thirst for bourbon barrel aged beer, along with a wad of cash, $5 of which you’ll need for cover ($3 if you bring two cans of nonperishable food to donate). Enjoy live music outside, along with a whole menu of chow from Palate of Milford, and enter a raffle to win fabulous prizes. All door proceeds go to Gleaners Food Bank. Check the Witch’s Hat website for all the details.
Sunday, Aug. 18
>> The countdown begins again, this time to the Sept. 7 Michigan Brewers Guild U.P. Fall Beer Festival. Oh yeah, speaking of counting, your help is requested at the Chelsea Alehouse, 420 N. Main, Chelsea, to help count out tokens for the festival. Work hours are 1-4 p.m., and, as usual, the Guild will pick up your beer tab for the duration.
Monday, Aug. 19
>> Beer! Enthusiasm! Find both at Red Rock Downtown Barbecue, 207 W. Michigan, Ypsilanti, for its regular Monday Beer Enthusiast Night. Join Jonathan Danger Cole from 6-9 p.m. for a tap takeover featuring beers from Saugatuck Brewing. Brews include ESB Amber, Oval Beach Blonde Ale, Pathfinder Pale Ale, and the continually hopped Continuum IPA, along with a surprise or two. AND SMOKED CHICKEN WINGS.
Tuesday, Aug. 20
>> Head to Ashley's, 338 S. State, for an event featuring beers from Long Island’s Blue Point Brewing. Beginning at 6 p.m., check out 10 drafts including Blueberry Ale, Hoptical Illusion IPA, Mosaic IPA (rarely seen outside the brewery), Old Howling Bastard Barleywine, Pale Ale, Sour Cherry Imperial Stout, Summer Ale, Toasted Lager, Toxic Sludge Black IPA, and White IPA. And, as an added bonus, look for the cask of Pale Ale dry-hopped with Citra.
Wednesday, Aug. 21
>> Beer and pizza: Is there a better combination? Find out at Jet’s Pizza Sportsroom, 506 N. Main, Chelsea, when 10 Saugatuck brews go on tap at 6 p.m., including Boathouse Stout, Cluster Fuggle Double IPA, Ginger Honey Ale, Hop in Your Rye Ale, and Nick o' Time Mystery Ale. (That last beer is probably not really mysterious; I just can’t find any information on it on the Googles.)
Thursday, Aug. 22
>> Ashley’s welcomes a new brewery to Michigan: The Bruery, out of Placentia, Calif. Try some “West Coast” beers inspired not by OMG HOPZZZ but by the more subtle and complex traditions of Belgium brewing. On tap: Autumn Maple Ale, Mischief Belgian Strong Pale Ale, Oude Tart Flanders Red Ale, and Tart of Darkness Sour Wild Ale.
>> Over at World of Beer, “Stonehenge,” an exclusive event featuring Stone Brewing begins at 7 p.m. Sure, you can get Arrogant Bastard, Cali-Belgique IPA, IPA, Levitation Ale, Pale Ale, Ruination IPA, Smoked Porter, and Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale on tap. But that’s not all. Stone CEO Greg Koch will be virtually joining the festivities via video for a simultaneous tapping at all World of Beer locations of the exclusive Ruination IPA Grapefruit Slam. More information is here.
>> The Produce Station welcomes Brewery Vivant to its latest intimate tasting event, this time hosted at the Alley Bar, 112 W. Liberty, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Brewery rep Kate Avery will lead a tour through five Vivant brews, including Big Red Coq Belgo-American Red Ale, Farmhand Farmhouse Ale, Trebuchet Double IPA, Triomphe Belgian IPA, and Zaison Saison Ale. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online here or in person at The Produce Station, 1629 S. State.
Notes on the Napkin
- The Chelsea Alehouse is once again opening its Mug Club to new members beginning Aug. 20. If you’ve been waiting to join, now’s your chance. Head over any time after 3 p.m. to sign up. Benefits include a unique hand-crafted mug for use in the brewery (while supplies last), a t-shirt, and discounts on beer and merchandise. Cost is $75, with a $20 annual renewal.
- According to Amazon, it’s a “Hot New Release.” (I have the screen capture to prove it!) Yep, I’m talking about Ann Arbor Beer: A Hoppy History of Tree Town Brewing. You’re sick of me flogging my forthcoming book? Just wait, buddy. Soon I’ll be announcing book-flogging events all around town at your favorite watering holes. In the meantime, read the book's foreword as written by Rene and Matt Greff of Arbor Brewing. And stay up to date via the book’s official Facebook page.
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. He is also the author of Ann Arbor Beer: A Hoppy History of Tree Town Brewing, due out August 27 from the History Press. Email your beer-related thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.