Monday, September 4, 2017

Ollie Food + Spirits to Host Belgian Beer Dinner

Hey, you like Belgian beer and good food, right? (If you answered no, I don't even want to know you.)

If you're normal and said yes, then you might be interested in this four-course Belgian beer dinner coming up at Ollie Food + Spirits in Ypsilanti on September 18. Here's the menu:

Val-Dieu Cuvée Spéciale 800 Ans 
Paired with salad of arugula, herbs, and aged cheddar, with a six-minute farm egg

Brouwerij Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne
Paired with rustic savory plum tarte tatin with triple cream brie

Val-Dieu Grand Cru
Paired with:
MEAT: venison carbonade flamande, served with hand cut french fries and tomato aioli
VEGETARIAN: roasted eggplant and mushroom caponata, served with hand-cut french fries and tomato aioli

Brouwerij Verhaeghe Barbe Ruby
Paired with Ann Arbor Distilling Company Cherry Brandy-spiked chocolate mousse

Tickets are $50 each or two for $85. Ten percent of the proceeds from the event will be donated to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Buy here.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Jolly Pumpkin Day of Zwanze Tickets Go On Sale September 5

It happened last year. And this year it's back, and with an extra preposition! Zwanze Day Day of Zwanze returns for the second time to the Jolly Pumpkin brewery in Dexter September 23.

Why is this a big deal?

Bro, if you gotta ask...

OK, fine. For fans of Belgian lambics, Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels is pretty much the top of the top shelf. Every year since 2011, Cantillon has released its special limited-run "Zwanze" beer and selected only about 60 locations worldwide for a Zwanze Day Day of Zwanze tapping event. Jolly Pumpkin is one of only 28 places in the U.S. to host the event.

Each year, the Zwanze beer is different. This year it's composed of a two-year-old lambic blended with oolong tea. But that's not all that will be pouring. There will be beer from 26 other breweries, most (if not all) of whom are not normally seen around these parts. (See the list here.)

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, September 5 at noon. They're $100 each (designated driver tickets are also available) and include a sampling glass and 20 drink tokens. Get more details on the event here, and buy tickets here (once they're on sale).

Thursday, August 31, 2017

North Peak Launches Hail Pale Ale

But why is the label Notre Dame's colors?

Just in time for football season, the folks behind all those stubby bottles of North Peak beer (brewed at the Northern United Brewing Co. facility just down the road in Dexter) are launching a new brew: Hail Pale Ale. As a fan of both beer and the Michigan Wolverines, I approve of this move.

Here are the details from the official press release:
North Peak Brewing Company has just released a year-round tailgate beer. Hail Pale Ale is golden, light-bodied, and delicious. This well-balanced beer, made with maize flaked corn and blue corn grits, celebrates all things Michigan. Amarillo, Cascade, Chinook, and Crystal hops add flavors of citrus, apricot, and peach.

With an ABV of 4.2%, this beer is perfect for enjoying while cheering on your (and our) favorite team. Hail Pale Ale was created to pay tribute to the ferocious wolverine and the great Wolverine State.

“We wanted to create a beer that was light and refreshing but with hop overtones,” says Northern United Brewing Company Head Brewer Sean Brennan. “This beer can show fans' true colors, inside and out. Just in time for football season, Hail makes the perfect tailgate beer for any sport.”

North Peak Hail is available in bottles and draft now throughout the great state of Michigan. Go Blue!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Grizzly Peak to Debut Clamberskull Barrel Aged Strong Ale in September

After a summer hiatus, Brewer's Night returns to Grizzly Peak Tuesday, September 5, with a special twist: the release of Clamberskull English-Style Strong Ale. What's that? According to the Peaksters themselves:
Every summer we brew our October Ale (a really strong, hoppy and malty English ale) and let it age until October. Last year we moved some into our sour barrel, let it sit for three months, then bottled some of it and let it condition for 8 months. The result? Rich, juicy malt, funky and herbal aroma, a complex fruitiness with a tart finish.
Need to know more? Watch a short Facebook video of head brewer Duncan Williams talking about the beer.

Clamberskull will be available in 22 oz. bottles to go for $18 and on draft (dry hopped) in the Grizzly Den from 6-9 p.m. during Brewer's Night.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Kicking Off the 2017 Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference

Milwaukee. The name is practically synonymous with beer. And to be honest, despite advertising promises, Milwaukee beer was not always the "best" beer. But here amidst the towering semi-ruins of past brewing grandeur, a new beer renaissance is taking shape, and thanks to the annual Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference (aka #BBC17) taking place in Laverne and Shirley's old stomping grounds, I'm here to conduct some research on this important subject.

My first Beer Bloggers Conference was in 2014 in San Diego, and I had a blast. This year I've brought Amy along with me, because she likes to conduct research as much as I do. The actual conference is taking place, appropriately enough, in the old Pabst building, now known as the Best Place. Today we'll be enjoying presentations from Julia Herz of the Brewers Association; John Kimes, head brewer at the Pabst Milwaukee Brewery; a panel of area folks on Milwaukee's beer past and present; Chicago beer guru Randy Mosher, and Susan Evans, who has the job every beer dork in the country coveted when it was first announced, director of the Smithsonian Food History Programs at the National Museum of American History.

Following the presentations, we'll be forced to drink beers from the conference's sponsors, including Brenner Brewing, Global Beer Network, Good City Brewing, Lakefront Brewery, Stone Brewing, Rogue Ales and Spirits, Third Space Brewing, Deschutes Brewery, and, of course, MillerCoors and Pabst.

After that, dinner at MillerCoors, and then we hope to get into some good local pub crawlin'. Follow our adventures on Twitter at @allthebrews. More to come...

Friday, June 2, 2017

Roundup the First of Session #124: Late, Lamented Loves

At a time when beer dorks seem obsessed with what's new and what's next, I thought, in this month's edition of The Session, we might take a refreshing pause to look back on beers that we remember fondly but which are no more.

Once again, apologies for the extreme lateness of the announcement of this topic. I'm doing a roundup here of those who met the 24-hour challenge. For those who could not, never fear! Send me links to your posts at or tweet me at @allthebrews in the days and weeks ahead. I'll do another roundup later in the month, if need be.

Before getting to the roundup, I'll briefly mention my own late, lamented beer loves. I have two in mind, one from my halcyon beer-discovering days in the 1990s and one of much more recent vintage.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Session #124: Late, Lamented Loves

Sorry, Internet. I dropped the beer ball on this one.

Back in January, I approached the esteemed Stan Hieronymus and Jay Brooks about hosting the June edition of The Session, an ongoing monthly series where beer bloggers around the web opine on a common topic. In the intervening months, I got unexpectedly busy with both personal and professional things and plum forgot about this.

Nevertheless, I think the chosen subject, "Late, Lamented Loves," is still worth talking about. I mean a beer you remember fondly but which is no longer in production.

It needn't be an objectively "great" beer, though it could be. It could also be a nostalgic or youthful memory. It could be a "go-to" you still reflexively want to reach for. It could be all of these things.

Maybe the brewery and the beer are both long gone. Maybe the brewery is still around but just decided for whatever reason not to continue producing the glorious nectar you still pine for.

Whatever the case, there's probably at least one beer that's already leapt to your mind that fits into this description. Maybe even more than one, and, if so, feel free to go there.

Normally, if the designated host does his job properly, Session participants get a month to collect their thoughts. But because I suck, you get one day. I'll post about my own late, lamented loves tomorrow, the designated day, and for anyone up to the challenge, send me your own thoughts on beers you miss for me to include. Email notices to me at or tweet at me at @allthebrews.

If you still want to participate, but need more time than a day, hit me up anyway. I'll continuously update in the days and weeks ahead as necessary. Because I'm a dope.

So... what are your late, lamented beer loves?