Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dispatches from the BBC: There Finally Is a There Here, Part 2

The second of what will hopefully be more than two posts from the 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference in San Diego, California.

When last we left our intrepid explorer he had visited Golden Road Brewing and Angel City Brewery in Los Angeles. But that was not all the night held in store for this Midwestern naïf. At the time most respectable people were considering turning in for the evening, the bus of nocturnal adventure was hurtling him toward destiny, in the form of The Bruery's barrel warehouse.

This place is in the middle of some dark, nondescript, industrial park nowheresville in Anaheim. Mickey Mouse doesn't even know where it is. As someone on the bus said, "This is where you go to dump bodies." Yet Cambria Griffith and the Bruery crew left the light on for us in the inky blackness, just like the unnamed woman in Hotel California welcomed Don Henley's narrator for the night.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dispatches from the BBC: There Finally Is a There Here

The first of what will hopefully be more than one post from the 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference in San Diego, California.

Of her hometown of Oakland, California, Gertrude Stein famously remarked, "There is no there there." The same could be said of the craft beer scene in Los Angeles. During my last visit in 2009, I searched high and low for a brewery anywhere in this sprawling megalopolis of nearly four million souls. The result was a big, fat goose egg. Could hardly even find a decent beer bar. This, in the largest city in the very state that launched the American beer renaissance? There really was no there here, and most Angelenos didn't seem to notice or care.

I'm happy to report the situation has changed in the past few years, as I got to see during a pre-conference excursion around several of the City of the Angels' new and growing breweries. First up was Golden Road Brewing Co., situated in an industrial campus located somewhere in a lot of traffic. (Seriously, man, the traffic here.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Every Two Weeks in Beer: Summer’s Almost Gone

Epic competition returns to Ann Arbor this fall. Not Michigan football --
I mean Vinology's Beer vs. Wine Dinner! But yeah, Michigan football, too.

As the summer wanes, the unmistakable signs of the coming fall appear around town. The return of the students, the beginning of another football season, and the reappearance of autumnal ales are harbingers of the cooler days and nights ahead. It’s all part of the natural cycle, so why not go out and enjoy it? Here are a few suggestions on where and how.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Every Two Weeks in Beer: Capping Off Ypsi-Arbor Beer Week

Hopman and sidekicks Beer Boy and Yeast Girl celebrate at the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival July 26 in Riverside Park in Ypsilanti.

The sturm und drank of Ypsi-Arbor Beer Week continues, with more tappings and tastings than space and/or my short attention span allow me to list here. Readers are encouraged to check out the YABW schedule at, which also includes many in-store events at such notable places as The Wine Seller on Plymouth Rd. and the newly redesigned and reopened Blue Front on Packard St. In the meantime, here are some key highlights to help you cap off (see what I did there?) a great week for beer, local or otherwise.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Busch's to Host Violin Monster Autumn Ale Release Party


The latest news just in from over the transom:

Busch’s Fresh Food Market will be highlighting Ann Arbor’s oldest brewery and its most popular street musician at a special in-store promotion at their Main Street Ann Arbor location on from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 22. The Arbor Brewing Company Violin Monster Release Party is part of the company’s Local Supporting Local initiative, which aims to leverage Busch’s purchasing and promotional strength in Southeast Michigan to help support and promote local businesses and nonprofits.

According to Busch’s Fresh Food Market Chairman John Busch, “Local Supporting Local is about mutual benefit; helping others succeed is good business. By supporting one another, we help strengthen the local economy. We help to shape and enrich our neighborhoods. We build relationships, fuel innovation, and help preserve and enhance the character of our region. To paraphrase an old saying, when you light a lamp for someone else, it also brightens your path.”

The event will build upon a partnership forged last fall between Ann Arbor’s favorite fiddle-playing werewolf and Arbor Brewing Company with the release of their very popular Violin Monster Autumn Ale. “Making a beer for the Violin Monster was without a doubt the coolest collaboration we’ve ever done,” said ABC founder and co-owner Matt Greff. “We were caught off guard a little by the popularity of the beer last year and ran out before the end of September. But this year we’re ready and could not be more excited about kicking off the season with our friends at Busch’s and the Violin Monster himself.”

This free event will feature performances by the Violin Monster along with samples of ABC’s Violin Monster Autumn Ale, their brand new Hoptown Brown IPA, and several other ABC beers. Guests will have the opportunity to take photos with the Violin Monster, meet the owners of Arbor Brewing Company, and walk away with cool Violin Monster gear and recipes. All ages are welcome but sampling is restricted to those 21 and older.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Confessions of a Grizzled Summer Beer Festival Veteran

Sometimes it’s hard to write anything new about the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival, our state’s oldest and largest annual gathering of hundreds of breweries and thousands who love them. But this year’s edition offered a few novel items to this jaded reporter.

The first was that – thanks to a summer cold that turned my voice into a barely understandable raspy croak – for a change I actually did more beer tasting than talking with friends old and new. The second was the debut in a big way of Fermenta, a group started by and for women in Michigan’s burgeoning craft beverage industry.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Every Two Weeks in Beer: To Summer Beer Festival and Beyond!

You never know what sort of weirdoes you'll meet at the Summer Beer Festival

It’s an especially good time to be a beer lover in Washtenaw County. Why? Because the state’s oldest and largest beer festival, the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival, is this weekend, that’s why. And, after that, there’s this new thing called Ypsi-Arbor Beer Week from August 1-9, featuring a smorgasbord of brewy delights all throughout the area – so many, in fact, I can only cover some of them here. For the full and still-evolving schedule, check out

Thursday, July 24

» Happy Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival Eve! Ashley’s is welcoming the signature event of the Great Beer State with a special tapping of 20 selected Michigan beers, beginning at 6 p.m. You won’t want to miss this eclectic lineup, which includes Arcadia Imperial Stout, Bell’s Hopsoulution Double IPA and Bourbon Barrel Kalamazoo Stout, Brewery Vivant Escoffier Brett Ale, Cheboygan Blood Orange Honey Ale, Dark Horse Reign in Blood Orange Ale, Founders KBS and Sweet Repute, Fenton Bloomin’ Berries, Kuhnhenn DRIPA, New Holland Bourbon Barrel Doppelbock (cask) and Incorrigible White Sour Ale, Original Gravity Rye-Headed Stepchild, Right Brain Spear Beer, Short’s Stache Bender Double IPA, and more. Ten will be tapped at a time and replaced as kegs kick.