Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales + Kitchen Opens in Dexter

Peep this important press release that came in over the transom:

The latest Jolly Pumpkin location opened its doors Thursday, September 6, at their production brewery in Dexter. 
Unique from the rest of the company’s portfolio, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales + Kitchen will focus on seasonal fare and have a rotating menu that will change every month or so. A variety of cultural influences will be reflected on the menu. Chef Maggie Long recently traveled to South Korea to work alongside the culinary staff at Playground Brewery, an affiliate brewery of Jolly Pumpkin. The menu will showcase some Korean fusion with items like Deviled Eggs with kimchi and bacon, and Korean BBQ Pizza. Vegetarian options will be plentiful on the menu, including shareable items like Beet “Elote” and a Kabbouleh Salad, or entree items like a Shiitake “Chorizo” Taco. 
Naturally, the menu will also lend itself to beer pairings. The 30 taps currently in place at the brewery’s existing taproom will continue to pour the freshest and most current Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, North Peak brews, and Nomad ciders. 
“Opening a restaurant here in Dexter has been a long time coming. Maggie does such a phenomenal job in the kitchen and we are so happy she will be in Dexter,” said Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Co-Founder Laurie Jeffries
 “For me, this means so much because it’s all coming full circle,” shared Chef Maggie Long. 
Long started with Mission Restaurant Group at Grizzly Peak in the late '90s, where Ron Jeffries was the brewer at the time. Ron and his wife Laurie went on to open Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and Maggie eventually became the head chef at Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery in Ann Arbor. “I’m excited to be joining Ron and Laurie in Dexter. It feels like I’m coming home. With this new restaurant, I look forward to becoming part of the community here,” said Long. 
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales + Kitchen is open Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. -11 p.m., and closed Sunday and Monday. The restaurant is fast casual and features a pool table, shuffleboard, and games for kids. The new restaurant will host weekly trivia nights, showcase local sporting events on TV, and have an event space for parties or private events. Mug Club members, of the existing Null Taphouse and Bottleshop, will continue to receive the same membership benefits.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Celebrate Oktoberfest in Downtown Ann Arbor September 28-29

Rumor has it that Arbor Brewing founders Matt and Rene Greff will be in town for Oktoberfest.

It's Oktoberfest time again in Ann Arbor, and that means a party on Washington Street. On September 28-29, the downtown avenue will be blocked off to through traffic so that revelers can enjoy Oktoberfest parties at both Arbor Brewing and Grizzly Peak.

Arbor's event begins at 5 p.m. Friday outside the brewpub and includes live music from The Rhinelanders (no cover), dancing, games, and German-inspired fare and (duh) beer. The party goes until midnight, and picks up again Saturday at 3 p.m., again going to midnight. Rumor has it that Arbor founders Rene and Matt Greff, currently enjoying a nomadic intercontinental existence, will make an appearance sometime Friday night.

On the other side of Main Street, Grizzly Peak's bash runs the same hours as Arbor's, and includes live entertainment, games (including giant beer pong!), and – you guessed it – German-style beer and food. This year, Grizzly is offering a limited number of advance VIP tickets: $50 for one day ($75 for both) includes five food/drink tickets (10 for the two-day pass), an Oktoberfest t-shirt and commemorative bracelet, and a souvenir "boot" glass. Call the brewery at 734-741-7325 or stop in to reserve your tickets.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Ashley's Teams Up with Bell's to Celebrate 35th Anniversary

Before craft beer was cool, before there was a multi-tap bar on every corner in every city, before many Millennial beer snobs were even born... there was Ashley's in Ann Arbor. For 35 years, this cozy little campus gem has been slinging suds from around the world, and now they're teaming up with Michigan's largest brewery, Bell's, to host a five-day anniversary celebration September 16-20.

The fun begins Sunday, September 16, with the 5 p.m. release of Ashley's 35th Anniversary Ale, an imperial oatmeal stout specially brewed by Bell's for the occasion. On Monday, September 17, Bell's will be on hand to help host Sporcle live trivia games at 7 and 8 p.m. and give cool brewery swag to all the big brained people. Tuesday, September 18, brings a ticketed event, Bell's Barrel Aged Flight, from 6-10 p.m. (For more info and to get tickets, which are $20, go here.) On Wednesday, September 19, dig a Bell's Brewery Happy Hour from 6-8 p.m. featuring, for $10, four beer samples paired with various appetizers. Finally, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 20, there's a yet-to-be-named "mystery tapping," with clues to be provided as the appointed time approaches (follow Ashley's on Facebook).

As if all that weren't enough, 20 different Bell's drafts – including specialties like L'Appel Du Vide Blackberry Ale, Honey Hearted Ale, and Smoked Stout – will be rotating throughout the week. (See the full tap list here.)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Grizzly Peak Brewer's Night Returns September 4

Following a summer hiatus, Brewer's Night returns to Grizzly Peak this coming Tuesday, September 4. And it's bigger and better than ever! Not only can you force head brewer Duncan Williams to give you a tour of his workspace, you can enjoy a mug or two of Burton-Brussels Express (aka BBX), a wood-aged and dry-hopped version of Peak mainstay Sheerwater IPA. Even better, if you like it, you can take advantage of the bottle release and bring some home with you for later.

The fun goes from 6-9 p.m. and includes groovy prizes like t-shirts, hats, glassware, and maybe some other stuff. Feeling peckish? Happy hour food specials run all night. Be there or be... somewhere else. But obviously somewhere else not as cool.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Zwanze Day at Jolly Pumpkin Is September 29

Good news, fellow beer dorks! Zwanze Day is returning to the NULL Taphouse Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales + Kitchen September 29.

For the third year running, Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels (the city, not the sprouts) has chosen Jolly Pumpkin in Dexter as one of the few, the proud, the sites to host this unique, global event. (If you don’t know what Zwanze Day is or why it’s a big deal, you can read about the past two years’ events here and here.)

Tickets are $100 ($10 for designated driver) and include a commemorative glass and 20 drink tickets (pours are 4 oz). Beers will be available from plenty of awesome breweries, many of whom are not normally seen here in Michigan. The list thus far:

  • 18th Street Brewery
  • Allagash Brewing Co.
  • Arbor Brewing Co.
  • Bagby Beer Co.
  • Beer Lab HI
  • Big Island Brewhaus
  • Birds Fly South Ale Project
  • Brasserie Cantillon
  • Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen
  • Burial Beer Co.
  • Casey Brewing and Blending
  • Cloudburst Brewing
  • Creature Comforts Brewing Co.
  • E9 Brewery
  • El Segundo Brewing
  • Fonta Flora Brewery
  • Garden Path Fermentation
  • Gigantic Brewing Co.
  • Gueuzerie Tilquin
  • Hill Farmstead Brewery
  • Holy Mountain Brewing Co.
  • HOMES Brewery
  • Honolulu Beer Works
  • Jackie O's Brewery
  • Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
  • Koholā Brewery
  • Lanikai Brewing Co.
  • Maui Brewing Co.
  • Monkish Brewing Co.
  • Noble Ale Works
  • North Peak Brewing Co.
  • Off Color Brewing
  • Other Half Brewing Co.
  • Revelry Brewing Co.
  • Sante Adairius Rustic Ales
  • Scratch Brewing Co.
  • Stillwater Artisanal
  • Speciation Artisan Ales
  • The Lost Abbey
  • The Rare Barrel
  • Tired Hands Brewing Co.
  • Transient Artisan Ales
  • Waikiki Brewing Co.
  • Yazoo Brewing Co.

Merchandise and food (including vegetarian options) will be available for sale on-site, and gates open at 2:12 p.m., with last call coming at 6:30. The event is outside in the Jolly Pumpkin back lot and will go on rain or shine, but there’s a tent so don’t worry about bringing your poncho. The special Cantillon Zwanze beer begins pouring at 2:45 (first come, first served), and the Zwanze toast is at 3.

You can get more information and buy tickets here. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Peace Neighborhood Center.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Road Trippin': Off to the Beer Bloggers Conference in Virginia

This year's offerings from Michigan.

We're packing up the beer – and those other trivial things like clothes, toiletries, etc. – in preparation to leave for the 2018 Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference. Yes, this is a thing, and yes, it happens every year, in a different beer-friendly place somewhere in America. This year it's in Loudoun County, Virginia, known for being the "wine country" of Washington, D.C., but apparently it's not too shabby in the beer department either (two dozen breweries and counting).

This will be my third time attending the conference, and Amy's second. Much has changed in the world of beer (and beer writing) since my first time at the #BBC (as it's known to all us social mediaites) in 2014 in San Diego (and Los Angeles), which I was able to attend gratis thanks to the NBWA and mobilizing enough friends to vote my writing as the bestest (he humblebragged). But what I expect hasn't changed, and won't change, is the fun people and opportunities for learning.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Eleven-ish Beers to Try at the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival

Pictured: A Girl Named Egypt Double IPA

I’ve never written one of these “Beers I’m Looking Forward to Trying at the XX Festival” posts before, largely because everyone’s tastes and preferences in beer are so diverse – and who, besides me, cares what I like (or think I’ll like), anyway?

Well, there’s a first time for everything. So here, in no particular order, are some beers I’m looking forward to trying at the 21st Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival next weekend in Ypsilanti. Caveat: The list is a bit biased in favor of me loving good pilsners and local breweries, but, you know, see the paragraph above. Other caveat: There’s more than 11 beers below, but the Rules of Listicle Writing require there be a number in the headline, so here we are.