Friday, October 20, 2017

Join Washington Street's Brewers for a Collaborative October 24 Pub Crawl

Join the head brewers of Grizzly Peak, Blue Tractor, and Arbor Brewing Brewpub for a brewery crawl celebrating their new collaborative beer, Scarlet Jacket.

You might as well call Ann Arbor's Washington Street "Beer Street." The three brewpubs that grace this downtown artery – Arbor Brewing BrewpubGrizzly Peak, and Blue Tractor – are all among the top 10 producing brewpubs in the state of Michigan. In fact, between the three of them, they accounted for about 12 percent of all the brewpub-produced beer sold here in the Mitten (more than 2,800 barrels) in 2016.*

On Tuesday, October 24, join the head brewers of each of these esteemed establishments for a special pub crawl celebrating the release of their collaborative brew, Scarlet Jacket. The beer was inspired by two recipes from postwar England.

"Ron Pattinson runs a website where he and British brewer Kristen England re-create old recipes," says Grizzly Peak head brewer Duncan Williams. "We blended two recipes from 1945-46 to create a typical low-gravity beer that was brewed before, during, and after World War II."

Each brewery brewed its own version of Scarlet Jacket. The name is an homage to Tetley's, a long-running British beer brand whose historical logo incorporated a redcoat-wearing fox huntsman, according to Blue Tractor head brewer Pat Meehan.

The crawl begins in the Grizzly Peak Den bar at 6 p.m., moves to Arbor at 6:45, then finished up at Blue Tractor at 7:30 p.m. Each location will have a cask of the beer on hand, and Williams and Meehan will be joined by Arbor head brewer Chris Davies.

Previously, the three brewpubs collaborated on Washingtonacity, a traditional English-style bitter.

* Numbers from Michigan Beer Guide.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Ann Arbor, Michigan: The Nucleation Point of Craft Beer

Source: Great Lakes Brewing News

(Note: I wrote a couple features on the Ann Arbor brewing scene for the current (October/November 2017) issue of Great Lakes Brewing News. The first, "Ann Arbor, Michigan: The Nucleation Point of Craft Beer," is about the big influence our little city has had on the larger craft beer world.)

What is the measure of a “good beer city”? Is it the number of breweries in and around town? The consistent high quality and drinkability of the beers made there? The general availability and choice of fine brews? Certainly all of these things are important yardsticks when determining whether a particular town is worthy of becoming a “beer-cation” destination. But there’s an additional, less tangible factor that is at least as important: a city’s overall beer culture. By that admittedly trickier-to-quantify standard, Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a beer city par excellence. A quick tour through this Midwestern college town’s quietly influential brewing past, present, and potential future provides ample evidence.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Beer Tour Guy Podcast Episode IV: A New Dope

A face for radio.

Yesterday I paid a visit to the Podcast Detroit studios in Royal Oak to sit down with my pal Stephen Johnson of Motor City Brew Tours and record an episode of his cleverly named show, "The Beer Tour Guy Podcast."

In my podcasting debut, we talked about (duh) beer, writing, the Ann Arbor brewing scene, the sport of fowling, Steve's mom, and many other things. Because you're bored at work, you probably want to hear this scintillating conversation, don't you? You can listen here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Bread and Coffee Beers Exclusively Brewed for Avalon Now Available

Source: Twitter

Bread and coffee. They're not only two staples of any civilized human being's life, they're also key ingredients in two new beers brewed exclusively for Avalon Breads by the Dexter breweries of Jolly Pumpkin and North Peak, respectively. Here are all the details from the official press release:

DETROIT (Sept. 26, 2017) – Best known for its delicious, artisan baked goods, Avalon International Breads has something extra special brewing. In partnership with Dexter-based Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and Traverse City-based North Peak Brewing Company, Avalon now offers two beers available exclusively at the newly opened Avalon Cafe and Bakery in downtown Detroit and Avalon Cafe and Kitchen in Ann Arbor.

The beers truly embody the spirit of Avalon: the Jolly Pumpkin Eye of Horus is brewed with Avalon bread and North Peak Perk is brewed with Mighty Good Coffee, Avalon's local coffee partner based in Ann Arbor. Brewing with bread and coffee as ingredients is a first for both beer brands.

Eye of Horus is a mildly tart, malty ale rooted in the traditions of ancient Egyptian bread beers, one of the first examples of beer in human civilization. Brewed with 10 lbs of Avalon bread, dates, honey, coriander, and ginger, the pour is a classic Jolly Pumpkin sour at 6.8 percent ABV. Eye of Horus is named after the ancient Egyptian sign, symbolizing protection, good health, and power.

North Peak Perk is a rye ale with mild spiciness and a light hop bitterness. Made with a blend of Mighty Good Coffee beans from Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Ethiopia, rich coffee notes will come through on this 5.5 percent ABV beer.

"Avalon's original business model was based on the idea that bread and coffee brings people together across cultures" said Jackie Victor, co-founder and CEO. "As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we are thrilled that we now offer another beverage that brings people together – beer!"

Both beers are available on tap exclusively at Avalon Cafe and Bakery and Avalon Cafe and Kitchen. Both locations host happy hours every weeknight.

Avalon Cafe and Bakery is located at 1049 Woodward, Detroit. Avalon Cafe and Kitchen is located at 120 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor. Hours at both locations are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

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!