Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bell's and Founders Beer Dinners Coming to Grange and Terry B's

Who doesn't love beer dinners?

Get your beer bibs out. In the coming week, two local restaurants are offering kickbutt-sounding five-course dinners paired with brews from Michigan's two most respected breweries.

On March 31, Ann Arbor's Grange Kitchen & Bar is cooking up some righteous victuals to go with Bell's beers. Here's the menu:
  • Oarsman Ale with Salty Snacks
  • Lager of the Lakes with Jagerwurst and Lamont Cheddar
  • Oberon Ale with Goat Cheese Fritter and Hoop House Greens with Citrus Vinaigrette
  • Two Hearted Ale with Grilled Rainbow Trout, Smoked Hush Puppies, and Pickled Jalapenos
  • Expedition Stout with Country Ham Style Duck Breast, Red Eye Gravy, and House Hot Sauce
  • Jupiter Imperial Brown Ale with Toasted Brioche Ice Cream Sundae
Tickets are $75 (including tax and tip) and can be purchased here. Event begins at 6:30 p.m.

The next night, on April 1, Terry B's in Dexter is hosting Founders for a beery delicious meal. The menu looks like this:
  • All Day IPA with Braised Pork Belly, Yuzu Panna Cotta, and Meyer Lemon
  • Centennial IPA with Pan Roasted Sturgeon, Thai Coconut Curry, and Pretzel
  • Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale with Roasted Squab, Foie Gras Mousse, and Agnolotti
  • Porter with Beef Shank and Bone Marrow Pasty and Mirepoix in Natural Reduction
  • Blushing Monk Raspberry Belgian-Style Ale with Red Forest Cake, Cocoa, Raspberry, and Cream

Tickets are $55 (excluding tax and tip); make reservations at 734-426-3727. Service begins promptly at 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Downtown Ann Arbor Oberon Pub Crawl Is March 23

Throwing down some Oberons with the big guy himself.
It's become something of an Ann Arbor tradition, and it's back on Monday, March 23. It's the annual Downtown Oberon Pub Crawl, a festive day-long celebration of the iconic Bell's summer seasonal and the coming warm days ahead. You still have a few days to come up with something to tell your boss for why you won't be coming in to work. In the meantime, here's the (always somewhat tentative, timewise) schedule:

For your added convenience and because I'm awesome, see below for all that information in visual form:



Bell's and/or Oberon attire is not required, but is certainly encouraged and also increases the likelihood someone from Bell's or Rave Associates buys you a glass or two.

Finally, if you feel like staying up late the night before, there are Sunday midnight Oberon tappings planned at Ashley's and Sidetrack in Ypsilanti.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wolverine Announces Big Expansion Plans

Photo: Wolverine State Brewing Co.

Our friends at Wolverine State Brewing dropped some big news today, as they announced plans to more than double their production capacity in the near future. That means MOAR LAGERS. Here's the official press release:
Wolverine State Brewing Co. is excited to announce the official groundbreaking of its 6,000-square-foot on-site expansion, which will more than double its production capacity, from 2,200 to 4,700 barrels per year, over the next eighteen months. The expansion will also build out the existing kitchen.

With the expansion, Wolverine State Brewing Co. will increase wholesale seasonal lager offerings and will have the capacity to bottle an expanded variety of lagers. The expansion will also allow Wolverine State to grow its statewide distribution and to keep up with the increasing demand for Wolverine State products in bars, restaurants, and retail accounts.

This is the second major expansion in the brewing company’s history. 2012 saw the first major expansion, with the addition of several fermenters and brite tanks, as well as the addition of the Gulo Room, Wolverine State’s in-house for-rent event space. In December of 2013, Wolverine State Brewing Company’s kitchen opened. The kitchen features in-house-smoked meats, including pork, brisket, and chicken, as well as a full menu featuring a rotating array of dishes made with seasonal, local ingredients.

Wolverine State Brewing Co. was founded in 2006 by lifelong friends and Ann Arborites Matthew Roy and Trevor Thrall. Production began at 2019 W. Stadium in early 2010 under the direction of Brewmaster Oliver Roberts, and the Tap Room opened at that same location later in 2010. Wolverine State, the leader of the lager revolution, specializes in creating balanced, unique, and innovative lagers, of which it boasts a portfolio of more than 50 different varieties.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Goodbye to All That, or the End of the Week in Beer

Hard at work meeting a deadline.

A few people have written to ask me where my usual beer event roundup was last week. I've been remiss in keeping folks informed, but what happened is this: After nearly five and a half years of writing a weekly (and, more recently, biweekly) beer column for various incarnations of The Ann Arbor News, I was recently notified the newspaper no longer is interested in publishing my efforts.

This is fine by me. Although this development reduces my income a bit, it does free up more of my time for other projects. It probably didn't seem like it to anyone reading those roundups, but they were time-consuming to compile and, owing to long publishing lag times and constantly evolving plans, often frustratingly inaccurate in various details.

I'm grateful to the people I worked with at the now-defunct AnnArbor.com, and then MLive.com, for giving me the opportunity to share my love of the local beer scene with my fellow Ann Arborites (and visitors to our fair city). Since that time in 2009 when a laid-off Borders copy editor was wondering what to do with his life, the beer scene here has only gotten bigger and better and I've settled into a cool niche as a beer writer type dude. It all started with the local rag taking a chance.

But, you're wondering, now how will you keep up to date on all the beery things going on in and around town? You can follow me on Twitter (@allthebrews), where I tweet and retweet all kinds of stuff having to do with our favorite beverage, and/or like my "All the Brews Fit to Pint" Facebook page, where I also post beer stuff. For the blog, I think I'll take the approach of making smaller and more frequent posts about things, and, who knows, maybe even keeping the damn events calendar up to date.

In any case, thanks to everyone who read my MLive stuff, especially the many nice people over the years who stopped me on the street or at the bar to say they appreciated and enjoyed what I did. It made it worthwhile. Anyway, I'm still around and plan to keep writing about Ann Arbor and beer and Ann Arbor beer, so I hope you'll plan to keep reading. Cheers!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

HopCat Ann Arbor Opening February 14



UPDATE 2/11/15: The Ann Arbor News has a first look inside the building.

By now everyone is well aware of this news, of course. I'm reprinting the press release here for completeness's sake and because it may contain a tidbit or two people weren't aware of:

ANN ARBOR, Feb. 9, 2015 – HopCat Ann Arbor will open at 11 a.m. on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, with a beer menu reading like a love note to craft beer fans. Its 100 taps will feature some of the world’s best craft beers along with free orders of its famous Crack Fries all day.

In addition, the first 200 people in line at opening will receive a card good for a free order of Crack Fries every week for a year.

“For HopCat Ann Arbor I challenged our team of beer nerds to come up with the best beer menu the world has ever seen,” said HopCat Founder Mark Sellers. “I think they succeeded by finding some of the most-sought after and highly rated craft beers on the planet. We’ve also included some excellent, but seldom-seen international selections and outstanding new creations from Michigan craft brewers.”

Many of these rare and unusual beers will be in very limited supply. The opening day tap list includes selections such as Founders Brewing Co.’s KBS and CBS – among the highest rated beers in the world as rated by BeerAdvocate.com. Others selections include Dogfish Head’s acclaimed 120 Minute IPA, Arbor Brewing Co.’s Demetrius Oak Barrel-aged Pale Ale, Gulden Draak Brewmaster's Reserve from Brouwerij Van Steenberge in Ertvelde, Belgium, and a 2011 Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co. of Manchester, England. The full tap list is available at hopcat.com/ann-arbor.

HopCat Ann Arbor features 100 taps and an extensive selection of rare and unusual bottled beers from around the world. The menu features “food your mom would make if she loved craft beer” – including its famous Crack Fries, ½-pound burgers and a newly expanded selection of vegetarian options.

HopCat Ann Arbor employs 160 people and represents a $2 million investment in downtown Ann Arbor. The location is the fifth HopCat to open.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Every Two Weeks in Beer: Brews to Beat the Winter Blahs

I feel like Randall tonight.

As the joy of the holidays (and college football season) recedes ever further in our metaphorical rear view mirror, the harsh reality of many more weeks of miserable cold, leaden skies, and filthy slush sinks in and gnaws at the soul. What is one to do to survive another interminable Michigan winter? Three guesses what I’m going to say. Oh, you only needed one guess! Very good.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Curmudgeon's Corner: Beer Experts vs. Beer "Experts"

The following is a guest column from the Craft Beer Curmudgeon, a crusty old dude who has forgotten more about beer than you can ever hope to know. Read his archive of wisdom on MittenBrew.

The Craft Beer Curmudgeon
In Randall Munro's excellent comic "xkcd" one panel shows a lone figure feverishly typing away at a computer. From out of frame, a voice asks if he's coming to bed. "I can't... someone is wrong on the Internet."

Well, of course. Every basement-dwelling misfit with an internet connection and time to waste can position him or herself as an expert in anything from politics to beer. One guess as to which most annoys your faithful correspondent.

Here's my beef: If you prefer cheap mass market cider and heavily flavored gimmick beers chock full of hazelnut or tangerine or raccoon or whatever, that's fine. Your taste is yours alone and not up for a vote. However, your opinion on a particular pale ale is then suspect at best; you've tipped your hand to show that you prefer your beer flavors to be disguised with things even Faygo might reject.