Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Week in Beer: Beat the Cold with Some Holiday Brews

Thursdays just got better at Bar Louie, 401 E. Liberty.

The solstice approaches, and after last weekend’s storm and its aftermath, nobody can doubt that Old Man Winter is in the driver’s seat, joyfully spreading snow, ice and arctic blasts around for our collective misery. Well, why not show the old man you know how to beat him at his frigid game? Stay inside, keeping warm and drinking beer — by the fireplace, at the bar, in a comfy lounge chair, anywhere good craft brew is pouring. As usual, your correspondent is happy to help you plan your rebellion against the elements with plenty of ideas in your Week in Beer, straight ahead.

Friday, Dec. 17
» Feeling festive but still rushing around getting presents and party supplies for your busy holiday season? Get some of your shopping done at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, and from 5-7 p.m. take a quick break at the Wine and Beer Bar, where the biweekly Michigan Beer Tasting focuses on Dexter’s own Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. Get $3 drafts or $1 sample pours of Fuego del Otono, Noel de Calabaza and another tasty JP brew while talking beer with assistant brewer Sean Brennan.

Saturday, Dec. 18
» The big night is here: The 11th Annual Detroit Santarchy pub crawl! Put on your cheap Santa suit, grab a $20 bill for bus fare, and show up at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First, at 6:45 p.m. in Ann Arbor or Café Racer, 10 E. Cross, at 7 in Ypsilanti to catch the ride to some of Detroit’s finest dives. Begin your Santastic odyssey at the Gaelic League, then catch the bus to the next destination, including Nancy Whiskey’s, the Bronx Bar, the Temple Bar, and another eight or so watering holes. Visit for more info and breaking news, and for survival tips, see here. Ho, ho, hrarggghhhghhh!

 Sunday, Dec. 19
» With cold in the air and snow on the ground, many beer drinkers are starting to miss those warm, sunny Halcyon Sundaze out in the Corner Brewery’s beer garden. We won’t get the sun and warmth back for some time, but Halcyon creator Dannyboy Peron is bringing the fun inside for Halcyon Holidaze. Join him and a gang of guest DJs and storytellers from 5-10 p.m. under the Holidaze tree for an evening of seasonal vibes, holiday tales and, naturally, good beer. There is no cover, but Dannyboy is asking everyone to each bring a nonperishable item for the Corner’s food drive to benefit Food Gatherers.

Tuesday, Dec. 21
» Come back to the Corner for the Ypsilanti Downtown Winter Farmers Market, solstice edition. From 3-7 p.m. shop around a dozen local growers along with vendors selling cheeses, apple cider, baked goods, holiday craft items and more. And, of course, it’s happy hour at the bar, so you can do all of the foregoing with a great-tasting beer in hand!

Wednesday, Dec. 22
» The Sons of Liberty brew club that meets (and brews) at Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth unveils its latest offering at 7 p.m., the Gnarly Barleywine, a small-batch winter warmer that boasts a beefy 9.5 percent alcohol by volume. Consequently, this hearty brew is served only in half-pints, and growler fills are unavailable.

Thursday, Dec. 23
» Did you miss out on Arbor Brewing’s big holiday sale earlier this month? Not to fret — you have one more chance to pick up some discounted swag for the beer lover on your list at the Last-Minute Holiday Sale, going on all day. Pick up gift cards, gift sets, and marked-down apparel, glassware, and even Mug Club memberships. Note: Arbor will be closed Christmas Eve.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Remember those $3 drafts all day every Wednesday at Bar Louie, 401 E. Liberty? They are also $3 all day every Thursday at Louie. Get your drink on at a place with a nice selection of craft beer on tap.
  • At Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington, look for White Christmas White Ale, a stronger, hoppier version of a Belgian wit, and before the year is out, aged Draconus Belgian Strong Ale, Strang Wullie Scottish Ale, Uber-Marzen, and Final Repose Ale. And if that weren't enough, by Christmas brewmeister Duncan Williams will also unveil his Hogmanay Ale, which is a cask of Strang Wullie with elderberries and heather, making for a rich, toasty brew balanced by the tart, floral berries and heather.
  • The Ypsilanti City Council has temporarily tabled its proposal of a 5 percent tax on ticket sales for events held in city parks (rising to 10 percent in 2013), which could chase the largest such event, the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival, out of Ypsilanti altogether, where it has been held successfully since 1999. Mayor Paul Schreiber and council member Pete Murdock are meeting with MBG Executive Director Scott Graham — who says the guild isn’t opposed to paying more, just opposed to paying that much more — to see if they can work out a compromise by the Dec. 21 council meeting.
  • Wolverine State Brewing is also on board the holiday food drive train; through Dec. 21, get a beer for $1 for every bag of canned goods you drop off. If you bring four bags, you get a Mug Club membership. Giving never tasted so good!
  • Wolverine will be open from 12-4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, selling lifetime Mug Club memberships for $40 and half-off growler fills. Bring some fresh craft beer with you on Christmas, and you’re sure to be looked upon as almost as cool as Santa Claus.

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