Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Week in Beer: Forget the Milk, Leave a Brew for Santa

Santa Claus (aka VP of Sales Mike Turriff) and auctioneer Wayne Reif raise money for charity at the Dec. 7 Jolly Pumpkin rare beer auction.
Santa Claus is coming to town, and wouldn't it be nice if, instead of the usual milk and cookies, we offered him a nice stout? Or perhaps a spicy Christmas ale of some kind? Dude must surely be tired of the same old, same old, so why not treat the jolly old elf this year to something more, well, jolly? Here are just a few ideas in your Week in Beer, below.

Thursday, Dec. 9
» Reminder: Tonight is the Holiday Beer Tasting at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington. Arbor collects and serves two dozen of them alongside an appetizer buffet in the merriest beer tasting of the year. From 7-9 p.m. enter to win raffle prizes including apparel, glassware, and other great beer-phernalia. Tickets are $30; call 734.213.1393 to see if any are left.

Friday, Dec. 10
» From 6-7 p.m., join beer expert Jimmy at the Wine and Beer Bar inside Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, as he guides you through a six-sampler of winter and holiday beers, explaining different flavors and styles along the way. Cost is $6.

Saturday, Dec. 11
» Celebrate the opening of the entire rooftop deck at Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery, 311 S. Main, beginning at 3 p.m. and going "until hypothermia sets in." A $20 (excluding tax and gratuity) ticket includes food, warm nonalcoholic beverages and great hockey movies showing on the big wall in honor of the "Big Chill at the Big House" bout between Michigan and Michigan State. Call 734.913.2730  to reserve, as seating is limited. And yes, Jolly Pumpkin has patio heaters.

» Can you believe it's been two years since the opening of Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, in Plymouth? To celebrate, owner Joe Walters and crew are throwing a party featuring a feast prepared by a team from the 5ive Restaurant led by Executive Chef Jason Stoops, who will use Liberty Street beer as an ingredient in each course. The fun begins at 7 p.m. Call the brewery at 734.207.9600 for tickets and more information.

» Beginning at 8 p.m. at Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, the Shadow Art Fair hosts an adult costume dance party in the name of Krampus, a creepy-looking Central European mythical creature that represents a sort of anti-Santa Claus and punishes children who are bad. DJs, a photo booth, cash prizes, a special Shadow Brew, and a street parade are all on tap. Admission is two cents.

Tuesday, Dec. 14
» 'Tis the season for nice, heavy brews like porters and stouts, and Ashley's, 338 S. State, is putting on an all-day celebration with kegs of the dark stuff from Kuhnhenn, Dark Horse, Rogue, Bell's, Stone, and Short's breweries. If porters and stouts are among your favorite styles, you won't want to miss these beers!

Wednesday, Dec. 15
» The monthly Rat Pad release (beer brewed on the small-batch system of the same name by guest brewers) pours at 6 p.m. at the Corner Brewery, and this time it's a concoction created by Dannyboy Peron and entitled "The Naked Gift." Based on the malt used for Dannyboy's summer Halcyon Wheat series of beers, the Naked Gift is a delightfully grainy, 5.6% ABV brew with a moderate bitterness, perfect for your Halcyon Holidaze.

» Over at Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth, at 7 p.m. is the monthly Mug Club meeting, with two small-batch beers being released: Twice Baked Ale, brewed with baked potatoes and hemp seeds, and 8 Ball IPA, as black as it is bitter.

Notes on the Napkin
  • The Jolly Pumpkin rare beer auction raised $2,750 for the Peace Neighborhood Center, with more than 40 bottles of aged Jolly Pumpkin beer sold to eager collectors, including a bottle of La Roja from 2004, which went for $160.
  • Still wondering where to tailgate on Saturday for the Big Chill at the Big House? Wolverine State Brewing is open at 11 a.m., offering dogs from Ray's Red Hots as well as a shuttle to the stadium for $10. Fill up on some good beer before you head out, or watch the game at the brewery.
  • More options for enjoying craft beer with your lunch or dinner in Ann Arbor are here in the form of Bagger Dave's, 859 W Eisenhower, and Buffalo Wild Wings, 205 S. State. According to an article in the Drinks Business Review, the parent company of both chains, Diversified Restaurant Holdings, has officially announced its intention to maintain local craft beers on the menus of their Michigan locations. Let your fellow beer lovers know what you find at these establishments
  • Been to the Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery, 207 E. Washington, lately? Brewer Tim Schmidt has been hard at work crafting a variety of new brews, including Demonic Black IPA, Punky's Monkee Belgian Rye Pale Ale, "Hands Off My Goat!" Oatmeal Stout, and an as-yet-unnamed Belgian Brown Ale (coming next week, once the oatmeal stout is gone). Sounds like a good time to drop in for a pint.
  • As Christmas grows closer, so does the 11th Annual Detroit Santarchy pub crawl (see last year's write-up). If dressing up as Santa and getting tipsy in Detroit's finest dive bars sounds like your idea of a good time, be at Ann Arbor's Blind Pig, 208 S. First, at 6:45 p.m. the evening of Dec. 18 or Ypsilanti's Cafe Racer, 10 E. Cross, at 7 p.m. to catch the bus down to The D. Make sure you bring $20 bus fare. See for more details and photos from Christmases past.

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