Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Week in Beer: Just Like Snowflakes

Serpentarius Belgian Pale Ale at Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti.

The other day, as I watched the white stuff come down from the sky and collect on the ground, I got to thinking how beers are kind of like snowflakes. From a certain distance, they all pretty much look the same. But upon closer inspection, you can see the stunning differences in each individual flake. This, despite how they’re all made of the same basic stuff.

At the simplest level, every beer is made from the same stuff as well — malted grain, water, hops, yeast — but the many different combinations of this stuff, as well as the way the stuff is put together, yield a variety almost as vast as that of the humble snowflake. And also like snowflakes, you can catch beer on your tongue. Here are some of the unique brews to do that with in your Week in Beer.

Friday, Jan. 21
» Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, features Wolverine State Brewing at their biweekly Michigan beer tasting from 5-7 p.m. Join Jimmy at the bar for $3 glasses (or $1 samples) of beers from Wolverine, which has officially released two new brews: High ‘n’ Dry Rye Pilsner and Wolverine Dark Lager. Swing by for these two plus the District 16 Vienna Lager and to learn more about the newest member of our area’s burgeoning family of microbreweries from brewmaster Oliver Roberts.

Saturday, Jan. 22
» Maybe you’re tired of all those “normal” beers you’ve been having lately. Irish stout? Pale ale? Good stuff, but you’re itching for something a little… different. Something like Hawaiian Pizza Party Lager, Golden Grahams Brown Ale, or Jewish Rye Bread Beer. You want to buy a ticket to the 2011 Rat Fest at Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, from 2-5 p.m., and take your pick from 20 one-of-a-kind beers created on the brewery’s 10-gallon Rat Pad system by local homebrewers and homebrewing clubs. Tickets are $20 and include beer samples, snacks, and a commemorative tasting glass; call 734.480.2739 to order yours.

Wednesday, Jan. 26
» Ach! At 9 p.m., Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth, releases Kilt Tilter Scotch Ale, a strong (6.7% ABV) brew made with a wee amount of smoked malt to impart the traditional peat-smoked barley character of this particular style. This manly beer is not guaranteed to put hair on your chest, but you just never know…

Notes on the Napkin

  • What else is on tap around town? Glad you asked. Hustle down to Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, for a taste of Tree Town Brown, a hopped out sort of mild, and Porter in the Rye, a delicious spin on the classic porter featuring 20% rye malt — get ‘em before they’re gone. And at Corner, there's Ryeclops Imperial Rye PA and Serpentarius Belgian Pale Ale. The former: 7.7% ABV, citrus and grassy hop notes, bitter finish but with grainy counterpoint. The latter: 5% ABV, banana clove Belgiany style goodness, needisaymore?
  • At Blue Tractor, 205 E. Washington, there’s Bad Moon Ryeizen, a German/American hybrid style brew made with wheat and rye malt and Cascade hops. And coming soon (or already there) to Grizzly Peak are Liberty Singel Ale, a Belgian-style session (low-alcohol) beer brewed with Liberty hops, and Edwyn’s Warm-Up Ale, a strong, hoppy British pale ale that sports 7.3% of warming alcohol.
  • Have you dropped in to Ashley’s, 338 S. State, for a “taste of Belgium” yet? Through Saturday, 20 excellent Belgian ales are on tap, including Chimay Tripel, Monk’s Café Flemish Sour, Petrus Aged Pale Ale, and plenty more. It’s just a warm-up for the main event coming in February to Ashley’s Westland!
  • I’m a bit late to the party, but a hearty congratulations goes out to Blue Tractor head brewer Tim Schmidt. All About Beer magazine named his Sudworth Bock to its Best of 2010 list. Cheers, Tim!

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