Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Week in Beer: Lots of New Brews for You

Twice As Nice Dunkelweisse at Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery, 207 E. Washington.
I’ve been touting the excellence of the Washtenaw-area craft beer scene in this space for more than a year now (and even longer than that outside of this space, as my weary friends and random passersby can attest), and the coming week is one of those weeks in which your correspondent feels truly vindicated in his judgment of our local awesomeness. So many fun events and great new beer releases I just need to shut up and get on with it, so without further ado: Here’s your Week in Beer.

Thursday, Jan. 27
» Big night at Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery, 311 S. Main, with several new, highly anticipated beers making an appearance at 4 p.m. First up is the Collababeire, a collaborative sour ale brewed with chestnuts, juniper, sage, and caraway from a recipe developed by the brewers at Jolly Pumpkin, Stone Brewing of San Diego, and gne-Ø of Norway. There will be a small amount available on draft and 750ml bottles for sale (limit two per customer). Next up is Bambic, a 70/30 blend of Bam Biere Farmhouse Ale and Lambicus Dexterius Lambic Ale, also available on draft and in bottles (limit two 750ml bottles or four 330ml bottles). Finally, North Peak Burly Belgo Ale should also be on tap, jokingly dubbed “Burly-esque” by brew-king Ron Jeffries, as he is still finalizing the recipe with this pilot batch. No question JP is the place to be!

» You like movies about gladiators? Me neither. But I love me some films about Los Angeles slackers who love to bowl and have great taste in area rugs. At 8:30 p.m., Original Gravity, 440 County, Milan, presents The Big Lebowski as part of its Beer and a Movie series. Swing by from some of brewer Brad Sancho’s hand-crafted ales and a viewing of what’s arguably the cultiest of the Coen Brothers’ many cult films. Mark it, dude.

Friday, Jan. 28
» So you’ve been wanting to try out those old-school Belgian beers, but you’re not inclined to fork over $7 for a 10 oz. stem glass of something you might not even like and the average Belgian beer fanatic either bores or intimidates you. What’s a curious beer explorer to do? Go to Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, from 6-7 p.m. and let in-store beer expert Jimmy take you a gentle tour through the world of Belgian beer, including several samples. Space is limited; register at customer service or call 734.997.7500. Cost is $10.

» When is a stout not a stout? When it’s a Baltic porter, of course. Confused? Don’t be. Just head over to the Wolverine State Brewing tap room, 2019 W. Stadium, at 5 p.m. for the release of Faustian Stout Baltic Porter. Brewer Oliver Roberts describes it as “the richest of the Wolverine beers to date,” brewed with German, English, and American dark and caramel malts for a chocolatey, roasty, and coffee flavor mixed with bitterness and aromatics from three hop varieties from the same regions. Take that, Miller Lite. Your correspondent was fortunate enough to try the first batch of this during the monsoon at last year’s Michigan Summer Beer Festival, and it was delicious.

Tuesday, Feb. 1
» Is it the first Tuesday of the month again? Then it’s Brewer’s Night at the Grizzly Peak Den, 120 W. Washington. Come in from 6-9 p.m. and enjoy discounted samplers, tours of the brewery, beer talk with head brewer Duncan Williams, and a cask of Liberty Singel Belgian Ale dry-hopped with Columbus hops.

» The first Tuesday of the month also means a new Arbor Brewing beer release. Espresso Love Breakfast Stout returns to the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti. From 6-8 pm enjoy beer, appetizers, and the company of other beer hounds in the lounge. Espresso Love t-shirts will be 15% off and discounts will also be available on carry-out beer. Free for Mug Club members and $10 for outsiders.

Thursday, Feb. 3
» Original Gravity continues its excellent selection of flicks for Beer and a Movie with Shaun of the Dead, a romantic comedy… with zombies. (Or a RomZomCom, as they say in the industry.) Showtime is at 8:30 p.m. Don’t forget your cricket bat.

Notes on the Napkin
  • If you’re planning on heading to the Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Festival Feb. 26 in Grand Rapids, be sure to check out the just-released list of breweries and beers at, so you can start planning your day accordingly. And don’t forget you can get a nice bus ride to and from the festival courtesy of the Arbor Brewing/Corner Brewery shuttle. Tickets are just $35 if purchased on or before February 11 and $40 after. Call 734.213.1393 to order.
  • Congratulations to Ashley's, 338 S. State, for being named one of America’s 100 Best Beer Bars by DRAFT Magazine and one of only two in Michigan (the other is Hopcat in Grand Rapids). Anyone who’s ever bellied up to the old wood bar and stared in puzzlement trying to figure out which of the 72 taps he’d like to drink from knows what an easy choice this was. Check out the full list here (you know, if you're planning a road trip...)
  • Are you still looking for Bell's Hopslam? It's now also on tap at The Arena, 203 E. Washington – just one more option to quell your insatiable hophead cravings, particularly during happy hour.
  • There are a couple new beers pouring at Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery, 207 E. Washington. Liv's Lager Imperial Pilsner, the 200th batch brewed at the restaurant, is an 8.5% ABV monster brewed back in September with German pils malt and corn and dry-hopped for seven weeks with Sterling hops, resulting in a smooth, sweet taste with a bitter finish. Twice As Nice Dunkelweisse is a classic dunkelweizen, with fruity, malty flavors forward and a dry finish with that touch of yeasty banana.
  • On Tuesday night, your correspondent was fortunate enough to attend a beer dinner featuring several Jolly Pumpkin beers at Michael Symon's Roast in Detroit. Symon himself showed up for the event, and suffice to say, he is solidly on the craft beer bandwagon. Read my recap on

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