Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Week in Beer: New Year, New Brew

Coming soon: Wolverine Dark Lager from Wolverine State Brewing.

It’s a new year and a new you. And a new you needs new beer, right? Your favorite local establishments know this, and they’ve been busy putting together a variety of great brews and events to help you keep that resolution to try more beers in 2011. Happy New Year, indeed — your Week in Beer awaits you, straight ahead.

Thursday, Jan. 6
» If you like to laugh and you like to drink good beer, then it may be time to head down to Original Gravity, 440 County, Milan, for the latest beer release as well as this month’s Beer and a Movie offering. At 6 p.m., owner and brewer Brad Sancho unveils Bellywasher Scotch Ale, a “wee heavy” full-bodied brown ale that sports malt flavor derived from Golden Promise English malt with a roasty, smoky finish. Brew Crew members get $2 off Bellywasher pints all night, but be careful: It boasts a walloping 8% ABV. And at 8:30 p.m., the curtains go up on the movie offering, the 2007 comedy Superbad, starring Michael Cera AKA George Michael from Arrested Development. No cover.

Friday, Jan. 7
» Along with the likes of Fritz Maytag of San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing and Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Co. (better known as Sam Adams), Larry Bell is one of the true pioneers of the craft beer movement that arose in the 1980s and is going strong today. Come to the Wine and Beer Bar at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, from 5-7 p.m. and try three Bell’s beers on tap for $3 a glass or $1 for a sample pour. Larry won’t be there in person, but you can get a flavor for the Eccentric One in every pint of his brew. Rumored brews include Batch 10,000 and/or Bourbon Barrel-Aged Hell Hath No Fury Ale.

Monday, Jan. 10
» Hopheads, start your pint glasses! Bell’s is releasing their Hopslam Imperial IPA at 4 p.m. at Ashley’s, 338 S. State. Get your bitter on as Hopslam pours in abundance and Bell’s representative extraordinaire David Munro answers questions and gives away swag. But watch out: it’s not called Hopslam for nothing!

Wednesday, Jan. 12
» The Beer and Burger Tastings return to Frenchie's, part of Sidetrack Bar & Grill, 56 E. Cross, Ypsilanti, beginning at 7 p.m. The theme is "Made in Michigan," with five Michigan beers paired with a five-course meal, including an appetizer, three different mini-burgers, and dessert. Live music and commentary on the brews are also provided. Tickets are $23; visit the Sidetrack web site or call 734-483-5230 to order.

Thursday, Jan. 13
» Arbor Brewing’s popular beer tastings, occurring every second Thursday of each month, roll on with an evening of porters and brown ales. You know the drill: 7-9 p.m., two dozen beers from around the country (and beyond), an appetizer buffet, and an opportunity to win some fabulous door prize — all for $25 (in advance) or $30, if you buy at the door. Call 734-213-1393 or stop by the brewpub at 114 E. Washington to reserve your spot.

Notes on the Napkin
  • If you love Belgian-style ales, you’ll want to stop in at Ashley’s sometime between January 18 and January 22 for a “sneak preview” of the big Belgian Beer Fest coming up in February at Ashley’s Westland location. Throughout the week, the Ann Arbor Ashley’s will offer 20 Belgian beers on taps — and their menu will feature plates of that ever-present, tasty Belgian beer companion, mussels. (Insert Homer Simpson drooling noises here!)
  • Also mark January 22 on your calendar for the 2011 Rat Fest, a mini-beer festival held at Corner Brewery that showcases more than 20 beers produced on the brewery’s 10-barrel Rat Pad system by local homebrewing clubs including the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, Brighton Home Brew Club, Maize and Brew, Motor City Mashers, and the Sons of Liberty. Tickets are $20 and on sale now: Stop by the brewery or call 734-480-2739 to get yours.
  • Wolverine State Brewing has several new beers on the way. In the fermenters now are Wolverine Dark Lager (expected release Feb. 1) and Faustian Stout (Feb. 14). At some point before that, the High 'n' Dry Rye Pilsner should make an appearance, and this Saturday (Jan. 8), the popular Gulo Gulo Northwest Lager returns, albeit in limited quantities.
  • In a previous column, I mentioned that Grizzly Peak-branded bottled beers would be introduced sometime this year. For more information on those beers — which include Hellion Double IPA, Berserker Heavy Duty Ale, and Humongous Imperial Red Ale — visit

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