Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Week in Beer: Winter Means Bigger Beers

Bell's Hopslam Ale at Bar Louie, 401 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor.

Winter is in full stride, and the cold temperatures mean staying indoors and keeping warm with the darker, heavier ales of the season. They’re one of the consolations of January, along with the fact that the days are now, in fact, getting longer. So while you’re waiting for that groundhog to come and do his thing, comfort yourself with what awaits in your latest wintry Week in Beer.

Thursday, Jan. 13
Reminder: Tonight from 7-9 p.m. is the Porters and Browns Beer Tasting at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington. If you like your beer dark, then you’ll like the more than two dozen porter, brown, and mild ales on offer, along with an appetizer buffet and the chance to bring home some fine beer swag to make your friends jealous. Tickets are $30; call 734-213-1393 for availability.

Saturday, Jan. 15
Are you a beer enthusiast? Well, of course you are, if you’re reading this. But are you part of the Michigan Brewers Guild Beer Enthusiast club? If so, you’re invited to the latest Beer Enthusiast Tour at Arbor Brewing from noon to 2 p.m. The tours are free for members (you’ll need to provide proof), and ABC brewer Bill Gerds will provide a personal tour of the brewery as well as samples of some of Arbor’s Belgian-style, bottled-conditioned aged ales from the beer cellar. Call 734-213-1393 or email to RSVP, and visit for information on how to become a Beer Enthusiast.

Sunday, Jan. 16
Arbor’s trying something new on Sunday nights. From 9 p.m. to midnight every Sunday through mid-March, it’s Dark Daze in the Game Room with a rotating cast of DJs spinning a mix of soul, groove, and funk tunes, and the most important thing: All pints (as well as wine and well liquor) are half-off. No cover.

Tuesday, Jan. 18
Last month, Jeff More, owner of Ashley’s, announced the first-ever Ashley’s Belgian Beer Festival to take place at Ashley’s Westland location, 7525 Wayne Rd., from February 16-20. Belgian beer lovers in Ann Arbor need not feel left out, however, as Jan. 18-22 there will be 20 Belgian beers pouring from the taps at the original Ashley’s at 338 S. State. For those in the Belgian know (and you know who you are), these beers include Ashley’s staples like Gulden Draak, Duchesse de Bourgogne, and Delirium Tremens as well as others like Poperings Hommel, Monk’s Café Flemish Sour, and Kapittel Pater. If you’re not sure what any of that means, why not pay Ashley’s a visit and let your taste buds do some experimenting? You won’t regret it.

Notes on the Napkin
  • A few items of note from Ann Arbor’s newest brewery, Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium. First, good news for those who like to eat while drinking and being merry: The cart from Pilar’s Tamales will now be a regular Friday fixture in the tap room, from 6 p.m. to close. Second, Wolverine is looking to hire a manager for the tap room - visit for job description and details on how to apply. As far as beer? Look for the High ‘n’ Dry Rye Pilsner coming soon.
  • Keep an eye on Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery, 311 S. Main, for Bambic, a very limited special blend of Bam Bière Farmhouse Ale and Lambicus Dexterius Lambic, which should be coming within the next month or so.
  • At Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington, Bitter Tony’s Rye Bitter Ale is now on tap and by the time you read this, the Burton-Brussels Express (pub regular Sheerwater IPA, but aged in wood) should also be pouring. There are also a number of other intriguing rotating brews coming soon to the Peak, but we’ll talk about those next week.

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