Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Week in Beer: Nobody Puts Baby in a Dark Corner

Arbor Brewing's Matt Greff signs a six-pack of Dark Corner, a collaboration ale
he developed with Aaron Morse (right) of Dark Horse Brewing in Marshall.
 As we enter a new month, we also enter a new season of beer. Dark, heavy brews are gradually replaced with lighter, effervescent kinds of ales and lagers, even as cold, cloudy weather is gradually (too gradually for some) replaced with sun and warmer temps.

But April is a transitional month for both the beer and calendar seasons, so no matter your brew preference — light, dark, or in between — there’s plenty for you to enjoy in your latest Week in Beer.

Friday, Apri 1
» Dark Corner, the collaboration imperial brown ale from the Corner Brewery and Dark Horse Brewing in Marshall, is back after a four-year hiatus. In celebration, Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, is tapping kegs of the beer brewed at each of the breweries (different yeast strains and different brewing procedures yield subtle differences in taste) from 4-7 p.m. at the Wine and Beer bar. Arbor's Matt Greff and Dark Horse's Aaron Morse will also be on hand to sign limited-edition six-packs of the beer.

» If you can't make it to Whole Foods, or you just can't get enough, Ashley’s, 338 S. State, is not only tapping both versions of Dark Corner, but also several more of each brewery’s beers. Corner/Arbor beers include Hell Comes to Hoptown Brown, Espresso Love Breakfast Stout, two-year-aged Flamboyant Wild Red, Ryeclops IPA, and a dry-hopped cask of Arborealis IPA. From Dark Horse: Plead the Fifth Imperial Stout, Double Crooked Tree IPA, Raspberry Black Ice, Super Juice Imperial IPA, and Ginger in the Rye Imperial Red. Matt and Aaron will again be on hand for the event, which runs 8-11 p.m.

» If you somehow missed seeing the “super moon” in March — when the full moon was at its closest point to the Earth — never fear, April brings the “Fool Moon,” a new event presented by the FestiFools crew. Local artists and other interested Ann Arborites have spent the past few weeks busily constructing lanterns and illuminated sculptures that will be on parade downtown come dusk. What’s this have to do with beer? From 5-11 p.m. outside Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington, a beer tent featuring brews from Grizzly, Blue Tractor, and Jolly Pumpkin will be available. Live music from three different bands rounds out this foolish event. No cover.

Sunday, April 3
» When it opens at 11:30 a.m., Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, will begin pouring Bavarian Bliss Hefeweizen, a summer seasonal brewed with 50% wheat malt and fermented with Bavarian yeast for a light, refreshing taste of banana and cloves. The best part? Pints of it are $3 all day long. Add a shot of woodruff or raspberry syrup imported from Germany for a European shandy-style drink. Note: Outdoor tables will also be available to take in the "regular" FestiFools parade from 4-5 p.m.

» The first-ever beer and food pairing at the Wolverine State Brewing tap room, 2019 W. Stadium, takes place beginning at 6 p.m. Michigan Beer Guide publisher Rex Halfpenny will serve as host for the six-course Southern style buffet prepared by former Eve chef Marcello Grasso and Emil Boch of From the Hearth Food. Get your taste buds ready for corn bread, collard greens, fried chicken, beef brisket, glazed shrimp, and more, cooked and paired with various Wolverine brews. Tickets are $30 a head; stop by the tap room or call 734-277-7226 to reserve your seat.

Tuesday, April 5
» It’s Brewer’s Night time again at Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington. Come out from 6-9 p.m. for sampler discounts, a special dry-hopped cask of wood-aged Bear Paw Porter blended with Steelhead Red, and the opportunity to chat with head brewer Duncan Williams and even take a personalized tour of the brewery.

» Every now and then we have to remind ourselves that high culture isn’t just for the wine-and-cheese crowd. Every first Tuesday of the month, Sidetrack Bar & Grill, 56 E. Cross, Ypsilanti, hosts “Opera on Tap,” where the beer-and-burger crowd can sip on the fine craft beers available at Sidetrack, grab dinner, and be entertained for 60-90 minutes by real live opera singers on a mission to bring their passion to the people. This is a popular event; call 734-483-5230 to ensure your reservations. The fun begins at 8 p.m.

Notes on the Napkin
  • The 5th Annual Grizzly Peak Mug Club Brew-Off has been announced for May 9, 4-7 p.m., in the Grizzly Den. Does your homebrew have what it takes to win? Submit your entry by May 2: Just fill out an entry form and drop your beer off at the pub. First place winner gets to brew his or her beer with brewmaster Duncan Williams and have it served at the pub, as well as take home a keggie of the brew. Second place gets a free keggie of his or her choice. Call 734-741-7325 or go here for contest rules and details.

  • Today (Thursday) is the last day you can buy discounted tickets ($20 instead of $35) for the Michigan Cask Ale Festival taking place May 14 at Ashley’s in Westland. Tickets include 12 drink tokens for sampling from at least 20 different firkins of delicious craft ale. Go here to order online.

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