Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Week in Beer: Spring into a Season of New Brews

Leaves are beginning to appear on trees, flowers are popping out of the ground, birds are singing: Despite the frequency of gloomy days, the unmistakable signs of new life are all around us. That’s as good a reason as any to celebrate with lively new beers! And there’s plenty of them coming out as the spring and summer beer drinking season begins to heat up. As usual, your Week in Beer lays it all out for you.

Friday, April 29

» Another minor holiday means another excuse to drink some delicious local beer! In this case, the holiday is Arbor Day and the beer is Spruce Ale, courtesy of Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington. Arbor is teaming up with Adopt-a-Park for the third year: $1 from every Spruce Ale sold will be donated to Adopt-a-Park, which plants trees in local parks. Get yours while you can; it’s a small batch and won’t last long.

» Michigan beer tasting returns to Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower,
as brews from Battle Creek’s own Arcadia Ales are featured at the Wine and Beer Bar. Join beer guru Jimmy and his team from 5-7pm for $3 glasses, $1 sample pours, and bottles of various Michigan beers opened with no corkage fees. It’s the best kind of grocery shopping!

Sunday, May 1

» Maybe you've been thinking about it, but weren't quite sure how to get started. I'm talking about brewing your own beer, of course. Now there's a great chance to learn from a couple of experienced brewers in a low-key class that covers everything from the history of beer, tasting of different styles, and the brewing and bottling process. The cost is $50 (proceeds benefit Real Good Food, a local food-sharing network) for the class, and for another $150 you can take home your own brewing kit (limited supply). Class runs 6-9pm at the Pittsfield Grange, 3337 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. Go here to sign up and email with any questions.

Monday, May 2

» From 5-8pm in the Arbor Brewing Tap Room representatives from the Ann Arbor Summer Festival will announce this year's Top of the Park schedule as ABC releases a special seasonal, Festival Saison Ale, brewed with lemon zest, orange peel, and ginger. The beer will be available all summer long, with a portion of sales going to support Top of the Park. A worthy beer for a worthy cause!

Tuesday, May 3

» Swing by the Grizzly Peak Den, 120 W. Washington, for another Brewer’s Night with brewmeister Duncan Williams, who will be on hand from 6-9pm to talk about GP beers as well as conduct tours of the brewery. Discounts on samplers and a cask of Texas Farm Girl, a saison ale dry-hopped with Amarillo, are also available.

» Over in Ypsilanti, the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, is releasing Strawberry Blonde Ale. Welcome the warmer days with plenty of this summer seasonal along with pizza and other munchies from 6-8pm. Free for Arbor and Corner Mug Club members; $10 for everyone else.

Thursday, May 5

» Didn’t celebrate Arbor Day? Don’t worry, for the beer-drinking excuses, er, holidays keep coming! Today is Cinco de Mayo, a festive day that commemorates when something or other happened in Mexico. Arbor Brewing is doing its part to honor this important event with the release of the loved-by-some, not-so-loved-by-others Chips and Salsa Lager, brewed with corn flour, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, onions, jalapenos, and a pinch of salt. Pair it with a new Mexican-oriented menu of entrees and you have a fiesta worthy of that historical whatever. Also look for a special tequila-infused version of Big Ben House Mild.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Calling all creative beer lovers: Submit your ideas to re-name Wolverine State Brewing's The Beer Formerly Known As The Pride of Biscuitville, which fell victim to yet more out-of-control "intellectual property" nonsense. The prize is a Mug Club membership or three free growler fills. Send submissions to Wolverine’s Beer Wench at (subject line: “New beer name”). Winner will be picked May 8.
  • Reminder to you homebrewers out there: Entries for Grizzly Peak’s Mug Club Brew-Off are due by May 2. Check here for details on how to enter and what you win should your beer triumph. Judging ceremony is May 9 from 4-7pm in the Den.
  • Another important reminder: Tickets go on sale May 1 for the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival in Riverside Park, Ypsilanti, July 22-23. Pick yours up at any local MBG member establishment, i.e., any local brewpub or microbrewery, but don’t wait too long: There is no question this granddaddy-of-all-Michigan-beer-events will sell out well in advance, as it always does.

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