Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Week in Beer: Memorial Day Weekend Edition

Adventures in Homebrewing co-owner Jason Smith demonstrates the hobby
outside of the Ann Arbor location at 6071 Jackson Rd., expected to open in June.
This weekend marks the unofficial beginning of Michigan's all too short season of biking, hiking, sunning, swimming, and boating. 

If you plan to engage in any of these strenuous activities over the Memorial Day break (Mother Nature willing), you're bound to work up a thirst. And if you've read this column even once before, you already know where I'm going with this.

Read on for the latest in local brew news to help you celebrate your holiday right.

Friday, May 27
» Come out to Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, Ann Arbor, for a taste of the East Side when Dragonmead Microbrewery of Warren is the featured brewery on Michigan beer tasting night! Belly up to the Wine and Beer Bar from 5-7 p.m. where resident beer god Jimmy will hook you up with $3 pints and $1 sample pours of Broken Paddle IPA, Kaiser Kolsch, and Honey Porter as well as bottles of various Michigan brews sans corkage fees, including Dragonmead's ever-popular Final Absolution Trippel. Good times at the grocery! For more info on Dragonmead, check out Patti Smith's field report.

Notes on the Napkin

» You’ll need some growlers full of something tasty for your Memorial Day cookout. What’s new on tap around town?
  • Grizzly Peak has two refreshing choices in El Hefe Bavarian Wheat Ale and La Fille du Fermier Saison. Also look for Amarillo Oak Red, a nice hoppy ale for those who like that wood barrel flavor.
  • Blue Tractor is now pouring Sweetwater’s Vanilla Java Stout and Punky’s Monkee Belgian Rye PA, a delicious brew with wonderful rye spiciness.
  • Round 12 Dunkel and Common Reaction California Common Ale are both still on at Wolverine’s Tap Room, and Insolent Mink IPA as well as Gulo Gulo Lager are back, great choices for those who like the bitter.

» Speaking of Wolverine, they recently unveiled a new web site, but it’s conveniently at the same old address: Give it a look next time you’re surfing for beer.

» Also, ladies: Have you gotten your tickets yet for the June 12 Real Women Drink Beer event, hosted in the Wolverine tap room by Wolverine's own Beer Wench, E.T. Crowe? If not, why not? They're only $35 and include beer, snacks, manicure/pedicure, mini-massage, and female camaraderie and brewsy education. Call 734-369-2990 or stop by the tap room at 2019 W. Stadium to order.

» A new trend is craft beer in cans, with established breweries such as Battle Creek’s Arcadia Ales as well as newcomers like Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids offering various brews in aluminum.Take a closer look around your favorite beer store for expanding options. Now no glass on the public beach is no problem!

» If you still want bottles, and stylish ones at that, look for the new batch of the seasonal Archangel Summer Wheat, an ale brewed with Michigan cherries and packaged in the distinctive throwback “stubbies” from North Peak Brewing Co. Find six-packs in the coolers of Grizzly Peak, Jolly Pumpkin, and fine retail establishments around town.

» And finally, some news for those who prefer to make their own beer instead. On May 21, Jason and Tyler, proprietors of Adventures in Homebrewing in Taylor, put on an all-day brewing demonstration at their soon-to-open new Ann Arbor store at 6071 Jackson Rd.Tyler smoked some chicken breasts for everyone while he and Jason created an old ale and a Scotch ale and talked about the new shop. Though the new floor won't be in place until June 1, Jason expects things to go quickly after that, looking for a mid- or late-June opening. In the meantime, you can browse their wares at and check out my own more detailed report from the field.


  1. May 21 was last weekend. Is that a mistake?

  2. Not a mistake. I was merely offering a recap of a past event with relevance to the future.