Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Week in Beer: There's a Lot Brewing in May

Are you ready for some home brewed beer? National Homebrew Day is May 7.

Greetings, loyal readers! This week I’m gonna depart from tradition and skip the pithy comments about the weather. Why? Because there’s so many freaking things going on I can barely fit them all into this space, that’s why! See for yourself in your latest Week in Beer…

Thursday, May 5
» If today you’re feeling Mexican, or the gringo’s version of Mexican, check out Arbor Brewing’s Cinco de Drinko celebration, featuring a Mexican-inspired menu and the (in)famous Chips and Salsa Lager, brewed with corn flour, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, onions, jalapenos, and a pinch of salt. ¡Viva la cerveza!

Saturday, May 7
» It’s finally here! National Homebrew Day, begun in 1988, is celebrated the first Saturday in May each year by many thousands of bespectacled, bearded beer nerds; their curious friends; and, happily and increasingly, interested women, most of whom do not have beards. According to the American Homebrewers Association, last year more than 5,000 people celebrated by brewing over 11,000 gallons at 291 sites on six continents. Locally, there are two free and open to the public celebrations worthy of note as part of the AHA’s “Big Brew”:
The Ann Arbor Brewers Guild homebrewers club will be at Original Gravity, 440 County, Milan, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. demonstrating the art and science of brewing on several different homebrew systems. OG beers and some delicious barbeque will be available while you learn.

The Sons of Liberty brewing club meets at Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth, at 9 a.m. to share their passion for their hobby with interested parties, bearded or not. Come by, learn about brewing, and make some new friends — beer people are some of the best people!
Sunday, May 8
» Has it really been just six months? Wolverine State Brewing’s tap room at 2019 W. Stadium has been around only since November but it’s already made a big impression on Ann Arbor’s west side. To celebrate its 0.5-year anniversary, Wolverine’s hosting a Mug Club Member Appreciation Day from 12-5 p.m. Come on in and get $1.50 beers and half-off growler fills or, if you’re not already a member, join up for $65, which grants you a lifetime of discounted beer. (Depending on your age, that may be your lifetime or the lifetimes of the proprietors.) And don’t forget to take Mom a growler for Mother’s Day! Also, the winner of the Rename-The-Beer-Formerly-Known-As-The-Pride-of-Biscuitville Contest will be announced. If you’re reading this before then, you can still submit your ideas to — winner gets a free Mug Club membership or three free growler fills.

Monday, May 9
» Whether you entered a beer in the competition or not, swing by the Grizzly Peak Den, 120 W. Liberty, for the official judging of the Fifth Annual Mug Club Brew-Off competition from 4-7 p.m. See who will win the coveted chance to brew a commercial batch of his beer with GP head brewer Duncan Williams and have it served at the pub. Maybe it’ll be you! Or maybe you just want to watch and have a beer. Either way, why wouldn’t you wanna leave work early on a Monday for this?

Tuesday, May 10
» At 3 p.m., the rich, amber, delicious, kinda-sorta-bock Beer Formerly Known As The Pride of Biscuitville (until the ceast-and-desist letters started arriving) returns to Wolverine’s tap room with its brand-spanking-new name. What will that name be? Stop in for a glass and find out!

Thursday, May 12
» Second Thursday of the month means Arbor’s monthly beer-a-palooza! Get thee to 114 E. Washington for a smorgasbord of two dozen malty and rich bocks, dopplebocks, and Belgian Trappist ales along with an appetizer buffet and a door prize drawing. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on tasting day. Call 734-213-1393 or stop by the pub to order.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Congratulations to Arbor Brewing’s head brewer Bill Gerds! His Buzzsaw IPA beat out nearly 500 beers in 29 categories to take Best of Show at the World Expo of Beer competition. Stay tuned for details on the downtown parade to be held in Bill’s honor or, you know, just drop by Arbor and order a pint or two of this hardworking craftsman’s delicious beers. (And, if you’re up for a road trip, check out the World Expo of Beer Festival May 20-21 in Frankenmuth. Visit for tickets and more info.)
  • Dan's Downtown Tavern, 103 E. Michigan, Saline, just added 20 new taps to its existing 12, for a grand total of 32. Dan also has a thing for great Michigan craft beer, so next time you're out Saline way, stop in for a pint or three of the good stuff!
  • Opening Friday, May 13, is the latest addition to Ann Arbor’s bar scene, the Ravens Club on 207 S. Main (formerly the Full Moon, er, Monkey Bar, er Full Moon). Of interest to readers of this column will be the 10 taps of good beer, including Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA, New Holland Full Circle Kolsch, Short’s Hangin’ Frank IPA, Founders Red’s Rye PA, Bell’s Oberon and Amber Ale, Guinness, Bavik Pils, Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard Strong Ale, and Delirium Tremens. Bottles include Pils Urquell, New Holland Dragon’s Milk Oak-Aged Ale, Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter, Magic Hat #9 Ale, Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen, and an assortment of fizzy yellow beers for the uninitiated. Come out and give the n00bs a warm welcome, and visit for more info.
  • FREE BEER! That got your attention, didn’t it? If you’re not doing anything Sunday, May 15, around 1 p.m., why not go to the Corner Brewery,, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, and help count out drink token packages for the upcoming Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival? The MBG is picking up the beer tab and, if Mother Nature gets up on the right side of the bed, the counting will take place outside in the beer garden! No need to RSVP, just show up and join the cool kids.