Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Week in Beer: Time for Hawaiian Shirts, Sandals, and Summer Brews

Real women drinking beer at last Sunday's "Real Women Drink Beer" event at
Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, Ann Arbor.

The summer of beer is here! I don’t know about you, but I’ve permanently* switched my daily attire to Hawaiian shirts, shorts, and sandals and my beers to wheat ales, light lagers, and refreshing hybrids like kolsches and California commons. So don't just sit there inside your cubicle or man (or woman) cave; get on outside and enjoy the sun — and the beer. Read on for some ideas and how to do just that.

* (And by “permanently” I mean “for the next two and a half months.”)

Friday, June 17

>> Beer changes with the seasons, and now that summer’s here, it’s a good time to learn about a quintessential summer beer style: hefeweizens! And who better to learn about them from than Jimmy, the resident beer guru at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower? Join him from 6-7 p.m. in the classroom area for an exploration of six different versions of this classic Bavarian brew. Cost is $6 and seating is limited; call the store at 734-997-7500 to reserve your place.

Saturday, June 18

>> Yes, it’s really been three years since Original Gravity Brewing Co. opened its doors at 440 County Rd. in Milan. Help celebrate by heading down to the tap room and enjoying multiple small-batch releases (including Bourbon Barrel-Aged High Five IPA) as well as regular OG favorites brewed by Brad Sancho. BBQ pulled pork, chicken, and more plus live music from Out of the Sun are also part of the festivities. Call the brewery at 734-439-7490 or check or Facebook for details, including times.

Sunday, June 19
It's Father's Day! Know where to take the old man for a beer? Check out the specials at Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery, 207 E. Washington: 25% off growler fills and 50% off lifetime Mug Club memberships! Plus, scroll down to "Notes on the Napkin" for some delicious new beers coming on tap there.

Monday, June 20

>> Head to Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, on Mondays during the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, when the popular Top of the Park event is closed, for “Dark Mondays.” Join ABC and Summer Festival organizers for a celebration of words and music, including a reading of excerpts from the "33 1/3 series" of books about classic rock albums, followed by a guest DJ mixing songs from the evening’s featured artist. This Monday, the book is "The Pogues' Rum, Sodomy & the Lash" by Jeffrey T. Roesgen, read by Bob Needham, entertainment director for, and the featured DJ is Sue Dise of WCBN. Cash bar, happy hour prices, no cover. And be sure to try out Arbor’s Festival Saison Ale, proceeds from the sales of which go to support the fest.

Wednesday, June 22

>> So maybe you’ve heard now that Ann Arbor’s venerable Fraser’s Pub, 2045 Packard, is now something of a craft beer destination. To prove it, they’re hosting one of their first beer events, New Holland Hatter Day. If you missed Hatter Day at other local venues, you have one last chance to come out and celebrate the many incarnations of New Holland Brewing's flagship beer, Mad Hatter IPA, on tap, including the original, Oak Aged Hatter, Imperial Hatter, Black Hatter, Rye Hatter, and the new Farmhouse Hatter. The fun begins at 6 p.m.

>> Or maybe you’re hungry and looking for something really delicious to eat, something that goes great with some of your favorite beers. Well then, you want to get over to Dexter for the Arbor Brewing beer dinner at Terry B’s Restaurant & Bar, 7954 Ann Arbor St. Enjoy a five-course dinner prepared by Chef Doug Hewitt and paired with Arborealis Double IPA, Espresso Love Breakfast Stout, Bavarian Bliss Hefeweizen, Framboozled Barrel Aged Raspberry Ale, and more. $50 ticket includes beer during the reception and intermezzo and a beer comparison of Dark Corner Imperial Brown Ale from both Corner Brewery and Dark Horse Brewing Co. Call 734-426-3727 to reserve your spot.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Tastings and beer dinners are a great way to stretch your palate and expand your beer horizons, but there’s nothing like a real, bona fide course in beer appreciation to increase your knowledge. And that’s just what’s on tap at Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, on June 26 from 6-8:30 p.m. Join owner E.T. “Beer Wench” Crowe and brewer Oliver Roberts as they educate you on ales, lagers, ABV, IBUs, and plenty of other topics in Craft Beer 101. Fee is $45; register through Ann Arbor Rec & Ed at
  • Speaking of Wolverine, the first-ever Real Women Drink Beer Event at the tap room last Sunday was a rousing success (see a really well written write-up here) — so much so, that plans are already underway for another such event sometime in the future (most likely the fall). So if you missed out; don’t worry; it sounds like there will be other opportunities to hang with your sisters, enjoy a bit of pampering, catered food, and, of course, beer!
  • On tap now at Grizzly Peak: Poolside Lager, a German Helles style beer with a crisp malty flavor accentuated by a slight hoppiness. Over at Blue Tractor, two new beers make their appearance: Ballyhoo Belgian Blonde Ale, brewed with German pilsner malt, white sugar, and Pearles hops and fermented with Belgian ale yeast and Demonic Black IPA, a returning favorite and 2010 World Beer Championship gold medalist made with generous doses of Palisade, Cluster, and Cascade hops that clocks in at 6.5%.
  • Wondering what else is on tap in the area, but bummed out because this column is only published on Thursdays? Well, there’s an app for that. Or a website. Whatever. was developed to help breweries and beer bars keep their customers informed about when various beers come on tap. Current clients include Ashley’s (Ann Arbor and Westland), the Shark Club in Howell, and Dusty’s Tap Room in Okemos, as well as Liberty Street Brewing in Plymouth. You can register on the site and receive email notifications when your favorite beers go on tap near you. Check it out!

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