Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Week in Beer: Greet the New School Year with Beer

LET THERE BE HOMEBREW: Adventures in Homebrewing is now open at 6071 Jackson Rd.
The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and the moving trucks are beginning to reappear everywhere in Ann Arbor. It all points to the approach of fall and the return of tens of thousands of students to our fair city. Some “townies” welcome the electric atmosphere that only the exuberance of youth can bring; others dread the increased traffic, crowds, and noise associated with the school year.

Whether you’re in the first camp, the second camp, or even are a student (of proper government-approved age, of course), Ann Arbor beer is here to help you celebrate, commiserate, or just inebriate. Take a look at your Week in Beer for the latest scoop.

Thursday, August 18
» Celebrate the awesomeness of our local water source, the Huron River, properly: with beer! The second of five “Brew for the River” events takes place at Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery, 311 S. Main, beginning at 4 p.m. Brewer Ron Jeffries has come up with Hummocky Lick Sumac Sensation beer, brewed just for the occasion and named after a headwater creek and brewed with sumac and cherries, two Michigan staples. Ron describes it thus: "Like many of my beers, it's part inspiration, part desperation, part salvation, part damnation, and the final credit should probably go to that little voice in my head." Proceeds from sales of the beer go to the Huron River Watershed Council to help their work of preservation and education. And if you got your “Brew for the River Passport” last week from Wolverine State Brewing, don’t forget to get it stamped so you have a chance later to win some free beer.

Friday, August 19
» Shopping time again at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, Ann Arbor, from 5-7 p.m. And by “shopping” you know, of course, I mean beer drinking. Milan’s own Original Gravity Brewing is the star of the show at the biweekly Michigan beer tasting at the Wine and Beer Bar. This time there are five tasty OG beers — $3 a pint or $1 sample pour — to choose from: County Street Amber, Belgian Training Wheels, 440 Pepper Smoker, Train Jumper Black IPA, and the newly released Eazy-Duz-it IPA, a "session" style beer at 4.4% ABV brewed with lots of wheat malt and Amarillo hops. Brewer Brad Sancho will also be there to hand out swag and discuss his beers. Get your shopping cart ready!

Thursday, August 25
» The Huron River celebration moves to Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Liberty, beginning at 4 p.m when brewer Duncan Williams and team present Watershed Ale, a cask-conditioned, blended ale with bee balm and yarrow, two herbs native to the area. Bring your “Brew Passport” to get it stamped! Proceeds from sales of the beer again go to the Huron River Watershed Council.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Coming this week to the taps at 2019 W. Stadium in Ann Arbor: 38 Redemption Black Pilsner, a beer so mysterious I have no information on it whatsoever. I guess we’ll all have to go down there together and be enlightened as to what a “black pilsner” might be. Who’s with me?

  • But traditionalists need not fear. The “true” pilsner style that started it all, Czech-style, is the next beer slated for Liquid Soundtrack, a series of homebrewer-inspired projects brewed on Wolverine’s commercial system. Stay tuned for this brew, which will feature RO-treated water (that’s reverse osmosis to non-water geeks) and the Noble hops essential for this delicious style.

  • And speaking of homebrewers, Ann Arbor-area ones finally have a local store to help them with their obsession, er, hobby. Following many months of a drawn-out inspection process, Adventures in Homebrewing is now officially open for business at 6071 Jackson Rd., just beyond the Jackson-Zeeb Meijer. Owners Jason and Tyler not only offer a large selection (still not entirely unloaded) of beermaking equipment, ingredients, and kits, they offer knowledge and expertise as well, helping everyone from newbies to seasoned pros work out issues with their recipes or procedures or anything else, really. If you’ve been thinking of taking up the hobby, drop by the store and see what it’s all about. And get ready for a grand opening party, to be scheduled sometime in late September.

  • Yep, you can definitely feel the change in the air as summer begins to fade into another season: football season! And what goes better with football than — wait for it — yes, beer. Wolverine unsurprisingly is planning some big tailgate parties and activities in honor of the return of our beloved Champions of the West. Watch this space for more details as they become available. In the meantime, enjoy BBQ from Satchel's at the tap room this Saturday.

  • Rumor has it Ann Arbor’s venerable Fraser’s Pub, which has wholeheartedly embraced the craft beer revolution, is also planning on serving some great Michigan-made beers in outside tents during Michigan football Saturdays. Once again, when I know more, you’ll know more. Go Blue and go brew!

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