Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Week in Beer: Football's Here and So Is Beer

It's that time of year again.

Falling leaves, back-to-school sales, a new academic year, and the return of college football: All the frenetic energy is enough to make one’s head spin! And as if all that weren’t enough, our local breweries and bars are busy producing and serving great new flavorful beers and putting on awesome events as well. Just relax, take a deep breath, and calmly read through your Week in Beer. It’s going to be all right.

Thursday, September 1

» Next stop on the ongoing “Brew for the River” beer tour is Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, where at 4 p.m. an exclusive keg of Blackberry Blonde Ale will be tapped for the event. Brewery owners Matt and Rene Greff will be on hand to talk about the recent completion of their “Green Brewery Project” over at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, and Huron River Watershed Council Executive Director Laura Rubin will also talk about the importance of maintaining local water quality. Once again, proceeds from the sale of the beer go to support HRWC’s work. Don’t forget to have your Brew Passport stamped to be eligible to win the September 8 grand prize drawing for free beer!

Saturday, September 3

» Michigan football season kicks off, and that means drinking some great local brews while tailgating and watching the Maize and Blue take on their first opponent. My recommendation: Wolverine State Brewing Big House Brown, a “session” lager that’s flavorful enough to satisfy your taste buds but low enough in strength to enable a proper day’s worth of consumption. Get it on tap or take home a growler or two!

Tuesday, September 6

» It’s the time of the season for… Oktoberfest! First up is the 6-8 p.m. release of the Corner Brewery’s Hoptoberfest, a dry-hopped, ale-ish take on the traditional German märzen lager. (Shhh, don’t tell Heinrich!) Free snacks and beer for Mug Club members for the duration of the party, and $10 for the unwashed masses. Zicke, zacke, zicke, zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi!

» Ah, my favorite night of all: Brewer’s Night! Head over to the Grizzly Peak Den, 120 W. Washington, from 6-9 p.m to partake of great beers on tap, discounts on samplers, and tours of the Grizzly brewery, conducted by brewing rock star Duncan Williams and his band of brewing renown. And while you’re there, you can try out the last of the Watershed Ale, a blend of Steelhead Red and Sheerwater IPA cask conditioned with yarrow and bee balm.

Thursday, September 8

» Not gonna lie: Michigan beer is awesome. Don’t believe me? Then you need to attend this month’s beer tasting at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, where more than two dozen “Made in the Mitten” brews will be featured. Tastings run from 7-9 p.m. and include an appetizer buffet and door prize drawings. Tickets are $25 in advance; call the brewpub at 734-213-1393 to get yours.

» OK, there’s good beer from other states, too. Like, say, California, which is home to the marvelous Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Beginning at 6 p.m., Ashley's, 338 S. State, is tapping - and this is a scientific brewing term - a buttload of great Sierra beers, including some never before tapped in Michigan. Try things like Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale, Wood-Aged Life and Limb Ale (2009 vintage), Bonnaroo Brew Farmhouse Ale, Schwarzbier, Ovila Dubbel and Ovila Saison, and more. Sierra rep Jason Davis will also be on hand to talk about the beers and hand out the goodies. Don’t miss this one.

» “Brew for the River” wraps up at the Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery, 205 E. Washington, where beginning at 5 p.m. brewer Tim Schmidt presents his small batch take on the theme in the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Says Tim: “This one is still in the fermenter so I can’t give you an exact ABV, but I’m going for a Blue Tractor record with this one.” Be warned! And once again, bring your Brew Passport to be stamped and put yourself in the running for some free beer. Part of the proceeds from the beer sales will go to the Huron River Watershed Council, and the Tractor is also offering 10% discounts on growlers and Mug Club memberships. Visit for more details.

Notes on the Napkin
  • New beers of note: On tap now at Original Gravity, 440 County St., Milan, is ShineBox Dunkelweizen, a dark German wheat beer brewed with Bavarian yeast and Munich and Vienna malts and, at 4.9% ABV, a brew you can enjoy more than one of without getting into too much trouble. At Blue Tractor, Demoniaque Belgo-American Dark Ale is now pouring; it’s rather like the Tractor’s Demonic Black Ale, but with a Belgian yeast twist.

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