Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Week in Beer: Gearing Up for Fall with Some Seasonal Brews

BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE: Get ready for some beautiful fall colors in our fair state... and enjoy them with some delicious Michigan beer.

As the days get cooler and shorter and the leaves turn brighter and prettier, the beers get a little darker and stronger. A light lager may be just the thing after a long, hot summer day working in the yard, but what tastes better following hours of winterizing your house than a nice brown ale or a German marzen? Nothing, I tell ya! And it’s even better if you can get fresh, local versions of such beers, and luckily, you can. Just check out the latest Week in Beer for the whos, whats, wheres, and whens.

Thursday, September 8

» Beer tasting to-nite at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, from 7-9 p.m. The theme is “Best of Michigan,” with more than two dozen beers brewed right here in the Great Lakes State, along with an appetizer buffet and raffled prizes. Tickets are $30; call the brewpub at 734-213-1393 to get yours or buy at the door, if any are still available.

» Meanwhile at the Ann Arbor Ashley's, 338 S. State, there’s a celebration of some West Coast beers — those of Sierra Nevada Brewing, to be exact. Beginning at 6 p.m., a number of Sierra brews, including some never tapped in Michigan before, will begin pouring forth. Enjoy such beers as Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale, Wood-aged Life and Limb Ale (2009 vintage), Bonnaroo Brew Farmhouse Ale, Schwarzbier, Ovila Dubbel and Saison, and more. Plus, meet Sierra rep Jason Davis, who will talk about the beers and hopefully hand out some nice SN swag.

» The last “Brew for the River” event, supporting the Huron River Watershed Council education and preservation efforts, takes place at the Blue Tractor, 207 E. Washington, starting at 5 p.m. Bring your "Brew Passport" to be stamped and entered into the drawing for the grand prize of free beer and, to help manage your suspense, try out brewer Tim Schmidt’s small-batch Russian Imperial Stout and maybe pick up a growler or join the Mug Club — there’s a 10% discount on both for the evening. Call the Tractor at 734-222-4095 or visit for more info.

Friday, September 9

» The Wolverine State Brewing tap room, 2019 W. Stadium, is the latest site to host the world-famous beer vlogging (that's video blogging for non-nerds) team, The Happy Hour Guys. In hour of Happy Hour Guy visit, it will be happy hour on beers from 2-3 p.m. Come on out for some discounted (free?), delicious brew and, who knows, maybe you'll feature in the next episode of the Guys' Internet show, which will be filming on-site.

Saturday, September 10

» Today there is the little matter of the first-ever night game being played in Michigan Stadium’s long history (kickoff at 8 p.m.), with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and their fans in town for the day. Expect much beer drinking and many leprechaun sightings around town, and if you’re going to the game, don’t forget Wolverine’s shuttle from their tap room at 2019 W. Stadium to the Big House for loyal Wolverine beer drinkers (cost: $10). It’s a great way to enjoy plenty of good beer before the game while avoiding the hassle of huge tailgating crowds and parking near the stadium. Also, according to Wolverine’s E.T. “Beer Wench” Crowe: “We will rock at the tap room all day long with specials depending on the time of day. The specials will be worth the trip over, let me assure you. And if you are a Mug Club member you might get a few freebies just for being YOU.” Newly installed additional TVs and food from Ray's Red Hots round out the festivities. Wherever you get your pre-game on, GO BLUE!

» If you're on the other end of Ann Arbor and looking for a place to hang before and during the game, you may wish to check out the tent at Fraser's Pub, 2045 Packard, which opens at 4 p.m. and for the first time ever will be pouring craft beer, specifically New Holland Mad Hatter IPA and Golden Cap Saison. It's a great start!

» Maybe football's not your thing, in which case you can fight your way instead to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in Kerrytown for the third annual Homegrown Festival. From 6-11 p.m., there will be a plethora of great locally sourced foods, kids' activities, live music, and — best of all — beers (and wines, meads, and ciders, oh my). Featured breweries include Arbor, Wolverine, Original Gravity, and Rochester Mills. Check out for the whole scoop.

Sunday, September 11

» Out in Ypsilanti, bid farewell to another Halcyon Sundaze season with the summer’s last session of rockin’ tunes and tasty brews out in the Corner Brewery beer garden. The fun begins at 2 p.m. as a variety of rotating DJs take turns laying down a slightly melancholy, but still totally Halcyonic, vibe as folks enjoy one of the Corner’s regular delicious beers or the special Halcyon small-batch beer (served while supplies last).

Notes on the Napkin
  • Mea culpa: It turns out last week there was no Michigan beer tasting at Whole Foods Cranbrook, a fact I discovered after deadline. Apologies to anyone who went there based on my mis-reporting. The next such tasting at Whole Foods is September 16, when beers from Wolverine State Brewing will be featured.

  • You want big beers? Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth, has them this week. Look for C-Monster, a ferociously hopped imperial IPA beast weighing in at 9.7% ABV; Emperor Norton, a Russian imperial stout rocking 11%; and Liberty Barleywine, a 12.8% copper-colored bruiser. Come prepared to sip — or bring a designated driver!

  • Congratulations to Arbor Brewing on their brand-spanking-new, redesigned website. Functional and attractive, just like their beers!

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