Note: This week's column was rushed and consequently a little half-assed for reasons that will be obvious from the first paragraph. There are still plenty of things coming up this week, so I'm posting this here for anyone who missed it on AnnArbor.com.
Dear Loyal Readers, it is with sadness I announce that due to a death in the family, this Week in Beer will contain 75 percent less wit and charm than usual as I try to put it all together in record time before leaving town for the funeral of my Uncle Geno. Accordingly, I got nothing else to say other than that, though you didn't know him, maybe you'll still join me in raising a pint to his dear, departed soul.
Monday, March 5
» It’s back! The Grizzly Peak Polar Bear Day is on again outside the doors of the brewpub at 120 W. Washington. Mug Club members (only, Sparky, so bring your card) in the mood for cold beer in cold temperatures can enjoy $1 drafts outside from 5-7 p.m. along with half-off appetizers and pizzas. Did I mention you need to be a Mug Club member? Yeah, you do.
Tuesday, March 6
» Join Duncan Williams for A Very Special Brewer's Night at the Grizzly Peak Den, 120 W. Washington. What's so special about it? Duncan has this problem he needs help with. He's got all these kegs of high-gravity beer that have been aging anywhere from six months to a year. Can you help him drink them? Come to the Den from 6-9 p.m. for brewery tours, discounted samplers, and Final Repose Ale, the first keg that needs killing! You have to help. That barleywine is not going to drink itself.
» Down the street at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, the next Rob Reinhart Essential Music Listening Party gets rockin' beginning at 7:15 p.m. Come by for some "dead" music, live music, and a taste of great beer, including Arbor's The Listenership, a smoked ale brewed especially for these parties. The fun includes a free performance from Tim Monger of Great Lakes Myth Society. For more information on what this is all about, go here.
» The Rotary Club of Chelsea is hosting a fundraiser auction at 7 p.m. at the Silver Maples. Why do you care? Because one of the prizes is the first-ever Brewery Membership of the Chelsea Alehouse, scheduled to open sometime later this year. That's right: You could become the very first mug clubber at the Alehouse by giving those Rotarians enough cash! For more information on the event, go here.
Wednesday, March 7
» It’s a bit of a drive, but no one else is doing a bracketed Brewery Throwdown — no one except Ashley's in Westland, and this time around it’s for the rights to see who will take on Short’s Brewing in the finals. Will it be hometown favorites Wolverine Brewing or those guys from Michigan Brewing, which I believe is located in Whereversville. Anyway, Wolverine will be bringing Wolverine Dark, Wolverine Amber (nee District 16 Vienna), Gulo Gulo, Faustian Baltic Porter, the re-branded Revilo India Red (henceforth Gulo Revilo), and the world premiere of Gulo Noir India Black Lager. In Michigan’s corner, we have Big Stout, Sunset Amber, High Seas IPA, Wheatland Wheat, Winter Warmer, and Vicious Hibiscus. Who will win? You, because all these beers sound pretty good. Show up at 6 p.m. and vote early and often by buying pints of your favorite.
» Not up for leaving the protective bubble of Washtenaw County? Well, I don’t blame you. Here’s your alternative: Go to the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti at 6 p.m. for the next stage of "Let's finish drinking the leftover kegs from Rat Fest." Once again, the brews from the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild will be featured, and for you celiacs out there, rumor has it the Saison Sans Gluten will be one of the four beers tapped. If anything’s left at 9, growlers to take home will be available.
Thursday, March 8
» St. Patrick's Day is not far off, so it's a good idea to get some practice in before the stoutiest day of the year. That would be the stout tasting at Arbor Brewing, of course. From 7-9 p.m., sample from more than two dozen of them including Irish stouts, milk stouts, chocolate stouts, coffee stouts, Russian imperial stouts, and more experimental kinds. The usual appetizer buffet and raffle are part of the $25 ticket price ($30 on the day of). Call 734-213-1393 or swing by the brewpub to get yours.
Notes on the Napkin
- Get it while you can! The Poisson Rouge (aka Red Fish) is back on tap at Grizzly Peak. It’s a barrel aged versions of Grizzly’s Steelhead Red, and you’ll dig what three months in a funky oak barrel does to it. Look for a tart, funky taste on top of Steelhead’s normal caramel notes, and prepare yourself for a smooth, woody finish. That’s what she said. Or he said. Or whatever.
- Witch's Hat Brewing, 2235 Pontiac Tr., South Lyon, has new hours: Sunday, 2-8 p.m.; Monday, closed; Tuesday to Thursday, 5-11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. – midnight. They also have wines! Check out Ruby Peppercorn, Honeycrisp Apple Fruit Wine, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Red Raspberry for a non-beer change of pace.