With apologies to T.S. Eliot, April is the coolest month, and I'm not talking about the recent dip in temperatures. I mean, of course, the return of our lush flora along with so many great spring and summer seasonal beers, not to mention the various and sundry activities associated with our favorite malt-and-hop beverage. Let us go then, you and I, to the Week in Beer.
Thursday, April 12
» The Easter bunny may be gone for another year, but hops are still in style — at Arbor Brewing’s Hophead Beer Tasting, 7-9 p.m. More than two dozen bitter bombs will be pouring at 114 E. Washington, running the gamut from double IPAs to, um, imperial IPAs. Enjoy all you can sample plus a munchies buffet and door prize raffle. Tickets are $30; call 734-213-1393 or get your ticket at the door, if it’s not sold out (but it probably is).
Saturday, April 14
» A public service announcement from your friends at Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium: "Remember to stop by before and after the University of Michigan football team's spring scrimmage for some beery sustenance!" Alas, your correspondent will be vacationing down in New Orleans, so if you go, have a few for me. That is all.
Sunday, April 15
» Put aside those last-minute income tax blues to enjoy Arbor’s Day of Bliss, where they feature their summer seasonal, Bavarian Bliss Hefeweizen, at happy hour prices at the pub all day long. And later in the day (time TBD), you can enjoy your Bliss with some live music in the Game Room. Rock on.
» At the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, the ladies of the Ann Arbor Derby Dimes roller derby team are hosting a Whip Stitch Art & Craft Fair fundraiser from 2-10 p.m. to support their sport. Come out to the brewery and browse the wares of more than 20 local vendors, mingle with the derby girls, and enjoy a special Derby Dime beer brewed just for the occasion. Proceeds not only help support the roller derby league but also Ypsilanti’s FLY Children’s Art Center. Check out the list of vendors here and follow the fair on Facebook.
Monday, April 16
» What makes a beer a red or an amber? Head to the Lake Street Tavern, 127 E. Lake, South Lyon, and find out at their first-ever “Style Night.” Tickets are $20 and include beer samples, light appetizers, and gratuity. Call 248-446-8898 for yours. (You may be asking, What time does it start? I’m afraid I don’t know, so you’ll have to ask when you call.)
Tuesday, April 17
» All the way from Grand Rapids come the Belgian-inspired beers of Brewery Vivant, and you can sample some of them from 4-6 p.m. at the Michigan beer happy hour at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower. Hit the Wine and Beer Bar before, during, or after your grocery shopping for some tasty brew and beer dork camaraderie. It’s always a good time, even if you totally forget the groceries.
» Couldn’t make it to Whole Foods in time? No worries. Ashley's, 338 S. State, is featuring Brewery Vivant on tap beginning at 6 p.m. Drafts of Farm Hand French Farmhouse Ale, Solitude Abbey Ale, Triomphe Belgian Style IPA, Vivant Tripel, Kludde Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Amber Wheat, Rye Porter, Barrel Aged Triomphe, Trebuchet Double IPA, and Zaison Imperial Saison will be pouring. Plus you can chat with Vivant owner Jason Spaulding and brewery manager Rick Muschiana about their beers, the brewery’s upcoming expansion, and their intention to replace Old Style as the official beer of Chicago, or, well, at least enter the Windy City market by the end of summer.
Notes on the Napkin
- Have you gotten your ticket for the Michigan Cask Ale Festival yet? Although the Fest, at Ashley’s in Westland, 7525 Wayne Rd., is a month away (May 12), tickets are selling fast and are nearly gone. They’re still available for $25 apiece (through April 16) at micaskale.ashleys.com and include a commemorative pin, program, and a dozen drink tokens (additional tokens can be purchased at the event). More than 20 breweries will be pouring their cask-conditioned beers for your enjoyment. Keep an eye on AnnArborBeer.com for a list as details become available, or follow the official festival Facebook page.
- Grizzly Peak has a couple new beers on tap, including the (hurr, hurr) Imperial Session IPA, a brew with all of the hops and less of the alcohol at 4.5% ABV, and brewer Duncan Williams’s latest creation, the Michigan Saisonniere, a 4.5% ABV Belgian farmhouse style ale brewed exclusively with Lansing-area wheat malt and hops from Traverse City. Belly up for a few pints!
- You’ve had your Oberon, now get ready for summer’s other official beer. That would be Clementine Lemon Thyme, now pouring at Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth. It’s a 5.5% ABV American wheat ale, made with plenty of clementine and lemon zest and balanced with a dash of savory thyme. The fact that it’s available on draft only presents some portability problems, so maybe it can’t be summer’s other official beer even though it has a large following. Or can it? Owner and brewer Joe Walters says there’s a chance some could make its way into bottles, depending on brewing schedules and availability and whatnot. Stay tuned.
- Wolverine State Brewing is planning their first-ever "Lagerpalooza" in May, a month-long celebration of live music and, of course, beer, in the Tap Room. Keep your eye on wolverinebeer.com for details, to be announced as early as tomorrow.