Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Week in Beer: Celebrating Mom and Microbrews

Moms like beer, too! Photo: Flickr user antigone78.

You know what time of year it is? The time your dear old mom looks forward to with much anticipation? Yes, it’s American Craft Beer Week, from May 14-20. Mom is really hoping you’ll take her out and about to sample some of her favorite microbrewed beverages. Can you deny her this? What kind of a son or daughter are you?

Here, let me help. I’ve put together a convenient list of events that the woman who gave birth to you would enjoy. The rest is up to you.

Thursday, May 10

» Goat beer is here! Enjoy around two dozen bocks, which is German for “goat,” as well as Trappist ales at Arbor Brewing’s monthly beer tasting, running 7-9 p.m. Tickets are $30 each and include plenty of good beer, an appetizer buffet, and a chance to win superawesome prizes. Call 734-213-1393 or try your luck at the door. But leave your goat at home.

Friday, May 11

» Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Self, I’m kind of tired of drinking beer. I wonder what else is out there?” OK, I can’t imagine anyone ever saying this, but perhaps you’re some kind of freak. If so, you may be interested in the free — oh yeah, I dropped the f-bomb — tasting of B. Nektar meads at the Wine Seller, 2721 Plymouth Rd, from 5-8 p.m. And you have to give B. Nektar some credit: They’ve recently released an “IPA mead,” hoping that the awesome of beer would rub off on mead. Call the Wine Seller at 734-668-8086 for more information.

» What’s so special about May 11, specifically at 6 p.m.? That’s the date and time when Michigan began legally selling beer again following the do-gooder disaster of Prohibition. Our state is so cool, it was the first one to ratify the 21st Amendment repealing the do-goodism. But while waiting for the other states to get with it, Michigan resumed beer sales at just this time. Head to Original Gravity, 440 County St., Milan, to toast this joyous occasion 79 years ago with the release of OG’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Ginger Ale. Wear a Michigan brewery shirt and get a dollar off your pints of beer. Cheers!

Saturday, May 12

» Following bureaucratic permission to erect an outdoor beer tent, Ashley’s in Westland, 7525 N. Wayne, now has more tickets for sale to its Cask Ale Festival, running from noon to 6 p.m. A couple dozen firkins of beers from Michigan, New York, Utah, Ohio, Austria, Scotland, and, um, Michigan will be tapped at one time. What’s the big deal about that? If you haven’t had naturally carbonated beer served fresh from vessels containing active yeast, why, I question your beer cred, sir. Your chance to make good is $30 and includes a program and tasting notes, a commemorative pin, and 12 drink tokens, with more available to purchase separately if 12 just isn’t enough. Visit for all the details.

Sunday, May 13

» Sunday mornings just got a lot more fun with the debut of Arbor Brewing’s Boozy Brunch, beginning at 10 a.m. and going until 2 p.m. For $16, you get coffee or tea, a pint of beer, an entrée, a side, and dessert. Just $2 more lets you add a mimosa or bloody Mary, too. There’s also a $12 Teetotaler’s Brunch for lame-os as well as a $5 kids’ menu. Now you know where to go after church!

» Oh yeah, it’s Mother’s Day. Go buy your ma a pint!

Monday, May 14

» Come one, come all to the Grizzly Peak Den, 120 W. Washington, and witness the official judging of the 2012 GP Mug Club Brew-Off, where homebrewers battle for supremacy over the taste buds of head brewer Duncan Williams and his team of trained beer drinkers. The fun takes place from 4-7 p.m., and you needn’t have a beer in competition; just come by to have a beer and observe. May the best beer win!

» Arbor Brewing kicks off American Craft Beer Week with a Belgian bender: All 750ml bottles of their Belgian ales are half off all day (limit 5 per person), and glasses of the stuff are just $5 from 4-7 p.m. Over at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, it’s happy hour all day long.

» Up in Howell, should you be inclined toward a road trip, it’s Style Night at the Shark Club once again with Michigan beer guru Rex Halfpenny, who will be discussing goats. I mean bocks. Beginning at 7 p.m., Rex will guide you through a tasting of six different bock beers from Germany, Belgium, and, yes, Michigan. Tickets are just $20 in advance and include beer samples, light snacks, and heavy knowledge. Call 517-540-0300 or email

Tuesday, May 15

» There’s this brewery in Grand Rapids that gets a lot of attention. People go nuts for its beers, rating some of them among the best in the world. They stand in line just to get a taste for the rarer varieties. Now, I’m not going to tell you the name of the brewery, but I’ll give you a hint: It starts with an “F” and ends with an “ounders.” And it’s taking over the taps of Ashley’s, 338 S. State, beginning at 6 p.m. with some of those rarer beers with names like KBS, Curmudgeon’s Better Half, Nemesis, Double Trouble, Backwoods Bastard, and Cerise. There’s more, but I don’t want to give it away, you know.

» Like beer? Like burgers? Get both two of them together (as my own sainted mother might say) at Frenchie’s, 56 E. Cross, Ypsilanti. Five courses including appetizer, three gourmet mini-burgers, and dessert, all paired with delicious craft beers. Tickets are $25 or $40 for couples and include live music and beer geek commentary on each course. Call Jessica at 734-483-5230 to reserve or get tickets online here.

» American Craft Beer Week continues at Arbor with Sampler Day: Buy any sampler and get a keepsake logo tasting glass to take home. At the Corner Brewery, it’s industry night, broadly defined, with brewery staff and homebrew, Mug Club, and Michigan Brewers Guild members receiving happy hour prices, 15% off merchandise, and $1 off pizzas all day. Plus, test your skill at games like Cornhole, Euchre, and Farkle. What’s Farkle? If you go, find out and tell me!

Wednesday, May 16

» It’s Firkin Day at Arbor, with a cask of something special (word is a double IPA) tapped at 4 p.m., just in time for happy hour. Corner hosts Great Lakes Trivia from 7-9 p.m. and release a small-batch Rat Pad beer, session IPA hopped with Simcoe and Amarillo, at 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 17

» Now it’s Arbor’s turn at Industry Day: Brewery staff, homebrewers, Mug Clubbers, and Michigan Brewers Guild members receive 15% discounts all day long. The Corner brewery hosts Suds, Snacks and Stories, a special 7-9 p.m. storytime with brewery owners Matt and Rene Greff. There will be an opportunity to sign up for Ypsi PRIDE, an annual volunteer effort to beautify Ypsilanti. Expect a special beer release, with $1 from the sale of each mystery beer going toward supporting Ypsi PRIDE.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Calling all homebrewers! Beginning May 12, the 6th Annual Brews Crews Homebrew Competition is accepting entries for its June 9 event at the Corner Brewery. The Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, co-sponsors of the event, are also still looking for help judging and beer-stewarding. Go to for all the details.

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