Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Week in Beer: Cool Advice for Hot Days

A hoppy, sour, refreshing Luciernaga Belgian-style Pale Ale at Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery.

Hot enough for you? (Bet you’ve never heard that one.) You’re expecting me to say it’s time to cool down with some cold craft beer, and you’re right. It’s definitely my recommendation. But given that highs in the 90s are expected as far as the eye can see, I also recommend doing what every seasoned beer drinker knows to do: alternate pints of beer and glasses of water. Keeping hydrated is always important, especially if it means you’re able to enjoy more great seasonal summer brews. Here’s what’s going on as we head into July and the height of vacation season.

Friday, June 29

» Get a little taste of the bayou at Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, with an evening of crawfish snacking and live rootsy, down-homey, Americana-y music from Driftwood and Dragon Wagon. The most fun you’ll have north of Lake Pontchartrain begins at 7pm. Cover is $3; crawfish-eatin’ donation is $7.

Saturday, June 30

» Jon “Beer Geek” Cole of Howell’s Shark Club is rolling into town with his brewery-touring entourage and descending upon Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, beginning at 2 p.m. Join the gang for a brewery tour and chat with owner Matt Greff about the company’s new solar-powered brewing operations, India expansion, and more. As an added enticement, Arbor’s offering happy hour prices and 15% off retail merch, including to-go beer. Email for more details (including if you want to carpool from Howell) and to RSVP.

» A venerable Ann Arbor summer tradition of beer, food, and music returns with the first public German Park picnic of 2012, taking place 4-11 p.m. at the grounds of 5549 Pontiac Trail. Admission is a mere $5 (12 and under are free; no one admitted after 9 p.m.), and be sure to bring cash to pay for your buckets of beer and German food: Credit cards aren’t accepted and there’s no ATM, either. Visit for more information or ask an old townie to tell you all about it.

Tuesday, July 3

» The first Tuesday of the month can mean just one thing; well, one thing besides that it’s Tuesday: Brewer’s Night at the Grizzly Peak Den, 120 W. Washington! Join head brewer Duncan Williams and other cool beer-making and drinking folks for discounted samplers, brewery tours, and drafts pulled from a cask of Red Dragon Ale (a blend of Draconus Strong Belgian Ale and a sour red ale). The fun goes from 6-9 p.m.

» The third and final beer tasting at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s Top of the Park focuses on – what else? – wheat and summer ales. Head to the Grove area for samples of Saugatuck Brewing’s Delilah DeWylde Berry Wheat, Paulaner Hefeweizen, Leinenkugel’s Honey Wheat, Newcastle Summer Ale, Sierra Nevada Kellerweiss, and Anchor Brewing Summer Ale. Tastings run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and are $15 for six 7 oz. samples.

» OK, there’s one other thing the first Tuesday of the month is about: Opera on Tap at Sidetrack Bar & Grill (technically Frenchie’s next door), 56 E. Cross, Ypsilanti. Enjoy a free live performance from bona fide opera types while you sip on some great craft beers and, perhaps, enjoy one of Sidetrack’s nationally heralded burgers. Call 734-483-5230 to reserve (recommended – it always fills up) and visit for more information. Performance begins at 8:30 p.m., but come earlier for dinner!

Wednesday, July 4

» Celebrate traditional American freedoms like drone surveillance, indefinite detention without charge or trial, and presidential assassination powers with something other than sparklers this year, thanks to a recent change in state law allowing for fireworks that fly and blow up and stuff. (Not that the old law ever really prevented people from using such fireworks, but you know.) Or just kick back with some great craft beer from one of Michigan’s approximately 110 breweries and laugh at the grim absurdity that is America 2012. Happy Independence Day!

Notes on the Napkin
  • July is officially Michigan Craft Beer Monthso say the state politicians, and you know if even they’re on the bandwagon Michigan beer must be something special. For those not paying attention, the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival is taking place at Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park, July 27-28, plus this year marks the return of something that never really quite got off the ground: Arbor-Ypsi Beer Week, with events planned throughout area bars and breweries in the week leading up to the festival. Follow the “A2 Beer Week” Facebook page for details as they become available.
  • A reminder to fans of Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon, that the tap room is open Mondays beginning in July, meaning you can now get your fix seven days a week. Woohoo!
  • Going fast is Grizzly Peak’s summer seasonal Poolside Lager, a nice light brew for the hot days that are upon us. When that runs out, look for Draconus Strong Belgian Ale and Wood-Aged Porter, not the most summery of beers but still delicious. And if you miss out on Poolside, don’t worry: It will make another appearance later this summer.

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