Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Week in Beer: Of Ales and Art Fairs

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje helps unveil Arbor Brewing's new solar-powered thermal and electrical system.

It’s that time of year when seasoned Ann Arborites strategically plan their out-of-town vacations to escape the chaos and madness of the Ann Arbor Art Fairs week, which, let’s face it, is kind of like our own version of Mardi Gras, but with fewer masks and beads and less tasty food. Fortunately, though, we have New Orleans beat by a mile on the good beer front, and despite the throngs of artsy folks, there’s still plenty to be had during your Week in Art Fair Beer.

Thursday, July 12

» More than two dozen wits, wheats, and lambics await you at the monthly beer tasting at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington. Tickets are $30 and include tasting program and notes, an appetizer buffet, beer samples, and the chance to win some quality beer-related booty. Call 734-213-1393 or buy your ticket at the door, if any are still available.

Friday, July 13

» OK, this time for real, the beers from Bellaire are in the house for Michigan beer happy hour at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower. Stop by the Wine and Beer Bar from 5-7 p.m. to check out seven different beers from Short’s, including Strawberry Short's Cake, Spruce Pilsner, The Curl Imperial Pilsner, Prolonged Enjoyment Session IPA, ControversiALE, Huma Lupa Licious, and The Soft Parade fruit beer. And that’s not all: Sorbet made with The Soft Parade will be on sale for $6.99 a pint.

Sunday, July 15

» Another lazy Halcyon Sundaze takes place from 2-9 p.m. in the beer garden at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti. Come out for a special small-batch Halcyon beer, local artists, and, of course great tunes spun by cool DJs. And mark September 9 on your calendar right now: The last Halcyon of the season is going to be the first annual Halcyon Daze Festival. See or the official Facebook page for more info.

Monday, July 16

» Get ready for the upcoming art fairs with the annual Townie Street Party, hosted by the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair (The Original!) at Ingalls Mall from 5-9:30 p.m. What’s this have to do with beer, you ask? Well, in addition to great music, food, and kids’ activities, there’s beer at the “Townie Pub,” sponsored by Arbor Brewing. You may need a few to prepare yourself for the hordes of art-seekers that will soon fill the streets.

» Ashley's, 338 S. State, is celebrating Michigan Craft Beer Month with a stellar lineup of rare, seasonal, or just plain big beers from around the Mitten, including Kuhnhenn DRIPA (World Beer Cup gold medalist), Founders Old Curmudgeon Old Ale and Devil Dancer Triple IPA, Bell’s Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout, Arcadia Rapunzel Wheat IPA and Imperial Stout, Dark Horse 4 Elf, Mt. Pleasant Wit Dream Witbier, and plenty more. The tapping begins at 6 p.m. with other great Michigan beers (TBD) replacing kegs as they’re emptied.

Wednesday, July 18

» Crowds! Traffic! Blocked off streets! Looking for relief? Ashley’s will again be joining the Art Fair fun with an outdoor beer tent, and this year they’ve turned the dial up to 11 – or 18, as in how many different beers will be available. Ten draft beers include Bell’s Oberon and Two Hearted Ale, Dark Horse Kmita Kolsch, Arbor Strawberry Blonde Ale, Short’s Pontius Road Pilsner and Pandemonium Pale Ale, Liberty Street Starkweather Stout, Odd Side Simcoe Sensation Session IPA, and Midland 3 Mile Marker Hefe Weizen. In bottles: Arcadia Whitsun, Atwater Dirty Blonde and Grand Circus IPA, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Brewery Vivant Zaison, Keweenaw Widow Maker Black Ale and Olde Ore Dock Scottish Ale, Greenbush Dunegras IPA, and Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA. That should help take the sting out of the Art Fair occupation.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Up in Howell, the Shark Club, 1140 S. Michigan, continues its celebration of Michigan Craft Beer Month with $3 drafts from a selected brewery or breweries each day. Today (Thursday) is Brewery Vivant, Original Gravity, and Cheboygan Brewing. Friday and Saturday is Northville Cider Mill, and Sunday is Bell’s.
  • Yesterday Matt and Rene Greff hosted an official ribbon cutting for Arbor Brewing’s “Green Brewery Project,” which converted much of the brewery and restaurant’s thermal and electrical supply into solar-generated resources, making it the first solar-powered brewery in Michigan. Sister establishment the Corner Brewery is undergoing an even more extensive “greening” and will host its ribbon cutting August 29.
  • Sometime during Art Fair, stop by Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington, and try Haystack Cream Ale, winner of May's Mug Club Brew-Off. Homebrewers Jeff and Susan Rankert got together with Grizzly head brewer Duncan Williams to produce a commercial batch, and it will be available in the brewpub. At around 4.5% ABV, it should be a light and refreshing beer, perfect for this time of the year.
  • Finally, there’s a rumor going around that Mike O’Brien, Ypsilanti’s “Beer-guyver,” has successfully made his car able to run on ice cream. Those who know Mike know that this is entirely possible.

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