Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Week in Beer: Cheers to the Dwindling Days of Summer Fun

Shaggy, Matt, Dan, and Travis: The hardworking guys of Wolverine State Brewing, working hard.
The end of summer approaches and, considering the brutally hot 2012 edition of the season, this idea is welcome to some. Soon there will be students and football and cool days and chilly nights, but for now we still have a few more weeks of fun in the sun. Said fun, of course, must include beer, and just take a look at all the wonderful options for having fun, fun, fun until Daddy takes the growler away. (To drink it himself, of course.)

Thursday, August 9

» Back in the days of the Pilgrims, our forefathers drank quite a lot of beer because to drink water was to get sick and die of some horrible disease, thanks to all the teeming nasties swimming about in those pristine rivers and streams. These days, thanks to modern filtration and so forth, water is not only drinkable, it contributes to even tastier beer. And here in the Ann Arbor area, we got a kick-butt watershed, thanks in part to the work of the Huron River Watershed Council, who once again have teamed with local breweries for the annual “Brew for the River,” a series of beer releases to support clean and accessible water. The first release is 5 p.m. at Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, where brewer Oliver Roberts unveils his Honey Creek Beer. See here for the full schedule of special releases and info on how to win free beer and other cool stuff.

» It’s Micro Madness at the monthly beer tasting at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, from 7-9 p.m. What’s that mean? Around 30 tasty microbrews (aka craft beers) from around the country and the world, in no particular style or theme, for your quaffing pleasure. Not to mention a sumptuous appetizer buffet and, of course, a lineup of groovy prizes for lucky winners. Extra special bonus! For $6 pick up a “hodge-podge” six-pack to take home with you (while supplies last). Tickets are $30; call 734-213-1393 or buy at the door, if available.

» Long Island-based Blue Point Brewing is new to Michigan, and both Fraser’s Pub, 2045 Packard, and The Arena, 203 E. Washington, are hosting kickoff events at 5 and 8 p.m. respectively, featuring Toasted Lager, Hoptical Illusion IPA, and RastafaRye Ale on tap. Vote for your favorite at Fraser’s and it will stay on tap after the event.

Saturday, August 11

» Want a little iambic pentameter with your tankard of ale? Then check out the Wolverine tap room, where members of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival troupe will wrap up this year’s fest by performing some “Shakespeare Unplugged” for the assembled audience around 11 p.m. Come earlier (7 p.m.) and groove to the musical stylings of Corn Daddy first. It’s an evening of high culture, I tell ya. Oh, and beer. Which is part of high culture. Anyway, go there.

Wednesday, August 15

» Ashley's, 338 S. State, has been mastering the art of the “tap takeover” lately, and the latest featured brewery is Boulder, Colorado’s Avery Brewing, makers of many fine ales. On the tap list are Avery IPA, 19th Anniversary Black IPA, Mephistopheles Imperial Stout, Samael’s Oak Aged Strong Ale, and DuganA Double IPA. Go ahead, Michigan beer doesn’t get jealous if you have an occasional dalliance with another state’s beer… just as long as you come back home when you’re done.

Thursday, August 16

» And close to home is the Lake Street Tavern, 127 E. Lake St., South Lyon, and Plymouth’s Liberty Street Brewing, which will have a number of drafts featured today, including Starkweather Stout on nitro tap. Although the full list is unknown as of this writing, if Steamy Windows California Common is on, you should try a pint of that for sure.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Ashley’s is a good place to catch the Olympic spirit with a pint of beer from featured brewery Meantime Brewing of London. Enjoy a Chocolate Porter, Scotch Ale, Naval College Porter, Pale Ale, Pilsner, or London Stout while you cheer on Ann Arbor native Betsey Armstrong and the women's water polo team this week as they go for gold.
  • Arbor Brewing is running a design contest for its Oktoberfest t-shirts. Do you have mad skillz? Then send your ideas to by September 5. If your design is chosen, you will not only have the satisfaction of watching a streetful of drunks wearing it on their chests come later September, you’ll also get a free Mug Club membership to Arbor and sister establishment Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti.
  • Also this fall at Arbor, look for Mr. Delicious X-treme Imperial Double IPA (OK, I added the X-treme Imperial part), which if nothing else definitely has the best label art I’ve seen this year.
  • Bill's Beer Garden, the ongoing project outside of Downtown Home & Garden at the corner of Ashley and Liberty, is continuing to experience delays at the hands of useless state bureaucrats. Bill's next scheduled meeting with the liquor commissars is August 21, after which maybe we can enjoy about two or three weeks of what's left of summer in this OUTDOOR DRINKING SPACE. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission: an idea whose time has come and long since gone.
  • Finally, if you’re up for a road trip, Ashley’s in Westland, 7525 Wayne Rd., is hosting a Rock and Brew Beer Garden featuring local musicians and former Frank Zappa guitarist Ray White as well as 20 different taps of Short’s beers, all out on the lawn in front of the pub. No cover; see list of beers here.

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