Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Week in Beer: Say Prost! to Oktoberfest, Part 2

Did someone say Oktoberfest? Let's polka! Photo: Flickr user mike3k.
Welcome to an extra special edition of the Week in Beer, where your correspondent grabs a stein full of lager and peers a little further ahead into his all-seeing crystal ball to discern the various Oktoberfest and fall beer celebrations taking place in the area. Just as everyone is suddenly Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is German around these parts come late September. All hail multiculturalism! Now get ready for your More-Than-A-Week in Beer, chock full of autumnal awesomeness.

Friday, September 21

» The Wine and Beer Bar at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, hosts Tri-City Brewing, all the way from Bay City, for its bi-weekly(-ish) Michigan beer happy hour tasting from 5-7 p.m. Brewery owner Kevin Peil is making the trip to present eight Tri-City beers, including Oktoberfest, Hell’s Half Mile German Helles, Charity Island IPA, Fortunato Belgian Style Ale, Giant Slayer Russian Imperial Stout, Black IPA, Dragon Slayer Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, and Regimental Reserve Barrel Aged Scotch Ale. Be there or be quadrat!

Saturday, September 22

» What is by my count the fifth release of La Roja Grand Reserve takes place when Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery’s doors open at 10 a.m. Get over to 311 S. Main to pick yours up; they’re $13 per 330ml bottle, limit 4 per person. La Roja is Jolly Pumpkin’s take on the Flanders red style; the Grand Reserve is a blend of older batches of La Roja, lending the beer added flavor depth and complexity. The brewery says this particular release “is a blend of 454 and 469, brewed 10-22-09 and 11-19-09 respectively. This beer aged in oak for at least 29 months and aged an additional 5 months in the bottle.”

» Ein prosit! Metzger’s annual Oktoberfest party is coming up September 22 from 6 p.m. to midnight under the big tent outside of 305 N. Zeeb with Ann Arbor’s most authentic German food, live music, prizes, and, of course, plenty of great German beer. Why not celebrate Oktoberfest with actual Germans? Call 734-668-8987 or visit

» The Second Annual Beer & Wine Taste Fest is happening at the Whitmore Lake Rod and Gun Club, 11150 Lemen Rd., from 7-10 p.m. Sample from more than 30 beers and 20 wines as well as snack on some tasty treats and groove to live music from Loose Dogs Bite. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door and include 10 tastings (food is purchased separately). Additional tastings may be purchased for $1 apiece or 6 for $5. Call Nancy at 734-368-1629 or Patti at 734-678-5679 for more info or to buy. Flyer is here.

Sunday, September 23

» Although a little late to be summer this year, the Dog Daze return to the Beer Garden at Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, from 2-5 p.m. for the annual Greythounds of Eastern Michigan fundraiser. The special Dog Daze Ale will be on tap, and $1 from every mug or growler fill goes to support GEM. The kitchen also have a Dog Daze Pizza of the Day, and homemade doggie treats will be also be available for purchase. Unfortunately, your pooch can’t come with you, but several “foster greyhounds” will be there. For more info, see here.

Wednesday, September 26

» From 5:30-8:30 p.m., Bell’s and Karl’s Cabin, 6005 Gotfredson Rd., Plymouth, are teaming up for an Octoberfest blast. KC chefs are preparing a buffet of German treats including wienerschnitzel, spaetzle, potato pancakes, braised cabbage, and plenty of wursts. The beer? How about Bell's Octoberfest, Best Brown, Pale Ale, Amber, Oberon, and Two Hearted Ale? The fun takes place on the patio, weather permitting. Call 734-455-8450 for more info and to reserve or visit

» Last week, Ashley's, 338 S. State, rolled out the German Oktoberfest barrels; this week it’s America’s turn as Michigan’s Premier Multi-tap busts into the New World’s versions of this traditional Bavarian brew. Beginning at 6 p.m., fill your glass with the likes of Arbor Brewing Hoptoberfest, Atwater Bloktoberfest, Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest, Bell's Octoberfest, Frankenmuth Oktoberfest, and Mount Pleasant Brewing’s Oktoberfest. At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, in your correspondent’s humble opinion, nobody does it quite like the German brewers, but if you’re not hung up on strict style guidelines, the American versions are good beers in their own right. Even better, put Ashley’s eight million taps to good use and compare them side by side with the German ones.

Friday, September 28

» Downtown Ann Arbor is again ground zero for Oktoberfest festivities as the street is blocked off from 5 p.m. to midnight in front of Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, and Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington, to accommodate beer tents, live bands, dancing, and savory bratwurst and other treats, including vegetarian options. Arbor is serving up Hoptoberfest and other faves while Grizzly busts out their own Oktoberfest Lager as well as Draconus Belgian Strong Ale, Berliner Weisse, and Pale Ale. A portion of the proceeds from the Grizzly side goes to benefit the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. And it happens all over again on Saturday, same bat time, same bat channel.

» Not to be outdone, the 8th Annual Oktoberfest tent at the Saline Harvest of the Arts Festival also kicks off at 5 p.m. in downtown Saline. A full lineup of German and domestic beer, food, live music, and dancing are in the offing. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and include kids' activities and an art fair. See the schedule of events here.

Saturday, September 29

» Roger Monk’s (formerly the Lord Fox), 5400 Plymouth Rd., is hosting the Fall Harvest Beer & Wine Tasting from 1-4 p.m. featuring brews from Bell’s, Founders, Arcadia, New Holland, Flying Dog, and Stone Brewing. Tickets are $40 and include 12 tastings, appetizers, and entry into a prize drawing. A silent auction and 50/50 raffle add to the fun, which benefits March of Dimes. Call Elise at 734-239-3639 for more information or visit

» Oktoberfest comes to Milan as Original Gravity, 440 County St., celebrates beginning at 2 p.m. with a spread of smoked sausage, German potato salad, sauerkraut, and pretzels as well as Old Skool Altbier, Shinebox Dunkelweizen, and small batches of Vienna Ale, Smoked Dunkelweizen, Munich Helles, and Sticke Alt. Polka music and dancing commence at 5 p.m., courtesy of the Sounds of Germany Band. Zicke zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi!

Notes on the Napkin
  • Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon, greets the fall with their own Oktoberfest lager now on tap, along with the just-released Spiced Pumpkin Porter.

  • A bit off the beaten Washtenaw path, Ashley’s in Westland, 7525 Wayne Rd., is putting up the big tent from 5 p.m. to midnight and throwing their own Oktoberfest bash, Ashley’s style, which means lots of draft beer. The formidable lineup includes Ayinger Oktoberfest, Spaten Oktoberfest, Hofbrau Oktoberfest, Great Lakes Oktoberfest, Heavy Seas Pumpkin Ale, Liberty Street Punkin Pie, Southern Tier Pumking Ale, Woodchuck Fall Cider, and another seven or so fall faves. Monsieur Guillaume and his Zydeco Hepcats and the Blackjack Band will be rocking the tent as well. No cover. Can you say road trip?

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