|Celebrate the 12 Bell's of Christmas Dec. 12 at Jet's Pizza in Chelsea.|
Feeling festive yet? Despite warm temperatures and lack of snow, it's nevertheless beginning to look a lot like... well, something involving heavy, malty beers, spiced ales, and other assorted beverages designed to perfectly complement your holiday season, or at least keep you from going totally insane. The least you can do to honor the brewers whose hard work makes all this deliciousness possible is to hoist a mug or two to Old Man Winter, Father Christmas, the Hanukkah Fairy, Kwanzaa Klaus, or whatever it is that most tickles your fancy this time of year. Let the Week in Beer, as always, be your guide.
Thursday, December 6
» If you happen to be a member of SLAB (that’s South Lyon Area Brewers), your patience is finally going to be rewarded as two of the homebrew club’s beers, brewed outside on Nov. 3 during National Learn to Homebrew Day, go on tap today at Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon. When the doors open at 3 p.m., look for the finished Colder Than a Witch’s… Brew Porter, brewed with cranberries and cocoa nibs, and Parking Lot Porter, brewed with ginger, molasses, and honey. These beers are reserved today for SLAB members only, but are available to the general public beginning Friday. SLAB!
» Another beer release with personality: Mr. Delicious Double IPA goes on tap at the Corner Brewery. Packing a whopping 10.5% ABV and 90 IBUs, the beer, inspired by Matt “Mr. Delicious” Greff his own self, is described as “a stiff round-house punch of citrusy hops, followed up POW! with a quick kick of bready malts and warming alcohol, and finishing CHOMP! with a powerful and lingering bite of complex layered hops.” Holy bitterness, Batman!
Saturday, December 8
» Christmas shopping: No matter how you slice it, it sucks. Why not turn your need to battle crowds and buy crap into a positive by supporting local artists and drinking beer? That’s the idea behind the annual DIYpsi Art Fair, taking place at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 12-16 p.m. tomorrow. Find unique hand-crafted gifts for everyone on your list, drink great beer, and also sample some tasty foods. Find out more at diypsiartfair.weebly.com.
Tuesday, December 11
» Every December, Jolly Pumpkin digs deep in the cellar to unearth some rare vintage beers that people will pay a premium for, sells those beers, and gives the resulting thousands of dollars to charity. Once again a golden opportunity for those who like beer and helping people is here in the form of the Rare Beer Charity Auction, taking place beginning at 7 p.m. at Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery, 311 S. Main. The action is upstairs where auctioneer Wayne Reif will go through the stash at lightning speed, so while you’re sipping that Noel de Calabaza Holiday Ale, pay close attention so you don’t miss out on bringing home some beer treasures for Christmas.
Wednesday, December 12
» All hail the Emperor! Emperor Norton Imperial Stout returns to the taps just in time to celebrate the fourth anniversary of Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth. Savor the 9.3% ABV ale described as “chocolate cotton candy” as you toast brewer Joe Walters and company’s four years of success and great beer.
» Witch’s Hat transforms into a gallery for the evening during “Night with the Artists,” where pub patrons can meet the artists whose work graces the walls of their favorite watering hole and maybe leave with a unique gift, not to mention a belly full of good beer.
» Ashley's, 338 S. State, gets into the spirit with a Christmas and holiday beer tapping beginning at 6 p.m. Unfortunately as of this writing, the list is unavailable, but one can hope it includes such awesomeness as Great Lakes Christmas Ale.
» Jet’s Pizza, 506 N. Main, Chelsea, is proud to present the 12 Bell’s of Christmas and Ugly Sweater Party, beginning at 6 p.m. On tap will be Bell's Best Brown Ale, Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury Ale, Midwestern Pale Ale, Sparkling Ale, Winter White Ale, Hopsoulution Double IPA, This One Goes to 11 Ale, and more. Put on your most hideous knit attire and get ready to ring some Bell’s in honor of the season.
Thursday, December 13
» Be of good cheers at the holiday beer tasting at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, 7-9 p.m. ’Tis the season for old ales, doppelbocks, Christmas beers, spiced ales, meads, and more. Try more than two dozen of these, feast on an appetizer buffet, win some great stocking stuffer beer swag, and generally be festive. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 the day of. Call 734-213-1393 or stop by the pub to get yours.
Notes on the Napkin
- Witch’s Hat is introducing a Mug Club Member of the Month program, where one lucky Mug Clubber can get his or her first beer for $1 during every visit in the designated month. All you have to do to qualify is be subscribed to the Witch’s Hat email list and have the highest “email open count.” So make sure you click on all those WH communications in your inbox, and you could be rewarded with public recognition and cheap (but good) beer!
- More Witch’s Hat news: On the week of December 10, Sir Edward’s Brown Ale hits the taps; it’s a doubled up and dry-hopped recipe of the excellent Edward’s Portly Brown Ale, weighing in at 9% ABV. Also available is a new t-shirt featuring artwork for the Portly Brown, sales of which help support the Humane Society of Huron Valley. View the design here.
- As everyone knows by now, tickets for the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival sold out in just 13 hours, to the dismay of much of the state’s beer-drinkerdom. (Mea culpa: Yours truly also incorrectly stated physical tickets would be available at local breweries, but that was not the case this year.) One option if you weren’t quick enough on the draw is to hook up with the Motor City Brew Tours bus, which is picking up peeps at Witch’s Hat and taking them to the Festival and back. As of this writing, they’re offering bus and Festival ticket packages for the price of $80 (plus online buying fee). Note: You can’t buy just the Festival tickets.
- The MBG has also put out a statement laying out how they intend to balance the demand of longtime members and supporters against the growing reality of opportunistic resellers in the future.
- Bill’s Beer Garden, 218 S. Ashley, is officially closed until St. Patrick’s Day, and Bill will soon be off to New Mexico for some off-season R&R. AnnArbor.com’s Lizzy Alfs caught up with him to ask how the first half-season went. Read all about it here.
- Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery, 207 E. Washington, is now taking reservations for its Dec. 18 Holiday Brewer’s Dinner. Chef Neal Diebold has created an exciting holiday-themed menu and Head Brewer Tim Schimidt has paired each item with one of his award-winning beers. Tickets are $50 per person and seating is limited. For reservations call 734-222-4095. See the menu here.
- E.T. "Beer Wench" Crowe is now taking reservations for January for the new Gulo Room addition to the Wolverine State Brewing taproom, 2019 W. Stadium. Just email email@example.com and she'll hook you up. She's also taking your coats for the winter coat drive; drop off your old jackets and such at the bin inside the door of the taproom and it will go to a good home. And lest you think the Beer Wench only takes, she also gives. For a mere $25, you can pick up a six-pack of Wolverine Winter Lager and get a ticket for a four-pack of Massacre Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Dark Lager. Both would look good under the Christmas tree.