Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Week in Beer: Beer? Yes, beer

Silo White Ale and 402 E. Porter at the Chelsea Alehouse.

This is normally where the clever, pithy introduction to this column goes, but due to a protest against the recently passed right-to-work legislation in Michigan, the union employee who usually writes this is unavailable. Aw, man. What to do? Er, ah, hmmm. Beer? Yes, beer. Beer!

Thursday, January 10

» Yummy, malty, dark beers — more than two dozen of them tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, at the Porters and Browns Tasting. Tickets are $30 at the door, if available, and include plenty of delicious beer, an appetizer buffet, and a raffle for glassware, t-shirts, hats, and other beer booty.

» The beer rush is on at Chelsea. Oh, you didn’t know? Start by reading about my visit to the Chelsea Alehouse, which opens again today at 3, here. Then you might want to check out the Liberty Street Brewing tap takeover going on across the parking lot at the Jet’s Pizza Sportsroom, 506 N. Main. I still don’t have a list of drafts, but most likely you’ll be able to try staples like The American IPA, Red Glare Amber Ale, and Steamy Windows California Common Ale, all of which are rad.

Sunday, January 13

» You like Bell’s Hopslam Ale? How about writing poetry? Try your hand (and mouth) at both at the Tap Room, 201W. Michigan, beginning at 6 p.m., when the mic is all yours to express your love for the big, bad, hoppy seasonal brew. First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded for the best three Hopslam odes, as judged by a crack panel of experts (read: me, and maybe someone else). Also on tap: This One Goes to 11 Ale, Best Brown Ale, and Captain Spontaneous Dry-Hopped Pale Ale.

Tuesday, January 15

» The West Coast comes to Ashley's, 338 S. State, when Lagunitas Brewing takes over nine taps with beers from Petaluma, Calif. Prepare your taste buds for: IPA, Pils, New Dogtown Pale Ale, Little Sumpin’ Wild Ale, Hop Stoopid Ale, Maximus IPA, Imperial Stout, Brown Shugga Ale, and Lagunitas Sucks Ale (yes, that’s really the name). The hounds are released at 6 p.m.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Some noteworthy brews on tap this week: Eastbound and Brown Ale returns to Blue Tractor, 207 E. Washington. It’s a nice, easy drinking 5.1% ABV Northern English style brewed with English malts, well balanced with Fuggles hops, and fermented with Jolly Old England ale yeast. Over at Grizzly Peak, the phenomenal barrel aged Le Poisson Rouge, a tart, funky version of pub standby Steelhead Red Ale, is on at the Den. Once it’s gone, there’s another keg that will go on at the Peak bar, but then that’s all there is and there ain’t no more.
  • The 2013 Invitational Brewery Throwdown is on at Ashley’s in Westland, 7525 Wayne Rd. Yes, it’s a bit of a road trip, but given the great breweries coming in to go head-to-head in this bracketed competition, it’s worth a visit. See the full bracket on the Ashley’s blog (New Holland was edged out last night by Saugatuck Brewing).
  • When you think of wacky beers from Northern Michigan, chances are the name Short’s comes to mind. But Traverse City’s Right Brain Brewery has been making some highly creative and unusual beers for years, too, and now that they’ve moved and expanded, they’re ready to unleash their interesting brews on the rest of Michigan. The Produce Station, 1629 S. State, is taking pre-orders for Right Brain’s bottled releases, due out the first week of February. Coming soon: Fat Lad Russian Imperial Stout, Debauchery Wheat Whine, and the infamous Mangalista Pig Porter, brewed with actual parts from actual pigs. Email to reserve some of these and more, and follow the Produce Station on Facebook.
  • Tickets are still available for the Jan. 26 Rat Fest at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, where nine different homebrewing clubs will showcase 36 different – and I mean different – beers created on the brewery’s 10 gallon “Rat Pad” system. A mere $30 (in advance) gets you snacks, tasting notes, a commemorative tasting glass, and access to samples of such creations as Blueberry Pancake Barleywine, Imperial Lemoncello Weizen Ale, Divalicious Biscotti Stout, and plenty more. More details are available on the event’s Facebook page. Call 734-480-2739; chances are good it will sell out in advance.
  • Grange Kitchen & Bar, 118 W. Liberty, is hosting a Feb. 19 dinner featuring Bell’s beers. Four courses of mouth-watering Grange fare paired with brews from Michigan’s largest (and definitionally only) brewery are yours for $50, plus tax and tip. Call 734- 995-2017 or buy online here.
  • The Jan. 26 Baking with Beer class at Zingerman's Bakehouse is sold out, but there are still spots available for the Feb. 27 class, which I'll be attending. I haven’t baked anything since my seventh grade Home Economics class, so this should be interesting. Cost is $100; reserve online here.


  1. Acrostic poem from a union worker:

    B is for bountiful wheat
    E is for enormous hops
    E is for effervescent water
    R is for raging yeast


  2. Hey are all those Lagunitas beers still on tap at Ashleys, or was it one night only? Gotta try me some Little Sumthin Wild Ale.

    1. Generally Ashley's leaves beers from tap takeovers on until they're gone, so chances are there's still at least some Lagunitas brews still pouring.