Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Week in Beer: The Belgians Are Coming

Brouwerij De Musketiers owner/brewers Stefaan Soetemans and Kristof Deroo of Ghent, Belgium, are in town for the Ashley's Belgian Beer Festival in Westland and to collaborate on a beer with Corner Brewery. Photo courtesy Ashley's and Brouwerij de Musketiers.

Belgium comes to our "Corner" of the world with a visit from two award-winning Old World brewers collaborating on a beer with Ypsilanti's Corner Brewery. But that's only the beginning of another amazing Week in Beer here in Washtenaw County, Michigan, crossroads of the world!

Thursday, February 7

» Tonight’s the night Ashley's in Westland, 7525 Wayne Rd., transforms into “Little Belgium” as the third annual Belgian Beer Festival kicks off. It’s a wee drive out of the Ann Arbor bubble, but the reward is 160 different Belgian beers on tap and in bottles, along with some Belgian-inspired entrees to pair with them. This year’s featured brewery is Brouwerij De Musketiers of Ghent, makers of the award-winning Troubadour series of beers, and owner/brewers Stefaan Soetemans and Kristof De Roo are “in country” for a 5-7 p.m. meet-and-greet happy hour. Tickets are $10 and include four beer samples and appetizers. To see the full schedule of events and list of beers, check out the official Belgian Beer Festival website and like on Facebook.

Friday, February 8

» It’s another Free Beer Friday at The Produce Station, 1629 S. State, from 5-6:30 p.m. Stop in for samples of two great Michigan beers. I believe somebody around here stated that New Holland Night Tripper Imperial Stout and Dark Horse Thirsty Trout Porter were pouring last week, but it appears they are on for this week. I will blame a nameless intern for the error and apologize on his behalf. (Note to self: Find intern.) For the latest and greatest, follow The Produce Station on Facebook.

Saturday, February 9

» From 1-7 p.m., Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, hosts its second Ann Arbor Indie Fair, themed “Gifts of Love in All Shapes and Forms.” Admission is free; beer, alas, is not. Visit the Ann Arbor Indie Fair on Facebook for a list of vendors and other info, and read the Beer Wench’s latest update on her blog.

Sunday, February 10

» Head back to Wolverine from 2-5 p.m. for the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre’s fourth annual Chili Cook-Off, featuring 14 chili cooks, beer tastings, a live auction, and a 50/50 raffle. Tickets are $20 for 10 chili and 5 beer samples or $10 for just the chili. Children 10 and under are $5, and 4 and under are free. Proceeds go to benefit A2CT. You can buy in advance by calling 734-971-2228 or just pay at the door. For more information about this event, read my fellow community scribe (and chili judge) Mary Bilyeu’s previous article on it.

» What goes better with dinner, wine… or beer? You have a chance to weigh in at the Beer vs. Wine Dinner at Red Rock Downtown BBQ, 207 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are only $30 and include six – six! – courses paired with specialty wines and Bell’s beers. You can see the food and beer menu here; as for the wine, I’m guessing they’ll have… red and white? Call Red Rock at 734-340-2381 for more info.

Monday, February 11

» Speaking of Red Rock, do you know about their Beer Enthusiast Mondays? Each Monday beers from a different craft brewery are featured on tap, and this week said brewery is Lagunitas Brewing of Petaluma, California. Unfortunately no info on which beers is available as of this writing, but you can always give a call or just show up and be pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, February 12

» It’s Fat Tattoosday at Ashley’s, 338 S. State, with Bell’s representative Monica Mooney passing out Bell’s temporary tattoos as you enjoy Consecrator Doppelbock on tap along with paczki (while supplies last). At 6:30 p.m., a firkin of Hopslam Ale will be added to the fun.

» Celebrate Mardi Gras at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, from 7-11 p.m. with a menu of Cajun-inspired food and the release of Hurricane Beer, based on the famous New Orleans cocktail and brewed with almonds, cherries, pineapple, grapefruit juice, and juniper berries. At 8 p.m., local band Hullabaloo provides live ska, afrobeat, jazz, and funk music. No cover.

» For something a little different, head to Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, for movie night with WCBN, at 8:30 p.m. Tonight the feature is one of the best movies ever: Barbarella, a 1968 acid trip starring Jane Fonda. If you’ve never seen it, it really is best viewed with a good beer buzz. The movie is free, but Arbor will insist you pay for the beer. And beware the biting dolls!

Thursday, February 14

» Two more Arbor Brewing notes. First, look for the release of their Valentine’s Day beer, Sledgehammer Chocolate Porter, on tap all day. Then, from 7-9 p.m., get ready for the Hopheads Beer Tasting, with more than two dozen IPAs, double IPAs, super duper IPAs, imperial deluxe x-treme IPAs, and other assorted hop bombs, along with an appetizer buffet and the usual chance to win groovy beer gear. Tickets are $25 in advance ($30 the day of); call 734-213-1393 or buy at the pub.

» At Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon, nothing says “I love you” like a Valentine’s Day dinner featuring sumptuous fare paired with their Belgian Tripel, Big Doedish Double IPA, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Night Fury Molasses Imperial Stout. Two seatings at 6 and 8:30 p.m.; tickets, if available, are $55. Get the full menu and more details here.

Notes on the Napkin
  • This is just a note because that darn nameless intern wasn’t able to learn specifics, but every Friday at 4 p.m. is Firkin Friday at Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery, 207 E. Washington, when head brewer Tim Schmidt busts out a cask of something special. Previous weeks have included Bacon Maple Porter and Chocolate Raspberry Porter, which I guess is bad news if you’re not a fan of porter, though I expect it will not always be a porter. (Note to self 2: Have intern look into that.)

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