Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Week in Beer: Say 'I Love You' with Some Good Brew

Beer and you: a match made in heaven. Photo by Flick user Eric Goodwin.

On this Valentine's Day, everyone knows that the way to a beer lover's heart is through his (or her) gut, so this special lovers' edition of the Week in Beer is focused especially on how to appeal to that gut, which didn't get there by magic, you know. It required years of TLC, and you can give it some more with another busy week full of excellent brews.

Thursday, February 14

» On tap today at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, is their annual Valentine’s Day beer: Sledgehammer Chocolate Porter, pouring while it lasts. Then, from 7-9 p.m., get ready for the Hopheads Beer Tasting, with more than two dozen hoppy and/or bitter brews, along with an appetizer buffet and the usual chance to win sweet beer gear. Tickets are $30 the day of; call 734-213-1393 or buy at the door, if available.

» Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth, is also tapping a special brew for Cupid: Red Velvet Red Ale, a chocolatey version of the ever-popular Red Glare Amber Ale reminiscent in taste and color of the cake of the same name. The pub opens at 3 p.m.

» Up in South Lyon, Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, is closed to the public for its special Valentine’s Day beer dinner. Unfortunately, if you don’t have tickets, you’re out of luck: The event is sold out. But consider checking the Hat out tomorrow at 2 p.m., when they are again open and releasing their brand-spanking-new Demon Cleaner Belgian-Style Tripel Ale.

Friday, February 15

» Firkin Friday returns to Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery, 207 E. Washington, with a 4 p.m. tapping of Serrano Mango Porter. Also, last week’s column stated Firkin Friday happened every week, but I’ve since been informed it is every other week until further notice. Cheers!

» Today’s grocery store beer action is taking place at Ann Arbor’s other Whole Foods Market, on 3135 Washtenaw, from 4-7 p.m. Erin and Ryan Cottongim of Witch’s Hat will be paying a visit while three of their beers are served. Which flavors are not known as of this writing, but since they’re all good, and Erin and Ryan are really cool people, I recommend going in any case. And don’t forget to pick up some organic, fair trade, free range spinach while you’re there.

Sunday, February 17

» The 7th Annual Depot Town Chili Challenge kicks off at 3 p.m. at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti. Pick up your $5 “chili kit” at Corner or outside of Sidetrack Bar & Grill, 56 E. Cross, and go on a tasting spree of chili from, apart from Corner and Sidetrack, Aubree’s, Harvest Kitchen, and the Ypsilanti Food Co-op. Then head back to the Corner, cast your vote, and relax with a beer or two until the winner’s announced at 6 p.m. All proceeds from the Challenge benefit SOS Community Services.

Monday, February 18

» It may be the start of another work week, but there’s good news: It’s Beer Enthusiast Monday at Red Rock Downtown BBQ, 207 W. Michigan, Ypsilanti, featuring beers from a selected craft brewery. In this case, the focus is on Original Gravity Brewing, with six great beers from the Milan brewery on tap: Primordial Porter, 2-Wheeler Witbier, County Street Amber Ale, Southpaw IPA, 440 Pepper Smoker Ale, and a small-batch Mocha Java Stout brewed especially for this event! My recommendation: Pair that 440 Pepper Smoker Ale with a sampling of Red Rock’s delicious smoked meat. Brilliant!

Tuesday, February 19

» At 6:30 p.m., Grange Kitchen & Bar, 118 W. Liberty, is hosting its latest beer dinner, this time featuring brews from Bell’s: Red Nose ESB, Expedition Stout, Oarsman Ale, Smitten Golden Rye Ale, and Hopslam Ale. Like the Witch’s Hat Valentine’s Day dinner, however, it is sold out and I’m just mentioning it to make you feel bad you don’t have tickets. Unless you do, in which case, bon appetit!

Wednesday, February 20

» Don’t be afraid of the dark, because if you are, you’re going to miss out on some awesome beer, ya big sissy. Bell’s continues showing the love for Ashley’s with a Black Beer Under the Black Lights event at the downstairs bar, beginning at 6:30 p.m. On tap will be some primo Bell’s brews: Best Brown Ale, Black Note Stout, Cherry Stout (2011 vintage), Expedition Stout, Hell Hath No Fury Ale, Java Stout, Oatmeal Stout, Porter, and Sweet Potato Stout. Sounds like the perfect chance to explore your dark side.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Tickets are on sale for a Feb. 27 release party and beer tasting with Greenbush Brewing at The Last Word, 301 W. Huron. The Produce Station is sponsoring the event, which celebrates Greenbush beers’ availability in bottles. Greenbush’s Jennifer Piotter will talk about the upstart brewery then lead a tasting of five GB beers: Anger Black India Pale Ale, Closure American Pale Ale, Distorter Porter, Dunegras IPA, and Brother Benjamin Imperial IPA. At the end of the event, guests will be able to place orders for all of the beer releases, to be picked up at The Produce Station during the following week. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in person at The Produce Station, 1629 S. State, or online here.
  • Much like the groundhog, Bill emerged briefly from his hibernation, glanced around, and announced hours of operation for Bill’s Beer Garden’s 2013 season: March 15-17 (Fri-Sun), 5-11 p.m.; April 5-7 (Fri-Sun), 5-11 p.m.; May-June, every weekend (Thu-Sun), 7-11 p.m.; July 4 through September, Tue-Sun, 5-11 p.m.; October through early December, every weekend (Thu-Sun), 5-11 p.m. Hurry up, spring!
  • Coming soon to our area: beers from Hideout Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids. They’ve signed on with Ypsilanti-based O&W to make Washtenaw their only market outside of GR. We can look forward to Gangster IPA, Hazelnut Stout, Tommy Gun Red Ale, 9am Coffee IPA, and Aviator Ale making the rounds in the near future.
  • Back on tap at Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, Revilo India Red Lager is the beer for lovers! At least lovers of 7.3% ABV brews with a hefty 85 IBUs of hop goodness (Saaz, Hallertau, Zythos). On Valentine’s Day, take advantage of Wolverine’s 2-for-1 deal on medium pours of Revilo (plus black Wolverine “horizon” t-shirts). Also look for World Expo of Beer gold medalist Hopstadt Altbier, an easy-drinking 4.2% ABV brew in the style of Dusseldorf alts.
  • It’s not too early to start thinking about St. Patrick’s Day. Tickets are on sale for Lake Street Tavern’s annual bus to Detroit’s Corktown St. Patrick’s Parade (which, oddly, is on March 10, a week before the Big Day). Cost is $50 before Feb. 20 and $55 thereafter and includes the bus ride, beer, a box lunch, a Lake Street commemorative t-shirt, and some St. Patrick’s beads to whip around. Call 248-446-8898.
  • Now through March, Witch’s Hat says bring your pooch in for “Yappy Hour” and get $1 off a pint of your choice. Certain conditions apply, of course, like the dog has to be leashed, you can’t give it beer, and the dog can’t be a jerk.

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