Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Week in Beer: Whoo! Winter Beer Festival!

Winter Beer Festival? Winter Beer Festival. Winter Beer Festival Winter Beer Festival Winter Beer Festival. Whoo! OK, sorry about that. It's just that there's this little old beer festival going on this weekend. Unfortunately, it's not here; it's in Grand Rapids. But that's all right. Grand Rapids has gotten hip to the whole craft beer thing, and in a pretty big way. However, if you are not one of the lucky few thousand beer lovers who actually managed to get tickets for the sold-out fest, there's still plenty of cool things going on around town these days. Have a look at your latest Week in Beer.

Saturday, February 23

» Whoo! Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival! Watch this space for my usual play-by-play Twitter feed, live from Grand Rapids. It’s the next best thing to being there! (But if you’re also there and tweeting, the official hashtag is #miwbf13.)

» For those sticking around town, consider checking out the craft beer pairing event at Ann Arbor Cooks, 5060 Jackson. Instructor Kevin Heslip leads a tasting of various beers paired with breads, meats, cheeses, and pickled condiments. Cost is $75; for more information and to register, go here.

Tuesday, February 26

» Ashley's, 338 S. State, has a treat for the hopheads among us: an IPA tap takeover! Beginning at 6 p.m., they’ll bust out Greenbush Brother Benjamin, Southern Tier Unearthly, Arbor Buzzsaw, Witch’s Hat Big Doedish, Stone Ruination, Arcadia Hop Rocket, Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree, Founders Devil Dancer, Bell’s Hopslam and Hopsoulution, New Holland Mad Hatter, and Mount Pleasant Freight Train. Get your bitter buds ready.

Wednesday, February 27

» Remember last month’s Rat Fest, which showcased all those great beers produced by local homebrewing clubs? Well, there are some leftovers. Actually, there’s a lot of leftovers. And the Corner Brewery needs your help in drinking them up. So beginning with today’s regular Rat Pad release at 6 p.m. and continuing each Wednesday into April, look for what’s left of Rat Fest’s three dozen brews, organized by club. Today, brews from the Motor City Mashers will be featured. Check Facebook for the full schedule, and if you can’t remember or don’t know which clubs brewed which beers, go here.

» Greenbush Brewing out of tiny Sawyer in West Michigan is launching their beers in bottles, and The Produce Station is helping kick things off with a 7:30 p.m. Greenbush tasting party at The Last Word, 301 W. Huron. Brewery rep Jennifer Piotter will be on hand to talk about the brewery and lead a tasting of five GB beers including 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 the beers, to be picked up at The Produce Station, 1629 S. State, the following week. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in person at The Produce Station or online here.

Thursday, February 28

» Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, appreciates its Mug Club members and isn’t afraid to show it! All day, WH Mug Clubbers can enjoy some Barrel Aged Train Hopper IPA, 20% off all merchandise, happy hour prices, and half off growler fills. Raffle tickets to win a lifetime Mug Club membership will also be available for $10 each. (Plus a clarification from last week’s column: Yappy Hour for beer drinkers bringing their pooches in is on Mondays only through March.) Get the full scoop on Witch’s Hat happenings here.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Indiana beer blogger Eric Strader recently visited Ann Arbor and a few of our beery establishments. His conclusion? “Ann Arbor is a top notch beer destination.” Hey, that’s what I’ve been saying! Read his full account here.
  • Guess what’s back on tap at Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium? The beer that made me fall in love with Wolverine in the first place: Faustian Stout Baltic Porter, which I was fortunate enough to first try during that one Summer Beer Festival that involved hunkering down in tents while a monsoon struck. Learn more about it and also the interesting Basement Fire Smoked Lager at the Beer Wench’s blog.
  • For those heading to Grand Rapids for the Winter Beer Festival, here’s the official list of brews. And the Michigan Brewers Guild’s annual “Great Beer State” mag is also out and online here.

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