|Sample beers from Whole Foods Cranbrook's spiffy new draft system. Photo: Whole Foods Cranbrook Facebook page|
Raise your hand if you're ready for spring. Well, too bad, because it seems Mother Nature isn't quite done with winter yet. But beer seasons wait for no man (or mother), so raise your pint glasses to the new beers of spring, snow or not, because they're here! And as usual, I'm prepared to tell you where to get them. Bundle up and read on for your latest informational Week in Beer.
Thursday, March 21
» The 51st Ann Arbor Film Festival is in full swing, and Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, is showing its support with American Magic Wheat, a refreshing 6% ABV ale brewed with orange peel, tamarind, and ginger originally in celebration of the AAFF’s 50th anniversary. Check it out on tap this week throughout the duration of the festival.
» Head over to Fraser’s Pub, 2045 Packard, at 5 p.m. for a beer battle between Arbor Brewing and… Arbor Brewing? Yes, it’s the Kill the Keg challenge, pitting a sixth-barrel of Buzzsaw IPA against one of Mr. Delicious Double IPA. Which will blow first? Which one do you plan to drink more of? Prizes and fun and beer abound.
Friday, March 22
» It’s been a long week, and you deserve a trip to the grocery store. Stop by Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, from 5-7 p.m. for a happy hour featuring the beers of Greenbush Brewing, pouring fresh and beautiful from the Wine and Beer Bar’s brand-spanking new and reconfigured draft system. Which beers? Guess you’d better go and find out.
Sunday, March 24
Never mind the snow, the calendar says it’s spring, and so spring it must be. You know how else I know? Bell’s Oberon Ale is back, officially tomorrow, but there are a number of midnight tappings for those who want a taste before going to bed and waking up on Oberon Christmas.
» Beginning at 9 p.m., Ashley’s, 338 S. State, is hosting an Oberon countdown party. Bell’s rep Monica Mooney will be there to hand out prizes, including one for whomever orders the last Bell’s Winter White Ale of the season. Dress in your “Oberon best” (however you interpret that) for a chance to be crowned King or Queen Oberon for 2013, and hoist a glass of Michigan’s most popular beer as the ball drops (yes, there is an actual ball drop) to midnight.
» Elsewhere in Ann Arbor, Conor O’Neill’s, 318 S. Main, and TGI Friday’s, 3015 Lohr, also plan to unleash the Oberon at midnight.
» Not to be outdone, Sidetrack Bar & Grill, 56 E. Cross, Ypsilanti, will have $3 pints and cool giveaways all day leading up to the midnight tapping of Oberon.
» In Plymouth, Hermann’s Olde Town Grille, 195 W. Liberty, is your Oberon headquarters with Two Hearted Ale on tap until midnight, when Oberon is tapped.
» Up in Whitmore Lake, get your Oberon at Bobber Down Bar & Grille, 8475 Main, which will have pint specials and a midnight tapping.
» Oberon not your thing? Head over to Arbor Brewing for the last after-party of the Ann Arbor Film Festival from 9 p.m. to midnight. No cover, and all proceeds from beer sales are donated to the festival. And heck, if you’re still up this late anyway, you may as well go grab some Oberon on your way home.
Monday, March 25
» Or you could go to bed early, skip work, and join the Downtown Ann Arbor Oberon Pub Crawl, sponsored by local Bell's distributor Rave Associates. Join Bell's and Rave reps beginning at 11:30 a.m. as they kick off the fun at R.U.B. BBQ, 640 Packard, then move to Conor O’Neill’s at 1 p.m.; Old Town Tavern, 122 W. Liberty (2 p.m.); The Arena, 203 E. Washington (3 p.m.); Buffalo Wild Wings, 205 S. State (4 p.m.); Sava's Cafe, 216 S. State (4:45 p.m.); Red Hawk Bar & Grill, 316 S. State (5:30 p.m.); and, finally, Ashley's at 6:15 p.m. If you're visually minded, you can check the map here.
» In Ypsilanti, be at 207 W. Michigan at 6 p.m. for Red Rock Downtown Barbecue's Monday tap takeover, which features meads from Ferndale's B. Nektar Meadery. Look for Fang Banger Blackberry and Clove Mead, Zombie Killer Cherry Cyser, Evil Genius IPA Mead, and Necro Mango Mango and Black Pepper Mead.
Tuesday, March 26
» Another sign of spring: Arbor Brewing's release of Bavarian Bliss Hefeweizen, that fruity, spicy, refreshing beer made just for outdoor drinking in Ann Arbor, at least when it isn't freezing. The party runs from 6-8 p.m. in the Tap Room and includes all the Bliss you can handle, light munchies, and discounts on take-out beer. Cost is free for Mug Club members and $10 for the 99%.
Wednesday, March 27
» Extended Rat Fest at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, continues as the leftovers from the Craft Beer in Michigan brew group go on tap beginning at 6 p.m., including Brew Like a Homebrewer Belgian Strong Ale, Rat Fest Recipe, Cinnamon IPA, and Kentucky Julep Cream Ale. Learn more about the beers here, and if there’s any left at 9, you can take them home in growlers.
» Third time's the charm? One more spring beer makes its appearance at 3 p.m. today at Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth: Clementine Lemon Thyme, a light wheat ale brewed with orange and lemon zest and, yes, a dash of thyme. Good beer, but there's bad news: This year's batch is very limited due to production demands for Liberty's core brews, which should return to store shelves in bottles at some point later in the year.
Notes on the Napkin