|On tap now at Ashley's: The Klucking Kat Belgian-style Ale from Witch's Hat Brewing Co., just named 2012 Best Small Business of the Year.|
Spring is in the air, and the signs of it are now impossible to deny. Not just the obvious signs like sunlight and temperatures rising above freezing, but also the ongoing college basketball frenzy, the arrival of Easter, and Ann Arbor's most foolish residents taking to the streets. Riding shotgun to all this (no pun intended — you should always sip) is great beer, and if you're reading this, you want to know when and where to get some. Your correspondent is happy to oblige, as always. (You're welcome.)
Thursday, March 28
» If you make just one trip this week, make it up to Howell, where the Shark Club, 1140 S. Michigan, is tapping a dirty dozen of Dogfish Head brews. OK, they are likely not dirty but perfectly clean beers, but they’re also not often found on tap ’round these parts. Look for Burton Baton Imperial IPA, Namaste Witbier, My Antonia Imperial Pilsner, Immort Ale English Strong, Palo Santo Marron Brown Ale, Tweason'ale Gluten-Free, 90 Minute IPA, Ta Henket Ale, Midas Touch Ancient Ale, 60 Minute IPA, Black & Blue Belgian-Style Golden Ale, and 120 Minute IPA. Yowza. Yes, you’ll want to bring a DD.
Friday, March 29
» Like Michigan men’s basketball? Like March Madness? Like cheap beer (that doesn’t suck)? If you answered yes to all three of those nosy inquiries, then you will want to hustle on down to the Wolverine State Brewing taproom, 2019 W. Stadium, to catch the Michigan Wolverines taking on the Kansas Jayhawks in some Sweet Sixteen action. (That sounded dirty and possibly illegal, but I assure you it is neither.) From tip-off at 7:37 p.m. to the end of the game, all Wolverine Premium and Wolverine Amber lagers are $1 per 15oz pour. You read that right. So go cheer on the maize and blue with some amazing brew. (Whoa, I should trademark that or something. Except probably someone else has written that before.)
» In Ypsilanti, Red Rock Downtown Barbecue is going all out for March Madness, too. For any game day — not just the Michigan game — head over to 207 W. Michigan for $5 burnt ends, 50 cent wings, and $3.50 on draft beers (and they have some really good ones). Man, I’m getting hungry and thirsty just typing this.
Sunday, March 31
» Happy Easter!
Monday, April 1
» At 6 p.m., Ashley’s, 338 S. State, is quietly dropping their latest 30th anniversary celebratory beer: Rye Kwon Do, a version of Dark Horse’s ever-popular Scotty Karate Scotch Ale. But don’t worry, there will be a proper party, Dark Horse style, later in April. Stay tuned for details.
» The Michigan Beer Scene will be broadcasting live from the beer garden (weather permitting) of the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, beginning at 8 p.m. On tap: a roundtable of professional brewers including Matt Greff (Arbor), Brad Sancho (Original Gravity), Bryan Wiggs (Dark Horse), Oliver Roberts (Wolverine), Stacey Block (Corner), Joe Walters (Liberty Street), and BeerTodd Parker (Copper Canyon). Following that, around 9, will be a panel of highly decorated homebrewers including Chris Frey (Ann Arbor Brewers Guild), Phil Sullivan (Kuhnhenn Guild of Brewers), Fred Bonjour (CRAFT), and more. That not enough incentive to show up? Beers are on happy hour for the duration and $2 tacos are available all night. Come thirsty and hungry!
Tuesday, April 2
» Get ready for another Brewer’s Night at Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington. From 6-9 p.m., it’s another jolly old time as head brewer Duncan Williams and his minions conduct brewery tours and bless you with samplers and a special cask brew called Fantome d’Automne, a wood-aged version of last fall’s Biere d’Automne (you know, the one brewed with candy corn). See you there.
Wednesday, April 3
» Rat Fest Redux continues at Corner beginning at 6 p.m. as beers from the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, Yeasters division, go on tap for a second time. Enjoy Belgian Dark Strong Ale, Rye Saison, Belgian Ginger Wit, and Pea Biryani Red Ale, and if there’s any left at 9, you can get them in growlers to take home with you. Read more about these beers here.
» Also at 6 p.m., Witch’s Hat Brewing takes over Ashley’s! OK, maybe not takes over, exactly, but you’ll be able to check out a half-dozen draft WH beers at once, whether or not you’ve yet made the trek to 22235 Pontiac Trail in South Lyon. On tap: Train Hopper IPA, Big Doedish Double IPA, Rumble Under the Red Light Amber Lager, Royal Rumble Double Red Ale, Night Fury Molasses Imperial Stout, and The Kipper Scotch Ale. Though unconfirmed at this writing, owner/brewer Ryan Cottongim will likely be there to answer questions and generally be a cool dude.
Thursday, April 4
» Over in Saline, drop in to Dan’s Downtown Tavern, 103 E. Michigan, for a spring celebration featuring Arbor Brewing beers including on tap: Bollywood Blonde Ale, Ypsi Gypsi Pale Ale, Bliss Hefeweizen, Buzzsaw IPA, Strawberry Blonde Ale, and Ryeclops Rye Ale (pouring from a firkin!). Check it out beginning at 7 p.m.
Notes on the Napkin
- Congratulations to Witch’s Hat Brewing for being selected as one of the dozen companies (out of 13,000) to receive a 2012 Best Small Business Award from the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) of Grand Valley State University. According to MI-SBTDC, Witch’s Hat and the other companies were chosen due to their success in creating jobs, increasing sales, and improving their business strategy. Not stated was success at creating great beer. Congratulations to owners Ryan and Erin Cottongim!
- If the Ashley’s event and the award winning finally move you to visit Witch’s Hat’s taproom in South Lyon, look for their new gluten-free IPA this week, along with a spring bock.
- Sayeth the Brewers Association: Michigan ranked No. 5 among states in number of new breweries opening in 2012, with 19. Also, the beer biz contributed $2 billion to the state economy last year, according to one study. So anyone who left Michigan for dead following the decline of the auto industry: Neener neener! We’re good at other things, too.
- Now on tap for your consideration at Blue Tractor, 207 E. Washington: Two Mad Cows Java Stout, an imperial milk stout brewed with coffee and vanilla. Get some!
- At the Chelsea Alehouse, 420 N. Main, Chelsea, look for Hollier 8 Double Brown Ale, named in honor of a car model once manufactured in Chelsea. (See ad here.)
- Grizzly Peak will soon tap into this year’s edition of Fool Brew, a Belgian-style wit brewed with tea, coriander, and pink peppercorn to go with the foolish festivities surrounding the Fool Moon and FestiFools parades, coming up April 5 and 7, respectively. Word is, as last year, Blue Tractor, and Jolly Pumpkin are contributing their own versions again as well. More details to come.