Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Week in Beer: Ann Arbor for BeerCity USA 2013

L to R: Larry Bell toasts 30 years of Ashley's and Bell's with help from Jeff More, Laura Bell, and Roy More. Photo: Erik Smith.

"I've always thought Ann Arbor had a great beer scene."

So one-time Ann Arbor resident Larry Bell (that guy who founded a little brewery in West Michigan) told me in a recent interview for my forthcoming book. "It's been our No. 1 market; we sold more beer in Ann Arbor and Detroit than we were selling in Kalamazoo," he said of the early days.

Why do I bring this up? Because Michigan has three cities in the 2013 BeerCity USA poll — last year's co-winner Grand Rapids plus Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor — and some people seem to think Tree Town is not a worthy contender compared to its western brethren. Maricat Eggenberger helps dispel that notion in a Pure Michigan blog post today (with an assist from yours truly), plus if time and space allowed, I would add another couple dozen reasons why Ann Arbor is a great place for beer, and has been for a long time!

So vote Ann Arbor for BeerCity USA 2013, and then check out just why you made the right choice in your latest Week in Beer.

Thursday, May 9

» You want to be at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, from 7-9 p.m. for the monthly beer tasting, this time focused on malty bocks, doppelbocks, and Trappist ales. More than two dozen beers, tasting notes, an appetizer buffet, and prize drawings to cap off the night — all for $30. Call 734-213-1393 or buy at the door, if available.

Friday, May 10

» Free Beer Friday is back at The Produce Station, 1629 S. State, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., and this time it's West Coast represent with free samples of beers from California's Lagunitas Brewing. Pouring will be Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale and Lagunitas IPA. Follow The Produce Station on Facebook to keep up to date with all this free beer.

Saturday, May 11

» From 9-11 a.m., homebrewers registered in the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild Brews Crews competition have one last chance to drop off their entries at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, for judging for the June 8 award ceremony at the Corner. Be warned: Depot Town and environs are going to be a madhouse due to the Color Run. For more information on the Brews Crews, see

» Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast members have the chance to tour the brewhouse, beer cellar, and winery — yes, winery — at Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty, Plymouth. But wait, there's more, including a pizza lunch, glass of beer of your choice, a little something from special from the cellar, and the charming company of brewers Jim Satterfield and Joe Walters. Reservations are required; RSVP to Tour begins at 1 p.m.

» Pause a moment to raise a glass at 6 p.m. in honor of "Michigan Victory Day," when in 1933 beer again became legal in our fair state following the national nightmare known as Prohibition.

Sunday, May 12

» Happy Mother’s Day! Take Mom out for a beer.

Monday, May 13

» Beginning today is a little something we like to call American Craft Beer Week, and it runs through May 19. What's that mean for you? Beer. Duh! And also some neat specials at various beer-centric locations around town. Par example:
  • Get in on the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Progressive Craft Beer Tour! Pick up your passport at one of the nine participating bars and breweries, then visit them throughout Craft Beer Week and collect stickers for ordering (discounted) Michigan craft brews. You could win fabulous prizes! See all the details on the official Facebook event page or the Arbor/Corner events page.
  • Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington, is celebrating 18 years of beer by offering 1995 throwback prices: Enjoy any brew on tap throughout Craft Beer Week for $2.95. Deal!
  • At Bar Louie, 401 E. Liberty, buy any Sam Adams draft during happy hour (4-7 p.m.) any day of the week and take home a cool Sam Adams glass.
  • The Creekside Grill and Bar, 5827 Jackson, is also offering keep-your-glass specials all week, only with Sierra Nevada beers and glasses.
  • Red Rock Downtown Barbecue, 207 W. Michigan, Ypsilanti, is putting three different New Belgium beers on tap beginning at 6 p.m. for its Beer Enthusiast Monday: Fat Tire Amber Ale, Heavenly Feijoa Tripel, and Hoppy Bock.

Tuesday, May 14

» Ashley's, 338 S. State, is pouring a number of Arbor beers beginning at 6 p.m., including the Belgian collaboration brews Mundus Novus Rye Chocolate Dubbel and Mundus Vetus Rye Tripel. Also on tap: Phat Abbot Tripel, Ryeclops Imperial Ryle Ale, Strawberry Blonde Ale, and Buzzsaw IPA.

» The Detroit Draft Divas are turning two, and you might think that means they're not legally old enough to drink, but you'd be wrong. These ladies are experienced professionals. Join them at 6 p.m. at Witch's Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon, as they raise a glass at the second annual Diva Anniversary Toast. They'll be hoisting a little something special in those glasses, too: Saison D'Va, brewed at Witch's Hat by the Divas themselves. If you took part in the brewing, you'll want to see how it turned out. If you didn't take part in the brewing, you'll want to see how it turned out. Also look for the beer (and the Divas) to make an appearance at next weekend's World Expo of Beer in Frankenmuth.

» The Wurst Bar, 705 W. Cross, Ypsilanti, joins the Craft Beer Week party with a New Belgium tap takeover featuring the impressive lineup of Fat Tire Amber Ale, La Folie Sour Brown Ale, Rampant Imperial IPA, Rolle Bolle Summer Ale, Shift Pale Lager, and Imperial Coffee Stout. Also, from 7-9 p.m., order a Sierra Nevada draft and take a Sierra glass home with you.

» Basically, this week is a great week to start that Sierra (or Sam Adams) glassware collection you've always wanted. Banfield's Westside, 5510 Jackson, is also doing the Sierra glass thing from 7-9 p.m.

Wednesday, May 15

» Today is the last day to submit entries to the Grizzly Peak Mug Club Brew-Off, taking place May 21 from 4-7 p.m. in the Den. For more details, see here.

Thursday, May 16

» Today's highlight for Craft Beer Week is the Coast to Coast Nationwide Toast. Join Matt Trautmann of Blue Point Brewing from 6-9 p.m. as he leads the proceedings at Red Rock. On tap from the Long Island brewery will be Toasted Lager, Hoptical Illusion IPA, and Summer Ale.

» Ashley's will also be toasting at 6 p.m. and giving away Sierra glasses for those who partake of Torpedo Extra IPA, Ruthless Rye Ale, plus a couple other possibilities (hey, it's Ashley's — they have a few taps).

» Arbor is offering 20% off all retail merchandise and half off all pints all day long for brewery and brewpub workers, homebrewer clubs, and Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast members. They've also got some good Craft Beer Week festivities lined up heading into the weekend; to see what they've planned, go here.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Last week your correspondent stated that the Arbor beer dinner at Lake Street Tavern, 127 E. Lake, South Lyon, is on May 22. It's apparently moved to Tuesday, May 21. Heck, I dunno. What I do know: The menu looks pretty darn tasty and can be found here. And you can call Lake Street at 248-446-8898 for more info and to reserve your place.
  • Concentrate Media is killing it on the beer news front. Check out their recent stories on Arbor Brewing, Wolverine State Brewing, World of Beer, Unity Vibration, and Jolly Pumpkin. See? Killing it.
  • Don't forget to get your tickets to the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival. Sales are online only this year, so if you had the notion you'd snag a couple tickets next time you dropped by your local for a pint or two: NOT. Get them now.

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