April in Paris*, autumn in New York... I'm sure these are both lovely in their own way, but I'll take summer in Ann Arbor. With the vast majority of students gone; the warmer, sunny weather at hand; and a seemingly endless number of fun events and things to do, it's a great time and a great place to be. This being a column about beer, let's take a look at where to get some of the best of this young season.
Friday, June 7
» Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, kicks off its new style-grouped series of events with an IPA happy hour from 5-7 p.m. As of this writing, the particular beers on tap are not known, though the Wine and Beer Bar peeps also assure there will be a few non-IPAs on tap for the less hopheaded among us.
Saturday, June 8
» The 7th annual Brews Crews homebrew competition awards ceremony formally kicks off at 6 p.m. in the beer garden at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti. (Informally, beer judges will be working hard in the hours leading up to the ceremony to judge hundreds more entries.) Find out which brewers in the approximately 400-entry competition will go home with some spiffy new hardware for their efforts. For other reasons why you should go (as if chilling out on a Saturday evening in a beer garden is a tough sell), follow Brews Crews on Facebook.
Tuesday, June 11
» Hatter Days are here again! Ashley's, 338 S. State, is celebrating with a dozen taps of New Holland Brewing, including several from the series commemorating both the brewery's anniversary and their flagship brew. Come by at 6 p.m. to hang out with New Holland rep extraordinaire Jimmy, who will have cool swag to hand out to people wearing their maddest hats. Oh, and you may be interested in the following: Mad Hatter IPA, Imperial Hatter, Rye Hatter, Black Hatter, Oaked Hatter, Farmhouse Hatter, White Hatter, and the newest member of the family: Michigan Hatter, made with Michigan-grown ingredients. Others on tap: The Poet Stout, Full Circle Kolsch, Dragon's Milk Oak Aged Stout, and the pretty incredible Ashley's 30-Year Reserve, aka Dragon's Milk aged with cherries.
» The taps of the Old Town Tavern, 122 W. Liberty, get a little magical beginning at 6 p.m. when they start pouring seven flavors of Magic Hat, including a couple never before tasted in Michigan. Get ready for: Number 9 Not Quite Pale Ale, Elder Betty Elderberry Weiss, Blind Faith IPA, Over the Pils and Far Away Imperial Pilsner, Single Chair Golden Ale, Honey Wheat IPA, and Cucumber Hibiscus Ale.
Wednesday, June 12
» The Hatter Days don't stop; they just go on tour. Head to Fraser's Pub, 2045 Packard, beginning at 5 p.m. when Jimmy and Isaac from New Holland roll in with the latest and greatest in Hatter gear for you Mad Hatters. And, of course, enjoy on tap Black Hatter, Rye Hatter, Oak Aged Hatter, Farmhouse Hatter, White Hatter, Imperial Hatter, Mad Hatter, and Michigan Hatter.
Thursday, June 13
» Dan’s Downtown Tavern, 103 E. Michigan, Saline, is pouring eight drafts from Blue Point Brewing (TBD as of this writing). Meet brewery rep Matt Trautmann and taste how they roll on Long Island.
» Is there anything better than a refreshing brew on a warm summer day? How about two dozen of them? Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, is bringing the fruit beers and lambics to help you get your summer off to a great start during their June beer tasting. From 7-9 p.m., try out everything from blueberry stouts to tart Belgian kriek (cherry) lambics, along with the customary appetizer buffet and prize drawings. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of. Pick up yours at the brewpub or call 734-213-1393.
Notes on the Napkin
- Grizzly Peak now offers 1/6 barrel kegs — in addition to half- and quarter-barrels — for those unlikely times when five gallons of beer is enough. Call 734-741-7325 (Monday through Friday 8 to 4) and ask for a brewer.
- Early Tuesday morning Mug Club Brew-Off winners Andrew Brix and Jamie Kidwell will join head brewer Duncan Williams to make a big batch of their Witbier with Lime. Look for this light summer beer to go on tap later in the month.
- Check out the hoppy brews on tap in June at Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium: Au Sable Rye IPL (India pale lager), Virtuous White IPL, Scavenger IPL, and Insolent Mink IPA. Check out wolverinebeer.com for more info, or better, just head to the taproom and try 'em for yourself!
- Chelsea Alehouse has announced expanded hours for the summer: Tue - Thur, 3-11 p.m.; Fri & Sat, 11:30 a.m. - midnight; Sun, noon - 8 p.m.; closed Mondays. Now they're open for lunch on Friday, you may want to check out the latest menu here.
* Fun trivia of the week: The lyrics of "April in Paris" were written by Yip Harburg, father of Ernie Harburg, former co-owner of Ann Arbor's legendary Del Rio bar. Yip once performed in Ann Arbor at The Earle, also owned by his son at one time. Just one of the fun facts you can learn in the forthcoming future bestseller, Ann Arbor Beer.