Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Every Two Weeks in Beer: Giving Thanks for a Bounty of Brew

Mmm, Thanksgiving dinner. Don't forget the beer.

Oh yeah, it’s that time of year. You know, the holiday season. Time to start planning visits and stocking up on victuals and looking for deals on all sorts on inane crap to give to other people in your best effort to say, “Look, I got you a present.” It’s enough to wear even the toughest among us out. Well, as we approach the great American holiday (shut up, Canadians) of Thanksgiving, many opportunities arise to chill out with an appropriate fall beverage. Who wouldn't be grateful?

Thursday, November 14

>> Bill’s Beer Garden, 218 S. Ashley, is open only for another two weekends before closing up shop for the winter after November 23. From 5-10 p.m., Bill and Co. are again capping another successful season with a fundraiser for local nonprofit Alpha House, which provides food, shelter, and other aid to Washtenaw County families in need. One dollar from every beer purchased will be donated in support of Alpha House’s mission.

>> This Thursday, November 14, marks the Third Annual Coast to Coast Toast, the single largest one-day celebration of Belgian beer culture in the United States. Head to Ashley's, 338 S. State, and raise a glass of Saison Dupont to Belgian beer importers Vanberg & Dewulf and to Belgian beer in general and you could score a special Untappd badge and, more importantly, a chance to win a trip for two to Belgium, courtesy of Delta Air Lines and Visit Belgium.

>> The biggest, baddest tasting of the year at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, is the Belgian beer tasting, and it’s going on from 7-9 p.m. Sample more than two dozen Belgian and Belgian-style brews from over the sea and around the country, including Trappist ales, Flemish sours, dubbels and tripels, and all the rest. And don’t forget the customary appetizer buffet and prize drawings. Tickets are $35, if still available. Call 734-213-1393 or buy at the pub.

Friday, November 15

>> Get happy at Michigan beer happy hour at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, from 5-7 p.m. The featured brewery is New Holland Brewing, and everyone’s favorite beer rep Jimmy will be in the house along with five New Holland brews on tap: Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout, El Mole Ocho, Four Witches Black Saison, Full Circle Kolsch, and Sundog Amber Ale. Bottoms up!

>> It may be news to some, but Wolverine State Brewing’s E.T. “Liz” Crowe, aka the Beer Wench, is also the bestselling author of numerous books, including her just-released novel, Good Faith, which concludes her beloved Stewart Realty series. Come to the Wolverine taproom, 2019 W. Stadium, for a book release party beginning at 7 p.m. in the Gulo Room and featuring a session of Stewart Realty trivia (with appropriate prizes), snacks from local vendors, and, duh, beer. Oh, and most importantly, shake hands with a famous author.

Saturday, November 16

>> Miss the fun at Wolverine? You can still catch up with everyone’s favorite Beer Wench and author at Barnes & Noble at 4 p.m. for a book signing event, followed by a beer-and-snack afterparty from 7 to 9 at the Whole Foods Market at 3135 Washtenaw.

Monday, November 18

>> Beer enthusiasts know where to go on Monday evenings, and that’s to Beer Enthusiast Monday at Red Rock Downtown Barbecue, 207 W. Michigan. This time it’s all about beers from Dark House Brewing of historic Marshall. Which beers, well, your correspondent can’t say. As often happens in the dicey world of beer journalism, all I can tell you is to go get some awesome barbecue for dinner and see what’s pouring. You win no matter what.

Tuesday, November 19

>> It’s often noted that the American Revolution was plotted in colonial taverns. Today, if you like to mix politics with your beer drinking, there’s the Issues & Ales series, sponsored by Michigan Public Radio and designed to get people engaged in conversation on hot topics, but in an informal atmosphere. From 6:30 to 8 p.m., join the conversation at the Wolverine taproom, where lagers replace ales, but we still got issues. The subject is ObamaCare, which to your correspondent seems beyond discussing rationally, but host Jack Lessenberry will no doubt keep things on an even keel.

Wednesday, November 20

>> Ashley’s, 338 S. State, invites you to a pre-Thanksgiving evening of gratitude with the team from Bell’s Brewery, who are bringing 20 drafts of beers to be thankful for. On tap: Amber Ale, Best Brown Ale, Black Note Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout, Christmas Ale, Expedition Stout, Hopsoulution Imperial IPA, Java Stout, Kalamazoo IPA, Oatmeal Stout, Oracle Double IPA, Quinannan Falls Special Lager, Roundhouse Imperial Red Ale, Smoked Lager, Spiced Stout, Special Double Cream Stout, Third Coast Old Ale, Two Hearted Ale, Wheat Love Wheatwine, and Winter Wheat Ale. You know what to do.

Thursday, November 21

>> What’s better than a beer dinner? How about a bourbon barrel aged beer dinner? Carson’s American Bistro, 2000 Commonwealth Blvd., offers such a tastegasm from 6-8 p.m. Featured beers include Arcadia Jaw-Jacker Pumpkin Spiced Ale and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from the Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. Tickets are $40, all inclusive, for the three-course feast; call 888-456-3463, and see the menu here.

Friday, November 22

>> Oh yes, it’s only been a week but it’s time again: Michigan beer tasting at Whole Foods Cranbrook. Bring your taste buds prepared for a range of beers from Northern Michigan’s own Short’s Brewing. Beer list is unavailable as of this writing, but, you know, Short’s.

Wednesday, November 27

>> It’s a Thanksgiving tradition around these parts. Head to Arbor Brewing at 6 p.m. for the release party for Terminator Doppelbock. It’s a good way to kick off your holiday, at least if you’re not the one who has to be up at 6 a.m. to put the turkey in the oven. Samples and snacks are yours for the asking if you’re a Mug Club member; otherwise, you gotta pony up $10. But isn’t it worth it?

Notes on the Napkin
  • Congratulations to Wolverine State Brewing, whose popular and “fiercely hopped” Gulo Gulo India Pale Lager received national attention as a “Top 25 Beer of the Year” in the last issue of DRAFT magazine, which crowned it as “the apex of the burgeoning style (IPL) and a must-try for any IPA devotees.” Cheers also go to Unity Vibration of Ypsilanti, which also received love for Bourbon Peach American Wild Ale, “a whimsical reimagination of an American wild ale (that) blurs the line between kombucha tea and Belgian lambics.”
  • The Chelsea Alehouse, 420 N. Main, Chelsea, is having a holiday sale on all over-sized (larger than 20 oz) hand-made ceramic mugs in stock as follows: one mug, 15% off; two mugs, 20% off; three mugs, 30% off; four mugs, 35% off; and five or more, 40% off.
  • ’Tis the season… to get Noel de Calabaza on tap (or in bottles) at Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery, 311 S. Main! Oh, and they are also having a holiday mug sale: buy a Mug Club membership and get a unique Furnace Design Studio hand-blown glass mug in the bargain. And if you entered the recent “describe Jolly Pumpkin in 15 words or less” contest and are waiting to see if you won a longboard, lifetime Mug Club membership, or one of the other cool prizes: patience, grasshopper. They are sifting through the entries and will declare winners soon.

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