|Image source: Teh Innernets.|
It’s December 26, also known as Boxing Day, so put on your gloves and get ready to step into the ring! Just kidding. The traditional British post-Christmas holiday has nothing to do with pugilism. Or even boxes, really. But packaged beer usually comes in a box of some type, so there’s that. And plenty of it will be sold as we say goodbye to 2013 and welcome in the New Year. Below are some of your best bets for beer-related fun as we transition into 2014, boxes and all.
Thursday, December 26
» Feel like road tripping up to Howell? You will when you hear about the lineup of Dogfish Head beers going on tap at the Shark Club, 1140 S. Michigan. Beginning at noon, enjoy drafts of the following beers from everyone’s favorite offbeat brewery: 120 Minute IPA, Bitches Brew, Black & Blue Belgian-Style Golden Ale, Hellhound On My Ale, Noble Rot, Old School Barleywine, Palo Santo Marron Brown Ale, Positive Contact, Red & White Witbier, Rhizing Bines Imperial IPA, Ta Henket, and Theobroma.
» Celebrate the terrific twos at the second anniversary party for Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon. Beginning at 2 p.m. (noon for Mug Club members), check out plenty of awesome beers inside the Hat as well as the heated tent outside. Wear an ugly sweater and get a free raffle ticket to win a lifetime Mug Club membership, Witch’s Hat apparel, anniversary glassware, bottled beer, and more. Special releases include After Xmas Xmas Ale (2012 and 2013 vintages), Royal Rumble Strong Ale, and a raft of bourbon barrel aged brews, including Batch 200 Chipotle Ale, Tuscan Coffee Stout, Night Fury Imperial Coffee Stout, Fear of the Dark Barleywine, and Black Doedish Double IPA. More details here.
Friday, December 27
» The annual Mittenfest music festival kicks off at Woodruff's, 36 E. Cross, Ypsilanti, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. A total of 40 bands will play over the course of five nights, through December 31, with proceeds going to benefit 826Michigan. Bell's is also a sponsor of the event, so look for seven Bell's flavors on tap throughout the festival. Tickets are $10 each night; see the full band lineup and schedule here.
Tuesday, December 31
» On the last day of the old year, why not try a new beer? At 6 p.m., Ashley’s, 338 S. State, is releasing the last of its exclusive 30th anniversary ales, a series that began all the way back in February with a special brown ale from Bell’s. The final installment is Ashley’s Winter Warmer, a 7.3% ABV elixir made with oatmeal and Red Hots (the little cinnamon candies, not hot dogs) from Greenbush Brewing.
» Also beginning at 6 p.m. is the All That Jazz Dinner at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, featuring live music from the Heather Black Trio and a four-course prix fixe beer-paired menu. For more info and to make reservations, call 734-213-1393. Stick around until 10 for the Brew Year’s Eve Dance Party with DJ JClark and special small-batch beers released every hour on the half-hour, from 9:30 to 12:30. No cover.
» Step back in time at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, with a 1920s-inspired New Year’s Eve party beginning at 8 p.m. Get dolled up in your best dapper or flapper garb and hit Corner’s dimly lit speakeasy. Live jazz, blues, and swing from Rootstand (with special guest Cecil “P’nut” Daniels) and specialty brews on tap will get you doing the Charleston, Jitterbug, or whatever dance most makes your 20s roar. No cover.
» The Chelsea Alehouse, 420 N. Main, Chelsea, is ringing in the New Year with accordions, fiddles, and washboards at a bayou-themed bash beginning at 8 p.m. Cajun and zydeco band Creole du Nord is providing the toe-tapping traditional tunes while on tap is an array of cool party favors, yummy food, great beer, door prizes, a photo booth, and more. Tickets are $30 and must be purchased in person at the brewery (limit 4). Price includes appetizers, desserts, two drinks, and a midnight toast. Additional drinks can be purchased at a discount.
Wednesday, January 1
» Fraser’s Pub, 2045 Packard, is opening at 8:30 a.m. for breakfast and drinks for anyone who wants to start pre-gaming early for the NHL Winter Classic at an Ann Arbor classic.
» Arbor Brewing opens at 10 a.m. for brunch until 1 p.m., where the fun moves into the Game Room for viewing of all the hockey action. Tailgate specials will be on tap for the duration.
» For the first time ever, Ashley’s also will be open on New Year’s Day, if you’re looking for a closer place to pre-game (or watch, if you don’t have tickets). If you are going to the game, look for another first: Beer being sold in Michigan Stadium! Bell’s Two Hearted and Winter White ales will be on tap at three stations around the concourse.
» Postgame, the Bell's team will be at Bagger Dave's, 859 W. Eisenhower, from 4 p.m. on warming up with more Two Hearted and Winter White, plus Amber Ale, Rye Stout, Hopsoulution Double IPA, and Wheat Love Wheatwine on tap.
Tuesday, January 7
» Release party time at the Corner Brewery from 6-7 p.m.. Head to Ypsi for some Jackhammer Old Ale, light snacks, and a talk with one of the people who brewed your beer. Free for Mug Club members; $10 for everyone else.
» Ashley’s is sending off its 30th anniversary year with a bang: 30 Greenbush beers will be tapped beginning at 6 p.m. It’s almost like Baskin Robbins, only with beer and minus one flavor. See the full tap list here.
» And don't forget Brewer's Night at Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington, from 6-9 p.m. Head brewer Duncan Williams and/or his minions will be on hand to crack open a special cask of post-holiday cheer, chat about the glamorous brewing life over discounted beer samplers, and provide you with a personal tour of the
Thursday, January 9
» Turn those winter blues into browns at Arbor’s brown ale and porter tasting from 7-9 p.m. Try samples of more than two dozen of the finest specimens of these malty, traditional styles, along with an appetizer buffet and the chance to win some cool beer booty. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 if purchased on tasting day. Call 734-213-1393 or buy at the pub.
» Jet’s Pizza Sportsroom, 506 N. Main, Chelsea, is giving over some of its 41 taps to select flavors from Arbor Brewing, from 7-10 p.m. Again, as of this writing, the flavors are not known, but there’s sure to be plenty of good options to pair with your pizza.
Notes on the Napkin
- You may know that Rene and Matt Greff, owners of Arbor Brewing, opened a version of their brewpub in Bangalore, India, earlier this year. But maybe you don’t know either how that whole thing came about nor how the business is doing (and what Rene and Matt have planned next). Jon Zemke at Concentrate has the whole story.
- The Corner Brewery is getting a new name! Henceforth, it shall be known as the Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery. Apparently lots of people Not From Around Here were getting confused, so this should make it clear where all that great Arbor Brewing beer in distribution actually comes from.
- And best news of all: Jolly Pumpkin is finally moving ahead with a tap room at the brewery in Dexter. The new “null” (stands for “Northern United Liquid Libations”) Café & Taphouse will feature beers from Jolly Pumpkin plus all the other beverage brands from parent company Northern United, including North Peak beers, Bonafide wines, and Civilized spirits. If you’re interested in helping fund the buildout in exchange for some cool swag, find all you need to know at nulltaphouse.com.