Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Every Two Weeks in Beer: Keep Warm with Flavorful Brews

The first big beer release of 2014.

Back during the dark days of limited choices of mostly crappy tasting beer, bars and breweries often made a point of advertising how “cold” the brews they sold were. Then beer starting tasting good as the craft revolution took off, and people discovered that serving beer with ice crystals in it was pretty much just a way to mask lousy flavor. Today, during this latest winter cold snap, don’t be afraid to warm up with beers served at higher temperatures. It’s the only way to experience all those porters and stouts, barleywines, and other big, warming seasonal brews out there.

Thursday, January 9

» Sample from more than two dozen porters and brown ales at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, from 7-9 p.m. The latest in their monthly tasting series includes an appetizer buffet, tasting notes, and chances to win beer glassware, apparel, and other prizes. Tickets are $30; call 734-213-1393 or buy at the door, if available.

» Arbor Brewing is also in the spotlight at Jet’s Pizza Sportsroom, 506 N. Main, Chelsea, where some of the pub’s 41 taps will be given over to select flavors from the Ann Arbor brewery from 7-10 p.m. Tap list TBD as of this writing.

Friday, January 10

» Move over, wine! Beer pairs with cheese just as well, if not better, and to prove it, Bell’s will be at the Wine and Beer Bar at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, from 5-7 p.m. pouring brews and tasting cheeses. On tap will be Java Stout, Wheat Love Wheatwine, Amber Ale, Two Hearted Ale, Smitten Golden Rye Ale, and, yes, Hopslam Ale (about which more below). They’re designed to pair with cheeses selected by Tonya Hoffman, the only National Certified Cheese Professional in the state of Michigan. Nom.

Sunday, January 12

» Flex your creative muscles at the Hosplam Poetry Slam at the Tap Room, 201 W. Michigan, Ypsilanti, beginning at 5 p.m. Bell’s will be hosting the event in honor of the release of their popular Hopslam Ale, a double IPA brewed with honey. Submit your poems to by noon, and come out to perform them for a live audience of beer drinkers. Prizes will be awarded to the top three poems as chosen by a panel of judges, which includes yours truly. Bring it!

Monday, January 13

» Can’t get enough Hopslam? Then head to the Old Town Tavern, 122 W. Liberty, at 6 p.m. when they’ll be tapping a keg of the “bitter tongue bruiser of an ale,” along with other Bell’s flavors like Sweet Potato Stout, Wheat Love Wheatwine, and others. The inimitable Ron Yeo will be representin’ for Rave Associates, the distributor of Bell’s beers, and you don’t wanna miss a chance to hang with him.

Tuesday, January 14

» Due to the recent horrific weather, Brewer’s Night at Grizzly Peak, 122 W. Washington, was re-scheduled to tonight from 6-9 p.m. in the Old German. Enjoy sampler specials, brewery tours, and a cask of SaueRed Ale, an experimental sour brew aged for a year and akin in style to a Flemish red. Also, not to be missed, is the debut of The Cellarmen, the “musical” duo consisting of head brewer Duncan Williams and his nefarious minion Mike Bardallis, who will publically perform for the first time what is sure to be a No. 1 smash hit, “The Brewery Worker’s Song.”

Wednesday, January 15

» Karl’s Cabin, 6005 Gotfredson, Plymouth, is pulling out the stops for its Hopslam release party, taking place from 6-11 p.m. and featuring live music from The Flutter and Wow. $5 cover; reservations recommended. Call 734-455-8450.

Tuesday, January 21

» Details are scant as of this writing, but Ashley's, 338 S. State, is planning a Dogfish Head tap event to take place beginning at 6 p.m. Tap list TBD.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Ann Arbor Restaurant Week runs from January 12-17. Among the many participating downtown establishments are Arbor Brewing, Blue Tractor, Grizzly Peak, and Jolly Pumpkin. See for special menus and pricing.
  • Did you know about Thirsty Thursdays at Fraser’s Pub, 2045 Packard? Every Thursday from 3 until close, enjoy $1 off glasses of all Michigan craft beers, of which Fraser’s has ample choices (including, as of this writing, Hopslam). You’re welcome.
  • For something new and different, check out Red Rock Downtown Barbecue, 207 W. Michigan, Ypsilanti, on Monday evenings throughout January when they whip out Randall the Enamel Animal, an organoleptic hop transducer module, AKA a two-chamber beer infuser. Red Rock’s crack team of beeries plans to load up the Randall with everything from hops to chocolate and run a select draft brew through it for an awesome taste sensation. Follow Red Rock on Facebook for the latest on Randall’s adventures.

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