Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Every Two Weeks in Beer: Beer Is for Lovers

Arbor Brewing's Kuma Ofori-Mensa at the February 1 Winter Warriors event on Washington St.

“You are so warm, my wintertime love, to me,” crooned the renowned philosopher Jim Morrison. He probably wasn’t talking about beer, but I am, since that’s what I do. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and even if you’re fortunate enough to have another love in your life besides beer, there’s nothing to say you can’t have multiple loves. And you can enjoy both beer and your main squeeze with these upcoming events around town.You don't even have to be Mormon (hey-o!).

Thursday, February 6

» A taste of Belgium comes to Ann Arbor when Christine Celis, of the Celis brewing family, comes to Ashley's, 338 S. State, for a release party for two new Belgian beers. Christine is the daughter of the late Pierre Celis, creator of the Hoegaarden and Celis brands of Belgian brews, as well as keeper of the Celis brewing flame. Join her at 6 p.m. for the release of Lupulus Ale, a hoppy, 8.5% ABV tripel, and Wolf 9 Ale, an 8.9% ABV pale ale with notes of banana and apricot. And if Belgian beers are your thing, be sure to check out the Belgian Beer Festival going on Feb. 6-16 at Ashley’s other location in Westland. See for more info.

Friday, February 7

» What's more fun than a scavenger hunt? A scavenger hunt that involves beer! That's exactly what's on tap at Whole Foods Ann Arbor, 3135 Washtenaw, from 4-7 p.m. Join the crew from Bell's and find the best ingredients and dishes to pair with Smitten Golden Rye Ale, which will be on tap along with Hopslam Ale. Be among the first eight people to find all the scavenger items and win prizes and everlasting fame!

» Original Gravity, 440 County, Milan, is celebrating the release of their 440 Pepper Smoker Amber Ale with some food worthy of all that liquid awesomeness. Starting at 5 p.m., get your slow-braised beef brisket tacos on Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory tortillas and served with house-made guacamole, salsa, and cilantro-lime slaw. Holy yum, Batman.

» Over at The Wine Seller, 2721 Plymouth Rd., 5-7 p.m. enjoy a free beer tasting with Right Brain Brewery of Traverse City. As of this writing, which six beers will be pouring is not known, but with brews like CEO Stout, Will Power Pale Ale, and even Spear Beer, made with asparagus, Right Brain is sure to offer something you like.

Monday, February 10

» Brace yourself for the 10th annual Grizzly Peak Polar Bear Day for Mug Club members. From 4-7 p.m., sit out on the frozen patio (that'd be the sidewalk) and enjoy dollar beers and half off appetizers and pizzas. Space is limited, so it's recommended you stake out your spot by 5 p.m. Be sure to bring your Mug Club card to verify your dollar-beer-worthiness.

» Meet sixth-generation Belgian brewers Lionel and Bertrand Van Der Haegen of the family-owned Brasserie de Silly beginning at 6 p.m. at Ashley’s, and try two special versions of Scotch Silly Ale, one aged in Bordeaux barrels and the other aged in port barrels. Bottles, signed by Lionel and Bertrand, will be available for to-go purchase.

Tuesday, February 11

» Michigan happy hour moves to Tuesday as Saugatuck Brewing hits the Wine and Beer Bar at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, from 5-7 p.m. Five beers on tap, list TBD.

» Another California brewery is joining the party in the Great Beer State. Go to Ashley’s beginning at 6 p.m. for a welcome-to-Michigan party for San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing. On tap will be Le Freak Belgian IPA, West Coast IPA, and Palate Wrecker Double IPA. In other words, hop heads only.

Wednesday, February 12

» World of Beer, 1300 South University, likes Sierra Nevada beers. In fact, they like them so much they’re putting 10 of them on tap beginning at 7 p.m. Oh, you didn’t think Sierra had that many varieties? Well, come by and be surprised – and be sure to check out the 2012 vintage Ovila Dubbel Ale aged in wine barrels. Yum!

Thursday, February 13

» Hop over to Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, from 5-7 p.m. for the Hop Heads Beer Tasting. More than two dozen bitter bombs will be pouring, from Griffin Claw Norm’s Raggedy Ass IPA to Bell’s Hopslam Ale to Arbor’s own Buzzsaw and HXL IPAs. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 the day of, if available; call 734-213-1393 or purchase at the pub.

» Of all the beer joints in all the towns in all the world, you should walk into the Arbor Microbrewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, for a special pre-Valentine’s Day screening of Casablanca at 7 p.m. You can’t go wrong with the 1942 classic starring Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Claude Rains, and, of course, the alluring Ingrid Bergman. Bring your significant other and enjoy beers on happy hour during the movie. Here’s looking at you, kid.

Friday, February 14

» For Valentine’s Day, Arbor is tapping a beer for lovebirds. Despite the harsh name, Sledgehammer Chocolate Porter is smooth as your lover’s silken dainties. It’s brewed with chocolate and honey malts and cacao nibs and at 5.2% ABV is a highly drinkable elixir. Get it while it’s here!

» Over at Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, celebrate V-Day with a kitchen special: Chocolate Mousse with Fresh Raspberries and Ladyfingers paired with Grand CruZ Belgian Dark Strong Lager. Heck, even if you’re an aging bachelor, that sounds pretty darn amazing. Count me in.

» Ashley’s is bringing in another brewer from Belgium. Come by at 6 p.m. to meet and chat with Marc Lemay of Brasserie Dubuisson, makers of the well known Scaldis brand of beers. Dubuisson beers will be pouring, and Marc will sign your to-go bottles of his beers, too.

Sunday, February 16

» The fifth annual Ann Arbor Civic Theatre Chili Cook-Off is on at the Wolverine State Brewing taproom from 2-5 p.m.Tickets are $20 and include a 50/50 raffle, auction, and 10 chili tastings and five beer samples. Chili-only tickets are $10, with $5 tickets for children ages 5-10.  Kids under 5 attend free. Proceeds go to support A2CT. Tickets are available in advance by calling 734-971-2228, or buy at the door. More details here.

Thursday, February 20

» Get your New Belgium on at World of Beer with the release of a new brew from the Colorado juggernaut: Snapshot Wheat Ale, a 5% ABV unfiltered beer accented with citrusy hops, coriander, and grains of paradise for a slightly sweet yet tart-finishing experience. And, of course, enjoy plenty more excellent drafts while you’re in the hizzy.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Whole Foods Ann Arbor is getting a facelift, with a new expansion that will include "a full bar with a large tap selection." Jessica Webster of the Ann Arbor News has the story.
  • HopCat, the Grand Rapids-based brewpub that recently opened a 100-tap second location in East Lansing, has plans to open a third, 130-tap location in Detroit this summer. And after that? Owner Mark Sellers has his sights set on Ann Arbor and beyond. Read all about it in this story by Garret Ellison of the Grand Rapids Press.
  • Tickets are on sale for two upcoming beer dinners. Red Rock Downtown Barbecue's New Orleans-themed Wild Game Dinner takes place February 26. Cost is $50; call 734-340-2381. Menu is here. On February 27, Grange Kitchen & Bar hosts a five-course Arcadia Ales dinner. Cost is $60 excluding tax and tip; call 734-995-2107. Menu TBD.
  • Forget all those Beer Advocate and Rate Beer "best" lists. I'm here to tell you about the real best beer in the known universe, and it's not just because it's named after me. Coming soon to the taps of Grizzly Peak is Uncle Dave's Rye Peppercorn Ale, an amber ale with a wee spicy kick thanks to, yes, rye malt and a late addition of black peppercorns. It's versatile and goes great with grilled meat and/or veggies. It would also be an excellent choice for that proverbial desert island beer. Keep an eye out and get some before I drink it all!

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