|Just say no.|
It may still be more than a week away, but it’s not too early to start planning your St. Patrick’s Day. Especially if you want to drink beer like a pro during a holiday often referred to – with good reason – as “amateur hour.” Of course, there are plenty of other activities and brews to keep you busy both before and after, so hold on to your leprechaun hat. And remember: Stout is not green.
Friday, March 7
» Stock up on groceries and grab a pint or two at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, during happy hour at the Wine and Beer Bar from 5-7 p.m. The featured beermaker is Right Brain Brewery of Traverse City, famous for making beers with pig’s heads and other unusual ingredients. Tap list TBD.
» Roll out the barrels! The Wurst Bar, 705 W. Cross, Ypsilanti, sure is, with a tap takeover featuring only bourbon barrel aged beers. The barrels of fun come out at 6 p.m. and include beers from the likes of Short’s, Odd Side, Griffin Claw, Jolly Pumpkin, and Liberty Street Brewing, which has released Majesty, a bourbon barrel aged version of the excellent Emperor Norton Imperial Stout. Find the Wurst Bar on Facebook for the latest and greatest beer list, or give them a jingle at 734-485-6720.
Saturday, March 8
» Have you met Randall? Head to Red Rock Downtown Barbecue, 207 W. Michigan, Ypsilanti, and introduce yourself. He’s an organoleptic hops transducer, which – wait, what? In English: a Randall is a doodad that forces draft beer through a chamber packed with flavorific additives, sometimes fresh hops, sometimes... other things. This evening at 6 p.m., Red Rock beer guru Jeff Sanchez and company are serving Griffin Claw Grand Trunk Bohemian Pilsner through a Randall full of chive stems. On Monday, March 10, and Saturday, March 15, look for Jeff and Randall to pour New Holland Full Circle Kolsch through a passel of fresh mint leaves.
Tuesday, March 11
» Sava’s, 216 S. State, is hosting a Bell’s dinner and tap takeover beginning at 6:30 p.m. For the dinner, head chef Chris Huey has prepared six courses to pair with Bell’s brews (view menu here). On tap at the bar will be Smitten Golden Rye Ale, Double Cream Stout, Two Hearted Ale, Wheat Love Wheatwine, and Midwestern Pale Ale. Bell’s representatives will also be hanging out all evening for your edification and amusement. Dinner tickets are $70 inclusive; email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve or call 734-623-2233.
Wednesday, March 12
» It’s a well known feature of rats that they have long tails. The long tail of Rat Fest continues tonight at the Arbor Brewing Microbrewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, beginning at 6 p.m. when the beers of the Motor City Mashers homebrew club go on tap. Enjoy drafts of Lemongrass Belgian Pale Ale, Rat Pad Wild Wheat Ale, and Saison Du Rat, while they’re available. After 9 p.m., anything left over can be taken home in growlers, should you desire a nightcap.
Thursday, March 13
» Some like it dark. For them, Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, has a beer tasting they can’t refuse: stouts! From 7-9 p.m., there’s more than two dozen Irish stouts, milk stouts, chocolate stouts, coffee stouts, Russian imperial stouts, and Lord only knows what other kinds of stouts a-pouring. Add to that an appetizer buffet and a chance to take home some sweet beer swag, and there’s no way you can resist. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 the day of. Buy at the brewpub in person or call 734-213-1393.
Monday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day
» Top o’ the morning! That’s Ashley’s, 338 S. State, which is opening at 6:30 a.m. for your St. Patrick’s pleasure and serving breakfast to help all the amateurs manage their intake. On tap, look for Arcadia Brigid’s Red Ale, Arbor Michael Faricy’s Irish Stout, and Short’s Uncle Steve’s Irish Stout, plus, you know, 69 other taps of not-green beer.
» Arbor Brewing follows suit at 7 a.m. with a breakfast buffet and morning happy hour until 11 a.m. Five stouts on tap to slake your Irish thirst: Faricy, Blackheath Sweet Stout, Espresso Love Breakfast Stout, St. Pat’s Strong Stout, and Steamroller Russian Imperial Stout. Live music commences at 6 p.m. with Ghost City Searchlight, along with some Irish-inspired dinner specials. No cover.
» World of Beer, 1300 South University, throws open its doors at 7 a.m. for a Maize and Blue Deli breakfast, with half of the proceeds going to MRelay for Life. Drink specials and a free photo booth will be available throughout the day, with a raffle of fabulous prizes taking place on 7 p.m.
» Over in Ypsilanti, the Arbor Microbrewery also opens at 7 a.m. for breakfast and offers several specialty stouts on tap. Live music from local faves Rootstand begins at 4 p.m. Happy hour all day and no cover!
» Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon, opens at 9 a.m. and goes right for the live music with Millish and Bardic Brew. Limited-release stouts, including various bourbon barrel aged versions of Night Fury Imperial Stout, will go on tap throughout the day. No cover.
» Bar Louie, 401 E. Liberty, also opens at 9 a.m. with a kegs and eggs breakfast buffet. $10 includes a t-shirt; must purchase in advance. Call 734-794-3000. Live music, along with drink specials throughout the day, are part of the fun. More information is here.
» Down in Milan, Original Gravity, 440 County St., opens at 11:30 a.m. and is dishing house-cooked corned beef sandwiches on Erie Bread Co. rye beer bread while supplies last. Six stouts will be on tap, with a 3-6 p.m. happy hour.
» Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, opens at noon to welcome in all the leprechauns for special Irish-type munchies from Chef Matteo and, get this, special cask beer release throughout the evening, beginning at 5 p.m. Look for Beer of the Month Snakes on a Shamrock Irish Red Lager, The Volitionist Stout Lager, and Barista Brown Lager, made with fresh ground RoosRoast coffee.
» The Chelsea Alehouse, 420 N. Main, Chelsea, is now open on Mondays from 3-11 p.m., beginning with this one. Stop by for an Irish-inspired menu and three stouts on tap.
» Bill’s Beer Garden! It’s back open, from 6-11 p.m., weather permitting, so you may wish to work a stop at 218 S. Ashley St. into your St. Patrick’s Day roving.
Tuesday, March 18
» Get ready for college basketball’s March Madness with the second annual Bracket Science Panel of Experts and Bracketology Contest at the Wolverine taproom beginning at 6:30 p.m. Panelists include Sam Webb and Ira Weintraub of WTKA’s Michigan Insider program and Pete Tiernan of CBS Sports. Get your bracket filled out with expert help and do good at the same time: A percentage of the evening’s sales go to March Hoops to Beat Blindness, a fundraiser for the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center.
Wednesday, March 19
» The Rat returns with more festival leftovers, this time from big winners The Sons of Liberty homebrew club of Plymouth. Beginning at 6 p.m., look for Madiba Rooibos Blonde Ale, Sour Cherry Stout, and Hawaiian Red Hibiscus Gose. Anything left after 9pm can be purchased to take home in a growler.
Notes on the Napkin
- Remember that Arcadia beer dinner at Grange Kitchen & Bar I wrote about in the last column? It’s been postponed to April 1. You can still reserve online (and check the menu) here.
- Liberty Street Brewing and Witch’s Hat have teamed up to collaborate on a beer, Territorial Baltic Porter, now aging in barrels. No release date has been given yet, but I just thought you should know.
- An old standby not seen for more than six years, Grizzly Peak's ESB is coming back to the handpull on or around March 14. Also, for you homebrewers out there, the 2014 Mug Club Brew-Off has been announced: It will take place Monday, May 12, from 4-7 p.m. in the Den. Entries are due a week earlier, on May 5. First place winner gets to brew a commercial batch of his or her winning recipe with head brewer Duncan Williams and take home a keggie, too. For more information, call 734-741-7325 and ask for a manager.