|Image: "Hops" by Paul Miller CC By 2.0.|
Shed those winter clothes, stretch your arms and legs, and get outside to feel some of that warm sun on your skin (when it’s not raining or snowing, anyway). Everywhere you look, patios are opening, deck furniture is getting dusted off, and beers are being poured in the great outdoors. Be a part of it all this holiday weekend and beyond. After all, hops aren't just for Easter.
Thursday, April 17
» Playing hooky from work? The best place to do it is at Fraser’s Pub, 2045 Packard, which will be tapping two hard-to-find Dogfish Head beers at 1 p.m., just in time for the Tigers game against the Indians. Roll in for glasses of 120 Minute IPA and World Wide Stout, but beware: These are heavy-hitting beers. Hopefully they will inspire the Tigers. During the commercial breaks, use your smartphone to check out Fraser’s re-designed website at fraserspub.com. And don’t forget Thursday nights are $1 off pints of all Michigan beers.
Friday, April 18
» Warmer weather means only one thing: road trip to beer festival! If you’re of a mind to cruise over to enemy territory, then you’ll want to check out the Microbrew & Music Festival in Lansing, beginning today and continuing Saturday. Tickets range from $40 (for one-day general admission) to $160 (for two-day VIP); get the full scoop at microbrewandmusic.com.
Saturday, April 19
» Ashley's, 338 S. State, is hosting Lagunitas Brewing for a special day-early celebration of 4/20, which is, like, some California marijuana joke that I’ve never understood. Anyway, on tap look for Barrel Aged Cappuccino Stout, Hairy Eyeball American Strong Ale, Imperial Stout, IPA, Lagunitas Sucks, Maximus Imperial IPA, New Dogtown Pale Ale, Pils, Undercover Shutdown Ale, and – tapping precisely at 4:20 p.m. – Waldos’ Special IPA. Brewery rep Andrew "Finney" Finsness will be there, passing out special 420 kits to the first 30 people to order a Waldos’ Ale and just generally being the cool, congenial cat that he is.
Easter Sunday, April 20
» After you’re done hunting down all those Easter eggs, hop on over to Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty St., Plymouth, for a free Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast member tour of the brewery and basement production area beginning at 2 p.m. The tour includes beer samples and snacks. Space is limited; RSVP to Joe Walters at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about how to become an Enthusiast, check out michiganbrewersguild.org/enthusiast-membership.
» Arbor Brewing Microbrewery, 720 Norris, Ypsilanti, is also doing the 4/20 thing, maaan, with a 7 p.m. showing of Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke, the 1978 stoner classic. Catch it while you partake of a special stoner-inspired brew, The Heart of Dankness IPA, available today only. The movie is rated R and full of cussin' and drug usin', so you'll want to leave the kiddies at home.
Monday, April 21
» Red Rock Downtown Barbecue, 207 W. Michigan, is where it’s at, and “it” is a New Belgium tap takeover for Beer Enthusiast Night beginning around 5 p.m. If things are really rocking, perhaps Randall the Enamel Animal will make an appearance to infuse some lucky beer (and thus some lucky imbibers) with fresh hops or other ingredients.
Friday, April 25
» It’s Arbor Day, the namesake holiday of Arbor Brewing (and our fair city). As they do every year, ABC is celebrating with the release of their Old Tjikko Spruce Ale, and $1 from the purchase of every glass will be donated to Ann Arbor’s Adopt-a-Park program. Learn more about the program at a2gov.org/adopt-a-park, grab a beer or two, and then go hug a tree!
Tuesday, April 29
» Spring is sprung! Celebrate the new season with your pals at Bell’s and Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower, for a special Spring Happy Hour from 5-7 p.m. Come dressed in your best spring outfit – however you interpret that – and the Bell’s team will shower you with prizes and goodies. Oh, and all the while you can enjoy drafts of Amber Ale, Le Pianiste Ale, Midwestern Pale Ale, Oberon, Quinannan Falls Special Lager, and Two Hearted Ale.
» Over at Ashley’s, Avery Brewing of Boulder, Colorado, is taking over the taps, at least as much as it’s possible to take over the taps at Ashley’s, beginning at 6 p.m. Enjoy The Maharaja Imperial IPA, The Reverend Quadrupel, and several other fab Avery draft beers.
Wednesday, April 30
» It’s Mug Club Appreciation Day at Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon. The details of what this means have yet to be made known, but one important thing to note are the new hours for the taproom. It’s now open earlier on the weekends, flinging the doors wide at noon Friday-Sunday.
Notes on the Napkin
Although its name makes it sound more grandiose than it actually is, Frankenmuth's annual World Expo of Beer competition nevertheless encompasses hundreds of entries, and this year five local breweries are bringing home some shiny new hardware.
- Arbor Brewing took four medals, including gold in the Strong Ale category for Jackhammer Old Ale, silver in the Spice/Herb/Vegetable category for Violin Monster Autumn Ale, and bronze in the Sour and Specialty categories for Flamboyant Red Wild Ale and Ryeclops Imperial Rye Ale, respectively.
- Wolverine State Brewing also took four medals, including silver in the Amber Hybrid and Specialty categories for Hopstadt Alt and Barista Coffee Lager, respectively, and bronze in the Light Lager and Amber categories for Premium Lager and Amber Lager, respectively.
- Liberty Street Brewing grabbed three medals, including gold in the Amber Hybrid and Smoke-Flavored/Wood-Aged categories for Steamy Windows California Common and Majesty Imperial Stout, respectively, and silver in the Traditional Mead (yep!) category for Exquisite.
- Jolly Pumpkin snagged gold in the Sour category — of course! — for Biere de Mars.
- And Witch's Hat beat out all but one of 56 other entries to win silver in the IPA category for Train Hopper.