Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Every Two Weeks in Beer: Welcome the Patio Season with Good Brews

Image source: Biercamp on Facebook.

The patio season is here, and as even a careless observer knows, Ann Arborites love to do a lot of dining and drinking outdoors when the weather cooperates. But whether inside or out, there are opportunities galore to find the perfect beer to suit the season and your mood. Here are some highlights.

Sunday, June 1

» While you’re cruising the annual Taste of Ann Arbor event downtown, be sure to wash down all those tasty samples from area restaurants with some good beer in the Arbor Brewing Beer Garden outside the pub on Washington St. It’s open from 11 to 5 and will be pouring Bavarian Bliss Hefeweizen, Sacred Cow IPA, Strawberry Blonde Ale, and Anahata Chakra Honey Lavender Ale. Live music provided by Third Coast Kings. It’s a party!

Tuesday, June 3

» The monthly Brewer’s Night at Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington, is the place to be for discounted beer samples, a special cask brew, guided tours of the brewery, and scintillating conversation with head brewer Duncan Williams and his merry band of Oompa Loompas. Event occurs either in the Den bar or downstairs in the Old German.

» Arbor Brewing Microbrewery, 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti, welcomes Euchre Pilsner to the taps with a release party from 6-7 p.m. Brewed with all German malts and imported German Tettnang hops, No Parking sports a classic crisp, dry, full-flavored pilsner character. Beer samples, snacks, and a discussion with an Arbor brewer are part of the deal. Free for Mug Club members; $10 for the non-initiated.

Wednesday, June 4

» Bill's Beer Garden, 218 S. Ashley St., is welcoming June with a Short's tap takeover. The list includes Alien Einstein IPL, Anniversary Ale, Bellaire Brown, Bludgeon Yer Eye, Bourbon Aphasia, Bourbon Magician, Empress Catherine, Goodnight Bodacious, Hopstache, Howlin' Chinaski, Huma Lupa Licious, Local's Light, Nicie Spicie, Soft Parade, and Yosemite Scooter. Beer Liberator Brian Talpos will be on hand to answer questions on each beer and provide unique pairing suggestions if you venture over to Mark’s Carts for a bite.

Saturday, June 7

» Out with the new, and in with the old. Ashley's, 338 S. State St., is dusting off more than 50 bottles of vintage beers that have been aging in the cellar for their first-ever Rare and Vintage Beer TasteFest, from 1-5 p.m. The event is technically sold out, but walk-in tickets will be available as space permits, for $10 each. Beers available (while supplies last, of course) include Sam Adams Utopias (2013), Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus (2007), Arcadia Shipwreck Porter (2007) and Cereal Killer Barleywine (2011), five different years of Founders KBS, and plenty of other stouts, sours, old ales, and more. More details are here.

» You’ve waited patiently all year (admit it) and now it’s finally here: Velvet Hammer Day at the Arbor Brewing Microbrewery. But this year there’s a twist: For the first time ever, owners Matt and Rene Greff are hosting from 4-6 p.m. a vertical tasting of every vintage (third through the eighth) of Velvet Hammer Sour Ale produced since the beer’s inception. Each will be paired with an hors d’oeuvre to complement its particular characteristics, and guests will also receive a bottle of this year’s vintage to take home. Tickets are $100 all inclusive and must be ordered in advance; call 734-480-2739. Stick around the brewery for live entertainment, beginning at 7 p.m. with the Fiendish Thingies and continuing at 8 with the Detroit Dizzy Dames burlesque revue.

Sunday, June 8

» Come back to the Arbor Microbrewery from 2-9 p.m. for another pleasant Halcyon Sundaze afternoon in the Beer Garden. Enjoy the soothing stylings of various DJs and music “selectahs” (including your correspondent), along with a special small-batch Halcyon beer, which rumor has will be a Blueberry Rye Ale, al fresco. No cover.

Monday, June 9

» Ashley’s welcomes a special guest at 6 p.m.: Mitch Steele, head brewer of San Diego’s celebrated Stone Brewing, will pay a visit to lead a tasting of 11 Stone drafts. The tap list includes some rarer and unusual brews along with old favorites: Collective Distortion IPA, Enjoy By 7.4.14, Go-To IPA, Imperial Russian Stout, IPA, Matt’s Burning Rosids Ale, Mixtape Vol. 6 (Ashley’s 30th Anniversary Ale), Ruination IPA, Saison, Smoked Porter with Vanilla, and Stochasticity Quadro Triticale Quadrupel.

Thursday, June 12

» Arbor Brewing Brewpub, 114 E. Washington, pays tribute to fruit beers with the latest in their monthly tasting series from 7-9 p.m. Check out more than two dozen brews, everything from blueberry stouts to cherry alts, along with an appetizer buffet and a beer swag raffle. Tickets are $25 ($30 the day of); call 734-213-1393 or buy at the pub.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Biercamp, 1643 S. State St., now offers its beers by the glass! Enjoy a fresh brew outside on the patio along with artisan sausage and all the other goodies Biercamp makes. On tap as of this writing is Vienna IPA and Pale Ale, with Helles Alt on tap next. Check for updates on what’s pouring.
  • Through June 15, World of Beer, 1300 South University Ave., is offering its Loyalty members a chance to win a nine-day, 14-brewery Belgian Beer Getaway for two. Stop by WOB, pick up your Belgian beer passport, and get it stamped when you drink at least six of the eight featured beers, and you’re in like Flynn. For more info, see
  • Unity Vibration, 93 Ecorse Rd., Ypsilanti, is set to release two new products: Strawberry Rhubarb Tea and Kombucha Cream Ale. Look for them where you usually find Unity Vibration brews, including Whole Foods.
  • By the time you read this, Blue Tractor should be pouring two new rotating brews, Juniper Pale Ale and Ginger Peach Saison, which sound pretty refreshingly summery to me.
  • Also something to look for: Calabaza Boreal, a collaboration brew between Jolly Pumpkin and Anchorage Brewing of Alaska. It’s a 7% ABV saison brewed with grapefruit peel and juice and peppercorns and aged in oak. It should be available in 750ml bottles at the Ann Arbor Jolly Pumpkin Café and, presumably, in other stores that normally carry Jolly Pumpkin beers.
  • Finally, just brewed at the North Peak brewery in Dexter is Grizzly Peak Hellion Double IPA. It should be released in the next week or so and is definitely worth checking out.

1 comment:

  1. Cute little patios at restaurants are a good idea. I don't know where there aren't more restaurants that do that in my area. It could have to do with the lack of outdoor space. It is just interesting how a lot of people like things that seem more like home. Eating on something that give you the feeling of being out on your patio just feels comfortable. As long as everything is in good repair.