|Nothing like an imperial stout poured through a Randall of espresso beans.|
Beer dinners, homebrewing, outdoor imbibing, firkins full of real ale. Man, there’s so much going on in the local beer scene the next two weeks you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. But I’m going to tell you anyway, because that’s how I do.
Thursday, May 1
» Tickets for the July 25-26 Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival go on sale at 10 a.m. The Friday, July 25, session is $35 and Saturday, July 26 is $40. Go to mibeer.com and get yours!
Saturday, May 3
» Get thee to Adventures in Homebrewing, 6071 Jackson Rd., for the American Homebrewers Association’s Big Brew in honor of National Homebrew Day. Members of the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild and other clubs will be taking over the parking lot as they set up their homebrew systems and boil away making different beers. If you’re not participating but have always been curious about homebrewing, it’s the absolute best time to come out and ask questions from friendly and knowledgeable people who are always eager to inflict their favorite hobby on everyone! The fun starts at 10 a.m., and there’s usually a potluck involved. Yum.
» Take a trip to Westland, where Ashley’s, 7525 N. Wayne Rd., is putting on the annual Michigan Cask Ale Festival, with more than two dozen firkins of fresh real ale from breweries around the state and country (and even one or two from Europe). What’s cask ale? It’s beer that’s naturally carbonated from the action of the yeast and served right out of the vessel it’s fermented in. As another famous Ann Arbor business likes to say in another context, you really can taste the difference. Tickets are $40 in advance; learn everything you need to know, including the beer list, at micaskale.ashleys.com.
Sunday, May 4
» The weather may not be quite what we want, but the forecast calls for a good time at the season’s first Halcyon Sundaze event in the Arbor Microbrewery Beer Garden, 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti. From 2-9 p.m. rotating Halcyon Sound Engineers will be spinning the sweetest of songs reminiscent of yesteryear, futurefunk, throwback soul, and AM gold. Not to mention a specialty Halcyon brew on tap, $1 records, and local artists, as well. No cover.
» Original Gravity, 440 County St., Milan, is hosting an after-party for the annual Cone-Azalia bike race from noon to 6 p.m. Whether you’re racing or not, you can hang with some cool people and enjoy a pint or two of the Cone-Azalia Red Ale, brewed specially for the occasion. Live music from local musician Aaron Singer begins out on the patio at 2 p.m., and all proceeds from the day’s sales go to benefit the Ann Arbor Velo Club to help promote youth cycling in Washtenaw County. Find out more about the race at coneazalia.com.
Monday, May 5
» It’s everyone’s favorite Mexican holiday, aka a perfect excuse to drink beer and eat tacos. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. At all.) Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington St., is kicking off a week-long celebration with themed specials, including the release of Casa Grande Mexican-Style Dark Vienna Lager, a light, 4.4% ABV brew with a crisp, bitter finish.
» Red Rock Downtown Barbecue, 207 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti, has a special treat for Beer Enthusiast Night: Founders on tap, including the highly acclaimed KBS Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Event runs roughly from 5-8 p.m., with KBS tapping promptly at 6. Other beers TBD.
Tuesday, May 6
» Michigan Beer Happy Hour at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower Blvd., features Ann Arbor’s own Wolverine State Brewing. From 5-7 p.m., get some of those delicious local lagers at the Wine and Beer Bar, and say hi to the cool folks reppin’ them. Tap list TBD.
» All right, spring has to be official now. Arbor Brewing is tapping their popular summer seasonal, Bavarian Bliss Hefeweizen, at a special release party from 6-7 p.m. at the brewpub. Enjoy glasses of this classic cloudy wheat beer with notes of banana, clove, and lemon, courtesy of the Bavarian yeast strain that fermented it. Light snacks will also be provided. Free for Mug Club members; $10 for everyone else.
» Brewer’s Night at Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington St., is back from 6-9 p.m. Join head brewer Duncan Williams and assorted other misfits in the basement bar of the Old German for beer samplers, brewery tours, and a cask of Barrel Rider Ale, a wood-aged, dry-hopped version of the October Ale last seen on tap around last year’s Oktoberfest party.
Thursday, May 8
» Up in Howell, The Shark Club, 1140 S. Michigan Ave., is tapping a lineup of Founders beers that can only be described as "killer." Beginning at 6 p.m., dig drafts of Backwoods Bastard Barrel Aged Scotch Ale, Boilermaker Barrel Aged Pale Ale, Devil Dancer Triple IPA, Doom Imperial IPA, KBS Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, Mango Magnifico Ale, and Sweet Repute Wheatwine.
» Another classic spring beer style is the bock. Arbor Brewing is bringing together more than two dozen of these German-style brews, along with a few Belgian Trappist ales thrown in for good measure, during a malty May beer tasting at the brewpub from 7-9 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance ($30 the day of) and include beer samples, tasting notes, an appetizer buffet, and a door prize drawing. Call 734-213-1393 or buy at the pub.
Friday, May 9
» When it comes to beer, the Whole Foods Market at 3135 Washtenaw Ave., is determined not to be left behind by its sister store on Eisenhower. From 5-7 p.m., come by for a special Beer and Citrus Happy Hour featuring Bell’s Brewery. Sample Oberon Ale and Smitten Golden Rye Ale with freshly cut orange and lemon slices, respectively, and chat with Bell’s rep Erica, who is awesome.
Monday, May 12
» The annual Grizzly Peak Mug Club Brew-Off homebrewing competition will be judged in the Den, 122 W. Washington St., from 4-7 p.m. Whether you entered a beer or just want to watch, it’s a good time with good people. Find out who will win the grand prize of getting to brew their beer on Grizzly Peak’s system with head brewer Duncan! Have something ready you’re considering entering? The deadline is May 5. Learn more at grizzlypeak.net.
Tuesday, May 13
» Bill’s and Bell’s: what a combo! Head over to Bill’s Beer Garden, 218 S. Ashley St., for a Kick Off the Can Party beginning at 6 p.m. For the first time, two of Bell’s most popular brews, Oberon Ale and Two Hearted Ale, are available in cans, and brewery rep Erica will be there as Bill’s slings the aluminum to thirsty gardeners. If you go, use the hashtag #BillsBeerCan on any photos you post to Facebook and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win, and I quote, “some awesome stuff.”
Wednesday, May 14
» The Lake Street Tavern, 127 E. Lake St., South Lyon, is hosting a five-course “Brewfest and Feast” from 7-10 p.m. Chef Jared has created five dishes designed to pair with five Bell’s beers, including Quinannan Falls Special Lager, Oarsman Ale, Oberon Ale, Roundhouse Imperial Red Ale, and Special Double Cream Stout. Tickets are $45 ($50 after May 7) and can be purchased by calling 248-446-8898. The full menu can be found here.
Notes on the Napkin
- Good news if you want to have fresh beer with your lunch: Beginning Monday, May 5, the Arbor Microbrewery will open at 11:30 a.m. every day.