Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Every Two Weeks in Beer: The Road to Oktoberfest

Wolverine's The Massacre Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Dark Lager returns this week.

It’s not quite here yet, but you can hear the distant sounds of a tuba as the German band warms up for a certain seasonal celebration involving lots of lager, sausage, and pretzels. In the meantime, you can reap a harvest of other good brews with the cornucopia of cool events going on all around town as we head into Oktoberfest season.

Friday, September 19

» Time to get massacred! The long-awaited return of Wolverine State Brewing’s The Massacre Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Dark Lager is at hand. Get to the tap room at 2019 W. Stadium Ave. and grab some of this to enjoy now or to put in your beer cellar (you do have one of those, right?). Plus, for each bottle you buy, you get one entry into a contest to win four tickets to the October 11 Michigan/Penn State game. For each four-pack, you get two entries. The contest starts runs through September 26. Tap room opens at noon.

Saturday, September 20

» Throughout the Michigan football season, Sava's Restaurant, 216 S. State St., is hosting Football Saturday Beer Battles, where customers vote to choose their favorite of two brews picked to go with the week's opponent. This Saturday, as the Wolverines take on the Utah Utes from Utah, look for Sour Apple Saison from the Beehive State's Epic Brewing and, representing Michigan, Brewery Vivant's Farm Hand Saison. Go beer, and Go Blue!

» If you're out Ypsilanti Way, drop in to the Arbor Brewing Microbrewery, 720 Norris St., for their Harvest Fest. Enjoy seasonal treats, special brews, and some live music throughout the day. No cover.

» Down in Milan, Original Gravity, 440 County St., is going right for Oktoberfest with an outdoor tent full of German food and beer styles and some live music from the Sounds of Germany polka band. On tap look for Shinebox Dunkelweizen, Old Skool Altbier, and five other small-batch German-style brews. Smoked sausage, potato salad, beer-braised sauerkraut, and pretzels available at 2 p.m. until they're all gone; music starts at 4. No cover.

Sunday, September 21

» Like mead? You'll want to get over to Ashley’s, 338 S. State St., for a 7 p.m. event featuring Redstone Meadery of Boulder, Colorado. Founder David Myers will be in the house to introduce his Black Raspberry Mead and Nectar of the Hops to the Ashley's faithful and answer any questions.

Tuesday, September 23

» In case you didn’t know, it’s now safe to drive on Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., and you’ll want to do just that on your way to Whole Foods Cranbrook’s, 990 W. Eisenhower Pkwy., happy hour from 5-7 p.m. The featured brewery is Arbor Brewing, but the tap list is TBD. Bring your grocery money and a good thirst.

» It’s Fusion Brew Night at Ashley’s and Fenton Winery & Brewery. What’s this, then? Fenton makes two unique wine/beer hybrids, Swingin’ Berries, a blackberry merlot double cream stout, and Bloomin’ Berries, wild berry shiraz imperial blonde ale. Both of these will be on tap along with Eminent Double IPA, Head-on Collision Black IPA, Lights Out Wheat Porter, Staggering Bull Imperial Nut Brown Ale, and Unbridled IPA. Fenton owners Matt and Ginny Sherrow will be on hand to answer any questions and, of course, drink some brews. The fun begins at 6 p.m.

» The second annual Beer vs. Wine Dinner is happening at Vinology, 110 S. Main St., from 7-9 p.m. Enjoy several sumptuous courses, each paired with both a wine and a beer, then vote on which one worked best. Comments from wine and beer experts will help explain the flavors in your mouth as you dine. Tickets are $75 in advance ($85 the day of); call 734-222-9841.

Wednesday, September 24

» You can always get good Belgian beer on tap at Ashley’s, and tonight, you can add two more solid brews from across the pond to the list. At 6 p.m. the resident beer engineers will be tapping two from Brasserie St-Feuillien of Le Roeulx, Belgium. Look for the 140-year-old brewery’s Triple and and La Blanche, a witbier. St. Feuillien Saison will also be available in cans. Mmmm, Belgian beer.

Thursday, September 25

» Miss out on Fenton Winery & Brewery at Ashley's, or just can't get enough? Head over to Jet's Pizza Sportsroom, 506 N. Main St., Chelsea, at 6 p.m. and join the tap takeover.

Sunday, September 28

» The annual Greythounds of Eastern Michigan fundraiser is on at the Arbor Microbrewery from 2-5 p.m. Get into the beer garden, order up a Hop Hound Ale or two, grab a slice of Paw-some Pizza or a Bow-Wow Brat, and learn more about this adoption agency for retired race hounds. $1 from every mug or growler fill will go to the dogs. Learn more at

Monday, September 29

» Founders KBS! Yes, there are still kegs of it out there, and Fraser's Pub, 2045 Packard St., has one. They'll be tapping it at 6 p.m. Word to your bourbon barrel aged imperial stout lovin' mother.

Tuesday, September 30

» Southern Tier Brewing of Lakewood, New York, is the guest brewery at Ashley’s, with multiple brews of their going on tap beginning at 6 p.m. Beer list includes 2X Stout, Creme Brulee Stout, Farmer's Tan Session IPA, Gemini Imperial Blended Ale, Oak Aged Back Burner Barleywine (2013), Pumking Pumpkin Alend Warlock Imperial Pumpkin Stout.

» Back at Whole Foods Cranbrook, join owner/brewer Joe Walters of Plymouth’s Liberty Street Brewing for a 5-7 p.m. happy hour featuring his beers, including the popular seasonal Punkin Pie Ale. You can ask Joe about the spiffy new brewhouse being installed in his Livonia production brewery while quaffing a pint or two.

Thursday, October 2

» The second Annual A2 Art & Brew pub crawl fundraiser for the Ann Arbor Art Center kicks off at 6 p.m. in downtown Ann Arbor. Visit eight different bars and breweries and sample beers and bites paired with the work of an artist. Sidewalk chalk art will help amuse and guide you along your route. Participating establishments include Arbor Brewing; Kuhnhenn Brewing (featured at Conor O’Neill’s); Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery; Blue Tractor Brewing at Mash Bar; Grizzly Peak Brewing at Old German Bar & Bierkeller; Original Gravity partnering with Katherine’s Catering at Bill’s Beer Garden; and Wolverine State Brewing partnering with Laura’s Catering and Alaskan Brewing, a featured brewery of sponsors O&W, Inc., both at the Ann Arbor Art Center. Tickets are $50 before September 29 and $60 thereafter. Purchase online at or call 734-926-4122.

Notes on the Napkin
  • While the outdoor street party downtown is not scheduled until October 3-4, you can get your Oktoberfest celebration on at Grizzly Peak now through October 5. Get a limited-edition keepsake shaker pint for $5, then get it filled with any beer on tap for $2 off all throughout the Oktoberfest celebration. Food specials include Smoked Pork Chops, Sauerbraten, Grilled Knockwurst, and Pork Schnitzel. And don’t forget the beer! Look for Grizzly Peak Festbier, a hoppy helles-style beer.
  • At the Wolverine taproom, their Oktobertfest Lager (a true Märzenbier, brewed in March and conditioned through the summer) is now on tap. Not only that, but through September 19 you can get a spiffy 32 oz. limited-edition, flip-top Oktoberfest growler for $10 (empty) or full ($20). Also look for German-inspired food specials from Chef Matteo. Prost!
  • Saline is about to get not one but two breweries. Read all about it in this Ann Arbor News story from the incomparable Lizzy Alfs.
  •  Ever wonder who's behind those bottles of Bitter Old Fecker? Well, it's Nate Hukill, whose Chelsea nanobrewing operation is profiled by Patrick Dunn for Concentrate Media.

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