Calling all spooks, spectres, and spirits! Now is your time, as the sun sinks ever earlier and autumn’s chill winds whip the enflamed leaves into a frenzied danse macabre. This is the time when every attic, basement, or other dark, lonely space inspires a heightened nervousness. For we the living, the best we can do to stay fortified against the unknown forces of the night is to drink some good, seasonally appropriate beer. Here are the whens and the wheres as we head toward Halloween.
Friday, October 17
» Going on tap today at Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium Ave., is Kurios Cucurbita. According to Wolverine's website, it's a "seasonal blend of an old favorite, Cucurbita Smiles, and the newest member of the WSBC Specialty lineup: Kurios Black, a Belgian Stout Lager. The result is a mysterious and mischievous combo best enjoyed while wearing a shady trench coat or a Halloween sweater." Tap room opens at noon.
Tuesday, October 21
» Ever had a beer made with a variety of hops and wonder what flavors and aromas each contributed? You can learn more about such hops as Hallertau, East Kent Goldings, Ahtanum, Simcoe, and Zeus at the Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA Deconstructed event at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower. Come to the Wine and Beer Bar at 5 p.m. and try single-hopped versions of Latitude 48 and then the finished product.
Thursday, October 23
» Good beer and classic horror movies make a great combination. At Bill’s Beer Garden, 218 S. Ashley St., the beer and the movie even have the same name: Nosferatu. Enjoy both the 1922 silent vampire landmark while you warm up with Great Lakes Brewing’s Nosferatu, an 8% ABV imperial red ale. Movie begins at 6 p.m.
Friday, October 24
» The Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival is far back in the rearview mirror, but coming right up is the Detroit Fall Beer Festival, and (as of this writing) tickets are still available for both tonight’s (5-9 p.m.) and tomorrow’s (1-6 p.m.) session. If you’ve never gone, it’s a great urban venue in Eastern Market, with smaller crowds and that chill fall vibe perfect for enjoying some great Michigan beers, of which there will be about 450 from 60 different breweries. Go to mibeer.com to buy online.
Saturday, October 25
» Over at the Arbor Brewing Microbrewery, 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti, it’s time for the annual Halloween Party, featuring tunes spun by DJs from Wax Kings and Halcyon Sound, special Halloweeny (is that a word?) beers, and, of course, the ever-popular costume contest. The party starts at 8 p.m., with the contest judging beginning at 10. No cover. Boo there or be square!
Tuesday, October 28
» New Holland takes over six of the taps at The Beer Grotto, 8059 Main St., Dexter, from 5-8 p.m. Look for the Carhartt Woodsman Barrel Aged Pale Ale, Dragon's Milk Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, El Mole Ocho, Full Circle Kolsch, Hopivore We-Hopped Harvest Ale, and Ichabod Pumpkin Ale.
» After you’ve recovered from the Halloween hijinks, return to the scene of the crime at the Arbor Microbrewery for a 6-7 p.m. release party for Jackhammer Old Ale, an 8.2% ABV brew with a complex, fruity profile balanced with a spicy, assertive hop finish. (According to some, it’s the best of its style in the country – about which more below.) Tickets are $10 and include beer samples, snacks, and a discussion with one of the brewers. Mug club members attend for free.
Wednesday, October 29
» Sidetrack Bar & Grill, 56 E. Cross St., is bringing back its top five dishes from the past five years and pairing them with five different beers from Bell’s Brewery for one killer dinner. Menu includes Corn on the Cob with Jalapeno Butter and Parmesan Cheese (Two Hearted Ale), Mini-Burger with Goat and Ricotta Cheeses and Black Cherry (Baroness Von Nordwestlich Altbier), Mini-BBQ Pork Sandwich with Fried Sweet Potato and “Twangy” Sauce (Oarsman Ale), Mini-Burger with Stilton and Bacon Crumble (Black Note Stout), and Banana Cream Pie Parfait (Best Brown Ale). All this for just $30 (plus tax and tip). Call 734-483-5230 or buy online at sidetrackbarandgrill.com.
Thursday, October 30
» At Jet’s Pizza Sportsroom, 506 N. Main St., Chelsea, founder and head brewer Mark Larson of Falling Down Beer will be there with eight drafts from his Warren microbrewery. Tap list and exact time of Mark’s arrival TBD.
Friday, October 31, Halloween
» Happy Halloween! The Arbor Brewpub, 114 E. Washington St., is releasing its spooky seasonal Night Stalker Pumpkin Cream Stout. It’s a 6% ABV, full-bodied brew made with lactose and spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. Just the thing to keep the evil spirits at bay, or at least take the chill out of your bones.
» Wear your costume to Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon, and enjoy happy hour prices all day. Bring the kiddies with you (before 9 p.m.), and if they’re in costume, too, they’ll get a free root beer and popcorn – and maybe even a small goodie bag. And go back to the taproom tomorrow (November 1) in costume and enter the costume contest for a chance to win a lifetime Mug Club membership. The taproom opens at noon both days.
» At the Chelsea Alehouse, 420 N. Main St., Chelsea, the Halloween party begins at 7 p.m. and goes to midnight. Music, a costume contest, and the release of a pumpkin all are all on tap. No cover.
Notes on the Napkin
- Ann Arbor’s neighbor to the southwest, Saline, now has not one but two new microbreweries in planning. Salt Springs Brewery will be located at 117 S. Arbor St. in a 115-year-old former church. Meanwhile, Stony Lake Brewing is looking to open in the former Jasmine Restaurant space at 447 E. Michigan Ave. Lizzy Alfs has the full story here.
- Cheers to the hardworking folks of Arbor Brewing for having three of their beers named No. 1 in the country in their categories, according to BeerInfo.com! The craft beer news site has compiled national Top 10 lists for all beer styles with data culled from RateBeer.com along with results from both the Great American Beer Festival and U.S. Open Beer Championship award contests. Arbor’s Jackhammer was declared best in the U.S. in the Old Ale category, Bliss in the German Hefeweizen category, and Sodibo in the Barrel Aged category. So… what was that about Ann Arbor not being a great beer city, again?
- Make your reservations now for a November 14 beer dinner featuring Witch’s Hat Brewing at Karl’s Cabin, 6005 Gotfredson Rd., Plymouth. Six sumptuous courses are $59 (including tip but not tax); call 734-455-8450.
- All hail the Emperor! Emperor Norton Russian Imperial Stout, that is, which is now back on tap at Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty St., Plymouth. Get it while it lasts (which won’t be long), but be careful of that 9.5% ABV bite.