Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Every Two Weeks in Beer: Halloween, Homebrew, and Belgians

Your next stop: beer.

Submitted for your approval this Halloween weekend and beyond: a smorgasbord of haunted happenings and edifying educational events designed to keep you in fine spirits as autumn proceeds apace. Prepare to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound... but of beer.

Friday, October 31, Halloween

» Beware of things that stalk the night. Unless we’re talking about Night Stalker Pumpkin Cream Stout from Arbor Brewing. A full-bodied dark brew made with lactose and spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove is something you should totally embrace. It’s on tap at the brewpub at 114 E. Washington St. just in time to warm up your Halloween.

» Pop in to Witch’s Hat Brewing, 22235 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon, wearing your Halloween costume 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. Then go back to the taproom 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 ale are all on tap. No cover.

Saturday, November 1

» Today is the 16th annual Learn to Homebrew Day (also known as Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day), and as one might expect, the folks over at Adventures in Homebrewing have big plans. Head over to the shop at 6071 Jackson Rd. for a daylong orgy of brewing demonstrations; beer and wine tasting; and seminars on wine making, cider making, and cleaning and sanitation, the latter of which will feature special guest instructor Jonathan Ettlie of National Chemicals. Bring a dirty carboy or growler for a free cleaning! Store opens at 10 a.m.; visit for more info.

» If you’re closer to Plymouth, the Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club is setting up their brewing demo on the loading dock at Liberty Street Brewing, 149 W. Liberty. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. check out free demos on extract, BIAB (brew in a bag), and all-grain brewing and ask all the questions you want about getting started, what equipment to use, and what the processes are. And help yourself to free hot dog off of the barbecue, too. Liberty Street will be open for business, so you can wash it all down with one of their fine beers as well.

» Halloween is not over at the Beer Grotto, 8059 Main St., Dexter. Head on over sometime after 7 p.m. for a Halloween bash. Dress in your costume, and if you're chosen as Best Dressed, you win a t-shirt and a $25 gift card. And whether you win or not, enjoy $2 off pumpkin beers and ciders all night.

Tuesday, November 4

» So you’re ready to take your beer geekery to the next level. But you can’t decide whether you should study for the Certified Cicerone Program or the Beer Judge Certification Program. Let Certified Cicerone Annette May help you sort it all out with her seminar, “Certifications in Craft Beer: Is BJCP or Cicerone Right for You?” It’s upstairs at Liberty Street Brewing beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the cost is only $12 (cash or check only), which includes a pint of Liberty Street beer.

» Devil’s Night is over; now it’s time for Brewer’s Night. Get over to the Old German, 122 W. Washington, from 6-9 p.m. to enjoy beer samplers, tours of the brewery conducted by head beermakin’ dude Duncan Williams (or one of his minions), and a pin (that’s a small cask) of Pomme d'Automne, aka Biere d’Automne Belgian Ale dosed with Michigan cider.

Friday, November 7

» Join the ladies of Fermenta, Michigan’s craft beverage trade group for women, for a special evening of Belgian food and beer pairing at Ashley’s, 338 S. State St. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., enjoy a three-course snack paired with a fine ale from the Most Interesting Beer Country in the World. Tickets are $20 for Fermenta members and $25 for nonmembers. Space is limited; email to reserve your spot. Everyone is welcome!

Saturday, November 8

» Head over to Original Gravity for Ha-Has for Tatas, a comedy event to benefit Susan G. Komen's campaign against breast cancer. From 5-11 p.m., dig lots of stand-up along with raffle items and a special small-batch brew on tap for the event. Comedians take the stage beginning at 9 p.m. Leave the kiddies at home.

Thursday, November 13

» The biggest, baddest beer tasting of the year is going down at the Arbor Brewpub, 114 E. Washington, from 7-9 p.m. Rev up your thirst and get ready for more than two dozen Belgian and Belgian-style ales, including Trappists, lambics, Flemish browns, tripels, and more. And don’t forget the savory appetizer buffet as well as the beer swag raffle, in which you could take home some groovy new glassware or apparel. Tickets are $30 in advance; $35 day of. Call 734-213-1393 or buy at the pub.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Tickets are on sale for the November 14 Witch's Hat beer dinner at Karl's Cabin in Plymouth. Cost is $59 plus tax and includes six courses. Call 734-455-8450 to reserve your spot.
  • They haven’t been open very long, but already the new Null Taphouse, 2319 Bishop Circle East, Dexter, is going into expansion mode. The taproom, which serves Northern United beverages including Jolly Pumpkin and North Peak beers, Bonafide wines, and Civilized spirits, will incorporate a 1,920 sq. ft. room for special tastings, parties and other events. The expansion will bring the entire space to 4,710 sq. ft. – plenty of elbow room for your drinking needs.
  • Mark November 15 on your calendar. That’s when the much-anticipated new location of Witch’s Hat Brewing is scheduled to open at 601 Lafayette St. in South Lyon. Proprietors Erin and Ryan Cottongim are hiring 20 more people to help serve even more great beer to the thirsty masses in their expanded brewery and taproom.
  • Wolverine State Brewing, 2019 W. Stadium, recently installed a new 16-tap tower for the same reason: moar beer!
  • Not to be left out, Bitter Old Fecker Rustic Ales in Chelsea is also expanding their operations, so look for more of your favorite barrel aged favorites like Strutter Imperial IPA, Kaplan Old Ale, Jet American Black Ale, and Darlin’ American IPA on the shelves in the months ahead.
  • The final thing to expand is the Michigan beer diaspora. Arbor Microbrewery head brewer John Ritenour recently accepted the head brewer role at the Spencer Devon Brewing Co., slated to open in Fredericksburg, Virginia, later this year. We wish John well, but will miss him here in the Great Beer State. Read more about his new adventure here.

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