Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Every Two Weeks in Beer: Big Brews to Keep You Warm in December

Now that you’re done stuffing your face with turkey, mashed potatoes, squash soup, corn, cranberries, and all the rest of the Thanksgiving buffet, it’s time to kick it into high gear for the end-of-year holiday freakout. Check the sale papers! Get out your wallet! Rush, rush, rush, but look out you don’t slip on the ice or bump into that old lady carrying twenty packages.

Well, it’s not all crazy and bad. There are also fun and festive events to light up your December, and many of them even feature big, bold beers to keep you warm as you do the ho-ho-holiday shuffle. Shall we?

Friday, November 28

» Let the shopping frenzy begin! Make one of your stops Arbor Brewing Brewpub, 114 E. Washington, for their Black Friday sale. Look for markdowns on all gift packs and Mug Club memberships as well as a special gift card promotion: for every $25 gift card you buy, you get a bonus $5 gift card good in the New Year. On tap will be Black Magic Porter, a robust, roasty, chocolatey brew made with toasted coconut. And you don’t even have to get up at 4 a.m. to wait outside in the cold.

» Stock up at Whole Foods Market (both locations) with an all-day sale of 25% off all packaged beer (excluding Goose Island Bourbon County beers because crazy demand). As a bonus, the Cranbrook store, 990 W. Eisenhower Pkwy., is having a holiday tap takeover featuring Bell's Christmas Ale, The Bruery's Seven Swans A-Swimming Quadrupel, Dark Horse 4 Elf Winter Warmer, Frankenmuth Christmas Town Ale, Delirium Noel, Motor City Winter Ale, and last but certainly not least, Samichlaus – yep, that Samichlaus.

» Not to be outdone, the Beer Grotto, 8059 Main St., Dexter, is also having a 25% off everything sale all day long. Plus there are gift card incentives: buy a $25 gift card, get $5; a $50 card, get $10; and a $100 card, get $25.

Tuesday, December 2

» Get over to the Arbor Brewing Microbrewery, 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti, for a new holiday tradition: the release of FIGJAM Belgian-style Quadrupel Ale. What’s that? The acronym stands for "Fuck, I'm Good; Just Ask Me," but as far as the beer goes it’s a big, boozy abbey-style ale full of dark fruit flavors and a dry, warming alcohol finish. Tickets are $10 and include beer samples, snacks, and a chat with the brewer. Mug club members attend for free. Party is from 6-7 p.m.

» It’s Brewer’s Night once again at Grizzly Peak, 122 W. Washington St., from 6-9 p.m. Stop by for discounted samplers, a special cask brew (Ann Arbor Star of India Porter), and a tour of the place where all the magic happens from head brewer Duncan Williams himself (or one of his minions, because sometimes he’s too important).

» Over at Ashley’s, 338 S. State St., they’re releasing the hounds, and by hounds I mean geese. No, wait, I mean the stouts – the Bourbon County brand stouts from Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Co. At 6 p.m., look for the taps to be pouring Bourbon County Barleywine, Bourbon County Coffee Stout, Bourbon County Stout, and the brand new Bourbon County Vanilla Rye Stout. There will also be kegs of Sofie and The Ogden, a Belgian-style tripel. Don’t miss out on the chance to try these sought-after brews.

Friday, December 5

» Downtown Ann Arbor’s annual Midnight Madness takes off, with shops staying open late and offering deals to the shoppers with disposable income. If you missed out on the Black Friday thing, Arbor Brewing is reprising that day’s sale. And be sure to say hi to Santa and whomever else you encounter roaming the streets.

» A little further north in Kerrytown is the annual Kindlefest, an outdoor holiday celebrating featuring an artisans market, live music, a lantern parade, Christmas caroling, and fire pits to keep you warm. Oh, and also tasty treats as well as wine, beer, and other beverages, man. The fun lasts from 6-10 p.m.

Monday, December 8

» Beginning today, Ashley’s is going Founders crazy all week long. In addition to the regular taps of Founders – Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale, Porter, Pale Ale (nitro), and Red’s Rye PA – look for rotating kegs of Backwoods Bastard Barrel Aged Ale, Breakfast Stout, Centennial IPA, Curmudgeon Old Ale, Dark Penance Imperial Black IPA, Imperial Stout, KBS, Mosaic Promise IPA, Oatmeal Stout, and Sweet Repute Wheatwine. Like Ashley’s Ann Arbor on Facebook for details about when the various kegs will be tapped.

Thursday, December 11

» Get into the spirit with Arbor Brewing’s annual Holiday Beer Tasting. Get to the brewpub at 114 E. Washington from 7-9 p.m. for a taste of more than two dozen Christmas ales, doppelbocks, old ales, meads, spiced beers, and whatever else seems appropriate. Tickets are $25 in advance and include beer samples, an appetizer buffet, tasting notes, and the chance to take home some pretty swanky door prizes, including a free pass to all of next year’s tastings. Buy at the pub or call 734-213-1393.

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