|Block Brewing in Howell is just one place serving up some new beer in the New Year.|
Soon 2014 will be in the history books, and 2015 will be here, promising another year of the things that make life worth living, like tasty beer. As we prepare to throw out the old and welcome in the new, let’s raise a glass of good cheer, filled to the brim with the world’s best beverage – and I don’t mean Champagne.
Friday, December 26
» Witch’s Hat Brewing, now in its new location at 601 S. Lafayette St., South Lyon, is celebrating its third anniversary with the annual After Xmas Xmas Party. Festivities kick off at 11 a.m. for Mug Club members and noon for the riff raff. The After Xmas Xmas Ale, a spiced, oak-aged Belgian-style brew, will be available in 22 oz. bottles for $12 apiece (limit two per person). It will also be on tap, along with Bourbon Barrel Night Fury Imperial Stout with Vanilla Bean, Bourbon Barrel Territorial Baltic Porter, and Well Water Barleywine. Live music begins at 4 with Rollie Tussing and the Midwest Territory Band.
Wednesday, December 31
» Ring in the New Year 1920s style at the Arbor Brewing Microbrewery, 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti, with their New Year’s Eve Speakeasy Party. Put on your flapper or gangster attire and enjoy happy hour pricing for your efforts. Also on special will be all entrees, growler fills, six-packs and cases before 8 p.m. From 9 to 1 a.m., dig grooves from the Tone Farmers and another band TBD.
» The Chelsea Alehouse, 420 N. Main St., Chelsea, is also hosting a 1920s-style gala beginning at 8 p.m., with beer releases at 9 and 10 as well as a midnight toast. Dress in your vintage duds and enjoy live jazz, hors d’oeuvres, and a photo booth. Tickets are $30 in advance or $40 at the door. Call 734-475-2337 or buy at the taproom.
» Across the parking lot from the Alehouse, the Jet’s Pizza Sportsroom is also having a New Year’s Eve bash including live music and a Champagne toast at midnight.
Saturday, January 3
» Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast members get to enjoy a tour of the brand-spanking-new Witch’s Hat Brewing facility. Details including time are up in the air as of this writing. Call the brewery at 248-486-2595 for more information.
Tuesday, January 6
» Over at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower Pkwy., prepare your taste buds for an assault from Dark Horse Brewing as the Wine and Beer Bar turns over the taps to the Marshall brewery. Draft list TBD; event begins at 5 p.m.
» Head back to the Arbor Microbrewery in Ypsi for the official release party for Mr. Delicious IPA, from 6-7 p.m. Sayeth Arbor: “This beer leads off with a stiff round-house punch of citrusy hops, follows up with a quick kick of bready malts and warming alcohol, and finishes with a powerful and lingering bite of complex layered hops.” Beer samples, snacks, and remarks from one of the brewers are part of the deal. Free for Mug Club members; $10 for the benighted ones.
» It’s Brewer’s Night time at Grizzly Peak, 120 W. Washington St., from 6-9 p.m. Sampler specials, a cask tapping (of Le Grand Portage Biere de Garde), and brewery tours are all yours for the asking, courtesy of Duncan Williams and his team of brewing elves.
Notes on the Napkin
- Congratulations to Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery, 207 E. Washington Ave., named one of the “Best Gastropubs in the U.S.” by Food & Wine magazine. Writes F&W’s Courtney Balestier, “Whether they take a heavy cue from British tradition or hew more to modern American style, these top-notch pubs all have two things in common: exceptional meals and beers to match.” Here's more from MLive's Dana Afana.
- The renovations are done, and now Whole Foods Ann Arbor, 3135 Washtenaw Ave., has a permanent wine and beer bar, nicknamed Bleachers owing to its construction out of wood reclaimed from old bleachers and locker rooms. There are 12 taps and an assortment of wine bottles available. Read more about it from MLive's Matt Durr.
- HopCat Ann Arbor has announced a grand opening date of February 14. Astute observers will note that this is Valentine's Day as well as a Saturday. Be prepared for a lot of beer love. Also, if you're looking for a job, HopCat plans to hire 170 (not a typo) employees to help sling the suds when they open; the hiring center is located on 1119 S. University Ave. Here's more from Matt Durr.
- Up in Howell, the former Shark Club, 1140 S. Michigan Ave., has been transformed into the new Block Brewing Co. Your correspondent recently paid a visit, and you can read about my findings over on MittenBrew.