Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Every Two Weeks in Beer: Resolve to Drink Better Beer

Coming really soon: 36 taps at The Beer Grotto's new Ann Arbor location at 303 S. Ashley St.

It’s a new year, and you’ve probably got a whole list of things you’ve resolved to accomplish in 2015. Things like get in shape, get organized, save money, finally clean out that damn garage, and stop judging other people so harshly for their poor grammar. Oops, that last one’s me. May I humbly suggest that you also resolve to drink better beer? It’s easy to do. There’s so much of it all around town that it’s hard to keep up, even if you already feel like you’re doing a pretty good job. Here’s the latest roundup to give you ideas. And you may want to go ahead and renew that gym membership in the meantime. Just in case.

Friday, January 9

» Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower Pkwy., is bringing a bit of Belgium into the store. From 6-7 p.m. at the Lifestyle Center explore a selection of Belgian ales, paired with light refreshments, as a local beer enthusiast (no, not me) provides background and information on those tastes in your mouth. Cost is $10. Call 734-997-7500.

Saturday, January 10

» Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast members get to enjoy tours from two local breweries today. At 11 a.m., see where both North Peak and Jolly Pumpkin beers are brewed at the Northern United Brewing Co. production facility, 2319 Bishop Circle East, Dexter. Dan the Beer Maverick will guide you through the works, and afterward you can enjoy samples of Pumpkin and Peak beers along with some light snacks in the adjoining NULL Taphouse. Discounted merchandise including growlers will also be available. RSVP to Kerry McLean at

» Then at 4 p.m., head over to the Chelsea Alehouse, 420 N. Main St., Chelsea, for a tour of the brewery with founder/brewer Chris Martinson. Beer samples and discounted pints and sandwiches will be available as well. RSVP to

Monday, January 12

» The Beer Grotto, 8059 Main St., Dexter, welcomes Jolly Pumpkin founder and head brewer Ron Jeffries and North Peak head brewer John Walsh for a special evening of meet-and-greet beginning at 6 p.m. For a mere $22, you get two commemorative glasses (a Jolly Pumpkin tulip and North Peak shaker pint), four 3 oz. samples each of Jolly and North Peak beers, a free bowl of truffle oil popcorn, a 10% off coupon for a growler fill, and some serious beer conversation. Go here for more info and to buy tickets.

Wednesday, January 14

» It’s beer tasting time again at the Arbor Brewing Brewpub, 114 E. Washington. The featured styles are porters and browns, and you can dig two dozen different versions of them from 7-9 p.m., along with an appetizer buffet and an opportunity to snag some door prizes to take home and admire. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 if purchased on tasting day. Call 734-213-1393 or buy at the pub.

Thursday, January 15

» Fraser's Pub, 2045 Packard St., is tapping a couple special Dogfish Head kegs at 6 p.m., including the elusive new American Beauty Imperial Pale Ale. It's named in honor of every stoner's favorite band, the Grateful Dead, not the Kevin Spacey movie. Just so you know.

Friday, January 16

» Friday happy hour at Whole Foods Cranbrook features beers from Bell’s Brewery from 5-7 p.m. Tap list TBD.

» Get your funk on at the Arbor Brewing Microbrewery, 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti, with Thank Funk It’s Friday. Beginning at 7 p.m., dig grooves from Halcyon Sound DJs spinning funk, soul, boogie-woogie, and old school jams while you sip on a variety of funky sour beers on tap. No cover.

» World of Beer, 1300 S. University Ave., is having a release party for New Belgium's Slow Ride Session IPA at 7 p.m. This brew contains seven hop varietals, chief among them Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin, which combine to form, in the brewery's words, "brilliant tropical scents of melon, peach, lime and grapefruit for a vividly fruity aroma."

Sunday, January 18

» Who counts out the drink tokens for the Michigan Brewers Guild's Winter Beer Festival in Grand Rapids? You might think it'd be denizens of Beer City USA doing it, but instead it's people in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, because we're cool like that. Head over to the Arbor Brewing Microbrewery from 1-5 p.m. and join the volunteer crew putting together packets for the festival. As a token of their appreciation – see what I did there? – the Michigan Brewers Guild will pick up your beer tab.

Monday, January 19

» You’ve heard of Shark Week, perhaps? Well, Ashley’s, 338 S. State St., is celebrating Short’s Week. So instead of facing down some ferocious man-eating sea predators, the brave explorer who dares to visit the pub all this week will be facing down a plethora of different beers from the beloved Northern Michigan brewery. On tap all week will be flagships Bellaire Brown Ale, Huma Lupa Licious IPA, Local’s Light Lager, Prolonged Enjoyment Session IPA, and Soft Parade. Rotating on and off the taps will be a plethora of other flavors, including seasonals Good Humans Double Brown Ale, Snow Wheat Ale, and Space Rock Pale Ale, as well as 18 other selections including Aphasia Brown Ale, Autumn Ale, Bonafide Legit IPA, ControversiALE IPA, Cup A Joe Coffee Stout, The Curl Imperial Pilsner, Dolly Dagger Belgian Double IPA, Dr. Zeus IPA, Juicy Tree IPA, Kind Ale, Li’l Wheezy Amber Ale, The Magician Irish Red Ale, Nicie Spicie, Night Wheeler Black Lager, Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster Belgian IPA, Papa Burgundy Dunkelweiss, Quasar Dank Rye Ale, and White Falcon Belgian White Ale. In addition, four pub-only beers will be tapped at 6 p.m. on succeeding days: Tapawera IPA (today), S’more Stout (Tuesday), Shadow Assassin Smoked Lager (Wednesday), and Bourbon Barrel Aged Evil Urges Belgian Dark Ale (Friday). Finally, Thursday is Randall night, with a TBA beer to be served through the hop-infusing doodad.

» OMG CBS! Fraser's has a keg of Founders Brewing's sought-after specialty imperial stout, aged in bourbon and maple syrup barrels, so if you haven't managed to get any yet, you'll want to belly up to the bar here around 6 p.m. Read more about the CBS phenomenon here.

Tuesday, January 20

» Whole Foods Cranbrook is featuring happy hour beers from Arbor Brewing from 5-7 p.m. at the Wine and Beer Bar. Tap list TBD.

Notes on the Napkin
  • Some religious folks hold that drinking is a sin, but I say if that were true, the Irish never would have converted. If you needed more proof, Grace Ann Arbor Church is working to open Cultivate, a new hybrid coffee and craft beer bar in Ypsilanti's Depot Town. It's expected to be ready for coffee by May, with the beer to follow sometime in the summer. Read more about it in this article from Natalie Burg on Concentrate.
  • The Beer Grotto's Ann Arbor location, in the space at 303 S. Ashley St. formerly occupied by Dragon's Lair Futons, finally received the go-ahead from the state liquor bureaucracy just today. Expect a grand opening within the next week or so.

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