Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Arbor Brewpub to Revamp Long-Running Monthly Beer Tasting Series in 2016

Photo: Allen "Shaggy" Williams.

Big changes are coming to Ann Arbor's first modern brewery. Beginning in January, the 20-year-old Arbor Brewing brewpub is undergoing a $200,000 makeover, including an expanded bar, renovated kitchen, revamped menu, and the creation of a more open dining area.'s Jessica Webster has all the details on that stuff.

But that's not all that's changing. The brewpub's long-running signature event, the monthly beer tasting series, is also receiving an overhaul to start the new year. Begun only a few years after the brewpub's opening in 1995, each month the beer tastings have offered attendees approximately two dozen beers from other breweries, along with a few of Arbor's own, typically grouped according to styles or broad themes like Belgian beers, porters and stouts, Michigan-made beers, or wheats and witbiers.

This format has served the event well for the past 17 years, according to owners Matt and Rene Greff, but with the increased popularity of what has come to be known as craft beer and changes in customers' tastes, it was time to update things for a new generation of beer lovers, they said.

Here, then, is your first look at what to expect in 2016:

January: New Beginnings
  • Featuring all new breweries and/or new brands from existing breweries
  • Arbor will debut a new beer

February: For the Love of Hops
  • Feautirng new beers that showcase the variety of American pale ales and IPAs
  • Arbor beers: Mr. Delicious Double IPA, Buzzsaw IPA, Largebeat Wheat IPA, HXL, Sacred Cow IPA

March: In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb
  • Featuring half high-gravity beers, half session beers: either above 8% or below 5% ABV
  • Arbor beers: Ypsi Gypsi Session IPA, Jackhammer Old Ale, Steamroller Russian Imperial Stout, Super Snapper Very Special Bitter

April: Out of the Ordinary
  • Featuring unorthodox beers, weird but worth drinking, such as Dogfish Head's ancient ales, Right Brain Mangalitsa Pig Porter, New Belgium Coconut Curry Hefeweizen
  • Arbor beers: Anahata Chakra Honey Lavender Ale, Old Tjikko Spruce Pale Ale, Porter de los Muertos Mole Porter

May: Old World Ales and Lagers
  • A historical tasting of beers from Belgium, Germany, the UK, and other European countries with age-old beer industries
  • Arbor beers: Uskratch Maibock, Big Ben Mild Ale, Knights of Burtonia Bitter Ale, Gobsmacked English IPA, Euchre Pils, Phat Abbot Dubbel and Tripel, Triple Stone ESB, Rabbit's Pipe Belgian Pale Ale

June: All Summer Long
  • Featuring light, easy drinking, and refreshing summer seasonals including wheat and fruit beers
  • Arbor beers: Bliss Hefeweizen, Strawberry Blonde Ale, Festival Saison

July: Made In Michigan
  • Celebrating Michigan Craft Beer Month with Mitten-made beer

August: Think Global, Drink Local
  • Featuring local brewers’ versions of beer styles from all possible continents

September: Fall Favorites
  • Featuring Oktoberfests, brown ales, pumpkin beers, and harvest beers
  • Arbor beers: Oktoberfest, HopTown Brown Ale, Cotswold's Nut Brown Ale

October: Spooky Scary
  • Featuring beers with creepy names like Avery Mephistopholes Stout, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Goose Island Night Stalker Imperial Stout
  • Arbor beers: Violin Monster Autumn Ale, Dark Side India Black Ale

November: Wild Winter
  • Featuring sour ales and beers made with all wild yeast or via open and spontaneous fermentation
  • Arbor beers: Biere Divette, Brune, Framboise, Special Reserve, rotating sour draft beers

December: Home for the Holidays
  • Featuring Christmas and other holiday beers
  • Arbor beers: Wenceslas Winter Fuel, Terminator Doppelbock, Winter Warrior Belgian Stout, Polar Vortex Belgian IPA

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