Craft Beer, Wine Tastings & More: May Events in the D

By: Toni Cunningham | May 12, 2014

Kicking back in the sunshine with an ice-cold beer in hand is one of America’s greatest pastimes. Thus, it’s no coincidence that American Craft Beer Week begins today, Monday, May 12, and runs through Sunday, May 18.

It’s starting to warm up in the Motor City, and this week is the perfect occasion to celebrate the most refreshing beverage out there: beer. Like my good friend Lee Brice, “I like it in a mug, in a bottle, in a cup, I like it with a shot,” and I’m sure many of you do, too.

Let’s rejoice and honor our favorite beverage by raising a glass and attending any one (or more) of these events throughout the month of May. Yes, ACBW is only a weeklong affair, but let’s stretch things out a bit, shall we?

Arbor Brewing Company, 114 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor, is celebrating Craft Beer Week with different specials each day. Various guest tap selections will be chosen by head brewer Mike Moroney and include Sacred Gruit Ale (Mt. Pleasant Brewing Co.) and 90 Minute IPA (Dogfish Head Brewery).

On Monday, enjoy happy hour all day with $3 standard selection 20-ounce pints. Take-Out Tuesday includes $5 off growler fills and $1 off six-packs. If you purchase a beer sampler on Wednesday, you’ll receive a keepsake logo tasting glass for free! Thursday is Industry Day, where all patrons receive 20 percent off retail and happy hour priced pints. Beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, ABC’s Buzzsaw IPA will be flowing on tap. On Saturday, you’ll have the opportunity to meet Moroney during a tour and mini-tasting from noon to 1 p.m. To round out the week, happy hour pints will be on special all day on Sunday.

Bill’s Beer Garden, 218 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor, is a great way to enjoy a cold one alfresco, especially during the spring and summer months. To celebrate both American Craft Beer Week and locally brewed beer, Bill’s will host a Bell’s Kick Off the Can Party on Tuesday, May 13. Head there to sip on ice-cold cans of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and Oberon—both of which made their aluminum can debut at the end of April.

Additionally, they have a great selection of Michigan made beers on tap like Sapient Trip Ale (Dark Horse Brewing Company), El Mole Ocho (New Holland Brewing), Centennial IPA (Founder’s Brewing Co.) and St. James English Ale (Paw Paw Brewing Company).

Grand Trunk Pub, 612 Woodward Ave., Detroit, is holding an event suitable for both beer fans and pop culture junkies. The restaurant will host a Simpson’s Beer Pairing Dinner on Tuesday, May 13 that pairs a four-course meal with Dragonmead Brewery offerings.

The menu consists of You Don’t Make Friends With Salad, Disco Stew, Blinky The Three-Eyed Fish, and MMMMM…Donuts. Each course is paired with a Dragonmead draft (Red Wing Raspberry Wheat, Erik the Red, Bronze Griffon Belgian Ale and Mariann’s Honey Brown, respectively). Dinner begins at 7 p.m. and costs $45 per person.

(Note: while this is American Craft Beer week, I’m aware that not all of you are fans of beer. Some of you prefer wine. So there are also going to be a few wine activities sprinkled throughout this article, and maybe even a liquor one, too. Please proceed!)

The Rattlesnake Club, 300 River Place Dr., Detroit, is rejoicing in the season with a Celebrate Spring Wine Tasting on Wednesday, May 14 at 6 p.m. If the sun is shining, the event will be held on the terrace, where you will have the opportunity to sample seven different wines from vineyards worldwide. A menu of small plates will be provided with each selection.

Tickets are required and cost $45 in advance.

50 Sips Wine, 37522 Ann Arbor Trail, Livonia, is hosting its first Cigar and Port Wine Tasting event on Saturday, May 17 at 7 p.m. Participants will receive three cigars, several port wine tastings and a buffet of small plates. If the weather allows, the event will be held outdoors!

Tickets cost $35 in advance, $45 at the door.

Downtown Royal Oak’s Wine Stroll will be held on Saturday, May 17 and is a great way to explore the downtown area while sampling some vino. Held from noon to 5 p.m., the Wine Stroll allows participants to sample featured wines and snacks from nearly 20 of Royal Oak’s best bars and restaurants.

The event includes participating venues such as Andiamo Royal Oak, Blackfinn, Fifth Avenue, Mr. B’s Pub, O’Toole’s, Tom’s Oyster Bar, Vinotecca, Woody’s and more. Tickets cost $40 in advance and proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland and Macomb counties. On Saturday morning, check-in takes place on Fifth Street between Washington and Center beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Karl’s Cabin, 6005 Gotfredson Rd., Plymouth Township, is hosting a Strolling Wine Tasting and Dinner on Wednesday, May 21 at 6 p.m. I’ve had the pleasure of attending one of these before, and I can tell you that it is definitely worth going to. Not only do you receive your own complimentary wine glass to use while sampling and take home, you get to try 15 different wines from all over the world—red, white and everything in between.

Sampling wine on an empty stomach would just be in poor taste, so of course Karl’s provides you with a delicious buffet to choose from, including items like Northern Jambalaya, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Linguini Arabiatta and more. Trust me, this is one you don’t want to miss.

Dabble in the Farms is a “craft tasting experience” held at 41 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Farms on Saturday, May 31. The event begins at 6 p.m. and will showcase dozens of Michigan-made beers, wines and distilleries.

Restaurants and food trucks will be on hand to provide food, and The Reefermen Acoustic Duo and The Giving Tree Band will provide the evening’s entertainment.

Tickets cost $40 in advance ($45 at the door—if there are any left) and include 15 drink tickets. All proceeds benefit the Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society, so it’s a great reason to sample local beer and wine!

Since no beer and wine article would be complete without a boozy related event, I feel the need to share with you the following: Tequila Mundo, which will be held at the Royal Oak Farmers Market on Saturday, May 31. The event features 60 plus tequilas, served neat or mixed, and tacos available for purchase from Alley Taco, Rojo Mexican Bistro, Zumba Mexican Grill, Taqueria El Nacimiento, On the Border Mexican Grill and Camelia’s Mexican Grill.

General tasting tickets cost $45 and include a tasting cup and 10 drink tickets (for half-ounce samples). With general admission tickets, you are allowed entry from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The V.I.P. tasting costs $65 and allows for early entry at 7 p.m. and five additional samples. A designated driver ticket is available for $10.

Whether you favor beer, wine or liquor, there’s a refreshing event awaiting you in Metro Detroit this month. Cheers!