Tap Takeovers: Mitten Breweries Team Up with Local Eateries

By: Toni Cunningham | November 11, 2013
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 If you’re a resident of the mitten, there’s a large chance that you’re a craft beer fan. If you’re not, you’re doing it wrong.

As a microbrew aficionado, there’s no bigger party foul than going to a restaurant or bar, ordering your favorite beer, and finding out that said establishment doesn’t carry it. While you could throw a fit and plummet into despair because you can’t enjoy the Soft Parade you’ve been craving all day, never fear.

One way to assure that your favorite local beer will be flowing all night is by attending a tap takeover. If you’re wondering, “what the heck is a tap takeover?” allow me to explain. It’s an event where a particular brewery takes over (get it?) the taps at a restaurant or brewery for an evening. That means that instead of serving water—I mean Miller Lite—all night, the taps will be flowing with more local beers than you know what to do with.

Oftentimes, tap takeovers include beers that are only accessible at the particular brewery and aren’t available by the six-pack. This is great for two reasons—you get to sample something somewhat exclusive, and you don’t have to use your precious gas to get to the brewery in order to do so.

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There are several tap takeovers (most of which include dinner) coming up in the Metro Detroit area throughout the next few weeks:

Bell’s Brewery of Kalamazoo will host an Oyster and Stout Pairing at Tom’s Oyster Bar, 318 S. Main. St., Royal Oak, on Wednesday, November 13. Michigan beer and oyster fans will enjoy a six-course meal, as well as beer pairings. After a Winter White “welcome beer,” the seafood-centric meal will include the following:

  • First course: Raw East Coast oysters with Bell’s Christmas Ale
  • Second course: Raw West Coast oysters with Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout
  • Third course: Oyster Stew with Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout
  • Fourth course: Smoked Oysters with homemade Sweet Potato Chips and Crème Fresh with Bell’s Cherry Stout
  • Fifth course: Charbroiled Oysters with Bell’s Java Stout
  • Dessert course: Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bell’s Expedition Stout 

With all of that food, there’s no way you’ll leave hungry (or thirsty). The best part is, it all costs just $35 per person. The event will kick off at 6 p.m., so make sure you get there early to beat the crowd!

A second tap takeover will take place on Wednesday, November 13, with the Jolly Pumpkin Beer Dinner at Local Kitchen & Bar, 344 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale. The five-course meal includes dishes so delectable, you’ll be wishing you could go back for seconds:

  • First course: Warm Pear Soup with Jolly Pumpkin’s Bam Biere
  • Second course: Grilled Shrimp with Jolly Pumpkin’s Oro de Calabaza
  • Third course: Crisp Duck Ravioli with Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja
  • Fourth course: Braised Short Rib, Potato-Yam Gratin and Roasted Baby Carrot with Jolly Pumpkin’s Noel Calabaza
  • Fifth course: Six-Layer Carrot Cake, Bam Noire Cinnamon Mousse and Hazelnut Croquante with Jolly Pumpkin’s Bam Noire

A vegetarian menu will also be available upon request. The dinner begins at 7 p.m. and costs $70 per person. Call and reserve a spot before it’s too late!

New Holland Brewing Co. will invade Toast, 203 Pierce St., Birmingham, for a Beer and Whiskey Dinner on Thursday, November 21. The six-course meal includes the following dishes prepared by executive chef Myles:

  • First course: Pastrami Cured Arctic Char with New Holland’s Monkey King Saison
  • Second course: Chanterelles and Braised Swiss Chard with New Holland’s Rye Hatter
  • Third course: Maple Glazed Pork Belly with New Holland’s Four Witches Black Saison
  • Fourth course: Beef Cheek and Sweet Potato Poutine with New Holland’s El Mole Ocho
  • Fifth course: Cranberry Granita with New Holland’s Bill’s Michigan Wheat Whiskey
  • Sixth Course: Butterscotch Pudding with New Holland’s Dragons Milk Imperial Stout

New Holland’s Beer Barrel Bourbon will also be served. The first course will be dished up at 7:30 p.m., and the event costs $65. Reservations are required, so be sure to call ahead!

Short’s Brewing Company of Bellaire will host a tap takeover at Whole Foods Cranbrook, 990 W. Eisenhower Pkwy., Ann Arbor, on Friday, November 22.

From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., eight beers will be on tap, including Good Humans (a dark ale), Kind Ale (a seasonal fall beer), Funkin’ Punkin’ (self explanatory), The Curl (an imperial pilsner), and Ale la Reverend (an IPA).

Additionally, Brian Talpos of Short’s will be present to answer any questions about food pairings, the beer itself, or anything else your heart desires.

Short’s Brewing Company will also invade the taps at One Eyed Betty’s, 175 W. Troy Ave., Ferndale, for its FestivALE holiday celebration on Saturday, November 23. The tap takeover will feature, for the most part, beers that are never served outside of the Short’s brewery.

The event will ring in the holiday season and highlight several local holiday beers, including those from Bell’s Brewery, Dark Horse Brewing Company, and Ann Arbor Brewing Company. While the Short’s beers will be available inside, the rest of the festival will take place in the streets with heated tents and bonfires.

While the beer is the star here, there will be food stations serving comfort food and local bands providing tunes. What’s a better way to spend a Saturday? The fun starts at noon and tickets cost $20. Tickets include entrance to the festival and a 16 oz. commemorative cup (food and drinks cost extra).

Tap takeovers are a great opportunity to get a taste of even more Michigan-made beer, without having to travel to the actual brewery. If there’s a festival or dinner involved, even better!