Yes There’s a Jet’s Pizza Serving Craft Beer

When folks first hear about a Jet’s Pizza tap takeover, the common response is “Wait, did you say JET’S Pizza?” followed immediately by “There’s a Jet’s Pizza that serves BEER?”  The answer is very definitely YES.

But wait, it gets better.

They just don’t serve beer, they serve CRAFT beer.  Think of it like a more amazing redux of the way Pizza Hut used to be back in the day…you know, before people realized you could get a pizza that tasted just as good but with half the grease and at half the price.

Nevertheless, the magical beer-serving Jet’s Pizza we’re talking about is the one in Chelsea at 506 N. Main Street.  This past Thursday April 10th, South Lyon’s Witch’s Hat Brewing was the participant in Jet’s most recent tap takeover, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to come see this incredible place in person.

Jet's Chalkboard

Sure as shootin’, the second you walk through the door you’re greeted by nicely-sized bar and a boatload of taps.  Then there’s the dining area, which is large and offers both tables and booths in a number of configurations.

The menu is the same as you’d find at your local Jet’s Pizza delivery & carry-out store, but that’s where the similarities stop.  Chelsea’s version has music, friendly staff, a spectacular Star Wars-themed restroom, and of course the aforementioned Michigan craft beer.

This ain’t yer daddy’s Pizza Hut, kids.

It’s better.

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Chelsea’s House that Ale Built

Fifteen miles or so west of Ann Arbor sits the town of Chelsea, which is commonly associated with Jeff Daniels, the Chrysler proving grounds, and the Jiffy baking company. Like many of it’s neighbors, Chelsea boasts a well-preserved 19th century downtown, and thankfully, a brewery now as well.

The Chelsea Alehouse, located at 420 N. Main Street, features a sizeable yet comfortable taproom, and a bar overlooking the brewing vessels in the adjacent room. There are both booths and tables in a variety of sizes, all of which help add to the comfortable atmosphere.

As the name implies, there are a number of ales on the taplist. Highlights were the rye IPA and rye porter…not sure what’s going on with the rye in Chelsea, but wow does it make some great beer.

The staff was friendly, the beers were plentiful, and in the end, it was hard to leave. The Alehouse really felt more like an Ale-HOME and we can’t wait to come back.

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Cask Ale is Comin’ Again

Now Spring has finally freakin’ sprung, we can all look forward to drinking some beer outdoors again…and Ashley’s in Westland has the perfect kickoff party – Cask Ale Fest. Here’s the official press release:

Seventh Annual Michigan Cask Ale Festival at Ashley’s to Showcase Largest Selection in the State

WESTLAND – The Michigan Cask Ale Festival returns Saturday, May 3, to Ashley’s Beer & Grill, 7525 Wayne Rd., with the largest lineup of cask-conditioned and served craft beers in the Festival’s seven-year history – and the largest available at one time anywhere in the state.

More than 30 cask ales from renowned breweries across Michigan, the U.S., and even the ocean will be pouring from noon to 5 p.m., while guests also enjoy live music, interaction with brewers and brewery representatives, a menu of premium snacks and entrees, and exhibits designed to highlight National Homebrew Day, which is observed on May 3.

Cask ale, also called real ale, represents the traditional, centuries-old way of serving ale, unfiltered and naturally carbonated by the live yeast in the vessel it’s served from. This cask conditioning results in a more complex, delicately flavorful beer, closer to the way the brewer intended than when it’s poured on a draft system. Even familiar beers long available in bottles or on conventional draft, which typically mixes the beer with extraneous CO2, can exhibit enhanced flavor when conditioned and served from a cask.

“Most venues don’t handle cask ale, or what we call ‘the craft beer of craft beer,’ because the living nature of the beers means they require special handling and serving techniques,” said Roy More, co-owner of Ashley’s. “As the market for craft beer expands, more and more beer lovers are seeking something special, and Ashley’s is committed to providing them with unique taste experiences they can’t find anywhere else.”

For the first time, the Festival will take place entirely outside in the spring air, as Ashley’s opens its new outdoor beer garden to the expected 1,000 or more festgoers. Local band Rustbelt Revival will provide live music throughout the day.
Participating Michigan breweries include Arbor (Ypsilanti), Arcadia Ales (Battle Creek), Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo), Brewery Vivant (Grand Rapids), Founders Brewing (Grand Rapids), Greenbush Brewing (Sawyer), Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Dexter), Dragonmead Brewing (Warren), Latitude 42 (Portage), Liberty Street Brewing (Plymouth), New Holland Brewing (Holland), Vander Mill (Northville), North Peak Brewing (Dexter), Odd Side Ales (Grand Haven), Right Brain Brewery (Traverse City), Saugatuck Brewing (Douglas), and Short’s Brewing (Bellaire).

The Festival also brings in cask beers from across the country and border to border, from California (Green Flash and Lagunitas) to New York (Blue Point) and Maryland (Heavy Seas), from Louisiana (Abita) and places in between such as Utah (Epic) and Colorado (New Belgium). From England, Harviestoun brewery will be represented.

Tickets are $45 at the door, and each ticket includes 12 drink tokens (more can be purchased on site), program and tasting notes, and festival glass. Designated driver (DD) tickets are also available for a nominal cost. For the latest info on the Festival, including the list of rare and unique beers, visit micaskale.ashleys.com and follow the Festival’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michigan-Cask-Ale-Festival/113722341974871. Follow Ashley’s Westland on Twitter (@ashleyswestland) and use hashtag #micaskale.

About Ashley’s

Founded in 1983 next to the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Ashley’s has been proud to serve its guests a wide selection of great beers from around the world for over three decades. Today, as “Michigan’s premier multi-tap,” Ashley’s features an ever-rotating lineup of flavorful draft beers from nearly 120 different taps at our two locations in Ann Arbor and Westland, as well as more than 80 bottled beer selections.

Ashley’s was rated one of the Top 100 Beer Bars by DRAFT Magazine in and Top 50 Beer Restaurants by RateBeer.com and has been voted as having Metro Detroit’s “Best Beer Selection” by WDIV-TV4 viewers six years in a row.

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Bigtime BBQ & Brews in Milford

Right smack dab in the heart of downtown Milford sits a great little BBQ joint with a whole lot to offer.

Smoke Street BBQ, located at 424 N. Main, appears small from the outside but seems to magically expand once you enter the front doors.

The menu is vast and varied, boasting both typical BBQ offerings (like brisket, ribs, chicken, and pulled pork) but also a large number of attractive appetizers and sandwich options.

There is also a large selection of Michigan craft beer, which is featured prominently on a large, colorful chalkboard.

We arrived at 5PM on a Saturday and were seated right away, but the crowd steadily grew. The dining area atmosphere is comfortable, and the server was friendly and attentive.

We opted for the BBQ nachos and BBQ pizza and really enjoyed each one. Short’s Yosemite Scooter was the draft choice, and a tough choice it was due to so many great beers being in the current rotation.

So in case you needed a reason to visit Milford, why not come for a little BBQ and craft beer – that usually does the trick.

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Big Growth In The Works for Witch’s Hat Brewing

Larger production capacity, taproom planned for 2014.

SOUTH LYON – Barely two weeks into 2014, there’s already big craft beer news coming from the little town of South Lyon.

Witch’s Hat Brewing is announcing that they have secured a new home within South Lyon, resulting in a larger taproom and the ability to make even more of their popular beers.  Brewing is expected to begin at 601 S. Lafayette Street in August 2014, with the new taproom opening four months later in December 2014.

WH_Sign 

Witch’s Hat Brewing initially opened its doors in December 2011, and success quickly followed.  The community-focused brewery has established itself as a favorite among South Lyon residents, and the beers have developed a strong reputation such that customers come from across Michigan to try them.  This past year, further validation came in the form of readers voting Witch’s Hat one of the “Best Michigan Breweries” via MLive.com. 

 But recognition has not been limited to the craft beer community.  The brewery also garnished the MISBTDC 2012 Best Small Business and 2013 Main Street USA Awards, and even received a feature on the local Fox affiliate’s “Made in Michigan” TV show.

 “Our first 2 years in the current location for the brewery have been nothing short of amazing,” owners Ryan and Erin Cottongim stated.  “We never expected the response we have received or the demand for the product that has been created. “

WH_taproom

The search for a newer, larger facility began once it became apparent that maximum production capacity at the brewery’s current location at 22235 Pontiac Trail was no longer sufficient to satisfy demand.  In 2012, Witch’s Hat produced 350 barrels of beer, and this number ballooned to nearly 550 barrels in 2013.  With the new brew-house, Witch’s Hat expects to increase production over the next 18 months by 5 fold, estimating new capacity to be 2500 barrels per year. 

 With the added capacity, Witch’s Hat says initial focus will be placed upon their flagship beers – Train Hopper India Pale Ale, Edward’s Portly Brown Ale, Three Kord Kolsch, and Big Doedish Double India Pale Ale.  Increased flagship production will be crucial to the company’s plans to increase their presence in southeast Michigan, most notably through those bars and restaurants that support craft beer.

 Outside of their flagships, the brewery will also be able to continue introducing seasonals and special releases.  To date, beers like the Night Fury Imperial Stout, Tuscan Coffee Stout, Royal Rumble Double Red Ale, and 1908 Smoked Wheat have been limited to the brewery’s taproom.  Witch’s Hat anticipates the additional capacity will afford the opportunity to introduce these specialty beers into the market, and also begin distribution of their popular barrel-aged beers and meads.

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