If you enjoy trying new beers in a fun, unusual, and creative environment, the Ypsi Arbor Beer Week (YABW) is the event for you. More accurately, YABW is a week-long series of tap take-overs, tastings, and other celebrations of craft beer. A multitude of beer-oriented events will take place between August 1-9, 2014, in the towns of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Cory Hamlin of the Ypsilanti Convention and Visitors Bureau to learn more about the concept, and what makes it special. Four major themes emerged:
The Focus: Craft Beer
There has been a recent proliferation of beer festivals, many of which claim to be a celebration of craft beer. Those of you who have attended a few different types of beer festivals may have recognized that some festivals feature brands which are explicitly not craft brews. Particularly for those of us who have attended and enjoyed the long-standing fests that are truly craft-focused, this can be disappointing. Cory stressed that, with YABW, one need not fret! Each of the beers and breweries featured will be of the craft variety.
Lots to Do
Sure, YABW is a week-long series of events. How many, though? Cory and his planning committee colleagues hope to see around 50 events during the series. Each event will feature a knowledgeable representative from the featured brewery or their distributor. The goal is for all events to be interactive and fun.
The Beer Week concept is not new to Michigan. Although this is the inaugural year for Ypsi-Arbor, there have been Beer Weeks in Kalamazoo and Traverse City for several years. Last year, Kalamazoo’s Beer Week surpassed 100 events. With all of the establishments in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, plus the region’s enthusiasm about craft beer, this goal seems feasible.
The event schedule is posted here. Since the schedule will grow continuously through at least August 1, be sure to check it often.
The Weirder, the Better
Beer tastings are fun, but in my opinion, multi-course dinners with specialized beer pairings are even better! The most successful events in Kalamazoo and Traverse City have been creative, off-the-wall, and unexpected in their way of incorporating craft beer and food while also and learning from the brewer. Check the schedule to see what your favorite establishment is up to. Have an idea that you want your favorite establishment to implement? Don’t see your favorite place on the schedule yet? Suggest that they sign up (maybe with your idea)! Send them to www.visitypsinow.com/yabw for more info.
It Overlaps with Sportball at the Big House
My most sincere apologies to anyone who is offended by my use of “sportball” to represent an event which causes
extreme exuberance for some. My ignorance is apparent, and I admit it readily. For those of you with similar sports IQs, here’s the deal: On August 2, 2014—the second day of YABW—Michigan Stadium will host a Manchester United v. Real Madrid soccer game (or is it “match”?). It’s the first of its kind at the Big House, and it sold out in within a day. Since the Big House is the largest college football stadium in the universe, that’s a big deal. Even though I’m sports-ignorant, I understand that things are bound to get nutty—nutty!—in the area. If you want to watch in a place near the stadium, taste a new craft beer, and learn a bit about beer before the game, I suspect you’ll have some YABW-related opportunities.
Are you excited to check it out? What’s most interesting to you? I’ll attend at least a few of these events, and I hope to see you there!