Monday, April 08, 2013

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

Written by  David Bardallis
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Sixth Michigan Cask Ale Festival at Ashley’s to Showcase Largest Selection in the State

More Than 1,000 Expected to Attend Unique, Newly Expanded Event
The Michigan Cask Ale Festival returns Saturday, May 4, to Ashley’s Beer & Grill, 7525 Wayne Rd., with expanded hours and the largest lineup of cask-conditioned and served beers in the Festival’s six-year history – and the largest available at one time anywhere in the state.
Sixth Michigan Cask Ale Festival at Ashley’s to Showcase Largest Selection in the StateMore than 30 cask ales from renowned breweries across Michigan, the U.S., and even the ocean will be pouring from noon to 8 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 4.

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 Jeff 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 bands will provide live music throughout the day, with popular roots and bluegrass headliners Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys taking the stage at 8 p.m.

Sixth Michigan Cask Ale Festival at Ashley’s to Showcase Largest Selection in the StateParticipating Michigan breweries include Arbor Brewing (Ann Arbor), Arcadia Ales (Battle Creek), Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo), Brewery Vivant (Grand Rapids), Dark Horse Brewing (Marshall), Dragonmead Microbrewery (Warren), Founders Brewing (Grand Rapids), Greenbush Brewing (Sawyer), Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Dexter), Kuhnhenn Brewing (Warren), Liberty Street Brewing (Plymouth), The Livery (Benton Harbor), New Holland Brewing (Holland), Northville Winery (Northville), North Peak Brewing (Dexter), Odd Side Ales (Grand Haven), Saugatuck Brewing (Saugatuck), and Short’s Brewing (Bellaire).

But the Festival goes well beyond Michigan, also encompassing breweries from Colorado (New Belgium and Left Hand) Maryland (Heavy Seas), Utah (Epic), California (Stone and Lagunitas), New York (Blue Point), and elsewhere. Breweries participating from England – the home of cask ale – include JW Lees, Ruddles, and Thornbridge.

Tickets are $30 in advance ($35 at the door, if available) and can be purchased online at the Festival’s official site, Each ticket includes 12 drink tokens (more can be purchased on site), program and tasting notes, and a commemorative pin. Last year’s event sold out, so beer lovers are encouraged to buy early to avoid missing out.

For the latest info on the Festival, including the beer list as it becomes available, visit and follow the Festival’s Facebook page at Follow Ashley’s Westland on Twitter 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 nearly 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 2013 and Top 50 Beer Restaurants by in 2012 and has been voted as having Metro Detroit’s “Best Beer Selection” by WDIV-TV4 viewers six years in a row.

David Bardallis

David Bardallis

David writes regular columns for The Ann Arbor News and Great Lakes Brewing News, along with occasional features for Michigan Beer Guide and other publications. His book, Ann Arbor Beer: A Hoppy History of Tree Town Brewing, is available on and wherever fine paperbacks are sold. A lifelong Michigander, longtime craft beer drinker, and sometime homebrewer, he lives in Ann Arbor, where he maintains his blog at