American Craft Beer Week is coming up fast and will be celebrated May 12-18.

There’s a lot to celebrate.

The number of great craft breweries grows monthly, and the product these innovative brewers are turning out can only be described as getting better and better all the time, (and that is really saying something.)

Look. The fact of life is, careless craft brewers with less than acceptable beers coming off ‘the line’ simply don’t survive long. Those who do are more often than not crafters seriously dedicated to their art.

Thank goodness.

Craft Beer Week is a chance to get out and sample something new and exciting, and an opportunity to introduce the uninitiated to an exciting new taste experience.

Enjoy the week.

And ...as a kickoff to Craft Beer Week, allow me to simply quote from an article produced by the good folks at Beer Marketer’s Insights.

It would seem the unimaginable, and the inconceivable has actually happened. (Granted, in a limited market, but it has happened nevertheless.) Craft beers have beaten out the two major mega-brewers in an open market!

“Craft (beer) sales are up 16.3 percent in Portland IRI foodstores year-to-date through 3/30 while total beer sales are up 6.8 percent overall.

“Portland market off to a very healthy start in 2014. But with craft’s continued outsized growth in its most developed market, craft jumped from a 3.8 (percent) share of beer sales to 45.8 (percent.)

“Craft (beer sales) are now bigger than Anheuser Busch and MillerCoors combined. They (the two mega-brewers) are down to 40.6 share of dollar revenue in Portland foodstores - down another 2.1 share, even though their sales were up 1.5 percent each here.”

Some events, (certainly not all), around the state celebrating American Craft Beer Week include:

May 12-17

ACBW at CBC

101 N. Main St. | Cheboygan | American Craft Beer Week

May 12-18

Celebrating ACBW All Week at 7 Monks Taproom!

Traverse City| Traverse City | American Craft Beer Week

May 12-18

Celebrate American Craft Beer Week at the Rusty Bucket!

Rusty Bucket Northville | Northville | American Craft Beer Week

May 12-17

American Craft Beer Week Collaboration (Holland)

New Holland Brewing Co. Pub | Holland | American Craft Beer Week

May 13

Craft Beer 101 at the Short’s Pub

Short’s Brewing Company | Bellaire | American Craft Beer Week

May 15

Cheboygan Brewing Company Beer 101 Class

101 N. Main St. | Cheboygan| American Craft Beer Week

Food & Beer Pairing: Appetizer Special

Short’s Brewing Company | Bellaire | American Craft Beer Week

May 17

Arcadia Ales and Alfred E. Bike Ride

Arcadia Ales | Kalamazoo | American Craft Beer Week

Thanks to our friends at CraftBeer.com for the listings.

There may be more, and more locally.

We will keep our ears open and pass on the information.

CABIN FEVER BROWN ALE NEW HOLLAND BREWING CO. HOLLAND

I had a bottle of Cabin Fever left from a winter tasting. Now that there is no danger of REAL cabin fever, I can enjoy a bottle of Cabin Fever!

Pouring a glass of Cabin Fever, one is rewarded with a very, VERY deep red glass of ale, so dark it is almost black.

The head is creamy and fluffy, rich and long-lasting.

Cabin Fever has a dignified ‘nose,’ rich in malt. It is easy to smell reminders of a roasting process. There is no yeasty background.

A deep whiff of Cabin Fever holds everything a serious ale should be putting out there. It is subtle yet sensual; quiet but strong.

The scent carries comfortably over to the palette. A good sip leaps into the mouth with a strong expression of malts holding a serious caramel kick.

The flavor is intense. It announces itself well with the first drink and settles in for a pleasant visit.

There are other tastes hiding in Cabin Fever. It keeps you guessing - grainy, malty, definitely caramely, and maybe a hint of coffee.

The rich taste lingers ... almost creamy.

Cabin Fever isn’t feverish or aggressive, but it sure offers a warm trip around the mouth.

Look, I’ve already used the word “creamy” a couple times.

Let me suggest this brown ale is velvety - a great drink to sip in front of the fire place. I’d suggest a crusty, heavily grained roll with thick sliced cured meats as a great accompaniment to this brew.

It was highly appreciated by a fan of the more subtle, musky ales ... me!

CROOKED TREE IPA DARK HORSE BREWING CO. MARSHALL

This was interesting.

Crooked Tree pours a thick, hazy amber. Like dull gold.

It offered a firm head that held well - off-white, bordering on a beige in color.

The IPA was dull, almost turbid, with a heavy and persistent bubbling.

There was little malt or yeast scent, but this IPA cried out with hoppiness. There also were hints of something else - a certain fruitiness with a traces of something similar to mango or maybe plum. There is ...something there. Not a bad something. Rather inviting.

This trace fruitiness introduces itself before the first burst of hops hits. And when the hops hit, they do so with vigor. Crooked Tree is quite sweet despite what some might think is a hoppy bite.

There is an intensity that sneaks up on you, and then leaves a pronounced scent and a lingering taste of hops typical to hearty IPAs.

The taste rolls around before becoming quickly assertive.

Crooked Tree is a little shy at the start, but then becomes openly bold before you’ve emptied your glass.

Crooked Tree was a surprise in many ways. It is certainly easily identifiable as an IPA, but it is also more demonstrative than many.

This is a comfortable glass of pale ale - even for those who may not be big fans of hoppier brews.

I’d suggest this might go well with a fish dinner, (not fish and chips), or complement a plate of more pungent cheeses.