As Michigan's craft brew industry continues to expand, so does the beer event calendar. In Royal Oak alone there is a big beer festival both this weekend and next.
On Saturday, the Royal Oak Music Theatre hosts the Royal Oak Winter Beer Fest, which benefits Camp Casey, a nonprofit horseback riding program for children with cancer.
The craft beer selection there includes products from Michigan and elsewhere, plus live music from Detroit singer/songwriter Dan Tillery. A VIP ticket is available for those who want access to rare and specialty beer in the theater's balcony area.
Tickets are $40 in advance, $45 day of show ($20 more for VIP). Visit royaloakmusictheatre.com to purchase.
Next weekend, on Jan. 17, the brew bonanza is at the Royal Oak Farmers Market for the second annual Polar Beer Club. This event will have products from 60 breweries, plus hard cider, wine and liquor.
Forty-five dollars gets you 15 tickets that are good for three-ounce samples. That ticket price is a bit steep for what equates to less than three pints of beer, but you also get access to the party, which includes a heated tent with live music and games like corn hole, oversized Jenga and Hammer-Schlagen.
The $65 VIP ticket gets you into the Polar Beer Club an hour early at 6:30 p.m. with 20 tickets. Additional tickets and food are available for purchase. The Royal Oak Farmers Market is at 316 E. 11 Mile.
Before or after your sampling spree, stop into one of Royal Oak's coolest and most well-stocked bars: Gusoline Alley. The longstanding casual watering hole at 309 S. Center recently started accepting credit cards after 30 years of business.
Food and beverage events
Motor City Brew Tours Brewery Day Trip: Take a bus from Royal Oak or the Novi/Wixom area and travel to three breweries on the west side of the state, including the Hideout Brewing Company, Perrin Brewing Company and Rockford Brewing. Tickets include transportation, tours, lunch, beer and water at each stop. 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Sat. $75. Visit motorcitybrewtours.com or call (248) 850-2563.
Loonie Toonie tapping at Kuhnhenn Brewing Co.: Enjoy fresh firkins of Loonie Kuhnie Pale Ale and MI Loonie, made with ingredients from Michigan's Top Hops Farms. 3 p.m. Sat. No cover. 5919 Chicago, Warren. (586) 979-8361.
Brew Ha-Ha at Dow Event Center: Tickets include five samples and souvenir pint glass. 5 p.m. Jan. 16-17. $20. 303 Johnson, Saginaw. (989) 759-1330.
Aaron Cuschieri Dinner at Yemans St.: This permanent pop-up space hosts chef Aaron Cuschieri of Slurping Turtle of Chicago. The Michigan-native and former "Top Chef" contestant will cook an 11-course tasting menu. Only 20 tickets will be sold. 7 p.m. Jan. 24. $120 plus gratuity. 2995 Yemans, Hamtramck. yemansstreet.squarespace.com.
Belgian Beer Festival at Ashley's: Now in its fifth year, this 10-day promotion features more than 200 Belgian beers from more than 80 breweries, plus Belgian food and special events like a sour beer happy hour, Valentine's Day Belgian dinner for two and a Belgian waffle brunch. Feb. 5-15. Prices vary. 7525 Wayne, Westland. (734) 525-1667.
Vodka Vodka at Royal Oak Music Theatre: One of the most popular booze-tasting parties of the year, this Russian-themed event has a larger location for 2015. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7. $15-$60. 318 W. Fourth, Royal Oak. (248) 399-2980.
Michigan Winter Beer Festival at Fifth Third Ball Park: One of the biggest beer events in the state, this 10th annual festival features 800 craft beers from 88 Michigan breweries. 3-7 p.m. Feb. 27 and 1-6 p.m. Feb. 28. $45 in advance. 4500 West River Drive Northeast, Grand Rapids. mibeer.com.