2017 Beer Guide

. July 2, 2017.
Ann Arbor Beer Bars
Your guide to the Ann Arbor area craft brewing scene

With 222 microbreweries and almost 850,000 barrels of craft beer produced in Michigan last year, no one can question the success of the craft beer scene in our state. Whether you’re headed to one of the hundreds of festivals thrown annually or grabbing a seat at the local bar, there are sure to be a few microbrews on tap worth giving a taste.

Current connected with some of the craft-beer-crazed folk leading the Washtenaw County Industry. Take a look at microbrew world through the eyes of those shaping it.

bigalora-beer-guide-ann-arbor

Peter Guy, Beverage Director – Bigalora

Peter Guy

Beverage Director

Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina
3050 Washtenaw Ave, Suite 112
(734) 971-2442 | bigalora.com

Favorite Michigan Beer? Evil Twin / Dark Horse “Michigan Maple Jesus”

When did you know you were a beer enthusiast? I remember calling the owner of my local beer shop in Chicago a liar for telling me that Bourbon County hadn’t been delivered yet. At 9:05am. On a Wednesday. After lurking in the alley like a creep watching the boxes make their way in from the truck. For the second time that morning.

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint? Clubhouse BFD in Rochester Hills.

Beer presently in your fridge?
Old Nation “M43,” Central Waters “Bourbon Barrel Barleywine,” and Miller High Life. You can never have too much High Life.

What do you want from your beer? Satisfaction! Freshness, balance, and most importantly, a clear sense of purpose. Oh, and a smile! If it doesn’t put a smile on your face, something is very wrong.

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene. Pilsner is nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t listen to anyone in this community who tells you otherwise. The finest culinary minds I have ever known reach for yellow and fizzy first. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but don’t be embarrassed to order what you know you like.

Oliver Roberts, Director of Fermentation - Wolverine State Brewing Co.

Oliver Roberts, Director of Fermentation – Wolverine State Brewing Co. Photo: Brett Moyer

Oliver Roberts

Director of Fermentation

Wolverine State Brewing Co.
2019 W Stadium Blvd
(734) 369-2990 | wolverinebeer.com

Favorite Michigan Beer? Definitely no favorites in this state—there’s too many to choose from! I try to grab a lager from any brewery that mostly makes ales, just to see what people are coming up with.

When did you know you were a beer enthusiast? I traveled a lot in the 90’s for hockey. My dad was into the early craft beer scene. He and the other hockey dads would always go out for beers. He would bring me back bottles with cool labels and I started collecting them. So my first experiences with craft beer were with the label art on bottles. I was probably 12-14 years old! Great hobby for a kid, collecting beer bottles!

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint? I really dig The Session Room and Beer Grotto Ann Arbor. Both places have great beer lists and the staff always wants to talk shop with me!

Beer presently in your fridge? I have a bunch of craft beer from Louisiana that someone picked up for me. Bayou Teche Brewing is spot on and makes some crazy good beer.

What do you want from your beer? There’s some dichotomy in the answer to that. My goal is to evolve the beers we make and also try new things, but keep the consistency and quality as close to perfect as we can get it. If someone finds a beer of ours that becomes their go-to, I want nothing more for them to expect, and get, the same thing every time they drink it.

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene. Don’t just get sucked into the branding of a brewery. That identity is important, for sure, and finding a brand that speaks to you is a great feeling. However, the quality of what comes out of the tap and a bottle should drive your desire to talk about, and spread the message of a beer.

Best beer-related story? Let’s just say my first day working in a brewery was eye-opening because the desire to be a brewer probably took some of my attention away from learning the tasks at hand. Thus, I began the day by accidentally showering myself with some Bear Paw Porter at Grizzly Peak. Nothing like washing dried-up beer out of your ears after your first day!

David Chesser, Bar Manager - Sava’s

David Chesser, Bar Manager – Sava’s

David Chesser

Bar Manager

Sava’s
216 S State St, Ann Arbor
(734) 623-2233 | savasrestaurant.com

Favorite Michigan Beer?
Two Hearted Ale.

When did you know you were a beer enthusiast?
I knew I was a “beer snob” when I went on a Bell’s brewery tour almost ten years ago. It was my first bartending gig and I went with my bar manager and I held hops in my hand for the first time and once I smelled them, that was it! I knew I was a beer lover.

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint? Locally, I love going to Blue Tractor. They have a great IPA made in-house. I strongly encourage everyone to go out to Tecumseh to check out Tecumseh Brewing Company. Head brewer Tim Schmidt and front of house manager Kyle DeWitt are doing amazing things. My favorite brew there at the moment is a double black IPA. The food is also amazing so it’s worth a day-trip.

What was the first beer you ever drank? Blue Moon was my gateway beer. I remember I was in my hometown in Stevensville/St Joseph, MI and I was with my cousin and he was pressuring me to get a beer and not a mixed drink. I did and remember it being not that bad. After that, I was trying different styles of beer.

What do you want from your beer? For me personally, a beer must not only be refreshing, but also a representation of the hops being used. I don’t usually go for domestic beers because they normally lack that full flavor I love to enjoy. Hops are such a great plant to play with, especially when you throw a few different blends together. It’s basically a chemistry experiment when crafting a beer.

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene: Ask your bartender for advice. Friends normally will tell you what they like and it could totally be different than what you will like. I recommend starting with something light like a lager then slowly going into ales.

What’s special about the Washtenaw County Craft Scene? The best thing about the Washtenaw County craft beer scene is not only the amount of breweries and brew pubs; but the quality! The state of Michigan is the best state in the nation when it comes to beer!! Slainte! (means “cheers” in Irish).

Dan Kolander, Owner - Dan’s Downtown Taverns

Dan Kolander, Owner – Dan’s Downtown Taverns

Dan Kolander

Owner

Dan’s Downtown Tavern
103 E Michigan Ave, Saline
(734) 429-3159 | facebook.com/DANSBARS

Favorite Michigan Beer? Founders, Wolverine State Brewing Co., New Holland, Dark Horse, OG. We have so many tasty choices!

When did you know you were a beer enthusiast? I have been in this business for over 30 years and I’ve watched the Michigan Beer Scene explode. The first two “different” beers I put on draft were Sam Adams Boston Lager and this new brewery called Bell’s then BOOM! look what we have now!

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint? Wolverine State Brewing Co.

What was the first beer you ever drank? The Champagne of Beers, Miller High Life.

Beer presently in your fridge? 2009, 2010, 2011 Founders KBS, Hopslam, Devil Dancer, Flushing Monk and Labatt Light. You have to cleanse your pallet.

What do you want from your beer? I want flavor in my beer. If I want to drink water, I’ll drink water.

The furthest you have gone for a specialty beer? California Stone Brewery.

Edward Brosius, Founding Partner / Brewmaster - Salt Springs Brewery

Edward Brosius, Founding Partner / Brewmaster – Salt Springs Brewery

Edward Brosius

Founding Partner / Brewmaster

Salt Springs Brewery
117 S Ann Arbor St, Saline
(734) 295-9191 | saltspringsbrewery.com

Favorite Michigan Beer? Founders.

When did you know you were a beer enthusiast? Around 1978; Dad would buy imported beer (Altenmunster, Grolsch, etc.) for my brother and me during the holidays.

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint? Home!

What was the first beer you ever drank? Strohs; “America’s only fire-brewed beer”

What do you want from your beer? Traditional examples of style! And, of course, great taste!

The furthest you have gone for a specialty beer? Once I drove from Evanston, IL to Stevens Point, WI; 164 miles (in 1976). I also traveled 1048 miles from Saline, MI to the Brew Byou Craft Brewing conference in New Orleans, LA in 1991, or maybe it was ‘92?

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene. Don’t assume you don’t like certain beer styles. You can’t say you don’t like a particular example of style unless you try it. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Best beer related story? I met Matt Greff at a Brewers’ Guild meeting around 1992. I introduced my brother and me as the two guys who were going to own the first brew pub in Ann Arbor. He just chuckled and said “No, You’re not.” Well, 25 years later, we laugh about that when we bump into each other at beer festivals!

Charlie Samson, Store Director - Lucky’s Market

Charlie Samson, Store Director – Lucky’s Market

Charlie Samson

Store Director

Lucky’s Market
1919 S Industrial Hwy,
(734) 368-9137 | luckysmarket.com

Favorite Michigan Beer? Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

When did you know you were a beer enthusiast? When I started in the grocery business. I was 22.

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint? One Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale.

What was the first beer you ever drank? Coor’s

Beer presently in your fridge? Atwater’s Better Life Choices, Dogfish Head, 120 Minute.

The furthest you have gone for a specialty beer? San Francisco for Pliny the Younger from Russian River. Worth it.

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene. Try everything.

What’s special about the Washtenaw County Craft Scene? There are so many local breweries who are striving to be the best but focused on the local scene. It’s a perfect storm for true
beer-lovers.

James Roche, Bartender/ Manager - Scorekeepers

James Roche, Bartender/ Manager – Scorekeepers

James Roche

Bartender/ Manager

Scorekeepers
310 Maynard St
(734) 995-0100 | a2scorekeepers.com

Favorite Michigan Beer? Right now, it’s probably the Star Chicken Shotgun from Greenbush Brewing Co. in Sawyer, Michigan. It’s a west-coast style IPA that isn’t overly bitter, which is great for summer, but still satisfies the IPA craving.

When did you know you were a beer enthusiast? I remember when I was younger my dad would always let me sample his pints at restaurants. He would then go into detail about why each beer had a certain flavor and it all stuck with me. I guess, I can’t really give an exact date but I’ve always had a deep appreciation for beer.

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint? Ashley’s is a solid spot. They have an insane amount of different beers, which is great for someone who’s just starting into the world of beers or a seasoned veteran. Connor O’Neil’s is also a surprisingly good place if you’re looking to try some imports you wouldn’t usually find on the draft list.

Dennis Smith, Craft Brand Manager - O&W, Inc

Dennis Smith, Craft Brand Manager – O&W, Inc

Dennis Smith

Craft Brand Manager

O&W, Inc
(734) 480-4012 | onwbeer.com

Favorite Michigan Beer? In our portfolio: Latitude 42, Cosmic Charlie. Out of our portfolio: Bell’s Two Hearted.

What was the first beer you ever drank? Coor’s Banquet.

Beer presently in your fridge? Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

What do you want from your beer? Consistent quality.
The furthest you have gone for a specialty beer? Alaska, for their Barrel-Aged Smoked Porter.

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene. Drink what looks interesting to you, not what looks interesting on your phone.

What’s special about the Washtenaw County Craft Scene? It’s so competitive that you can find everything in a small geographic area. You don’t have to search too hard for anything special.

Donn Stroud, Brewery Operations Manager & Jessica Buddle, Head Brewer - Unity Vibrations

Donn Stroud, Brewery Operations Manager & Jessica Buddle, Head Brewer – Unity Vibrations

Unity Vibration Brewery
93 Ecorse Road, Ypsilanti
(734) 961-8437 | unityvibrationkombucha.com

Donn Stroud

Brewery Operations Manager

Favorite Michigan Beer? Vivant’s Big Red Coq,
Odd Side’s Black Citra.

When did you know you were a beer enthusiast? When I first tasted Bell’s Porter in the mid ‘90s.

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint? Cultivate!

What was the first beer you ever drank? I found a skunked and sun-warmed case of Michelob or Busch when I was a teenager. I didn’t think highly of beer for at least a decade after that.

Beer presently in your fridge? Unity’s Citra Blood Orange, Founder’s Breakfast Stout, homebrew, and Founder’s Dirty Bastard.

What do you want from your beer? Definitely prefer my IPAs to have some fruit on the nose and my stouts thick.

The furthest you have gone for a specialty beer?
3 Floyds—Not MI beer but so good!

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene. Try everything.

What’s special about the Washtenaw County Craft Scene? We’ve got some great places in the county that get some amazing beers, cider, and mead on tap.

Jessica Buddle

Head Brewer

Favorite Michigan Beer? Odd Side Citra Pale is my go-to but it’s summer so I’ll be drinking a lot of Black Rock’s Grand Rabbit.

When did you know you were a beer enthusiast? I grew up around fermentation so I always had an appreciation for the process. I started drinking it when I was in my early 20’s and was helping friends homebrew and started learning about different styles.

What was the first beer you ever drank? PBR.

Beer presently in your fridge? Unity Vibration Silver Branch, 3 Floyds Skull’Ole, and a whole lot of singles.

What do you want from your beer? Whether I’m making it, or trying something new, I want something I can’t get other places; I want creative ingredients and new processes.

The furthest you have gone for a specialty beer? 3 Floyds!

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene. Be open-minded and try everything.

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