David Bardallis is a proud lifelong Michigander, who moved to Ann Arbor in 2004. However, his love for Ann Arbor and Michigan beer has a much longer history. If you pay a visit to any of the local pubs or brew houses in or around Ann Arbor, chances are you may run into Bardallis, who’s known to locals as “the Ann Arbor Beer Guy.”
Bardallis, an affable fellow, loves to talk about beer. His brother, a brewer of craft beers, uses David as his primary taste tester, and while David attended UM, he enjoyed many a craft brew at pubs in and around Ann Arbor.
He began writing about beer for The Ann Arbor News in 2009, which led him to writing a book about Ann Arbor and its rich, sometimes volatile past. Bardallis calls himself a bona fide beer dork on a never-ending quest to try new and flavorful brews which culminated in the publishing of his book, Ann Arbor Beer: A Hoppy History of Tree Town Brewing.
A hoppy history
When Bardallis was approached to write a book about Ann Arbor Beer he turned to local pub owners and historians. Rex Halfpenny, a friend, and editor/publisher of Bardallis’ book, states, “One could argue that Ann Arbor is the nucleation point of Michigan Craft Beer.”
From the influx of German immigration in 1830 to prohibition and then liberation, Bardallis’ book covers all of Ann Arbor’s history, including the infamous “Barn Dance,” which featured Bob Seger as the headliner and hundreds of kegs of beer that were supposedly dumped into Ford Lake.
Along with Ann Arbor’s past, Bardallis gives readers an inside peek into the world of brewing craft beer establishments that have folded and why others are successful today. Athletes, poets and even a few college professors appear in the book with ties to local pubs, along with photographs from past and present days.
What better way to have a lively discussion or enjoy an evening out than to belly up to the bar, “Where everybody knows your name,” and share a tasteful beverage with friends. In fact, brewing and the working knowledge behind it has become so popular that many colleges and universities, like Schoolcraft Community and Central Michigan, are beginning to offer programs in brewing beer.
Anyone who is a fan of craft beers, Ann Arbor history or just stepping back in time will thoroughly enjoy cracking open Bardallis’ book, preferably while enjoying a cold one.
Visit Bardallis at his blog, annarborbeer.com.