Beer Guide 2016

Jason Tomalia | Co founder/Head Brewer

Pointless Brewery & Theatre
3014 Packard Ave.

Favorite drinking game?
Shameless plug… Come to Pointless and enjoy Shakespeare plus beer! So, yeah, I like the Shakespeare shows we do that involve a drinking game element. Next one is in August!

What’s the next big thing in beer?
You really shouldn’t put big things in your beer. You know, liquid displacement. What a waste of beer, am I right?


Edward Brosius | Founding partner/Brewmaster

Salt Springs Brewery
117 S. Ann Arbor St. | Saline

When/how did you decide to make beer your career?
My brother Karl and I had visions of being the first brew pub in Ann Arbor in the early 90s. We had spoken with John Hickenlooper, the now governor of Colorado, regarding venture capital. Unable to find a satisfactory building, the plan did not materialize and we felt we had missed the wave. Two decades later, Dan Klos, a young entrepreneur, whom I have been friends with for many years, had become very enamored of the beers I brewed at home. Dan suggested I open a brewery and, in fact, began the planning process for the project. With the help and support of my partners Ron, Mark, our wives; Theresa, Karolynn, Tara, and our investors we launched Salt Springs Brewery.

Any advice for people new to the craft beer scene?
Try something different! Many people assume from past experience they are averse to some beer styles. I advocate; the breadth of the brewer’s artistic pallet is so broad, just as a parent tells the child: you can’t say you don’t like it till you try it!

Best beer related story?
I traveled to Germany in 1989 and stopped at a rathskeller. They had Pilsner Urquell on tap! What a surprise; a Czech beer on tap in Gremany! IMO imported Pilsner Urquell is an order better than most any domestic beer of that era.


Tarek & Rachel Kanaan | Co founders- owners and specialty brewers

Unity Vibration
93 Ecorse Rd. | Ypsilanti

When/how did you decide to make beer your career? 
Tarek and I took a big chance on spending the little retirement we had on brewing equipment to do what was most fun and creative to us. It was in our home commercial kitchen at the time in Ypsilanti. We had a variance from the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) for two years to have a microbrewery in our house! We started out as Kombucha Brewers then became microbrewers two years later. Many times we wanted to throw in the towel but there it was back again in our faces. It was very meant to be.

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint? 
If we have our family, we like to stop by Cultivate. If it is just the two of us meeting up, we like Ashley’s. If we are eating, then The Lunch Room.

Best Michigan Beer Name? 
I still love Dirty Bastard and Blushing Monk and just about anything from Odd Side Ale. Also Soft Parade and BrewGyver (of course!)


Oliver Roberts | Brewmaster

Wolverine State Brewery Co.
2019 W. Stadium Dr.

When/how did you decide to make beer your career?
I was young when I started to brew my own beer at home. While learning how to brew, I latched onto what I was learning about the history of brewing beer. It felt like brewing beer was a really important element to the history of humanity and society. It brought us together as a species. Being a brewer was a way to solidify my place in the world by creating something that has been created for thousands of years. That was a pretty cool feeling.

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint?
I am embarrassed to say it, but I really don’t get out much. When I do, I really enjoy Bill’s Beer Garden. They always have a good selection of beers on tap and the mood is jovial without fail.

If you were stranded on an island and could only have one six-pack, what would it be?
It would have to be a mixed-six if I was that doomed. Variety is everything in craft beer! However, since I am a brewer I would figure out a way to make my own beer on that island. I’d science the sh*t out of it.


Jon Wagner | Head Brewer

Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery
720 Norris St. | 734-480-2739


When/how did you decide to make beer your career?
Like many brewers out there today, brewing wasn’t my initial intended career path. I actually went to college for 7 years studying fisheries biology and management. I had always been a “craft beer nerd” but while I was in grad school, my wife Maddie gave me some homebrewing equipment and books and that sort of jump-started everything. I probably spent more time reading about beer and brewing and making beer in my garage than I did on what I was going to school for. It kind of dawned on me at the time that making beer a career path was actually possible so I took some chances and eventually landed my first industry job at a winery and distillery and used that as a jumping off point into craft beer.

What’s one common misconception people have about your job?
I’d probably have to say that the biggest misconception is that it’s a glamorous job. It definitely has its perks, but I’m usually completely exhausted and sweaty by the time I get home. The brewery is a hot, humid, and potentially dangerous place so it requires lots of focus and attention to keep things running smoothly.

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint?
Well, I’m new to Southeast Michigan so my sample size isn’t all that big yet. However, since I mainly drink coffee and beer I’d have to say my favorite so far has been Cultivate Coffee and Tap House in Ypsilanti. They’re a non-profit, community focused business and have a great lineup of craft beer on tap, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and a good selection of coffees as well.


Majid M. Abdelnour | Beverage Director

3050 Washtenaw Ave. Suite 112
734-971-2442 |

What was the first beer you ever had? 
Not my finest moment but at the age of three sitting on the back of my dad’s car watching him snow blow the driveway I picked up his can of Budweiser one handed, tilted my head back eyes closed and drank that fine lager. I still have the picture up on my fridge at home.

What’s the next big thing in beer? 
The next big thing in beer is going to be Americans perfecting their take on traditional international styles. For years, many American Belgian-style beers have not been true to style whether they were overly sweet, too high or low in alcohol, or just plain wrong. We have established that we are innovative, and can be successful with all of our crazy experiments and hybrids. Now all we have to do is make what we do perfect.

What’s up with craft brewers having beards? 
I think it’s just a cultural thing but I also like to think that brewers are developing their own strains of yeast from their beards. Yeast is everywhere and that could be a possibility.


Dominic Salvador | Beer Specialist

Lucky’s Market
1919 S. Industrial Hwy.

What’s your favorite local place to grab a pint? 
Wurst Bar Ypsilanti. It’s a two block walk from my house. I don’t have worry to about driving. I only have to worry if my glass is empty. They have great selections of beer and phenomenal burgers.

What was the first beer you ever had?
Before craft: Zima circa 1992. Craft: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale circa 2004.

What’s up with craft brewers having beards? 
Part of the uniform. Like the Secret Service and Sunglasses. Kinda required.

What’s special about the Washtenaw County Craft Scene?
I’m in it.


Traci Bailey | Bartender

310 Maynard St.

Any advice for people new to the craft beer scene?
Keep trying them— you will eventually find one you enjoy. Ordering and sampling beer flights is the best way to determine which craft beers you like most.

What’s the next big thing in beer?
Specialization. We are currently looking into partnering with a craft beer distributor to brew a beer specially for Scorekeepers this fall.

When did you decide to make beer your career?
While working at Scorekeepers, I have had the opportunity to sample different craft beers. As a result, I realized the potential that the beer industry truly has— it is just now in the beginning stages.


Hops & Spice: Curries, Craft Beers, and the India Pale Ale Story

Although beer is not a traditional companion to Indian cuisine, Ann Arbor’s Cardamom offers an expertly curated selection of brews to pair with the strong flavors and spices of Indian dishes. With curiosity and prepared palates, the Current staff met with Becky Winkler-Dhakal, co-owner of Cardamom, to learn more about the complex relationship between hops, spices, and India’s food culture.

India Pale Ales were first brewed in England and exported for the British troops in India during the late 1700s. To better withstand the voyage and the warmer climate, Pale Ales were well-hopped as a natural preservative. Brewery Vivant’s Triomphe Belgian-style IPA and Founder’s Centennial IPA amplified the spice at first, but ultimately carried it away. As we dug into Lamb Biryani and Chicken Makhani, more moderately hopped ales, like Dogfish Head’s Namaste and India Brown Ale, accentuated the various spices without added heat.

British pub brews, Indian lagers, or a sweet stout can cool it down. Boddington’s Pub Ale tames the spice while adding sweetness to the flavor. Indian pilsner-style Maharaja and Kingfisher are big sellers as good easy-drinking standards to keep the heat at bay.

As we finished our meal with a slice of silky cardamom-infused cheesecake from Cake Nouveau, we chalked up our favorite: Dogfish Head’s Namaste, a white ale brewed with coriander, lemongrass, and orange. Becky praised it, saying, “This beer loves all food.”


Chris Martinson | Owner/Head Brewer

Chelsea Alehouse Brewing
420 N. Main St., Suite 10 | Chelsea


When/how did you decide to make beer your career?
I started to seriously make a plan in about 2009. My wife, Aubrey, had been working as the Executive Director of the Chelsea Center for Arts and we really got to know the community of Chelsea quite well and thought a brewery would be a great addition. I had been homebrewing for many years and always wanted to build my own business and it seemed like Chelsea would be the right place to make it happen.

If you were stranded on an island and could only have one six-pack, what would it be?  
Like many Michigan beer lovers, it all goes back to Bell’s Two Hearted. There are so many great beers out there now, but for both the enjoyment and the nostalgia, that would be the one.

What’s up with craft brewers having beards?
I think that’s kind of a chicken and egg situation. I was at home for several weeks when my son was born so I didn’t shave and then that morphed into my handlebar mustache which has stuck for over six years now. Since I’m a brewer there is no pressure to get rid of it.


Adam Gottschalk | Owner

Blue Front Ann Arbor
701 Packard St.

Best Michigan Beer Name?
I think Short’s has the upper hand here simply due to sheer volume. Some personal favorites include Goodnight Bodacious and Melt My Brain.

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene.
My biggest advice is twofold: don’t be afraid to try new things, and don’t be afraid to dislike something. There’s a lot of pressure from beer nerds to like what they think is the next big thing.  Everyone likes different flavors but you’ll never find your favorite until you try it!

What’s special about the Washtenaw County Craft Scene?
Washtenaw County is unique because we have a lot of established breweries but also lots of room for growth. It’s amazing to see all the new breweries popping up every day.


Dan Kolander | Owner

Dan’s Downtown Tavern
103 E. Michigan Ave. | Saline

If you were stranded on an island and could only have one six-pack, what would it be?
If I were stranded on an island with just one six pack, it would be a 6 pack of CBS Imperial Stout by Founders. It’s so hard to get – it’s like a Bigfoot sighting!

What’s up with craft brewers having beards?
Well, beards take a long time to grow and maintain. Beards take a lot of patience. The same can be said for beer! Anyone can brew a beer but it takes a special person with the right amount of patience to get it right.

What’s special about the Washtenaw County Craft Scene?
What I think is special about the Washtenaw Craft Beer scene is how much it’s boomed. It’s great to be so close to so many different breweries also. The Michigan Brewers Guild has done wonders in exposing people to craft beer. Michiganders are blessed with some incredible breweries.

The 19th annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival comes to Riverside Park in Ypsilanti to treat beer lovers to over a 1,000 different iterations of brews from over 100 breweries in the state. The festival is the eldest of the four Michigan Brewers Guild’s festivals held each year and will include many food vendors and live music to accompany the beer. With July being craft beer month, it’s the perfect time to celebrate!

Friday, July 22 | 5-9pm | $40 in advance | $45 at the gate (if available).
Saturday, July 23 | 1-6pm | $45 in advance.
Riverside Park | 5 E. Cross St.

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