If a place you’re visiting has local breweries or wineries, you should visit them. You should try the local stuff a place has to offer before busting open another PBR or calling the hotel’s front desk, breathlessly, asking for a corkscrew for your Yellowtail. Ann Arbor, Michigan has local breweries. With limited time to kill, I only could visit one while in town. Arbor Brewing Company.
Standing tall downtown in the college city, ABC stretches along Washington Avenue, right near Main Street. A small door unlocks the giant wood-trimmed space, equipped with high ceilings, a mid-room bar, a game room, grade school-esque bathrooms downstairs, and plenty of dining table and booths. I slid onto the smooth wood of a booth and ordered the Arbor Brewery Beer Sampler as soon as I could, exactly as I’d been instructed to by others. Eleven beers were lined up onto the table (usually the sampler is only ten, but the bar’s newest beer, the Devil Lock Dunkelweiss, was thrown in the mix at no extra cost. And that beer was my favorite).
I ordered the food, ignoring my collection of experiences with brewpubs who can brew and pub but not cook. To my surprise, there were some things on the menu that really looked good. A tomato/feta salad and a Sloppy Jill (made with tempeh instead of beef) caught my eye and all in all, they were both very good. The friendly waitress managed to (easily) talk me into an Apple Bake, topped with local vanilla ice cream which was some of the creamiest ice cream I think I’ve ever had.
I can’t say Arbor Brewery is soooo much better or soooo much worse than other breweries in Ann Arbor. I didn’t go to any others. I don’t know how it ranks. But I do know this: the beer was good and the food was good. That’s enough to make me like a brewpub.
By: Elizabeth Seward, Photos By: Ben Britz