We’ve heard from Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids on why they should get your vote for Beer City USA 2013, and today Ann Arbor makes their case. Read from Maricat Eggenberger of the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau below.
Ann Arbor is pleased to join our friends in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo as one of three Michigan cities in Charlie Papazian’s 2013 BeerCity USA poll. We’re thrilled other cities have discovered craft beer, but Ann Arbor – a town historically full of German immigrants – is unmatched in its long history of celebrating serious suds.
According to Papazian, BeerCity USA is about “[l]ocal support of the final sum, which is the enthusiasm for beer choice, diversity, flavor and accessibility. Most importantly it highlights ‘beer’ as the meeting place.” Ann Arbor excels in all these areas.
Ann Arbor supports three brewpubs, two microbreweries (with a third on the way), and a plethora of multitap bars and restaurants committed to serving craft beer.
Although “supports” doesn’t really capture the enthusiasm. Grizzly Peak has been Michigan’s No. 1 selling brewpub for the past five years, according to Michigan Beer Guide. Arbor Brewing serves not only its own award-winning beers but has hosted often-sold-out monthly tastings of beers from around the world for more than 15 years. Both were among Michigan’s first brewpubs when they opened in 1995.
Enthusiasm for Beer Choice, Diversity, Flavor, and Accessibility
Ann Arbor is second to none in embracing beer diversity. For example:
- For 30 years beer lovers have found a huge variety at the 72 taps of Ashley’s, recognized as one of America’s best beer bars by DRAFT magazine, Travel & Leisure, Men’s Health, and RateBeer.com.
- Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery serves the coveted sour ales brewed just down the road in its newly expanded Dexter facility. Jolly Pumpkin’s Oro de Calabaza was ranked No. 1 in a 2010 New York Times Belgian-style ale tasting. The Ann Arbor café is one of the only places to get special releases, which always sell out in hours.
- Wolverine State Brewing is one of the few craft breweries in America to specialize in lagers, and their efforts have resulted not just in medals in competitions like the World Expo of Beer but in multiple expansions since opening in late 2010.
Beer as A Meeting Place
Whether at a 50-year-old neighborhood joint like Fraser’s Pub or the city’s newest hotspot, Bill’s Beer Garden, meeting over beers is just what people do in Ann Arbor. In the summer, sidewalks and rooftops transform into oases of craft brew and lively conversation. Other examples:
- The Ann Arbor Brewers Guild has been meeting to exchange homebrew and camaraderie since 1986.
- Since 1948 the German Park Club has hosted picnics attracting thousands to its old-fashioned beer garden full of great German brew, music, and food.
- The state’s oldest and largest beer fest, the Michigan Summer Beer Festival, brings more than 10,000 enthusiasts to the area every July.
Local beer writer David Bardallis sums up: “For a community atmosphere, people truly knowledgeable about beer, and a ‘beer ethic’ that views our favorite beverage as part of a life well lived, you can’t beat Ann Arbor.”
But don’t just believe me, Bardallis adds. Listen to one-time Ann Arbor resident Larry Bell, who founded his famous brewery with equipment purchased from another Ann Arbor area resident: “I’ve always thought Ann Arbor had a great beer scene.”
The choice is clear: Vote Ann Arbor for Beer City USA!
Maricat Eggenberger is the Communications Manager for the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. She’s a proud Michigander that loves traveling and anything eco-friendly!
We’re proud to see these three Michigan cities in the running. Voting runs through 1:59 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Who’s your pick for Beer City USA?