The Ann Arbor Area Embraces Craft Beer

Ann Arbor has a long history as a destination for craft beer enthusiasts. In fact, Arbor Brewing Company which was the first brewpub in the area is celebrating 20 thirst-quenching years! If you haven’t been recently, it’s time to plan a trip to Ann Arbor to discover some of these new (or rediscover some classic) craft beer destinations!

2015 Ann Arbor FeBREWary Tap HandlesOne could describe HopCat as a champion for the craft beer phenomenon with its 100 taps, including the “Local 30” dedicated to microbrews from the region. Ann Arbor is the fifth location—fourth in Michigan—and a must-experience bar for beer lovers.

2015 Ann Arbor FeBREWary HopCat nighttimeOne reason why HopCat is gaining so much notoriety is that it provides beer aficionados the opportunity to imbibe a number of rare and hard to come by craft beers. For example, during its grand opening in Ann Arbor, the tap listed included KBS and CBS Imperial Stout (Founders Brewing Co.), Dirty Love (Arbor Brewing Company), Saison X (Jolly Pumpkin), and Wolverine Massacre Imperial Dark Lager (Wolverine Sate Brewing Co.), just to name a few.

While not the first multi-tap room dedicated to craft beers in the area (Ashley’s which has been an Ann Arbor institution for more than 30 years has a 70-tap system), HopCat’s arrival to Ann Arbor also brings with it Crack Fries. Yes, Crack Fries. An addictive (hence the name) beer battered French fry with a peppery seasoning which can be prepared in a number of ways.

2015 Ann Arbor FeBREWary Beer GrottoNeighboring Ann Arbor is the city of Dexter. Its charming downtown attracted the first Beer Grotto—a tasting and to-go store where connoisseurs can sample a variety of craft beers and fill a growler to go. After amazing success, the owners decided to open a second location in downtown Ann Arbor. Both locations have some seating, including an outdoor patio for warmer seasons, if you’d rather stay to enjoy the ambiance and a scoop of scrumptious truffle popcorn.

Null stands for Northern United Liquid Libations and consolidates the brewing and distribution of Jolly Pumpkin and North Peak Brewing Company under one roof, also in Dexter. The beautifully decorated and spacious taphouse serves not only the craft beer produced on location, but also Old Mission and Civilized spirits and Bonafide wines—all of which are crafted in northern Michigan under the Northern United umbrella.

Brewing tours are not yet available at Null, mostly due to the open fermentation process employed by Jolly Pumpkin to make its award-winning sours, but visitors can check out part of the production process through the taphouse viewing area.

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