Ann Arbor, Michigan is known for its Victors dressed in blue, the bustling downtown area full of luscious trees, and the tremendous foodie scene. Located four miles east of Ann Arbor is Ypsilanti — the Brooklyn to Ann Arbor’s Manhattan. A thriving arts and culture scene is flourishing in Ypsilanti due to affordable housing, rich history, and a tight-knit community. Perhaps the best way to explore the tale of these two cities is through some of the most deliciously crafted adult beverages in Michigan.
Let’s start with an Ann Arbor cocktail … or three.
The Last Word is a destination where cocktail glasses serve as artists’ canvases. Tucked behind an unmarked door, this lower-level bar is reminiscent of clandestine speakeasies. The most likely candidate for the title of Signature Cocktail at The Last Word is ‘The Osborn.’ This fresh and flavorful gin-based cocktail blends pineapple, jalapeno, lime and ginger beer for an effervescent beverage.
With its prohibition-style craft cocktails, menu, and decor, The Ravens Club offers dishes and drinks composed of sustainably sourced, seasonal ingredients. The Ravens Club Old Fashioned uses house-made bitters to specifically impart the traditional fruit characteristics of the cocktail. Bartenders also use a traditional hand pull to draw the whiskey out of the barrel over a two-inch block of ice, adding a fresh orange peel as a finishing touch.
Located in a historic building dating from 1910, the Ann Arbor Distilling Company is the newest hotspot of the city. The Ann Arbor Distilling Company partners with local farmers to purchase corn, cherries, wheat, rye, apples, raspberries, mint and pears to create its spirits, and around 85% of this produce comes from farms within thirty miles of Ann Arbor. The Distilling Company is currently serving its gin and vodka — and will soon offer additional spirits as well: brandy, rum, whiskey (bourbon, single malt and rye), and liqueurs.
Is liquor not your preference? Grab a craft draft Ypsilanti.
Ypsi Alehouse is the newest brewery in Downtown Ypsilanti. Behind the scenes is craft brew expert, Ted Badgerow, who has been brewing beer since 1979. A popular beverage includes the ‘Damn Fine Ginger Irish Red Ale’ — a traditional Irish red ale built of malted barley from the Malting Company of Ireland and Traditional East Kent Goldings Hops, fermented with Irish yeast. Additionally, the Ypsi Alehouse honey porter with bacon granola is sure to delight the senses.
Located in a historic, renovated warehouse, ABC Microbrewery is known for its delicious food, pub-style service, expansive beer garden, and ice cold brews made on-sight. The American pale ale, fondly titled ‘Ypsi Gypsy’ is packed with hops and aroma in its 4.9% alcohol. Golden straw in color with a medium body and crisp carbonation, the Gypsi flaunts a rich flowery, citrusy character.
Gluten intolerances will not hinder one’s craft beer experience in Ypsilanti! Unity Vibration is a local brewery known for a highly unique and sour kombucha beer. Kombucha is a fermented, probiotic tea that has slight traces of alcohol. Unity Vibration acquired a beer license, and began further fermenting their kombucha tea with hops, and selling it as a gluten-free craft beer. You can find Unity Vibration beer across the country at Whole Foods, or in Unity Vibration’s tasting room in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Both Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti are located less than 40 miles away from Detroit. Buzz by these craft beverage destinations on your next visit to Southeast Michigan, and be sure to call a taxi back to the hotel! For more information see VisitAnnArbor.org.