Detroit’s skyline — Photo courtesy of Vito Palmisano
Once known as the fourth-largest city in the United States, modern-day Detroit is a far cry from the auto industry juggernaut that dominated the nation during the mid-1900s. While its signature industry may not be quite what it used to be, Motor City has certainly hit its stride when it comes to the wide world of craft beer. From avant-garde taprooms to rustic breweries, Detroit just might be the nation’s most underrated destination for a craft beer-filled journey.
Perched along the aptly-named Detroit River, downtown Detroit is best known for its spectacular architecture, ranging from the 1920s-era Guardian Building to the ornate Wayne County Building – and there’s no shortage of craft beer to be found just steps away from these iconic structures.
One spot in particular has been a go-to for over a century, established back in 1904 by Luxembourg immigrant Albert Jacoby. In the modern era, Jacoby’s offers a blend of both local and European flavors, equipped with a massive list of German, Belgian and Wolverine State brews both on draft and in bottle, each one served alongside classic German dishes like Jägerschnitzel and Kartoffelpuffer.
After a few German beers at Jacoby’s – and a quick stop by the stunning 1880s-era St. Mary Roman Catholic Church – it’s time for something completely different. Enter the Detroit Beer Exchange, a polished downtown venue that puts a decidedly Wall Street-esque spin on your typical craft beer bar. The brews around here aren’t sold at a set price, but fluctuate based on supply and demand, with popular beers spiking in price as more patrons order them. Add in calculated “market crashes” and decadent comfort food, and you’ve got a truly fun way to spend your afternoon in Motor City.
The bar at Eastern Market Brewing Company — Photo courtesy of Eastern Market Brewing Company
Of course, no craft beer trip would be complete without tasting a couple of selections straight from the source, and fortunately, Detroit is chock-full of breweries scattered all throughout city limits. Just northeast of the downtown core, the Eastern Market neighborhood currently serves as the largest historic public market district in the nation, providing visitors with a wealth of bars, restaurants and massive murals to take in.
One spot in particular – Eastern Market Brewing Company – is keeping the area’s rich legacy of brewing alive in the 21st century, with a diverse portfolio of pints up for grabs, including Detroit Diesel stout, Same Old Lager and their flagship Elephant Juice IPA.
Down by the river, visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the Canada-adjacent West RiverWalk, then head east to find Atwater Brewery & Tap House, a rustic red brick venue that’s been a fixture of Detroit’s Rivertown since 1997. Atwater specializes in German-style lagers, and there’s no better place to enjoy a refreshing Atwater Lager than their open-air rooftop patio – during the warmer months, at least. For those looking for a little more punch in their beer, the Vanilla Java Porter and POG-O-LICIOUS IPA are both two particularly mouthwatering options.
The bar at Cultivate Coffee and Tap House — Photo courtesy of Destination Ann Arbor
While Detroit is home to a pretty spectacular beer scene, there’s a lot more to be found if you head west of city limits to the cozy college town of Ann Arbor. There’s a wealth of new brews to be discovered around here, but don’t miss out on some of the highlights along the way.
Once you’ve made your way out of Detroit, the city of Dearborn offers a truly incredible Arab-American food scene, along with the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, an iconic institution that’s home to some truly monumental vehicles used throughout American history.
Before heading into Ann Arbor, be sure to make a quick stop in Ypsilanti, where Cultivate Coffee & Tap House awaits weary travelers. This idyllic Huron River-adjacent spot is home to a wide array of beverages ranging from caffeinated to boozy, with coffee, wine, cocktails and beer all up for grabs. The extensive draft menu focuses heavily on Midwestern breweries – patrons can grab a Wolverine Premium lager to enjoy in the open-air courtyard or sip indoors if the weather isn’t cooperating.
The bar at HOMES Brewery — Photo courtesy of Destination Ann Arbor
Once you’ve arrived in Ann Arbor, there’s a pretty sizable amount of options to choose from. Around the downtown area, Grizzly Peak Brewing Company and Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery are two particularly popular joints for professionals and UMich students alike, but for true mastery within the realm of craft beer, don’t leave town without checking out HOMES Brewery. This sleek and sophisticated spot is home to some truly fascinating beers, including the Metaform key lime sour IPA and Soaker Kölsch. To sweeten the deal, there’s a wealth of savory Asian street food-inspired dishes to pair with your pint.
Rural Michigan is best known for its abundant natural beauty, but the craft beer scene around its largest city certainly makes a great case for visiting the urban parts of the state as well. While Detroit and Ann Arbor are both equipped with spectacular breweries, these two just barely scratch the surface of what Michigan has to offer.
After your first beer-filled trip to Motor City, a return trip will definitely be in order – and maybe with some added itinerary space for Lansing, Grand Rapids or Kalamazoo to spice things up.
Credit: Source link