Arbor Brewing Company
114 E Washington St
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Visited on May 31, 2010
Ann Arbor has four microbreweries within two blocks of each other and all basically on the same street. So as much as I’d like to hate on the town, it’s actually rather awesome. And they’re all pretty high quality. Arbor Brewing has the nicest interior, somehow pulling off a simple, charming, nostalgic character in the heart of a college town. The food is inventive and local, though most things I tried fell a little short on execution. And while the beers are well above your average brewpub and there’s a wide variety, I don’t recall any of them ever really blowing me away.
Arbor Brewing was my second brewpub in Ann Arbor I chose to patron, mostly because I had already had some of their beers in bottles and was more curious about Grizzly Peak. My visit in person did not disappoint, though, and they lived up to their bottled brew.
Located in the heart of beautiful and slightly hippie Ann Arbor, this brewpub is exactly what I expected. An old building with lots of beautiful woodwork, an unconventional layout with a couple of rooms/dining areas, and a menu filled with local ingredients and fun combinations. Upscale brewpubery at its finest!
The booth I sat in was a little dark, making it difficult to read my book, which was odd because it was around noon on a holiday. Nevertheless, I enjoyed everything I ate and drank.
The menu features lots of fresh ingredients and a pretty long specials list, hopefully created from whatever is fresh from the local suppliers at the time. I started my long, long visit (I was in no hurry) with a sampler platter as well as some fried plantain chips dusted in cinnamon and sugar. I enjoyed the dish, but the plantains were kind of tasteless, needing the dusting and the ketchup to be good. I followed that with an IPA marinated chicken sandwich accompanied by sweet potato fries.
The sandwich came dressed with roasted garlic goat cheese, basil pesto, spinach and red onion. Sounds delicious, no? The only problem was the chicken was a bit dry, and the lack of a true sauce didn’t do anything to moisten the sandwich. It could’ve used a little mayo or something to make it juicier. Also, I couldn’t really taste the goat cheese. But it was still a decent offering.
The beer was superb. Michigan really knows where it’s at when it comes to brewing. The beer menu is vast and features many different varieties from throughout the world. I found myself gravitating towards the English versions of their bitter and mild. They must have an English brewmaster, or at least one who spent some time there, because they are excellent.
The service was on par, though I did have to wait quite a while to get a water to quench between tastes. I chalk it up to a simple task pushed out of the brain because of other menial tasks, such as cleaning, that she was relegated too. Still, it could have been better.