A new drinking establishment has landed in Ann Arbor. After a lengthy wait, Wolverine State Brewing Co. opened its taphouse for business November 5th. For those who have have Wolverine Beer, these are the same folks (though that product has been brewed under contract with Michigan Brewing Co. in Williamston), with an expanded repertoire and their very own building.
I was on hand for the Taphouse’s first day, so what did I think of the place? There were a few kinks, which is to be expected on the first day, and some of them were worked out by the time I returned the following week. The “Order Here” sign moving from the counter to suspended above it, for example, was a welcome change. As time goes on, I expect many more minor improvements like this to improve the experience for patrons (and employees, too).
The interior is quite spacious, with the bar running along the left side and the entire back wall. Behind the bar on the left side, you can usually peer through an open door into the brewery itself. The space is quite large, so hopefully there’s room for future expansion. There are a couple TVs, though they’re definitely not a focus of the bar. I’d be interested to check the place out during a Michigan sporting event, because it could be a decent sports bar. The decor is mostly dark, but there’s a local focus as well, as the tables throughout the taphouse have nautical maps of the Great Lakes, and there’s a large map of the state on the far right wall, near the dartboards (pictured above).
There’s definitely potential for a new taphouse in Ann Arbor, especially one that’s filling the previously-barren niche of focusing on lagers. Situated on the far West side, this is going to be a townie bar, with very rare appearances from students. Aside from that, Wolverine State Brewing Co. still seems to be looking for its identity, but that’s something that can only come with time and establishing a customer base, and can’t be artificially forced. Once the taphouse hits its stride, I have no doubts it will be very successful.