Ann Arbor Beer Crawl with Jay Green: A Joyous Day of Brews

by | Jun 6, 2024 | Beer

The idea for the “Day with Jay” sprang to life during the Summer 2023 Beer Festival. With excitement brewing, we set a date for our first event in Grand Rapids, and it turned out to be an epic day—so much so that it couldn’t be replicated. But our enthusiasm didn’t wane; we decided another Day with Jay was in order, but this time in Ann Arbor. Thus, Jay’s Day in Ann Arbor, or better yet, Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer Crawl, was born.

Jay Green at Hidden King in Ann Arbor

Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer Crawl

A frequently asked question was, “Who is Jay Green?” Well, “Thee Jay Green” is Perrin Brewing’s resident beer ninja and, most importantly, Andrea’s husband. This became an inside joke, and at one point, T-shirt designs were even discussed. Jay is not just a beer expert; he’s an excellent drinking buddy with an epic beard. Together with Andrea they are a dynamic duo (watch out Batman and Robin) and our most excellent friends.

Jay and Andrea Green at Biercamp in Ann Arbor

Countdown to Jay’s Day in Ann Arbor

As the day approached, text messages buzzed with invites and itineraries. We aimed to keep travel minimal and make it easy for friends to join the fun. The motto of the day was inclusivity—the more, the merrier. As not everyone could join us all day, our goal was to keep everyone informed as we moved along so they could join where and when they could.

The only minor casualty was my sister, who went to the wrong HOMES brewery–an easy mistake.

Biercamp: Your Neighborhood Meat Shop & Microbrewery

Biercamp - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer Crawl
Our first stop was Biercamp on South State Street, where Jay and Andrea greeted us in matching Pride gear. Jay sported his trademark flamingos, this time on pink socks from Germany. Biercamp is renowned for its meat and beer, which are made in small batches with unique ingredients and family recipes. Although the Summer Ale keg had just blown when we arrived, we savored their clean and delicious brown ale. It’s a deceptively refreshing brew. Our beer buddies Jeff and Angie went with the Vienna IPA, a tantalizing brew made ever so slightly sweet by the namesake Vienna malt.

It was the perfect first stop for our Ann Arbor Beer tour with Jay. Eating brats and tots under the trees on their outdoor patio felt like a picnic, reminiscent of when Blackrocks in Marquette was just starting—a small space bursting with flavor and character.

Biercamp - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer Crawl
And poof, just like that, it was time to caravan to the next stop.

Mothfire Brewing Co

Stopping at Mothfire Brewing was a must. Jay and Andrea had to experience their new patio.

Mothfire Brewing - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer CrawlIt was our logical next stop since it was on the same side of town as Biercamp. The first friend’s rotation of the day started as we swapped Brenda for Doug Hoadley. They were on grandkid duty. Jay got an impromptu brewery tour from David Becker (co-founder of Mothfire) while the rest claimed a spot on the patio.

Mothfire Brewing Co - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer Crawl

It was agreed that the Ells Pilsner we sampled was our favorite beer that day. Some very sad faces were at the table when it was discovered there wasn’t any in the cooler for sale. But David promised more would be coming soon. It wasn’t a problem, really, as Mothfire has a huge selection of beer on tap and also in cans.

The Times Kolsh was spectacularly bright and sunny, just like the day on the Mothfire patio. Chuck tried the Pyra hazy IPA and reported that it was soft and citrusy without the nasty backend astringency that typically keeps him away from the haze. Jeff enjoyed a tight and bright Maci, a West Coast IPA made with Michigan Chinook, Citra, Amarillo, and Idaho 7 hops.

I wasn’t hungry, but after watching pizza after pizza pass our table, I ordered one from the Carrozza Pizza Food truck. This bad boy is for you if you like spicy, thin-crust pepperoni pizza. I’m still thinking about it.

Mothfire Brewing Co - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer Crawl

Apparently, cutoff overalls are the new uniform!

Mothfire Brewing Co - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer Crawl
We could have easily spent the rest of the afternoon on Mothfire’s patio drinking beer and eating pizza, but Pinball Pete’s was calling our names.

Pinball Pete’s

Pinball Pete’s - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer CrawlIt’s been a hot minute since I’ve been on campus, let alone inside Pinball Pete’s. I expected to have the place to ourselves at 3 p.m., but it was buzzing. We filled our cups with quarters and dusted off our Defender and Frogger skills. Pinball Wizard is not listed on our resume, but Jay hit a pink ticket Jackpot.

Pinball Pete’s - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer Crawl

These were donated to the stash of a young girl celebrating her birthday. Jay doubled her ticket count. I hope she had enough for a grand prize.

There is a timewarp at Pinball Pete’s. I thought the time was standing still, but it was buzzing along with our quarters.

HOMES Campus

A few more joined us at the HOMES Campus on Ann Arbor’s west side. (Note: they have two locations! The other one is by the Veteran’s Park.) Their space is open with a huge patio and spacious taproom, which is perfect for a gathering. Since the weather app was promising rain, we commandeered tables inside.

HOMES Campus - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer Crawl

HOMES is known for its IPAs, particularly the hazy, but we found its Soaker Kolsch and Bloomer New Zealand Pilsner to be exceptional. Both were perfect for hanging out and talking with friends. If you aren’t into beers, no worries—HOMES Campus also has wine, cider, hard smoothies, spirits, and N/A beverages.

HOMES Campus - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer Crawl

Having our friends pop in and out on this adventure was part of the magic.

Super Duper Drinks

Christopher Lasher texted that he was on his way to Ann Arbor as we headed to HOMES. Since he was coming from Griffin Claw, I figured we wouldn’t see him until later. Lasher launched the Super Duper Drinks coffee company in 2023, and I’ve been addicted ever since. He had a box of coffee for me. I’m unsure if I was more excited about the coffee or hugging him. I’m not the only one with a Super Duper Coffee addiction; he recently received an order from Space X. Super Duper in space!

Super Duper - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer Crawl

Old Town Tavern

Old Town - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer CrawlHunger pains had us looking for bar food. Of Course, Old Town was the obvious choice. It is the quintessential Ann Arbor tavern, and a pub crawl would only be complete with a stop. Kickstand’s Pontoon Pale paired perfectly with a tasty sandwich. Peanut butter cookies were on special, so a round was ordered. My Lord, those cookies were awesome!

The Hidden King

You could say we saved for Jay, the best for last, The Hidden King.

When we caught up with Mark Wilfong in 2023, he was navigating the challenges of blending his cafe and bar into Ann Arbor’s Main Street community. Fast-forward to today, and The Hidden King has not only found its niche but is flourishing. You can feel the heart of Ann Arbor beating here, along with a steady stream of customers buying Wilfong’s traditional cocktails made with a unique twist. Many are crafted with Lasher’s Super Duper Coffee. Wilfong has a Mothfire beer, Teahaus teas, and Blom cider for sale if your cocktails are not your gig.

If cocktails are your jam, then you are in for a treat. Mark and his team define the word mixologist. Our group enjoyed the coffee martini, double Manhattan, and Negroni. Each of these drinks are bursting with a cornucopia of flavors. These nuanced beverages are delightful, and each was served with a smile. In fact, Hidden King is probably the friendliest bar in town.

Hidden King - Jay’s Ann Arbor Beer Crawl

Jay’s Ann Arbor beer crawl was more than just a tour; it was a day of camaraderie, laughter, and great memories. Here’s to many more epic days with Jay!


More photos from our Day with Jay in Ann Arbor are in our gallery.

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