Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Wonder that's Bill’s Beer Garden in Ann Arbor

Written by  Patti Smith
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 Bill's Beer Garden in Ann Arbor

It isn’t often that I look at something and think, “Man! I wish I had thought of that!” The Lite Brite game was one time (although it came out before I was born) and so was the Twilight series (the books are abysmal but somehow that broad got an agent, a publisher and made a zillion dollars). More recently, and in my own little town, I looked at the wonder that is Bill’s Beer Garden and thought, “Wow! I really really wish I’d thought of this!” Because seriously, doesn’t everyone like to sit outside and drink Michigan beer?
A Pint at Bill's Beer Garden in Ann ArborApparently, they do! Bill’s Beer Garden is in the parking lot of Downtown Home & Garden, a 100+ year old building that began as a livery/feed store back in the day. If there are seeds that you cannot find there, then you do not need them. It is also connected to Mark’s Carts (yet another brilliant idea). If you are there at the right time, you can buy some bulbs and feed, visit a cart and get pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches or bahn mi (among many other choices) and then sit down and enjoy a Michigan craft beer.

At my last visit, Bill’s Beer Garden had the following beers on tap: ABC’s Bollywood Blonde,Bell’s Oberon, Dark Horse’s Raspberry Ale and Crooked Tree, Dragonmead’s Final Absolution, Founders’ All Day IPA, New Holland’s Full Circle Kolsch, Original Gravity’s Primordial Porter, Odd Side Ale’s Citra Pale Ale and Wolverine’s Amber Lager.

I truly believe that Full Circle is the perfect summer drink. As you can see from the picture, the beer is served in a delightfully retro-looking glass. At one time or another, I have had every one of the beers on the beer list and they all taste delicious on draft as I sit outside enjoying another beautiful Michigan evening.They do have red and white wines for the wine crowd and even had margaritas earlier this spring. But the beer is why we are there! And it goes down well even when it gets cooler. Bill brings out heaters and it’s extremely pleasant to stay warm and toasty while drinking outside. Whenever you go, make sure you get there early because while there are lots of places to sit, it does fill up quickly.

Bill’s Beer Garden is the best. Michigan beer, beautiful outside venue…man I wish I’d thought of this!

Patti Smith

Patti Smith

Patti “TeacherPatti” Smith lives in Ann Arbor with Boyfriend Ken, her dog Buddy and her stepcats Ali and Cyrus. She is a special education teacher by day, local history buff and brew drinker by night (see the hybrid history/beer blog at She also loves watching most Detroit sports on TV, boxing, brewing beer, storytelling, board games and recently wrote a middle grade/YA book that she hopes to convince a publisher to publish! Meantime, she is working on a book about the history of downtown Ann Arbor for Arcadia publishers. Her favorite beer styles include Russian Imperial Stout, pumpkin beers, Kolschs and most things with peppers in them.