Just when you didn’t think it was possible, Ann Arbor gets even better. The Blue Tractor, located on East Washington Street, opened in 2008 and has been such a hit that a $50,000 renovation and expansion was necessary to hold the ever-increasing clientele. Not only was the restaurant portion of the Blue Tractor expanded, but the renovation included an addition to the basement: a whiskey, bourbon, and beer bar called “Mash.” All these exciting add-ons mean that the Blue Tractor has something to offer all of Ann Arbor’s diverse population.
Franco Public Relations Group graciously helped host the preview of the 1,800 square foot renovation and expansion. Brewmaster Tim Schmidt was present to answer questions and share his amazing beer creations. “The central line runs right from the lauter-tun to the beer tap on the main restaurant floor,” he explained, “The beer is never even put into kegs.” This is to keep the beer at the peak of freshness and to make sure the flavor does not change as it would during the process of transporting it into kegs. An abundance of amazing appetizerswas served, created by executive chef, Neal Diebold. The pork nachos and fried pickle chips served with a white BBQ dipping sauce were outstanding.
I can honestly say that Mash is one of the most intriguing bars I have ever experienced. The low-hanging ceiling is a giant chalkboard, which guests and beverage-consumers can decorate at will. Signature cocktails are given a creative twist when mixed with freshly brewed craft beer. No surprise that a drink called “The Mitten” caught my eye: it consists of Michigan cherry juice rinse, house-infused cherry bourbon, Sudworth Bock, and fresh lemon juice and was delicious. Live music is played three or four nights a week and features local artists looking to showcase their talent. The atmosphere is laid-back and offers a variety of entertaining seating arrangements. There is a separate room with a flat-screen television that can be booked for watching football games with a group of friends. This room offers a little window that peers into the bar, ensuring that the bartender can frequently pass drinks through.
Follow the Blue Tractor on Twitter to find out which seasonal brews are currently being created and which ones are already on tap. Their Facebook page is a wonderful way to check out photos of their delicious dishes to help you decide what to eat before heading on over. Follow Mash on Twitter or like them on Facebook to find out what bands are playing and be enticed by their delicious cocktails. The new and improved Blue Tractor and Mash are too good to pass by, so stop in at your earliest convenience to guarantee an unforgettable time.
Jennifer Hamilton, Feature Writer