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The best brewery in Ann Arbor

2017 May 30
by Mike Vial

As Ann Arbor’s competitive beer industry expands to 11 breweries, I want to share why mash/Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery is my favorite in town.

One, I really like their porter.

But the larger reason they stand out is because of how well they have treated me as a hired musician for the last four years.

Once, after a sudden snow storm hit Ann Arbor, they decided to close their two locations early, so their staff could get home safely.

I pulled up to the bar right when they made the decision. They paid me even though they had to cancel.

A manager handed me a check and said, “Leave your gear in the car and go home before the roads are treacherous!”

I’ve played at 370 different locations across the country over the last 10 years. This type of fairness in the bar industry is extremely rare.

I’m reminded of this rarity since a different bar just cancelled the summer gigs they booked with me back in February.

They contacted me; I agreed and held the dates. Now, I won’t be able to fill those holes in my summer gig schedule.

But I’ll get creative after my paternity leave; and I’ve learned to budget for 5-10 cancellations for every 100 gigs.

However, this isn’t an easy business. That’s why I feel a kinship with you other musicians handling the ups and downs of gigging, and staying at it.

This is also why I often request we stop by mash on a rare night off.



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