Brewery: 734 Brewing Company (Ypsilanti, MI)

I am surrounded by amazing breweries and places to buy beer in the Ferndale area, so I tend to feel no real urge to venture outside my comfort zone to check out new-to-me places. I can get great beer from all over the world at various local markets or go to one of the numerous incredible local breweries within a 15-minute drive. Sometimes, though, a change of scenery is not just a good idea but a necessity (hello, pandemic fatigue). Recently, I changed up my scene by coasting out to 734 Brewing Company in Ypsilanti.

I admittedly don’t have much experience with Ypsi or Ann Arbor. They are beautiful towns that are friendly and engaging, but they never seem to ping my radar. On a Saturday too perfect even for Michigan’s unpredictable spring weather patterns, I made my way to Depot Town and parked myself in a patio chair at 734 Brewing.

I was struck by how nostalgic the brewery itself made me feel: a stripped-down interior with brewing equipment right out in the open. The big garage-style doors on two sides let in the breeze and reminded me of breweries I’d visited back in 2007 long before the advent of the brewery gastropub. Bring my own food? Don’t mind if I do. 734 Brewing had three beer options on tap, along with in-house hard seltzers. I selected the Cross Street Cream Ale, and my husband chose the Oh Four! Oatmeal Stout.

Cream Ales are, in my opinion, a hugely underrated style in this age of the arms race between New England IPAs and Bourbon Barrel Aged beers. There’s something so refreshing and delicious about an easy to drink Cream Ale. The Cross Street Cream Ale started my afternoon off just right: clean and pale golden with a creamy white head and no lingering sweetness or bite.

RELATED: Freakin’ Flights – Cream Ales (2020)

The Oh Four! Oatmeal Stout proved to be made of much sterner stuff, but we found it just as tasty on a 70° March day as it would likely be on an autumn evening, scented with leaves. Since both had relatively low ABVs (between 4-5%), I decided to try the third beer offering, the Ypsi High.P.A.

I cannot recall the last time I ordered an IPA that wasn’t a NEIPA or even bought one in a can. Maybe 2018?! I can’t be sure. There was a time when my brewery visits revolved around finding the most bitter, tongue-scalding IPA available. Those days have long since passed. I now prefer being able to drink something other than IPAs when I visit a brewery yet with my first sip of 734 Brewing’s Ypsi High.P.A., however, I knew I was in good hands.

At 6.8% ABV, this IPA was something I could get behind. It had a lovely golden orange color with just the right amount of bitterness and a hint of grapefruit. It actually seemed to taste more citrusy the longer I drank it. The High.P.A. was so delicious and refreshing that I purchased a growler to take home and enjoy the rest of the night. This IPA reminded me of why I used to love ordering them at breweries, and that is a precious feeling. I can’t recommend it enough.

It’s so nice to visit a place like 734 Brewing Company that evokes such fond memories of my early craft beer journey. I loved seeing the smaller beer menu which proved quality over quantity as a virtue breweries still adhere to. I look forward to more summer days on their patio, and I cannot wait to see what is offered next!

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By Danielle Fracassa

Early late 30s, married, 4 cats, cheeseburger obsessed, New England IPA lover and world traveler. Head of the Detroit Chapter of Girls Pint Out, a national organization for women who love craft beer.

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