Ann Arbor Dining Guide



Blue Tractor BBQ and Brewery

207 East Washington
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Location: Downtown

Blue- Tractor-BBQBlue Tractor BBQ and Brewery is attempting to fill the void of quality barbeque in the Ann Arbor area. We ventured out on a late Saturday afternoon to see if the Blue Tractor makes the grade.

The Ambiance

The Blue Tractor BBQ and Brewery is actually two separate spots, with the restaurant located upstairs and downstairs, a "beer, bourbon and whiskey" bar named Mash. We didn't get a chance to visit Mash, so we can't speak of it. The restaurant, though, is a nice blend of rustic and modern, with the dark, restored barn wood plank walls, adorned with oversized, black and white framed images of farm equipment. Following the rustic theme, simple wood tables and chairs are used in the dining room, and flannel shirts represent the staff dress code. In contrast, the bar area sports stainless steel beer vats, along with steel covered lights that overhang the huge bar area and parts of the dining room, giving the space a touch of modern flare. Flat screen televisions are located around the restaurant and bar. The vibe is very casual.

The Service

Our server was helpful and prompt. He described the menu options well, and brought the food quickly.

The Meal

Blue Tractor brews a beer called Bearded Pig pilsner. With a name like that, I knew I had to give it a try. The verdict was pretty good - grassy with some spicy hops flavor, finishing with an acceptable maltiness.

My wife ordered the Wisconsin Cheddar Ale soup and the Crackling Chicken, while I went the variety route with the BBQ Plate, having a side of Fried Mac and Cheese. The soup was a winner, with sharp cheddar and the infused beer flavor and aroma making a satisfying appetizer. The deep fried Crackling Chicken (cooked on a can of beer, as the menu said) had good flavor, but was somewhat overcooked and thus too dry and a bit tough. The sweet potato mash and collard greens were both acceptable, but not memorable. The BBQ Plate consisted of baby back ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, balsamic baked beans and fresh vegetables. Four sauces were on the table to add to the meal - vinegar-based, sweet, smoky, and mustard sauce. The ribs, basted in sweet BBQ sauce, were pretty tasty - but a little on the small side and a bit dry. The pulled pork was enjoyable - very tender, especially with the vinegar mop sauce added to it. The brisket was fair, but not remarkable. I did really enjoy the unique flavor of the homemade balsamic baked beans. The fried Mac and Cheese was outstanding, crispy on the top with gooey cheese and macaroni under the surface. It was even better with the BBQ sauce that I added.

We finished our meal with the fruit cobbler a la mode for desert, with locally sourced berries and mild vanilla ice cream. We shared it and both enjoyed it.

The Conclusion

Not a perfect BBQ experience, but still a solid spot for barbecue in Ann Arbor. Recommended.

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