Before there were small plates, there were flights. These interesting sampler plates have been around for years, giving restaurant and brewery patrons the ability to try a few flavors before ordering full bottles. But while they used to be reserved for drinks like beer and wine, lately we’ve seen Ann Arbor restaurateurs transform the idea and make it their own. Over the past several years, flights featuring items like margaritas, coffee and even cheese have taken the city by storm, so we took it upon ourselves to look a little deeper into this tasty trend.
We found some of the most delicious food and drink “flights” in the Ann Arbor area and listed them below. Here, you’ll find everything from the traditional (beer and spirits) to the different (like ice cream and cereal) so read on and get ready for your taste buds to take flight!
One of the most common drink “flights” you’ll find in the United States is a beer flight! Breweries, pubs, restaurants and tap houses all often offer this handy special that allows you to try several different beers of your choosing before committing to a whole glass or growler. Almost all of Ann Arbor’s local breweries and brewpubs offer flights, including The Session Room, HOMES, Jolly Pumpkin, Ashley’s, Townies, Wolverine State Brewing Co, 734 Brewing Company and more. Click here for a list of our favorite breweries and visit them in person to try this brew-ti-ful experience yourself!
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Spirit flights are another popular flight option in the area, with many local distilleries and bars jumping on the trend and allowing you to sample popular spirits before ordering an entire cocktail or bottle. At Ann Arbor Distilling Company, you can enjoy affordable gin flights, allowing you to taste their most popular gins all at once (including their summer, spring, winter and fall varieties!). You can also order a $15 whiskey flight from The Ravens Club‘s extensive menu, which includes whiskey, bourbon and scotch from all across the globe. Several other distilleries and bars offer these types of specials in the area, so be sure to stop by your favorite one and ask!
Soju is a clear, colorless distilled Korean spirit usually consumed neat. Miss Kim here in Ann Arbor, known for tasty and innovative Korean dishes, offers a special soju flight allowing you to choose three different flavors to try! We recommend stopping by during happy hour for $6 off—just don’t forget to make a reservation for indoor dining before you go.
Kombucha beer? You bet! Unity Vibration Kombucha was one of the first kombucha beer breweries in the United States, offering delicious alcoholic kombucha creations for all seasons. If you’re not sure where to start on their extensive menu, consider picking up a flight to try a few options first! Afterward, you can pick up a few cans or a growler of your favorite.
Owned and operated by the Jonna family, this neighborhood wine bar and dinner destination boasts a chic atmosphere, 150 wines and a New American menu. To help you figure out exactly what your wine tastes are, they offer a special wine flights like the “Acid Trip” that showcases some of the best, crisp white wines they have on the menu as well as “When Dirt Tastes Good” featuring a selection of red wines boasting spice and earth tones. Click here to explore the whole menu and figure out what you’ll be ordering the next time you go!
Bløm (pronounced bloom) is a hyper-local meadery located in the heart of Ann Arbor. Unlike many other meaderies and cideries, every ingredient is sourced from Michigan and their mead is fermented like a dry craft cider, so it’s not as thick or as sweet as other meads you may have tried. And have we mentioned all of them are gluten-free? We recommend kicking your visit off with a flight if you’re new to the mead or cider world! Each flight is delivered to your table in a cute silver tray with colorful brews that’ll make your mouth water.
If you or someone you know is a margarita lover, head down to Cantina Ann Arbor ASAP. This taqueria and bar recently announced their new margarita flight menu offering, giving you the chance to try a combination of sweet, spicy and refreshing margs all at once. Pair it with a few tacos, a burrito or quesadilla and you’ll have the makings of a fantastic #TacoTuesday (or any day of the week, really).
We love a good cheese plate and there’s no better place in Ann Arbor to get one than Zingerman’s Roadhouse! Here, you can order artisan Zingerman’s cheeses by the ounce to craft your very own cheese flight. Their cheese plates automatically come out with balsamic-roasted grapes and toasted bagel chips but they also have other options you can add on for some more flavor like crusty Zingerman’s Bakehouse bread, fresh fruit, house-made pickles and, of course, wine! In 2019, they even crafted their own guide on how to order a cheese flight at the restaurant. Click here to read it before visiting!
The ice cream at Blank Slate Creamery is homemade using fresh, all-natural ingredients which has resulted in numerous rankings as the top ice cream in Ann Arbor and throughout the state of Michigan! You can even see a list of several of their locally sourced ingredients on their website, which includes milk and cream from Guernsey Farms Dairy in Northville. If you can’t decide on just one flavor, order their signature ice cream flight. You can even get it in a large waffle cone if you want to try them all together!
A relatively new addition to the Ypsilanti dining scene, Bobcat Bonnie’s is an approachable, down-to-earth gastropub offering tasty dishes and cocktails at a friendly price. This quirky café is one of our favorite places in town for brunch and interesting drinks. Not only do they offer one of the best mimosas in town, but they have recently released a brand-new menu item: Cereal Shooter Flights! Their Cereal Shooters feature a handful of cereal of your choice (like Lucky Charms, Cocoa Pebbles or Cinnamon Toast Crunch) along with a small, corresponding cocktail offering the essence of the cereal and a liquor that pairs perfectly. Click here to explore their interesting menu and drop by their Ypsilanti location the next time you get a chance!
Vertex Coffee Roasters in Ann Arbor, located at the “vertex” of Washtenaw and South University where the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor communities meet, is a coffee shop and roastery offering delicious drinks and sustainable practices. They recently resumed their coffee flights in May 2021, offering 6-ounce versions of some of their most popular beverages, from Honey Lavender Lattes to Rose Chai and more. You can create your own to enjoy on their picturesque patio, daily from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where will you fly first?
Which of these flights are you most interested in trying? Let us know in the comments below!