This article was written by Azita Frattarelli
Wyandotte native Amy Sherman is drinking and eating her way across our great nation in search of the best that the craft beer industry has to offer and is sharing her findings with the public on her TV show, Great American Brew Trail, which will air its second season next month on the west side of the state.
Sherman is a culinary and craft enthusiast whose passion for locally grown and crafted food and beverage has resulted in a rich, “untraditional” career.
Sherman, whose grandfather Anthony Balavitch once owned Westgate Appliance, grew up on 19th Street in Wyandotte and began courting her love affair with culinary arts at an early age by spending summers dishing out scoops at Stroh's.
“It was the best job ever,” Sherman gushes, “because we were able to eat as much ice cream as we wanted.”
Sherman continued to work in the restaurant industry while attending Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, where she eventually settled down with her husband Jerry. The pair has been married 15 years and have three children—Finn, 14; Rohan, 12; and Edie, 10.
Sherman says she enjoys living on the west side of Michigan in a city that has all of her favorite characteristics from her hometown.
“Grand Rapids reminds me a lot of Wyandotte. It has the same small town feel, great parks and walkability like Wyandotte. It is a great community.”
Where's Sherman's favorite spot to grab a beer in Wyandotte?
When asked which 'Dotte pub is her favorite, the craft beer enthusiast emphatically chooses The Oak Cafe. The owner is a childhood friend from the neighborhood and she could not say enough about the selection and quality of beers that the Oak serves up.
“They have one of the best craft beer selections in Michigan and all of the distributors know him [the owner]. I love it there because it is the meeting place in Wyandotte.”
After leaving the restaurant business she took a position instructing at the Spartan Stores Family Fare culinary classroom and eventually accepted the job of hosting the new show spotlighting the American craft beer industry—Great American Brew Trail.
The show's first season, which is now available for purchase on Amazon, featured two microbreweries per episode and the communities surrounding them. Sherman believes that part of the success of a microbrewery and it's products is how much it embodies the characteristics of its hometown.
The second season, which will be airing on the ABC affiliate in Traverse City in October, will be formatted much like the first season but feature new pubs. Wyandotte viewers can catch new Brew Trail webisodes on the show's website.
Sherman on a mission to uncover Michigan's best beer
By piecing together different jobs and interests within the food industry, Sherman has found happiness in writing, moderating panels, teaching, hosting and sharing these experiences with others. Of all of the hats she wears her favorite is her chef hat, especially in the culinary classroom.
“When you are cooking you get to give and receive three times a day.” says Sherman. “It is very fulfilling.”
The self-titled 'culinary tour guide' is currently visiting Michigan microbreweries with MLive writer John Gonzalez as part of MLive's “Michigan's Best Brewery” competition. The pair will spend a few days visiting pubs and the best brewery will be announced September 24 in all of MLive's publications.