Grand Rapids, Michigan continues its reign as Beer City USA, thanks to dozens of craft breweries and a culture that appreciates quality beer. However, local brewers are not ones to sit on their laurels. Founders Brewing Company recently opened a year round outdoor beer garden. The Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids now sports a Bell’s Brewery taproom/restaurant. And three new breweries are scheduled to open in the area in the next few months. Beer Week is taking place February 16 – 22 in Grand Rapids, making this a great time to visit. Here are five more reasons you shouldn’t delay.
Winter Beer Festival
The ninth annual beer fest takes place Saturday, February 22 at Fifth Third Ballpark. Over 80 Michigan brewers and about 6,000 beer drinkers will be in attendance. Tickets for this year’s event sold out in 45 minutes. The event is held outdoors with the brewers and their wares protected by large tents. While trying some of the best beer Michigan has to offer, attendees can listen to live music, warm themselves by the bonfires, and eat roasted turkey legs.
This award winning downtown Grand Rapids brew pub boasts its own small brewery and a great restaurant. HopCat has been voted Best Brew Pub in the U.S. by RateBeer.com and ranked as the 3rd Best Beer Bar in the World by Beer Advocate. The owners recently opened a second location in East Lansing and are looking at a third location in the Detroit area.
Located in the Eastown neighborhood of Grand Rapids, this is a little gem of a brewery. It only seats about 80 people, they only brew enough beer to be consumed on premises and they are always full. Harmony just celebrated their 2nd anniversary. They also serve great food. Their pizza was ranked as the fourth best in Michigan by the statewide media organization mLive.
This little hole-in-the-wall brewery is located in an old firehouse on Grand Rapids' west side. The fire pole is still visible near the front entrance. They’ve only been open for a little more than a year but are building a reputation as a quality neighborhood brewery that also serves great pizza.
Ale Trail Map
There are over 30 craft breweries in West Michigan with more on the way. Every corner of Grand Rapids seems to have a brewery or two, as do most of the surrounding communities. Finding your way around to all of them has become a little easier thanks to a new map. Experience Grand Rapids published the Ale Trail map. This is a great guide to the great beer making going on in the area. Maps are available at several West Michigan brewing establishments.