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Traveling to Grand Rapids, MI. Wat local brews should I check out?

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by Chacofirk, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Chacofirk

    Chacofirk Aspirant (40) Minnesota Nov 5, 2010

    Taking a brutally boring class the last week of January in Grand Rapids for work...Gonna have every evening off and want to check out the local craft beer scene...anything you dudes/ladies recommend???
  2. CMUbrew

    CMUbrew Savant (425) Michigan Jan 27, 2012

    I heard the Founders Brewing Company is pretty decent
  3. rolandboy

    rolandboy Savant (250) Michigan Oct 11, 2012

    founders, brewery vivant, perrin brewing company, hideout brewing co., hopcat, grand rapids brewing co.

    edit: if you're looking for a great beer store, hit up sicilianos on lake michigan drive.
    Mothergoose03 and MichPaul like this.
  4. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poobah (1,045) New Jersey Feb 23, 2012 Beer Trader

    There is only one beer to have in Michigan:
    kid Rock's American Bad Ass Lager
  5. HopsMatt

    HopsMatt Savant (495) Kentucky Dec 1, 2011 Beer Trader

    Founders sucked when we went. Food is great though. Highly suggest you check out HopCat. Would love to be able to go to that place every weekend!
  6. MichPaul

    MichPaul Champion (780) Michigan Jan 28, 2012 Beer Trader

    Must be another place called Founders... :rolleyes: (Unless you're doing one of those things where you're trying to keep it less busy there?)
  7. HopsMatt

    HopsMatt Savant (495) Kentucky Dec 1, 2011 Beer Trader

    No. It legitimately sucked.
  8. semibaked

    semibaked Champion (830) Kentucky Mar 27, 2007 Verified

    Hopcat and Brewery Vivant for sure.
  9. rolandboy

    rolandboy Savant (250) Michigan Oct 11, 2012

    that's too bad...i've never had anything but good experiences there. i highly suggest giving it a second chance if you're ever back in GR. i'll buy you a beer!
    MichPaul and Mothergoose03 like this.
  10. founder26

    founder26 Savant (470) Michigan Sep 9, 2009

    how so?
  11. HopsMatt

    HopsMatt Savant (495) Kentucky Dec 1, 2011 Beer Trader

    I think it was because they were expanding, or doing reno. Not sure. They only had maybe four things on tap. Bland offerings like Cerise and All Day. I've never been to an actual brewery that the selection was crappier than my local gas station.

    But the food was amazing.
  12. kc44

    kc44 Aficionado (155) Pennsylvania Feb 27, 2012

    This includes a great recent writeup of a GR beer trip as well as a map of what's in the area as far as breweries go. http://digital.zoompubs.com/publication/?i=140322 if the link didn't work; it gives a good idea of what to expect at Perrin, White Flame, Pike 51, Mitten, Harmony, and GRBC. Founders and HopCat are musts, and I would bet heavily against you becoming the second person of all time who comes away from Founders thinking it sucks. The other guy who offered a list on this thread was right on with his suggestions, but there are really more places than you can go to in five days, lots of the good stuff already got mentioned but there's more. For beer bars, check out Logan's Alley, The Meanwhile, and Graydon's Crossing. If you're looking for bottles, some other good spots are Martha's Vineyard, D. Shuler's, and B&B liquors.
    Can't go wrong with any of the breweries, even if you're in GR proper only, there's Founders, Vivant, Mitten, Harmony, and GRBC. Absolutely worth getting a bit north to go to the Hideout if you can, and Perrin is also unquestionably worth the trip. If you want to check out something outside of GR, New Holland is fairly close and excellent, depending on where you are in Grand Rapids it probably takes only slightly longer than getting to Perrin.
    So yeah, you shouldn't lack for beer things to do, hope you enjoy yourself!
    okcommuter likes this.
  13. fredmugs

    fredmugs Poobah (1,270) Indiana Aug 11, 2012 Beer Trader

    If you can't get Hopslam where you're at drive down to Bell's in Kalamazoo.
  14. Steimie

    Steimie Advocate (590) Michigan Jan 7, 2012

    I dunno...being able to get All Day or Centennial or Porter on tap seems like a good enough reason to stop at Founders. Yeah, they don't always have the rarest stuff on, but so what? Their regular lineup is still one of the best out there.

    OP: Take a drive over to Grand Haven and pop in on Odd Side. It's about 35 miles. Their Citra alone is worth that drive.
    founder26 likes this.
  15. TheodorHerzl

    TheodorHerzl Advocate (535) Indiana Mar 30, 2007 Beer Trader

    I have to say Perrin and Vivant for sure.
  16. cates1tg

    cates1tg Savant (275) Michigan Jul 18, 2010

    my only additions would be Harmony Brewing Co. and The Pyramid Scheme which has a lot of Short's beers that don't make it to bottle also which might warrant a visit.
  17. avalonct

    avalonct Aficionado (225) Michigan Oct 11, 2012

    Everythings he said is correct.
  18. okcommuter

    okcommuter Savant (260) Michigan Dec 25, 2012

    Definitely Founders. New Holland brewing is a short drive from GR. I have heard from a few people that Pike 51 in Hudsonville is excellent, too. You're coming to beer city--there are a lot of great places to visit, but that's just, like, my opinion, man.
  19. abaculy

    abaculy Savant (265) Michigan Sep 14, 2005

    You'll get pints for $2 on Monday (might be $2.50 nowadays) at Founders. If you go Wednesday, there won't be deals, but they will have a firkin... last week I think it was a cask of double dry-hopped Red's Rye w/ either Cascade or Simcoe. They also have casks/firkins on Saturdays, but they'll have live music in the evening.
  20. abaculy

    abaculy Savant (265) Michigan Sep 14, 2005

    Not to knock on Perrin, but I would probably save that for a different time. Every time I've been, the wait for a seat is very long unless you are lucky, so plan on standing. The food is definitely hit or miss. The beer was solid, but in my opinion, nothing standout. You would be better served going to New Holland, Hideout, or Odd Side since they have had a lot more time being open to really set themselves apart and put out good but unique products. I'm assuming Founders is already on your list... their place was definitely the inspiration for Perrin's design and concept in many ways, but they have been around for 15 years and have their own distinct products. I think that given a year or more, Perrin will be able to draw people there for their beer, even after the newness factor wears off. Their fruit beers were their only standout to me.
    TheBeerDad likes this.
  21. imfrommichigan

    imfrommichigan Advocate (515) Michigan Jul 12, 2012 Beer Trader

    Add Rockford Brewing Company to this list. Really solid brews for being a few weeks old. IMO the best opening beers of the new breweries around. That Belgian Multigrain was great!
  22. abaculy

    abaculy Savant (265) Michigan Sep 14, 2005

    They rarely have less that 12-13 beers on tap, and usually have 15-17. They were expanded 4 times in 5 years due to their popularity and inability to keep up with demand. They had to expand the taproom (and NEED to again) because Founders and craft beer as a whole has seen such a rise in popularity recently that they attract more than jut the locals.. more than just the Michiganders and Midwesterners. I find it funny to note the license plates I see on any given week day or week night, let alone weekends. (Washington, Florida, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire). I HIGHLY suggest stopping by again s9me time, but checking their website and Facebook first to make sure the aren't renovating the taproom. They may be knocking down the parking lot in front to expand the taproom out further. The weird thing is, when they last expanded, the kitchen was closed for a while, so I'm not sure when you would have been able to get food but only 4 beers on tap. Oh well... Come to GR and try it again!
  23. abaculy

    abaculy Savant (265) Michigan Sep 14, 2005

    How long ago did they open? I've been anticipating this one for quite a while now! The logo is awesome!
  24. imfrommichigan

    imfrommichigan Advocate (515) Michigan Jul 12, 2012 Beer Trader

    Dec. 20th was their official opening. Check it out! No IPA right now because it was amazing and sold out but their other brews are all solid.
  25. rolandboy

    rolandboy Savant (250) Michigan Oct 11, 2012

    i second this for sure. i can't leave odd side without a growler of the citra and usually a second growler of one of their other offerings to boot!
  26. TheBeerDad

    TheBeerDad Savant (380) Michigan Sep 6, 2012 Beer Trader

    I totally agree, imo the only reason Perrin is seeing the success that it is due to the existing capital they had to market their product. Everyone north of GR that lives in Sparta, Cedar, Kent, etc. think that this mythical beast known as craft beer is a majestic animal that recently appeared out of no where because they didn't serve it at the Bow Tie bar...
  27. Kiwi

    Kiwi Aficionado (225) New York Mar 15, 2004

    Always a required visit to Founders and Hop Cat on my annual trip to visit the grand kids in GR in October. I went to the Hideaway-aptly named; try and find it. I was blown away though by the beers at Brewery Vivant--DON"T miss it!!
  28. tommyz

    tommyz Advocate (580) Michigan May 28, 2007 Beer Trader

    Agree with this as well..Founders is great! Also, within a couple of Blocks is the BOB...Worth a stop to say you've been there..Nothing great, but a stop in for a sampler..
  29. scud

    scud Savant (370) Indiana Sep 22, 2010 Beer Trader

    Hop Cat and Founders are my favorite stops while in GR also Sicilianos market
  30. jbck109

    jbck109 Savant (410) Michigan May 30, 2010 Beer Trader

    But they dont brew it anymore, so it is now a whale!
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  31. jbck109

    jbck109 Savant (410) Michigan May 30, 2010 Beer Trader

    There are 3 must stops in the GR area; Founders, Hopcat, and Perrin. If you Want to try some shorts beers, check out the pyramid Scheme too.
  32. tommyz

    tommyz Advocate (580) Michigan May 28, 2007 Beer Trader

    I believe Brewery Vivant is a must stop while in GR
  33. tommyz

    tommyz Advocate (580) Michigan May 28, 2007 Beer Trader

    Also, I just feel hopcat is a beer bar more so than a brewery..Yes they brew their own beer, but more known for having an awesome selection of beers on draft
  34. blacknyellow20

    blacknyellow20 Savant (315) Ohio Dec 28, 2012 Beer Trader

    Definitely more of a beer bar, but its the best beer bar I've ever been to. The bottle selection is amazing there as well.
  35. jbck109

    jbck109 Savant (410) Michigan May 30, 2010 Beer Trader

    Oops! ,four must stops.
    tommyz likes this.
  36. tommyz

    tommyz Advocate (580) Michigan May 28, 2007 Beer Trader

    I just wanted to point that out as I was disappointed at first during my first visit believing it was a brewery only..Got over that very quickly though.. lol
  37. Chacofirk

    Chacofirk Aspirant (40) Minnesota Nov 5, 2010

    Thanks a ton for the advice! I'm definitely going to hit up Founders. Prob my favourite brewery after Surly! (afterall, I'm from St. Paul) HopCat sounds like a good place to tuck in for an evening! You guys are great!