Grand Rapids Beer Trolley is open for business! This is a hop on hop off type beer tour on a sweet trolley. Only $15.00 for unlimited rides per day this looks like a good deal. The trolley stops at 9 different Grand Rapids breweries and the website even has a ‘Trolley Tracker’ so you know where it is at all times! Single ride passes are only $5 but you might not get a spot if they have a full trolley. This looks like a neat addition to the GR brewery scene so check it out and let me know how you like it!
Hours of Operation
4:00 pm – 12:00 am
2:00 pm – 10:00 pm
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
We visited Muskegon, MI recently on a sunny summer afternoon to hit up the beach and try their local breweries (Unruly and Pigeon Hill). The beach was free, clean and not too busy for a Friday afternoon though the wind blowing off Lake Michigan was chilly.
After a few hours in the sun nothing sounds better than locally brewed beer so we hopped in the car and drove downtown to find Pigeon Hill Brewing. It was easy to find and the outdoor seating had a few patrons enjoying the sun. Inside Pigeon Hill there was plenty of table seating and some open seats at the bar which we promptly utilized. They had a nice selection of beers so we bought a sample flight that cost about $13. The Walter Gets Buzzed was a great coffee tasting beer that we got a howler filled with so you know it was good!
Next we walked a few blocks to find Unruly Brewing and try their beers. They too had an outdoor seating area and upon entering the building I was impressed by the size and open format. Inside the same space there is a coffee place and a pizza joint so you have all your vices covered under one roof! Unruly had some interesting beer names but I had a hard time finding descriptions of the beers beyond what was written on the chalk board. Nevertheless I ordered a flight and found that their beers are tasty too. At only $8 for 4 samples it’s a good deal and should help you find your favorite Unruly brew!
Muskegon might only have two breweries but they are good ones and if you want a nice day of sun, waves and beer a trip to the west coast and Muskegon should satisfy.
Over the weekend I took a short trip north of Grand Rapids and visited Cedar Springs Brewing and Cellar Brewing company, take note it would have been easy to add a stop at Rockford Brewing too but I did some shoe shopping instead.
I’d never been to either of these great breweries but I’ll be sure to visit them more in the future. Stopping first in Cedar Springs at the newly completed brewpub we saw a crowd waiting to be seated at the large communal style tables popular in Germany but luckily if you just wanted to drink you can skip the line and visit the bar. Cedar Springs brewery has a nice list of German inspired beers along with pale ale, ipa, sangria, cider and root beers for the kids. A quick sampling surprised me that the IPA was less hoppy than the pale ale and the Hefewiezen had very strong banana flavoring for me (I loved it). The food also got rave reviews from the people sitting at the bar and again was very German inspired fare. I’m excited to revisit in the spring since the building has many glass garage doors that should open to the outdoors and a large beer garden out back.
Our second stop was in Sparta at Cellar Brewing which we almost missed while driving, the building wasn’t really eye catching but once inside it felt warm and inviting despite it’s large industrial size. Cellar isn’t just a brewery though, they also distill liquors and make wine too so you’ll be sure to find at least a few libations to please every palate. The “Michigan Sunshine” stood out as similar to Blue Moon and a bit ironic because when we arrived it was a typical cloudy Michigan day but the beer was good! Actually all the beers hit the mark on their respective styles. I also liked the fact the brewery has a large selection of table games to play as well as a pool table, shuffleboard table and Foosball with plenty of tables for people to sit and sip their brews.
Next time you head North on 131 consider stopping at these two great breweries! Also I wore my Brewsader tshirt and at both breweries people stopped to ask about it, so it’s a great way to make new drinking buddies.
Took a drive out to Spring Lake, MI last Saturday to checkout the Dutch Girl Brewery and was pleasantly surprised to find that Vander Mill is located directly across the street! Be aware that Dutch Girl is located in a large building with auto parts stores on each side so it is easy to drive past without realizing the brewery is in that building but if you see Vander Mill you’ll know you arrived.
We used a Groupon at Dutch Girl Brewery to get two flights and two pints at nearly half price which is a great way to try a new brewery! After trying 8 samples of their beers I got a pint of Coastie Kolsch which is a nod to the Coast Guard heritage in the area. We also got some bar cheese after drinking all those samplers to help dilute the alcohol. Overall a very nice brewery that seemed to be getting quite busy as we left around 4pm.
We proceeded across the street to Vander Mill where we found the place completely empty so we got prime seats at the bar and ordered a flight of every cider they had on tap, turns out 12 samplers of cider is quite a bit! As they weren’t too busy yet Kelsey our bartender offered a personal tour of the production facility which was both enlightening and fun as she let us bring our cider to drink while touring. Turns out Vander Mill has the most advanced filtration system in Michigan for making cider, and their apple supplier uses a special storage system to create a vacuum allowing them to store apples all year and keep supply of cider steady. Another interesting fact from Kelsey is that 50% of Vander Mill sales are actually in the city of Chicago, who knew they loved cider that much?! Finally she tipped us to the fact that Vander Mill’s Grand Rapids location is expected to open in February 2016, so that’s coming up soon. After the tour the tap room filled up quickly and was quite busy by the time we finished all our flights of beer. If you’ve never tried all the various Vander Mill cider varieties you really should, I had no idea they made so many and the Totally Roasted cider tastes like pecans (because they actually roast the pecans in the kitchen, it’s amazing). As we left there was a musician getting ready to play for the people eating dinner and drinking cider, a nice cozy winter hangout at Vander Mill.
After all that sampling we had to call in a designated driver but it was worth it and the next morning our car was waiting for us in the parking lot, a safe and happy ending to a pleasant Saturday in Spring Lake.
It’s official, I’m a Beer City Brewsader! Just picked up my free tshirt at the GOsiteGR after hitting 11 of the 23 breweries listed in the passport.
If you don’t know what a “Brewsader” is or why I would need a passport to drink beer don’t worry I’ll explain.
Experience GR has created a small booklet called a ‘passport’ that lists 23 of Grand Rapids breweries and as you visit each one they will stamp your book. If you visit 8 or more you can redeem the passport for a free tshirt that brands you a “Brewsader” or a person that enjoys drinking at breweries. Free, fun, simple, basically it’s a self guided brewery tour and the passport is full of information as well as space to write your favorite beers and breweries. I was also told that they are considering an even better prize for people that visit all 23 breweries but as of yet they are working out the details.
You can get your own Brewsader Passport at any of the participating breweries or the GOsiteGR inside the Grand Rapids Art Museum. To redeem it you can just mail it in or personally visit the GOsiteGR as I did, they are friendly!
Beer City Runner is set to launch on Sept 5, 2014 offering a shuttle type service visiting many of the breweries in Grand Rapids. Initially running on Friday (5pm-Midnight) and Saturday (Noon-Midnight), Beer City Runner offers a different way to get between six of the downtown breweries from the traditional brew tour. The Beer City Runner will start at Founders and make stops at Mitten Brewing, Elk Brewing, Harmony Brewing, Brewery Vivant and Hop Cat.
The shuttle will stay on a fixed schedule visiting each brewery about once an hour and a ticket will cost just $8 per person.
The idea is to provide more flexibility than traditional brew tours, with the Beer City Runner you can change breweries or stay longer depending on your preferences.
Beer City Runner is starting with one bus named “Hoptimus Prime” with a max capacity of 14 riders however more then 14 tickets can be sold because people will be hopping on and off as they desire. The TOS prohibit drinking on the bus and require riders to be over 21 as well as giving the driver discretion to reject disorderly riders.
Yet another way to safely visit all the great breweries in Grand Rapids and avoid the hassles of driving and parking!
Each tour will visit 3-4 local breweries with approximately 35 minutes per stop. Drink a pint, grab a snack, and of course a fresh growler of your favorite brew and jump back on board GRBB to ice down your purchase for enjoyment on the bus or later at home. Yes, drinking on GRBB is permitted! Ice cold water, cups and a “pretzel necklace” are also provided.
GR Beer Tours.com is open for business with tickets for sale and tours starting in June, 2014! Now you can book a prepackaged tour or get a group of friends and devise your own private outing to all the best breweries in Grand Rapids, MI (Beer City, USA) without worrying about the driving.
The tours involve a ride in a 15 passenger van with stops at 3 or 4 craft breweries, beer samples at each stop, a tour of one of the breweries and an energetic guide that will teach you about beer and the local brewing history in Grand Rapids.
There are a variety of public tours you can join covering various areas of Grand Rapids city and the outlying regions too. Each tour should run between 3-5 hours and provide time for lunch (not provided in price).
For complete details and to book your tour visit their website GRBeerTours.com
Or you can also call their reservation department at 616-901-9719 and you can email requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
Peaches Bed & Breakfast is proud to announce its inaugural three night Sit. Stay. Beer. Weekend for the ultimate craft beer aficionado. If you love craft beer and great food or if you’ve always wanted to learn to homebrew, this package is a must attend event. Limited availability, so reserve now!
Thursday night- arrive at Peaches and settle in. Join the Welcome Happy Hour from 5-7 if you wish. Then wander downtown for dinner or brews.
On Friday wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at Peaches and a short orientation before heading out to the party limo for your guided tour of the beer supply super-store, Siciliano’s, where we’ll purchase the ingredients for the beer we’ll brew.
The tour will continue with four fabulous Grand Rapids breweries. We’ll get a backstage tour at one and there will be plenty of time to enjoy the brews & stories of all. The limo returns to Peaches and you’ll have the evening to check out Grand Rapids’ restaurants or more breweries for dinner.
On Saturday, after another yummy breakfast, there will be a hands-on brewing lesson from a local award-winning brewmaster. Yes, it IS possible to brew excellent beer in your own residential kitchen with a limited set of equipment! This brew demonstration is suitable for everyone from never-brewed-yet beginners to long-time homebrewers. There will be two sessions with a break in the middle to get lunch or relax.
Saturday evening, the festivities will continue with a highly entertaining and educational four-course beer pairing dinner by Chef & beer expert Amy Sherman, host of “The Great American Brew Trail” TV show. Learning has never been so much fun!
Sunday morning, whether you started as strangers or have known one another for years, the group will have lots of stories and memories to share on your final morning at Peaches while enjoying a breakfast that includes spent-grain bread homemade from the brew lesson the day before. Continue reading Peaches B&B Beer Weekend Package→
Great Lakes Pub Cruiser
If you want some exercise while visiting breweries and bars in downtown Grand Rapids and have a group of like minded friends then the Great Lakes Pub Cruiser might be what you are looking for. This large contraption is powered by the riders pedaling just like a normal bike except you are moving a 15 person cruiser. Unfortunately you aren’t allowed to drink alcohol while on the pub cruiser but it has preset routes that can take you to many bars and some craft breweries or you can customize a route to hit whatever local businesses you might want. While pedaling can be a workout especially if you are going up some of the steep hills downtown it does give you a different perspective of the city and a nice break from drinking if you are doing a brewery tour. The pub cruiser driver doesn’t leave the cruiser while you go inside the bars and breweries to drink so it isn’t really a brewery tour in the traditional sense but if you plan ahead I’m sure the breweries will provide someone to give you a tour inside as well. Also realize you have to pedal to make the cruiser move and will be on the streets with car traffic so becoming too inebriated could prove problematic making this more of a leisurely pub cruise rather then a drunken college pub crawl idea.