Beer and Cider in Spring Lake

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.

Beer City Brewsader Passport

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.
Beer City Brewsader Tshirt Grand Rapids
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.
Brewsader Passport
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!

Harmony Hall open on the west side

Harmony Hall had their grand opening October 6th so we went for lunch to check it out and were very impressed. Unlike their original location the new Hall has plenty of seating and space including 200 seats upstairs and a separate drinks only bar downstairs. Harmony Hall also boasts an expanded beer tap list with some interesting cocktails too.

While at first glance the Harmony Hall menu seems a bit restricted with mostly sausage options but there is actually a nice amount of variety. If you get a sausage platter the portions are actually enough to fill you up without ordering anything else. I got the Boudin Blanc and found it spicy and tasty just as the menu depicted. My companion got the Hopwurst and while you can’t see the cheeses when you bite into the sausage the taste is sure to please. Beware the sweet and spicy bean side, it’s got quite a spicy kick to it but I found the burn pleasurable.

For drinks I actually had a mixed cocktail and my companion had one of the Harmony beers which we both enjoyed. With the increased capacity afforded by this bigger location I expect they will have new and exciting beers for you to try everytime you visit.


Trail Point Brewery

I visited Trail Point Brewing on a Monday evening about a month after their grand opening. Entering the tap room I immediately felt comfortable, there is lots of wood and simple decorations. Luckily it wasn’t busy but there is plenty of seating so it shouldn’t be a problem getting a table even on a regular night. I was a bit surprised there weren’t more college kids from GVSU because it is just down the road from the main campus but maybe they were all studying. The bar tender was quick to provide a beer list and free pretzels. They have a range of beer styles from ales to IPA’s to stouts and after trying a sampler flight I can report that all the beers had good flavor. Going to use the mens bathroom you pass by glass wall that allows you to see into the brewing area and as you can see in the picture they were hard at work fermenting new beers for my next visit.
This seems like a well thought out brewery in a new area and while it’s a bit of a drive from downtown Grand Rapids I think it is worth the trip. They don’t offer food but you can bring your own so I’d suggest picking up a pizza or ordering one delivered if you plan to sit and try all their beers.

Long Road Distillery

I visited Long Road Distillery on June 8, about 10pm and was instantly impressed. The distillery is located next door to Mitten Brewery in an revitalizing section of the west side in Grand Rapids. As you walk towards the front doors you can see inside from large windows on the front that let you see how busy it is. Once inside there is a host stand and beyond that a long curved bar that leads to a large glass wall that protects the distilling equipment from the seating area. The shiny copper still with dials and pipes are mesmerizing letting you see the tools needed to make the distilled spirits that they sell all from local sourced ingredients. When I visited there were seats open at the bar and my friends and I enjoyed a variety of cocktails made from their liquors.  The music and ambiance is very classy allowing conversation and encouraging drinking. The staff was well informed and the mixologist seemed adept at creating all the various drinks we tried.  There was a mix up with my friends food order that was quickly fixed and he said the pastrami sandwich as tasty as it should be for the premium price.

Overall I left with a very positive impression and will be bringing all my friends and family to visit the Long Road Distillery but because the prices are premium to match their quality I don’t think it will become my personal hangout bar any time soon.

Railtown Brewing Grand Opening

Railtown Brewery grand opening is set for December 12th, 2014 from 3pm to midnight. They will have five beers on tap including a blond ale, a brown, an IPA, a milk stout and a weizenbock. The Cutlerville-Gaines Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. at the brewery before the doors open on Friday. The taproom has seating for 50 people so come early if you want to get a seat and they don’t serve food but you are welcome to bring your own.
Visit Railtown Brewing facebook page for updates

Events and Specials

Weekly Pub Events
Monday – Stein night: bring your own stein. Starting at $5 per liter for mainstay beers.
Tuesday Monk Club Night, Special Discounts for Monk Club Members
Wednesday Growler night, $2 off growlers.
Sunday Smokehouse Sunday – smoked special all day long; Restaurant/Bar Industry Night: 25% off food and $1 off every beer.

This Week
Steppin’ In It
October 16 at 9:30p.m. FREE
Rock for Crash’s 2014
It’s the annual star-studded benefit for our furry friends at Crash’s Landing, a no-kill cat shelter and placement center based right here in Grand Rapids.
October 18 at 9p.m. $5

Weekly Pub Events
Monday – Friday Industry Night. Anyone in the industry receives a discount from 10 p.m. to close; Happy Hour: any Tier 1 or Tier 2, beer, wine, wells, or calls 1/2 off from 4-6 p.m.
Tuesday Local Night. Anyone living in Grand Rapids or surrounding areas receives $2 drafts from 6 p.m. to close.
Saturday and Sunday Brunch and Bloody’s. Best Brunch features in town 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Weekly Pub Events
Tuesday $2 off growler refills, $1 off howler refills
Thursday Thirsty Thursday, 5-8 p.m. $1 off pints

Weekly Pub Events
Monday Flight Night, $19.99 for pizza flights and $5 for accompanying beer flights.
Wednesday Team Trivia, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Weekly Pub Events
Monday $2 off pizzas and salads
Tuesday $1 off pints
Wednesday Mainstay pint and pizza for $13

Weekly Pub Events
Monday Member Night, $3 pints for members*, 2-10 p.m.
Tuesday Growl-n-Gulp, $1.25 pint with a growler fill, 2-10 p.m.
Wednesday Brewer’s Choice, $3 pints*, 2 p.m.-midnight
Thursday $11 pitchers, $16 premiums, 2 p.m.-midnight
Friday 50 cents off, noon-3 p.m.
Saturday Schmohz Gear Day and Root Beer Floats, noon-midnight
*Premium Drafts are slightly higher in price

Source: The Rapidian

On Tap Oct 16-22nd

B.O.B.’s Brewery
•Hopsun, Belgian summer whit
•AHA Bread Beer, Belgian saison
•Full On IPA, India pale ale
•Spaceboy Stout, English oatmeal stout
•Crimson King, amber ale
•Blondie, golden ale
•Spooky Action, way beyond IPA
•Robert the Barrel, bourbon barrel ale

Brewery Vivant
•Farm Hand, French Farmhouse Ale
•Triomphe, Belgian IPA
•Blanford Maple Amber,Belgian Inspired Amber
•Big Red Coq, Red Belgo-American IPA
•Undertaker, Belgian style dark ale
•Tree Bucket, Belgian double IPA
•Pumpkin Tart, Pumpkin Ale
•Coq2Fly,Autumnal Ale
•Thems the Hops
•Mo Lasses’ Stout, stout with molasses
•The Cheetah, defies beer styles

Elk Brewing
•Light Ale
•Pumpkin Ale
•Imperial Brown
•Scotch Ale
•Rye IPA
•Hopped Amber
•Uptown Ale, Simcoe Pale Ale

Founders Brewing Co.
•Pale Ale
•Centennial IPA
•Dirty Bastard
•Red’s Rye IPA
•All Day IPA
•Nitro Pale Ale
•Nitro Oatmeal Stout
•Solid Gold
•Honey Wheat
•Gold Dust Woman
•Night of the Living Red
•Session Stout
•All Night Black IPA
•Harvest Ale
•Double Trouble
•Devil Dancer
•Breakfast Stout
•Dark Penance
•Mosaic Promise

Grand Rapids Brewing Co.
•Silver Foam
•Rosalynn Bliss Blonde
•The Fishladder IPA
•Senator Lyons Stout
•New Mission Organics
•Vanilla Brown
•Sweet Corn Swill
•Tennis’s Wet-Hopped Ale
•Brewer’s Heritage Hefeweizen

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery and Supply
•Bottoms Up, amber ale
•Chain Saw Charlie’s Wacky Wit, belgian wheat beer
•Highland Fantasy, scottish ale
•English Brown Porter
•Crusher Coco Brown, the brown ale that imploded our fermenter

Harmony Brewing Co.
•Grapefruit Moon, IPA shandy
•Jackson’s Joy, fall festival
•Brownson,American Brown Ale
•Star Stuff, belgian double
•Albius, vanilla porter
•Black Squirrel, smoked peat porter
•Crossroads, rye
•Grand Daddy Rapids, cream ale
•Grand Pumpkin, pumpkin ale

Hideout Brewing Co.
•18th Amendment Gluten Free Ale
•Black Hearted Bitter Ex IPA
•Black Rye
•Butterscotch Toffee Stout
•Cinnamon Red Velvet Cream Ale
•Coconut Almond Brown
•Fruit Punch Pilsner
•Hoppy Lager
•Horchata Brown
•Light Amber Ale
•Maple Coconut Amber
•Pumpkin Pie Milk Stout
•Raspberry Infused Lemon Shandy
•Sour Black Rye
•The Almost ESB
•Belgian Tripel
•Rebellion Mead
•9AM Hazelnut IPA
•Aviator Pale Ale
•Gangster IPA
•Getaway IPA
•Purple Gang Pilsner
•Smuggler’s Hazelnut Stout
•Polish Potato Ale

Jaden James Brewery
•Gluten Free Ale
•Cream Ale
•Apple Raz Wheat
•Weiss Bier
•Peanut Butter Porter
•Black IPA
•Milk Stout
•Russian Stout
•Cherry Hard Cider
•Apple Hard Cider
•Raspberry Hard Cider
•Peach Hard Cider
•Strawberry Hard Cider
•Root beer soda

​Mitten Brewing Co.
•1890 Oatmeal Stout
•Superstition Stout
•MVP(umpkin) Ale
•Country Strong IPA
•Rye.B.I. India Black Ale

Osgood Brewing Co.
•Yippee-ki-yay, blonde ale
•358, pale ale
•Notley, porter
•Journey, IPA
•Big spring, stout
•Best day ever, double IPA
•Wingman, wheat IPA
•Hammer, gluten free IPA
•Slam dunke, dunkleweizen
•Brownie bite, Belgian brown IPA
•Bee line, American brown ale
•Sol Seeker, American wheat

Perrin Brewing Co.
•Perrin Gold
•Single Track
•Perrin Pilsner
•Call the Banners
•Das Braun Lager
•Perrin Black
•Kona Brown
•Nitro Dry Stout
•Veteran’s Pale Ale (VPA)
•Harvest Ale
•Grapefruit IPA
•Gilda’s Cherry Saison
•Razzberry Blonde
•Black Goat
•Rye Wine

Schmohz Brewery
•Valley City Cream Ale
•Treasure Chest ESB
•Amber Tease Ale
•Pail Ale
•India Pail Ale
•Hopknocker Imperial IPA
•Bone Crusher Stout
•Bloody Red Ale
•Pickle Tink Ale
•Razzmanian Devil
•Zingiberene Ale
•Miracle Off 28th Street
•Kiss my Scottish Arse
•Mad Tom’s Robust Porter
•Gypsy’s Kiss Bock
•John T. Pilsner
•Barley Wine
•Sammi Rae Root Beer Soda
•Sammi Rae Black Cherry Soda