10 Grand Rapids Breweries To Check Out For Michigan Craft Beer Month
July is Michigan Craft Beer Month, and if you’re looking to head out and celebrate by visiting one of Michigan’s more than 200 breweries, Beer City USA is a great place to start. Grand Rapids is home to more than a handful of great places to grab a tasty brew, and given the close proximity of some of these breweries to others it is easy to make a day trip and visit more than one. Many of them have beer for sale at local retail outlets, but there’s no substitute for trying things straight from the source – and you never know what rare or limited brews might be on tap! We put together the list below that will help get you started, our 10 favorite breweries in Grand Rapids:
Brewery Vivant, 925 Cherry St. SE
This is certainly one of Grand Rapids’ most unique breweries, with a focus on Belgian and French inspired brews and a food menu that is far from the usual pub fare. Brewery Vivant is housed in a remodeled funeral chapel, and visitors sit at long communal tables while sampling beers like Farm Hand and Big Red Coq. The duck nachos are definitely worth trying, and we recommend trying out whatever seasonal or limited release brews are available since the mainstay beers are available in cans year round.
Founders Brewing, 235 Grandville Ave. SW
When it comes to the Grand Rapids beer scene, Founders is far and away the biggest and arguably the best. Most of their beers available in retail outlets across the state, but a trip to their brewery offers a chance to try other brews like the Nitro Oatmeal Stout, Cheef IPA, or Nitro Pale Ale. They also offer a decent food menu and have a company store on premise. Mainstay beers like Centennial IPA, All Day IPA, Porter and Dirty Bastard are incredibly popular throughout Michigan and beyond, while seasonal brews like Rubaeus (raspberry fruit beer), KBS (Breakfast stout aged in bourbon barrels), Double Trouble (2X IPA), Devil Dancer (3X IPA) and Curmudgeon Old Ale have earned Founders quite the reputation among “beer geeks” worldwide.
Grand Rapids Brewing Co., 1 Ionia Ave. SW
The history of Grand Rapids Brewing Co. dates back to the 1890s, though the present incarnation has only been operating downtown since 2012. In that short time, GRBC has becomes known not only for their beer, but for their food menu and sustainability as well. As the first USDA certified organic brewery in Michigan, they are helping lead a new charge in craft beer and has also placed focus on fresh and locally-sourced ingredients. Silver Foam is a light lager that pays tribute to one of the original beers from the old GRBC, while Rosalynn Bliss Blonde and John Ball Brown pay tribute to city leaders past and present. Our favorites include the Fishladder IPA and the seasonal Ebony & Ivory Stout.
Hideout Brewing Co, 3113 Plaza Dr. NE
With more than 20 options on tap, Hideout Brewing Co. is a great place to visit for an afternoon or evening of beer tasting with friends. Specialties like Hazelnut Sour Stout, Cinnamon Red Velvet Creme Ale and Coconut Almond Brown present flavors that will entice the palate while mainstays like Hired Gun Red and Gangster IPA are solid options as well. The recent addition of meads has shown that Hideout has a handle on many different styles, and we suggest trying Rebellion Mead and the Smuggler’s Hazelnut Stout.
Jaden James Brewery, 4665 Broadmoor Ave. SE
One of Beer City’s best-kept secrets, Jaden James Brewery is housed in the same building as the Cascade Winery – giving visitors the opportunity to try a flight of wine or a flight of beer. An updated tap list can be found at http://jadenjamesbrewery.com/, and we suggest you check out their ciders as well as the popular Peanut Butter Porter.
Harmony Brewing Company, 1551 Lake Drive SE
One of three breweries operating within a three-mile radius in East Grand Rapids, Harmony Brewing has been so well received in its first few years of operation that has already made plans to add a larger location for increased production and seating. The menu here includes snacks/appetizers, soups and sandwiches as well as some fantastic pizzas. We enjoyed the Fiddlestix IPA and Brownson Brown Ale, and recommend trying the seasonal Capricorn Absinthe Donut Stout when it’s available.
ELK Brewing, 700 Wealthy St. SE
When we visited ELK Brewing in July, they had 11 different beers on tap, featuring something for everyone. A light ale and a hefeweizen got things started, and a scotch ale and an ESB were well done in their style. The Porter is a fantastic beer, and things only got better with the coffee-infused Rowster Coffee Porter and the Vanilla Coffee Porter. ELK also had three IPAs on tap – West Coast, English and Rye styles. A small food menu features snacks and appetizers as well as soups and sandwiches.
Mitten Brewing Company, 527 Leonard St. NW
A hidden gem on Leonard St., Mitten Brewing Company offers up a great selection of baseball-inspired beers and food. Their amazing pizza is available as a whole pie or as part of a “pizza flight,” and appetizer and dessert options are plentiful as well. The Peanuts and Crackerjack Porter and Country Strong IPA were our two favorites, for more information check out our review from March.
Perrin Brewing Co, 5910 Comstock Park Dr. NW
With a plethora of tasty beers and a great food menu, Perrin Brewing Co. grew so fast that it was recently purchased by Colorado-based Oskar Blues. Fans will still be able to get their hands on favorites like Perrin Gold, Perrin Black, Kona Brown and Grapefruit IPA, and the good news is they will likely soon be available in cans at retail outlets. We visited the brewery in January and loved our food as well as the 12 beers that were on tap, which included limited edition and barrel-aged beers.
Schmohz Brewing, 2600 Patterson Ave. SE
Located just a block from the busy 28th St. corridor near the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Schmohz Brewery recently celebrated 10 years of great beer in Grand Rapids. With the feel of a neighborhood bar that caters to locals, Schmohz features a packed parking lot most weeknights. We enjoyed the Bone Crusher Stout, Mad Tom’s Robust Porter and Amber Tease Ale. Seasonal favorites include Pickle Tink Ale, Razzmanian Devil and Gingerbread Brown Ale.
Well Michigan beer fans, which Grand Rapids brewery is your favorite? Is there one we’ve mentioned that you can’t wait to check out? Let us know in the comments section, and stay tuned for news and updates on special events for Michigan Craft Beer Month.