13 Ways To Enjoy Beer Month GR 2018
Grand Rapids continues to build on its reputation as “Beer City USA,” as the number of breweries in the area continues to increase and the quality of beer being produced continues to impress locals as well as visitors from all over the country. Beer Month GR runs from February 15th to March 15th this year, and there are plenty of great events planned as we celebrate Grand Rapids beer. In honor of this being the 13th year of the Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Festival, we put together a list of 13 Ways To Enjoy Beer Month GR 2018:
Try one of this year’s “Tree Beers” – Local breweries will once again be putting out limited-release, tree-themed beers in early February. For each beer sold, one dollar will be donated to Friends of Grand Rapids Parks to help plant trees. You can view a full list of the 28 participating breweries and what their beers will be at https://fogrp.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Shortlist. We’re pretty excited to try Railtown Brewing Co.’s Highland Honeycrisp (Smoked Scotch Ale with Michigan Honeycrisp Apples and Oak Chips), B.O.B.’s Brewery’s Tangerine Trees (they refer to it as a ‘beer creamsicle’), and Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery’s Cedarino (pale ale aged on Spanish Mahogany). A release party will take place at Harmony Hall on February 15th at 5:30 p.m.
Visit one of the area’s newest breweries – New arrivals to the Grand Rapids beer scene within the last 15 months include City Built Brewing (820 Monroe Ave NW #155, Grand Rapids), Brass Ring Brewery (2404 Eastern Ave SE, Grand Rapids), Big Boiler Brewing (318 E Main St, Lowell), Thornapple Brewing Co. (6262 28th St SE, Grand Rapids), East West Brewing Co. (1400 Lake Dr SE, Grand Rapids), and Two Guys Brewing (aiming for a February opening at 2356 Porter St SW, Wyoming). If you’ve been to Founders more times than you can count, consider supporting one of these new breweries during beer month!
Become a Beer City Brewsader – Grab a Grand Rapids Beer City Brewsader passport book at any of the participating breweries, get it stamped at eight different locations, and then redeem it for a free t-shirt. It’s that easy! There are now 35 participating locations (https://www.experiencegr.com/things-to-do/beer-city/brewsader/). If you’re super ambitious, you can become an “Ultimate Brewsader” by getting all of the stamps in the book, which grants you a few special perks. Check out our original post about the program, as well as one about when it expanded to 32 stops in 2016.
Check out a beer dinner – On February 15th, Perrin Brewing will host a beer dinner that features monk fish and herb crusted beef tenderloin, as well as an appetizer and dessert paired with beers like Caesar’s Gimp, Big Griz, and Lotsa Problems IIPA. Fire Rock Grille will offer a Founders beer dinner on Feb. 15th, where $60 gets you five courses of food and beer (Lizard of Koz, CBS, Azacca IPA and more). Look for more events to be added soon, and keep an eye on experiencegr.com for details on the annual Coll Brews Hot Eats program.
Test your knowledge at Geeks Who Drink Trivia – Put your knowledge of pop culture, music, history, science, and more to the test with Geeks Who Drink pub quizzes, which are hosted weekly at many of our area breweries. It’s tons of fun, and it offers a chance to earn free beer just for knowing things! On Sunday there are quizzes at Atwater Brewery (GR) and Harmony Brewing Company. Tuesday quizzes are offered at Creston Brewery and New Union Brewery (Lowell). On Wednesday, you’ll find Geeks Who Drink at Railtown Brewing Company and Grand Rapids Brewing Company, and on Thursday they are at Stella’s Lounge. Find out more at https://www.geekswhodrink.com.
Support live & local music – Few things go together as well as beer and music, and many Grand Rapids breweries offer live local music. Look for frequent music nights at Founders Brewing, Creston Brewery, New Holland Brewing’s The Knickerbocker, Rockford Brewing Company and more. The best place to stay up to date is on each respective brewery’s Facebook page, as events can change due to weather, illness, or other unforeseen circumstances.
Earn a special Untappd badge – Checking in five beers from Grand Rapids area breweries will earn Untappd users a special “Beer City Brewsader” badge. To see a full list of eligible breweries, head to http://blog.untappd.com/post/169627016506/become-a-beer-city-brewsader. Last year saw Michigan rank seventh in check-ins by state, with 2,863,460 beers logged. Founders Brewing Co. ranked first in 2017 check-ins by brewery with more than 1.6 million, and their All Day IPA (1st) and Kentucky Breakfast Stout (9th) were among the most checked-in beers of the year.
Founders Firkin Freeze Out – The fifth annual version of this event takes place on February 17, and is described by the brewery as “one of our most unique and favorite parties of the year. It’s an outdoor, all-ages event taking place in our spacious Beer Garden and features over 40 expertly-crafted firkins, special food offerings, live ice carving and more! There’s no cover for this 11am-6pm event: just show up, bundle up, drink up, and live it up!” If you’re looking to try something new and unique from Grand Rapids’ best known brewery, this is the event for you!
Attend the 13th annual MBG Winter Beer Festival – With more than 125 Michigan breweries on hand pouring samples of more than 1,000 beers, the Winter Beer Festival is one of the marquee events of the year for craft beer enthusiasts. Admission tickets get each guest 15 tasting tokens, and while Saturday sold out months ago there are still tickets available for Friday, February 22nd. In addition to beer, the festival offers live music and other entertainment, ice sculpting demonstrations, food for sale, and more. You can check out our 2016 review and 2017 review to see some of our favorite beers and breweries from years past.
Track down Founders’ KBS – A weeklong celebration of one of the country’s most celebrated beers kicks off on March 5th. Founders’ Kentucky Breakfast Stout is an 11.8% ABV bourbon barrel aged chocolate coffee stout that holds a 100 score on ratebeer.com, a 4.49 average rating on Untappd, and a 4.61 rating on beeradvocate.com. You’ll find a full list of tapping events at http://kbsweek.com/, and bottles will be available in select retail outlets around the same time. The big party takes place at Founders on Saturday, March 10th.
Let Beer City Runner take care of the transportation – Want to visit a bunch of GR breweries without having to worry about parking, walking in the cold, or having a designated driver? The solution is Beer City Runner, an affordable weekend shuttle service that makes stops at Founders, B.O.B.’s Brewery, Creston Brewery, Mitten Brewing Co., Brewery Vivant, Elk Brewing Co. (East GR), Hopcat, and Grand Rapids Brewing Company. Head over to http://beercityrunner.com/ for more details and to purchase tickets.
Take a brewery tour – Many area breweries offer tours either by request or on specific dates. This is a great way to learn more about the brewing process, and to get a feel for how much work goes in to your favorite Michigan beers. It never hurts to ask when visiting a smaller brewery during an off-peak time, and some of the larger breweries have a tour package available that also include samples and more. Founders offers tours on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; New Holland’s The Knickerbocker offer tours on Saturday afternoons. Consider joining a trip with Grand Rapids Beer Tours, a company that offers transportation, beer samples, tours, and more at select area breweries. They currently have five different options available at http://www.grbeertours.com/.
Attend a tap takeover or tasting – Monelli’s Italian Grill (5675 Byron Center Ave SW, Wyoming) will host tap takeovers from Speciation Artisan Ales (2/18), City Built Brewing Company (2/19), Perrin Brewing Company (2/20). Brick & Porter (47 Monroe Center) will have a Grand Armory Brewing Company tap takeover on 2/20. HopCat (25 Ionia Ave. SW) will be running tap features that include Founders (2/23), Arcadia Ales (2/22), Watermark Brewing Co. (2/21), and Griffin Claw Brewing Company (2/20). Horrock’s Market Tavern (4455 Breton Rd. SE, Kentwood) has tap takeovers planned with Pigeon Hill (Feb. 17), Austin Brothers (Feb. 22), and Lagunitas (Feb. 23). Craft Beer Cellar has tasting events planned with Cheboygan Brewing Co. (Feb. 15), Saugatuck Brewing (Feb. 17), Bee Well Mead & Cider (Mar. 10), and Wolverine State (Mar. 13) – a six-year vertical tasting of their Massacre imperial dark lager.