Grand Rapids Beer Trip- Part One
Last weekend I took a trip back to my home state to go on a beer adventure in Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids has been dubbed Beer City USA since 2012, so what better place to go on a weekend getaway?! With more than 60 breweries, there is just about something for every palate.
Its only 2.5 hours away from Chicago and it has an airport for those of you not in the Midwest. If you are coming from Chicago, there's a lot of breweries on the way as well (be responsible :)) We'll get to those breweries in another post though
Mitten is a baseball themed brewery set in a historic firehouse. They started with a 3bbl brewhouse when they opened in 2012 and have since expanded to a 20bbl production facility across the street. This production facility allows them to can some of their staple beers. Currently they have Country Strong, an IPA. From my sample, I can tell why they picked country strong to can. Its an approachable yet flavorful IPA with a nice malt backbone. Its the kind of beer that you can take to a party, pass it around and everyone would enjoy it. Coming soon in cans will be their Mango Gold, a kettle soured wheat ale!
Before we delve more into the beer, I want to go back to the brewery. This building is absolutely gorgeous, and their vintage Detroit Tigers decor really couldnt be a better fit. The firehouse feel is still very much alive with giant firehouse doors and even a pole. There is nothing better than having a beer in such a fantastic setting. To complement the beer, they also serve up a variety of pizzas which I've heard are to die for. Whats even better, if you can't decide on just one....they have a pizza flight! WHAT?!?! Sounds like heaven!
I'm going to try to be semi brief in my beer rankings and only do a top four because I have SO much to cover in this article and I dont want your eyes to fall out!
1. Double Up- Imperial Brown 9.7% ABV
Roasty, cocoa, coffee and touch of vanilla
Not overly sweet or heavy. Still drinks well in the summer.
Rumor has it that a BA version is coming....and it has pecans :)
2. Triple Crown Brown- Sessionable Brown 4.2% ABV
Toasty, malty, complex flavors
If your looking for a session with a ton of flavor, look no further!
Perfect for sitting by the campfire :)
3. League of their Own- Blonde Ale 5.5% ABV
Tea up front, slightly sweet, slightly tart
So so perfect for summer
Really enjoyed the light fruit and herbal flavor the tea gave
4. Black Betsy Coffee Stout- Coffee Stout 6.3% ABV
Smooth, light coffee flavor
Thought I was off of coffee stouts....this put me back on them
So delicious and hearty yet light enough for a chilly summer evening
Founders Brewing Company
If you haven't already heard of Founders...shaaaame! Just kidding, but seriously, Founders put Grand Rapids beer on the map. They also brew a bunch of staples that I'm sure you have heard of including: KBS, CBS, All Day IPA, etc. When you go to Grand Rapids, you have to visit Founders. You just do. From off the highway you can see its glistening red tower looming in the distance. It isn't hard to guess what is lurking inside (giant fermenters.) Founders was nice enough to host me on a tour so I could check out the inner workings!
The tour starts in an intimate taproom overlooking the production facility. They have about 6 different beers on tap that you can sample to your hearts content. Pro tip: arrive 10 mins early and get as many samples as you want because once you leave the taproom, your sample days are over. This was my one gripe with the Founders tour....what beer tour doesn't allow you to have beer on the tour?! I was a little disappointed because I had only had one sample ( I thought I could take one on the tour.)
Without spoiling all the fun, they take you around the production facility with stops in the brewhouse, canning line and the forest of giant fermenters. One fun fact I really enjoyed was that, in order to drink all the beer in one of their 1500bbl fermenters, you would have to drink a 6-pack a day for 226.4 years.....thats insane!
Because this was such a fantastic, beer loaded trip to Grand Rapids....I decided to split my post into 2! I felt it was only fair to give as much detail as I usually do, but didnt want your eyes to fall out from reading so long :) Keep an eye out for part 2 coming soon featuring Atwater Brewing, Brass Ring Brewing and more!
* This post was done in collaboration with Experience Grand Rapids. As usual, all thoughts and opinions are soley my own.