Whew. Now I really need a drink after that title…
It’s no secret that what was once “the furniture city” is now known for its beer more so than anything else. With over 70 breweries calling Grand Rapids home, it’s no wonder why the city has been touted as Beer City USA. While your weekend spent attending Generation Grand will undoubtedly be filled with activity, it is highly recommend that one experiences this important piece of GR culture. Below you’ll find a few of the best spots Grand Rapids has to offer, as well as my personal favorite beer/food pairings.
(Full Disclosure: I am a shameless beer snob who has visited breweries, taprooms, and gastropubs in nearly every state East of the Mississippi, Colorado, and Canada)
Founders Brewing Co – Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, Founders quite literally put Grand Rapids on the map when it comes to beer. From its humble beginnings to a facility the size of a city block, Founders is constantly rated as one of the best breweries in America. If you only have time for one stop during your stay, this is it.
Recommended Pairing: Nitro Breakfast Stout and the Founders Cheesesteak.
Perrin Brewing Company – Opened in 2012, Perrin quickly accelerated toward a seat right behind Founders in the hierarchy of Grand Rapids brewers, a situation they are certainly looking to improve upon. Known for their flavorful and higher alcohol content “session” beers (meant to be consumed over a longer period of time), Perrin has recently jumpstarted the trend towards canning craft beers, a relatively uncommon practice in the industry.
Recommended Pairing: Bullet Tooth Russian Imperial Stout and BBQ Pork Nachos.
Brewery Vivant – Bringing old-world Belgian charm to the west side, Vivant operates what is known as the world’s first LEED-certified microbrewery. The team chose to renovate an 80 year old building to house its operations. The cornerstone of which, their pub, is situated within a former funeral home’s chapel. Specializing in Belgian beer, Vivant is known for eschewing convention and exploring their lighter side. For Paczki Day 2017, they introduced “Fat Paczki Ale,” an amber ale brewed with powdered sugar, prunes, and Belgian yeast.
Recommended Pairing: Wizard Burial Ground Bourbon Barrel Aged Quadruple Ale and Belgian Country Sausage.
With dozens of breweries in Grand Rapids alone, it would be nearly impossible to fit them into one weekend. If anything, this gives one a perfect excuse to return to the area later in the year. Nothing is better than the beach in Grand Haven on a sunny July afternoon, as long as you have a Grand Rapids beer at your side.
Ryan Patrick, a member of Ferris PRSSA, has been an avid beer enthusiast since the moment he turned 21. When outside of the classroom, Ryan moonlights as a freelance writer.. Despite this, his greatest achievement in life was meeting Slash for 30 seconds before being asked to leave a VIP meet & greet. You can follow him by visiting www.ryanpatrickmedia.com