Grand Rapids has such a reputation for beer these days that it’s proudly claimed the nickname Beer City. It has plenty of activities for beer tourists to check out, but the backbone of its beer scene is its large number of craft breweries. Serving up classic and innovative beers in cool taprooms across the city, these are our choices for the best breweries in Beer City.
The brewery that is considered responsible for starting the craft beer revolution in Beer City is Founders, which has achieved such success that its beer is available in bars across the world. But its hometown taproom is well worth a visit, offering beers you won’t find anywhere else alongside food and regular live music events.
Undoubtedly one of the city’s most popular drinking spots, Brewery Vivant specializes in farmhouse beers inspired by small breweries in southern Belgium and northern France. It matches the beer with European cuisine from its scratch-kitchen, and the whole rustic package is completed by its chapel-like setting. It’s also the world’s first LEED-certified microbrewery.
Grand Rapids had a famous brewing scene around the turn of the 20th century, with the Grand Rapids Brewing Co. among its leaders before Prohibition put it out of business. In 2012, the name was resurrected for a new brewery not far from its original location, and a new take on the classic lager that was first brewed in 1893 is even on its menu. It also has a large food menu and a game room.
Two homebrewers and lifelong residents of Grand Rapids who wanted to create a craft brewery that was also a haven for sports fans started the Mitten Brewing Company in 2012. The vintage baseball-themed taproom and pizzeria has two levels inside a restored Victorian building and features up to 20 beers on tap along with a selection of regional wines and ciders.
Another brewery started by entrepreneurial homebrewers, the Harmony Brewing Company now has two locations in the city. Its original location in Eastown is a small space in an old liquor store, serving a selection of beers such as IPAs, farmhouse, and stouts, as well as pizzas and salads. Both locations are even launching a pizza and beer delivery service in 2018.
City Built describes what it does as “making the strange become the familiar,” as demonstrated by beers on its menu including a green tea chamomile pale ale, a Norwegian multigrain farmhouse with tangerine peel and a pineapple and vanilla imperial pale ale. Its taproom near the Grand River also features a menu of Puerto Rican cuisine.
North of downtown, the Greyline Brewing Co. believes in keeping it simple. The small brewery is focused on making a limited amount of beer very well, producing less than 1,000 barrels a year. It has plenty of variety though, and its taproom has 16 taps offering a wide selection, as well as food including tacos, sliders and more.
B.O.B.’s Brewery is a part of a four-story entertainment complex in downtown known as The B.O.B. (big old building). The brewery has around 10 beers on tap, including staples like the Full On IPA, Spaceboy Stout, and Wit Rabbit. It also has a large and diverse menu of pub grub and hosts live music and weekly karaoke.