Mike Barnaart is a classically trained chef who spent many years pleasing palates, most recently as the executive chef at Michigan State, but he never forgot his first job out of high school washing dishes at the then-brand-new Arcadia Brewing Company in 1994. This was where he was first introduced to the craft beer scene, and it stuck with him.
The people over at West Michigan Beer Tours love The Big Lebowski. They love it so much that they have created a beer tour around the Kalamazoo area that is directly inspired by The Dude himself. But you’re probably asking yourself, why beer? Why not a White Russian tour? Well, while on The Big Lebowski Beer Tour, you’ll get the best of both worlds including a specially made White Russian-inspired beer just for the tour.
Everyone has their point of breaking, and for Oddside Ales Founder Chris Michner, it came a few years after graduating college from Michigan State University, where he spent some time homebrewing with a friend. Beer was put on the back burner in favor of education and pursuing a career, and, soon enough, he found himself worn by accounting.
Many breweries struggle with catering to the entire demographic of their customers. It's just a fact of life that some people don't like beer (WHAT!?), and it can become a very daunting task trying to make all of your customers happy.
Osgood owner Ronald Denning had been a homebrewer for years, and, like most homebrewers, gained a passion for opening his own brewery. It wasn't until downtown Grandville started a beautification project in early 2012 that the idea for his brewery took shape.
In our West Michigan brewery scene, we've just about seen it all. And if there's one thing you need when opening a new brewery in this climate, it's a niche; something to help you stand out and separate yourself from the other breweries — and Gravel Bottom (418 Ada Dr., Ada) has done just that.
Competition in business is normal, sometimes healthy and even expected. But when it comes to beer, the craft brewing industry throws competition out completely, with brewers creating a beer fraternity of sorts.
Beer City USA. That's quite a title. And this year it belongs to Grand Rapids. Again. Last year, the title was shared with Asheville, N.C. In 2013, however, Grand Rapids won it outright and decisively, clobbering the next closest vote-getter and West Michigan neighbor, Kalamazoo.
When one thinks of microbreweries in West Michigan, it's easy for the mind to quickly jump to the usual players in the usual cities, like Bell's in Kalamazoo and Founders in Grand Rapids. And even as these mainstays continue to be a centerpiece for the area's craft brew excellence, communities along the lakeshore are also contributing in significant ways to our reputation as one of the best damn beer destinations anywhere.
With so many beer options in the West Michigan area it can be easy to get stuck in our own brewery bubble. People all over the state are serious about their lagers, stouts and ales though, and for hopheads willing to make day trips up north or to the east side, delicious destinations await.
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