Legend has it that during the mid-19th century, hard cider (henceforth referred to simply as cider) was a mainstream staple of the old-timey U.S. consumers. In fact, scholars maintain that the alcoholic beverage was so mainstream, a significant part of workers' salaries were paid in cider until some kind of bogus amendment in 1887 made it illegal.
If you've recently watched Pulp Fiction, take your friend/date/Tarantinophile to McKay's Downtown for the Grandwich-winning Royale With (Bleu) Cheese for a definitive chuckle and conversation. If you expect an actual burger by normal definitions, you'll be surprised by its brioche bun stuffed, quarter-pound grass-fed ground ham and beef, candied bacon, pickled slaw, bleu cheese ice cream and chocolate balsamic reduction.
It's hard avoiding words and phrases such as "artisan," "authentic," "dairy-free," "farm-to-table," "gluten-free," "hand-crafted," "healthful," "organic," "scratch-made," "seasonal" or "vegan-friendly" when describing New American cuisine these days.
This has been a great few years as new establishments have sprouted about West Michigan and forged strong followers; others have downright failed miserably, while some have changed hands for the better. Terra GR is of the latter.
The story of Cellar Brewing Company begins a little more oddly than most. Chuck Brown was an operations director for Grand Valley State University and was thinking about taking his life in another direction. Being a homebrewer, he began to draw up a business plan to open his own brewery in Allendale. One day, the catering director burst into his office and said there was a brewery for sale on Craigslist.
Mouths have been drooling since the menus for more than 65 area restauranteurs were announced on July 15, presenting West Michigan's finest fare this side of US-127 from Aug. 14-24 for the 4th Annual Restaurant Week.
Big Lake Brewing began where most breweries do: homebrewing. Co-owners Nic Winhimius and Travis Prueter had been brewing together since they met in 2007, and, like most homebrewers, aspired to open their own brewery and began laying the tracks.
Saugatuck Brewing was actually born across the street from its current location on the Blue Star Highway in 2005. The brewery was brought to fruition by founder and brewmaster Barry Johnson, who utilized a 3.5bbl brewhouse to bring his beer to the public in the old taproom, and from the start, the brewery had ambitious plans.
It's hard to make it past the appetizers at Everyday People Cafe in Douglas. The menu kicks off with braised local pork belly in a bed of arugula in apple-quince chutney and jiaozi pot stickers full of shrimp, pork and ginger, steeped in a black vinegar and soy sauce.
In a city nationally recognized for its beer, a new producer has popped up in Grand Rapids – not armed with malt and hops, but rather, apples. The People's Cider Co. has begun distribution out of its new facility in Grand Rapids, marking the city's first cidery.
Owner/Winemaker Jason Lummen's father-in-law was an avid homebrewer and cider maker, which inspired him to put his lifelong love with cider to action.
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