It would be impossible to list every brewpub, beer bar and taphouse in West Michigan in one article. In fact, it would likely take an entire issue just to cover this side of the Mitten state. But that’s kind of a fantastic problem to have, isn’t it? Us West Michigan folk are spoiled with beer-specific restaurants and bars popping up on almost every corner. Here’s just a sampling of some of the best spots for craft beer lovers around.
For decades, the Mackinac Bridge served as a cultural time machine, transporting visitors back to a bygone era.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was the place where lumberjacks roamed the forests, miners donned their hardhats to search for copper and pasties were part of the daily cuisine. Until recently, Yooper drinking habits also seemed stuck in a forgotten age when choices amounted to various iterations of macro lagers — especially Wisconsin-made staples such as Blatz, Schlitz and PBR — often consumed in mass quantities.
Those crazy creative brewers are at it again, ready to put it all on the line to push boundaries and move the craft beer scene into a new direction — just not always in expected ways. Let’s take a look at some of the stranger brews that have crossed the bar over the last few months.
Everything’s better with beer! From fall dinners to summer weekends with friends, beer really makes the world go ’round — especially for West Michigan folk. Fortunately, craft beer lovers across the state are finding new ways to incorporate our favorite beverage into non-alcoholic products. Local makers are utilizing the intense and creative flavors in Michigan’s craft brews to inspire a whole new world of beer-based beauty products and edible delights.
Walking about the lengths of Pure Mitten’s hop bines — rows of them on trellises, tall as a giant’s overalls — it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the sight, and more so, the smell of this farm out in Coopersville. Lupulin particles hitch to nose hairs like burs, lighting up the mind with scents of fresh-cut grass and grapefruit shandy.
In the beginning, there was beer. It was fizzy and we drank it and it was fine. You had it with your family, you had it with your friends, sometimes for dinner, sometimes upside-down, hoisted above a keg, suckling from the spigot like a binkie. Maybe it tasted like old cream soda or a possum’s breath. Then someone had an idea: what if we made beer good? The idea took off like gangbusters. Now, there are roughly a billion craft breweries, and the world will never be the same.
Patrons of New Hotel Mertens may notice that the French restaurant’s cocktail menu is original to the erstwhile hotel in the 1940s. It’s a classic, pre-prohibition era menu gracefully updated with both modern and internationally renowned spirits.
With a newly created IPA variation, craft brewers are offering a novel way to showcase hops in a style that falls on the opposite end of the spectrum from the much-hyped New England IPAs.
Jell-O salads, 44-oz. drinks, Wish Bone Italian dressing, John Cheever — these seemingly disparate items conjure up nothing if not our preconceived image of the suburbs, in all its milquetoast glory.
Now in its ninth year, Restaurant Week Grand Rapids has more than 60 restaurants participating in the 12-day event. Each eatery creates a menu specifically intended to branch out and create something new while staying true to its core concept. It’s a chance for newcomers to try new restaurants and regulars to try new dishes, and it’s happening at nearly every restaurant in the Greater Grand Rapids area.
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