From the passionate beer connoisseur to the occasional glass of beer drinker, chances are they’ve all made their way through Brewery Vivant’s doors at some point. The historic funeral home chapel turned microbrewery is well known for its farmhouse style ales and European-inspired eats.
It’s a sunny spring Saturday and your crew is unnecessarily stressed — scouring Yelp, texting friends, looking for a place to day drink that satisfies everyone’s tastes. The abundance of quality watering holes in West Michigan all begin to blur together.
Whether you’re out at dinner or at a bar with friends, you know you have that favorite, classic cocktail. Maybe on the weekends you try your hand at it, with poor ingredients and little direction, and it never tastes quite the same.
Mead, cider and wine are all cut from the same cloth.
In fact, mead is sometimes referred to as “honey wine,” though that’s a bit misleading — there’s a big difference between white wine with honey added and true mead, made from fermented honey, with no grapes involved.
You may not know it, but here in West Michigan, wine is all around us. Whether you’re out in the vast orchards of the southwest or up in the rolling hills of Traverse City, there’s no shortage of grapes to be found. Our whites and bubbly are especially notable, but maybe even better is the simple pleasure of sitting around a table with friends, tasting your way through the winery’s flavors while overlooking the winding vineyards on a beautiful day. We’re here to help you find new vintages and tasting rooms alike — here’s your guide to just some of the great wineries the mitten can proudly claim.
I’m up north, bopping about a peninsular wine trail, when I find my schnozz inside another tasting glass, sniffing the day’s fifth Merlot. The menu proposes such scents as “bramble jam” and “tanned leather.”
Cocktails can be a little intimidating, to be sure.
When you pick up a menu and see words like amaro, falernum and aperol for the first time, it starts to feel like a foreign language textbook. You could always take a gamble and assume any word you don’t know is some sort of herbal liqueur — you’d often be correct — but isn’t it better to actually understand what’s in your drink?
West Michigan is no Sahara — you can find something to drink with ease.
In the city, it’s easy to lose touch with the natural world. Billowing smokestacks emit fake clouds. Everything is brick and asphalt we can’t eat. Then there’s the smell of a gutter.
Prohibition — “the noble experiment” — was a complete, counterintuitive failure. The hooch got dirtier, the crime messier, the consumption higher. Even Congress, the arbiters of such bogus legislation, had their own bootlegger, “The Man in the Green Hat”, who snuck whiskey, moonshine, scotch and more to members of office. Surprise, it didn’t stick.
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