When you live in a city where beer is king, it feels like every month is “beer month.” But this February, Experience Grand Rapids launches an entire month dedicated to savoring the craft that makes our city great. The month-long celebration runs from Feb. 15 through March 15 and features a handful of events for the novice and beer connoisseur alike.
Cold Brews, Hot Eats
This yearly festival is nothing new to the city of Grand Rapids, but it’s become the featured event of Beer Month GR. Dedicated to the 60-plus breweries throughout the surrounding Grand Rapids area, Cool Brews Hot Eats marries together two things that make our city special: excellent food and refreshing brews. Experience the best of both worlds with an assortment of beer and food pairings throughout breweries across West Michigan. Offered for the entire month, there’s more than enough time to experience all this event offers. For a list of participating restaurants, check out experiencegr.com.
12th Annual Winter Beer Festival – Feb. 24-25
This year, the legendaryWinter Beer Festival at Fifth Third Ballpark will feature more than 100 Michigan breweries and approximately 1,000 different types of craft beers. Guests receive 15 three-ounce tasting tokens with ticket purchase. Note that some specialty beers require two tokens. Guests enjoy live music from a variety of local bands, ice sculpture demonstrations and fire pits to help you warm up. A selection of food from across the region will be available for purchase as well. Is that enough for you? For more information, visit mibeer.com.
Beer City Hotel Packages
No need to worry about long drives back home or cramming everything into a day trip with a hotel downtown. Many of the hotels throughout West Michigan will feature special packages that combine our city’s rich brewing traditions with a comfortable night’s stay. Packages include options such as Bed and Brew at the Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown Grand Rapids – including a Grand Rapids ale trail map, one “Beer City USA” six pack koozie cooler, two “Beer City USA” logoed pint glasses and two aluminum “Beer City USA” bottle openers. You’ll be up to your ears in Beer City swag.
KBS Week, Brewsader Passports and More
One of Founders’ biggest weeks of the year, KBS Week, will fall within the range of Beer Month GR. Other opportunities to celebrate this month include the ongoing Beer City Ale Trail — print out a map and follow the trail to some of the best breweries in West Michigan. Or, ready to become a Brewsader? Grab yourself a passport, available at the breweries listed on the Experience GR website, and collect passport stamps from eight of the 32 breweries listed to receive an exclusive Brewsader T-shirt.
Situated just 7.7 miles apart along the White Pine Trail, Rockford Brewing Co. and Cedar Springs Brewing Co. decided to collaborate on a winter cycling event called Snow Bikes & Brews Arctic Cruise. Bring your fat tire and ride the route starting at CSBC, 95 N. Main St., at 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 4. The group leaves for RBC at 12:30 p.m. Draft pours are $1 off at each brewery. More importantly, the event is free and open to all ages and skill levels. Don’t forget your long johns!
Springfield-based Territorial Brewing Co., 256 N. Helmer Rd., is planning a special release each week in the month of February at its Battle Creek-area brewery and taphouse. All of the limited edition beers are sold in resealable 750-mL bottles and cost $22 each, except for the last one, which costs $26. Here’s the lineup:
• Feb. 2: Holy Ole, a sour barrel-aged Brettanomyces Danish pilsner
• Feb. 9: Hapanpukki, a sour barrel-aged Sahti, an ancient Finnish-style ale brewed without hops
• Feb. 16: Grousefather, a sour barrel-aged vanilla rauchbier (a smoky style)
• Feb. 23: Armer Ritter, a weizen “trippelbock” barrel-aged with Michigan maple syrup
In other news, Revue will be taking a weekly roadtrip to Territorial every Thursday in February.
Muskegon’s Unruly Brewing Co., 360 W. Western Ave., has been ratcheting up its music offerings in recent months. For February, the downtown brewery has a handful of shows planned, including JGJ Band (Feb. 3, 8:30 p.m.); It’s a Secret with Amoura and Drowned Out (Feb. 4, 9:30 p.m.); Mike Boxer and Rusty Walters (Feb. 10, 8 p.m.); Melophobix with Speak Easy (Feb. 11, 8:30 p.m.); Pop Fiction (Feb. 17 8:30 p.m.); Kari Lynch and her band (Feb. 18, 8 p.m.); Youth In Revolt, Out Came the Wolves, and Picturesque (Feb. 23, $10 at the door); Tweeg and the Bounders, Cosmonaut, and Rip Van Ripper (Feb. 24, 8:30 p.m.); and Chordis Bell (Feb. 25, 9:30 p.m.). All shows are free admission unless otherwise noted.
With Winter Beer Fest at Fifth Third Ballpark fast approaching, two local breweries are planning special events. Grand Rapids-based Brewery Vivant, 925 Cherry St. SE, plans to bring back its Brewers Big Breakfast, which runs from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25 to give festival-goers a chance to load up on food for the big day. Rockford Brewing Co., 12 E. Bridge St. NE, also wants to help you pre-game for the festival by opening for brunch at 10 a.m. on Saturday. They’re also offering a Hangover Brunch starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The special runs through 4 p.m. both days and includes a choice of:
• Southern Fried Chicken Wings and Waffles, featuring sausage gravy, pickled chiles, watercress, savory herb waffles and Michigan maple syrup
• The Full Monte Cristo Sandwich, which has ham, aged gruyere, apple and cranberry chutney on Nantucket Brioche french toast
• Salmon Lox and Spinach Bagel, with dill and caper cream cheese, shaved red onion, spinach, tomato on toasted Nantucket everything bagel
• Brewer’s Breakfast Skillet, which features over-easy eggs, beer-braised Sobie breakfast sausages, and potato-poblano hash with a grilled baguette
Luckily, proof of a hangover is not needed to participate.