There’s this theory, The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, that supposes every person on Earth is six or fewer acquaintances away from Kevin Bacon. For example, if your dogwalker’s cousin’s dad was a gaffer on the set of Footloose — boom — you’re four degrees from Bacon. It’s a goofy theory, but it’s one that posits this large world is actually small and our relationships cast a wider influence than we know. For those with even a toe in Grand Rapids’ beer scene, the steps separating you and the hosts of In MI Pint, Kati Spayde and Ben Darcie, are unquestionably less.
Like fine wine and cheese, every beer has its soulmate. With exotic menus hitting breweries across West Michigan, it can be hard to identify the perfectly paired beer for your locally sourced, hand-caught, seasonal dinner. Luckily, if you know who to ask, the staff themselves can help you out! To get you started, we asked some local brewers to weigh in on their menu pairing favorites.
In a world of near-infinite choice and instant communication, breweries are constantly trying to keep up. The moment you hear about a new trend, you need to hop on board before the wave crashes.
When a brewery’s maximum occupancy caps at eight, it doesn’t take a mathematician to calculate that said brewery can’t sell a lot of pints. Since opening in 2017, Arvon Brewing Co. has occupied a hidey-hole in Grandville roughly the size of a storage locker. Like playing pool while your cue bangs against the wall, I can only imagine the frustrations owners Jake Stanko and Brett Bristol have experienced while raking spent grain from their fermenters.
You might notice that new breweries aren’t arriving at quite the same rate as they used to. Does that mean that the infamous Beer Bubble has finally “popped?” We don’t think so — West Michigan still has far more breweries opening than closing. If you take a look at our brewery guide, you’ll notice quite a few breweries that expanded in a major way.
Being entrusted with a legacy is no small weight. When Joel Wabeke and Sarah Wepman bought Marie Catrib’s from the late owner’s son, they knew they were entering a sacred space.
The hype surrounding Grand Rapids casts a length that stretches counties long. It is the Cool City. It has the Hot Eats. And have you heard? It has Beer. I read so on a billboard.
Consciously or not, diners can sense thoughtfulness. It’s a sixth sense that plays a huge part in whether we decide to return.
Of all the towns that speckle West Michigan’s coast, Muskegon has perhaps struggled the most with cohesion. Its beaches and state parks are world-class but distanced from the city proper. Moreover, some could argue that a city proper has been lacking for a while. I remember a visit to Unruly Brewing Company a few years ago: loved it, but noticed a scarcity of surrounding places to be. While rounding the main drag’s cul-de-sac, it seemed like the city was still loading.
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