Grand Rapids, Michigan is a city that’s known for its craft beer culture. With over 45 breweries, it’s no surprise that Grand Rapids has been named one of the “Best Beer Towns” in the United States. From classic lagers to experimental IPAs, there’s something for every beer lover in Grand Rapids.
When it comes to the best breweries in Grand Rapids, there are a few that stand out. Founders Brewing Company is the largest brewery in Michigan and is known for its award-winning beers like the Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Brewery Vivant is another popular destination, with its unique Belgian-inspired beers and stunning architecture. The Mitten Brewing Company is a great spot for sports fans, with TVs scattered throughout the space and a menu that features delicious pizza and beer. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, these breweries are definitely worth a visit.
History of Breweries in Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids has a long and rich history when it comes to breweries. In fact, the city has been dubbed “Beer City” due to its thriving beer scene. The city’s reputation for beer dates back to the mid-19th century when the first breweries were established.
One of the earliest breweries in Grand Rapids was Kusterer’s City Brewery, which was founded in 1837. The brewery was located on the banks of the Grand River and produced beer using water from the river. Over the years, several other breweries were established in the city, including George Brandt’s Union Brewery, Peter Weirich’s Michigan Brewery, and the Grand Rapids Brewing Company.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Grand Rapids was one of the largest beer-producing cities in the country. The city’s breweries produced a wide variety of beers, including lagers, ales, and stouts. However, the Prohibition era dealt a severe blow to the city’s beer industry, and many of the breweries were forced to close their doors.
It wasn’t until the 1990s that the city’s beer scene began to make a comeback. The opening of the Michigan Brewing Company in 1995 marked the beginning of a new era for Grand Rapids breweries. Since then, the city has become home to a thriving craft beer scene, with numerous breweries producing a wide variety of beers.
In 2012, Grand Rapids was named “Beer City USA” in a national poll, tying with Asheville, North Carolina. The city has also become known for its Michigan farmhouse ales, which are brewed using traditional Belgian and French farmhouse brewing techniques.
Today, Grand Rapids is home to more than 40 breweries, making it one of the top beer destinations in the country. Whether you’re a fan of hoppy IPAs, rich stouts, or crisp lagers, there’s a brewery in Grand Rapids that’s sure to have something to suit your taste.
Top Breweries in Grand Rapids
When it comes to beer, Grand Rapids has a lot to offer. With over 45 breweries in the city, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some of the top breweries in Grand Rapids that are worth checking out:
Brewery Vivant is a Belgian-inspired brewery that is housed in a former funeral home. They offer a variety of beers, including their award-winning Farm Hand, a Belgian-style farmhouse ale. They also have a great food menu, with items like duck nachos and mussels.
Address: 925 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506, United States
The Mitten Brewing Co
The Mitten Brewing Co is a brewery and pizzeria that is housed in a historic firehouse. They offer a variety of beers, including their popular Country Strong IPA. They also have a great selection of pizzas, with options like the Meatza and the Fungi.
Address: 527 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504, United States
Greyline Brewing Co
Greyline Brewing Co is a brewery that is housed in a former fire station. They offer a variety of beers, including their popular Bulldog Red Ale. They also have a great outdoor patio, where you can enjoy your beer and some food from their food truck.
Address: 1727 Alpine Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504, United States
City Built Brewing Company
City Built Brewing Company is a brewery that is inspired by Puerto Rican flavors. They offer a variety of beers, including their popular El Pollo Dorado, a Mexican lager. They also have a great food menu, with items like empanadas and plantains.
Address: 820 Monroe Ave NW STE 155, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States
Arvon Brewing Co
Arvon Brewing Co is a brewery that is focused on hop-forward beers. They offer a variety of IPAs, including their popular West Coast IPA. They also have a great outdoor patio, where you can enjoy your beer and some food from their food truck.
Address: 1006 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI 49507, United States
Founders Brewing Co
Founders Brewing Co is a brewery that is known for their bold and flavorful beers. They offer a variety of beers, including their popular All Day IPA. They also have a great food menu, with items like sandwiches and salads.
Address: 235 Cesar E. Chavez Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States
New Holland Brewing
New Holland Brewing is a brewery that is known for their unique and creative beers. They offer a variety of beers, including their popular Dragon’s Milk, a bourbon barrel-aged stout. They also have a great food menu, with items like burgers and mac and cheese.
Address: 66 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423, United States
Harmony Brewing Company
Harmony Brewing Company is a brewery that is known for their wood-fired pizzas. They offer a variety of beers, including their popular Big Lake Brown Ale. They also have a great outdoor patio, where you can enjoy your beer and some pizza.
Address: 1551 Lake Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506, United States
Thornapple Brewing Co
Thornapple Brewing Co is a brewery that is focused on community and sustainability. They offer a variety of beers, including their popular Michigan IPA. They also have a great food menu, with items like sandwiches and salads.
Overall, these are just a few of the top breweries in Grand Rapids. Each brewery has its own unique style and flavor, so be sure to check them all out and find your favorite.
Address: 6262 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, United States
Unique Beers in Grand Rapids
Stouts and Lagers
Grand Rapids is home to some of the most unique stouts and lagers. Founders Brewing Co. is known for its Breakfast Stout, a double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout, and its Kentucky Breakfast Stout, an imperial stout brewed with a hint of coffee and aged in oak bourbon barrels. Meanwhile, Creston Brewery has a popular Mexican Lager that is crisp and refreshing, while City Built Brewing Company offers a Coconut Porter that is a smooth and creamy stout with a hint of coconut.
IPAs and Sours
For those who love IPAs and sours, Grand Rapids has a lot to offer. Arvon Brewing Co. creates bold New England-style IPAs while Greyline Brewing Co. offers a variety of West Coast IPAs. Meanwhile, Speciation Artisan Ales is known for its kettle sours, which are brewed with local Michigan flora and fauna. The Mitten Brewing Company has a popular sour beer called Country Strong that is brewed with raspberries and blueberries.
Grand Rapids is also home to a variety of specialty beers. Brewery Vivant specializes in Belgian and French farmhouse ales, while New Holland Brewing offers a variety of big beers, including a Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout. Meanwhile, Grand Rapids Brewing Company has a variety of English-style pub ales, including a popular ESB called Fish Ladder.
Overall, Grand Rapids has a diverse and unique selection of beers to offer, from stouts and lagers to IPAs and sours to specialty beers.
Food and Breweries
Grand Rapids is known for its fantastic breweries, but did you know that many of these breweries also offer delicious food? Here are some of the best breweries in Grand Rapids that serve up tasty eats to pair with their award-winning brews.
If you’re in the mood for pizza, check out The Mitten Brewing Company. Not only do they have delicious pizza, but they also have a great selection of craft beer. Try their signature pizza, The Mitten, which is topped with house-made sausage, pepperoni, and bacon.
For classic bar food, head to Founders Brewing Company. Their menu features favorites like burgers, sandwiches, and nachos, all made with locally-sourced ingredients. Wash it down with one of their famous beers, like the All Day IPA or the Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale.
If you’re looking for something a little different, check out Creston Brewery. They have a rotating selection of food trucks parked outside, offering everything from tacos to Korean BBQ. Pair your food with one of their unique beers, like the Blood Orange Wheat or the Peanut Butter Porter.
No matter what type of food you’re in the mood for, there’s a brewery in Grand Rapids that has you covered. So grab a pint and a bite to eat, and enjoy all that this great city has to offer.
Brewery Tours in Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids is known as Beer City USA, and for good reason. With over 80 breweries in the area, it can be overwhelming to decide which to visit. That’s where brewery tours come in.
Beer City Ale Trail
One popular option for brewery tours in Grand Rapids is the Beer City Ale Trail. This self-guided tour takes visitors to some of the best breweries in the city. The trail includes over 40 breweries and offers discounts at participating locations. Visitors can pick up a passport at any of the participating breweries and collect stamps as they go. Once they have collected enough stamps, they can redeem their passport for a Beer City t-shirt.
For travelers who want a more guided experience, there are several tour companies that offer brewery tours in Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids Beer Tours is one such company. They offer a variety of tours, including walking tours and bus tours. Their tours include visits to multiple breweries and often include beer samples and food pairings.
Another option is Tours Around Michigan, which offers a Grand Rapids Brewery Tour. This tour takes visitors to some of the most popular breweries in the city and includes tastings at each stop. The company works with the breweries ahead of time to ensure that visitors have a seamless experience.
No matter which brewery tour option visitors choose, they are sure to have a great time exploring the vibrant craft beer scene in Grand Rapids.
Outdoor Seating and Live Music
Grand Rapids is home to several breweries that offer outdoor seating and live music. These breweries are perfect for those who want to enjoy a cold beer while listening to great music in the open air.
One of the best breweries with outdoor seating in Grand Rapids is The Søvengård. Although it’s temporarily closed, it’s worth mentioning as it’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. The Søvengård’s beer garden is spacious and offers a cozy atmosphere with its string lights and fire pit. Visitors can enjoy a cold beer while sitting at one of the communal tables or relaxing on the lawn.
Another brewery with great outdoor seating is Cedar Springs Brewing Company. Its beer garden is the perfect spot to enjoy a cold beer on a sunny day. The brewery has a large outdoor area with plenty of seating options, including picnic tables and Adirondack chairs. Visitors can also enjoy live music on weekends during the summer months.
Harmony Hall Brewery is another great option for those looking for outdoor seating. The brewery’s outdoor area is spacious and features a large covered patio. Visitors can enjoy a cold beer while sitting at one of the picnic tables or playing a game of cornhole. Harmony Hall Brewery also hosts live music events on weekends during the summer months.
Elk Brewing is a great spot for those who want to enjoy a cold beer while listening to live music. The brewery hosts live music events on weekends and has a spacious outdoor area with plenty of seating options. Visitors can enjoy a cold beer while sitting at one of the picnic tables or lounging on one of the couches.
Founders Brewing is another popular brewery with outdoor seating and live music. The brewery has a large outdoor area with plenty of seating options, including picnic tables and Adirondack chairs. Visitors can enjoy live music events on weekends during the summer months while sipping on a cold beer.
Overall, Grand Rapids has several breweries that offer outdoor seating and live music. These breweries are the perfect spots to enjoy a cold beer while listening to great music in the open air.