Enjoy a Pint and a Lift: West Michigan’s Brewery Hop Transportation Options

Fall flavors are on tap at West Michigan breweries! Today, Experience Grand Rapids shares five ways to enjoy your favorite breweries worry-free with convenient and reliable transportation options. 

Photo courtesy of Brewery Vivant and Experience GR

Photo courtesy of Brewery Vivant and Experience GR

As the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, the allure of warm breweries and seasonal craft beer grows. Local tap lists have been updated to feature fall flavors like apple, cinnamon, bourbon, and everyone’s fave: pumpkin. Grab a sweater and a pint of autumn-inspired beer, and leave the car keys behind for a fun and responsible experience. We’ve got you covered in Grand Rapids both with a slew of breweries and safe transportation options to get to and fro.

Brian Haik combines his love for beer and history to create a special experience for thirsty locals and visitors alike. GR Beer Tours – the top activity in Grand Rapids according to TripAdvisor – offers a well-rounded beer-focused outing. On the half day tour, Brian shares information about beer styles, tasting approaches, and local beer lore. Go behind the scenes at a brewery to learn about the process and meet brewers, enjoy 12-16 samples of beer, and get chauffeured in a comfortable 15-passenger van.

GR Beer Tours Owner Bryan Haik[1]GR Beer Tours offers a handful of tour options exploring different segments of the West Michigan beer scene, plus walking tours in the heart of downtown GR. Private tours are also popular and an excellent way to celebrate birthdays, bachelors, or business events. Join Brian to head straight to the source, immersed in the history and craft beer flavor of Michigan.

Tickets and Info: www.grbeertours.com | 4-6 Hour Tour incl. beer starts at $50/person

Beer City Runner: Your Ticket to Beer City USA

When I first saw the Beer City Runner (it’s hard to miss) cruising around town a couple weeks ago, I wondered where it had been all my life. For the same cost of garage parking downtown, you can hop on and off this bus all night long cruising between breweries. Beer City Runner circles Grand Rapids every Friday from 5pm to midnight and Saturday from noon to midnight.

Beer City RunnerBeer City Runner has hourly departures from the following popular breweries: Founders, Mitten Brewing Co., Elk Brewing Co., Harmony, Brewery Vivant, and HopCat/GRBC. View the route and timetable online, where you can also grab tickets. Then, grab a pint of autumnal brew and toast your transportation-savvy. I recommend Brewery Vivant’s Pumpkin Tart. It’s not actually tart, but well balanced with the aroma of warming spices and pumpkin. Cheers!

Tickets and Info: www.beercityrunner.com | $8 Hop on, hop off one day fare

Uber: Welcome to the Taxi Future

Uber Grand Rapids ScreenshotUber just landed in Grand Rapids and residents were thrilled. Uber is a convenient, mobile phone based transportation service. Once you’ve downloaded the app and created an account, you simply input your destination and are alerted when your driver will arrive (a matter of minutes in Grand Rapids proper) and the approximate fare. The app stores your credit card information and handles payment, so you can hop out at your destination without fumbling with cash or plastic. This streamlined service is an excellent way to get to and from breweries, leaving your car in park.

Public Transportation

The Rapid bus system is an excellent way to get around town on the cheap. Use the convenient Trip Planner at ridetherapid.org to get directions. The brand new Silver Line Bus transports folks from the suburbs to downtown with ease. We wrote all about it last month here. Ride on!

The Good Ole’ DD

Don’t forget about the age-old strategy for avoiding driving while intoxicated: the DD. Breweries around town are known for more than just great beer. Harmony and Mitten Brewing Co. both have terrific pizza. Vivant has a killer burger and housemade desserts. Founders has terrific live music and peanuts for days. There’s something for everyone, even if it isn’t an Ichabod Pumpkin Ale or refreshing Vandermill Totally Roasted hard cider.

These days deciding how to safely brewery hop is easier than making a selection from each spot’s seasonal tap list. Cheers to that!

Three Reasons to Trick-or-Treat at Binder Park Zoo

Halloween is just around the corner! There are many ways to celebrate around the state – including a trip to the zoo! Today, Becca Freybler from Calhoun County Visitors Bureau shares her memories of ZooBoo at Binder Park Zoo and gives us three sweet reasons to trick-or-treat with the animals. 

Photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo

Photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo

This year, Binder Park Zoo’s ZooBoo celebrates 28 years of Halloween fun! Growing up in Battle Creek, I have great memories from my childhood going to trick-or-treating through the zoo during ZooBoo.  I especially remember how much fun it was to put on my costume, get into the minivan and then drive through the zoo entrance and see all the decorations.

Since its start, ZooBoo has grown and now includes so much more than just the trick-or-treating trail.  ZooBoo is an amazing Halloween festival in the zoo, it is creating happy and fun memories for so many kids. Here are some reasons why Binder Park Zoo’s ZooBoo is so special.

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County CVB

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

Community Pumpkin Carve
Every year before ZooBoo starts, Binder Park Zoo holds a pumpkin carve. Anyone can come and help carve the hundreds pumpkins that will be displayed throughout the zoo. Kids are so excited to come back and find where their pumpkin is placed.  It gives visitors a sense that they contributed to making this event happen. This year’s carve is on October 14 from 4-7pm.   It’s so much fun that our whole CVB staff will be there to help carve this year.

It’s in a Zoo
Everyone loves the zoo.  Coming to the zoo when it is all decked out in Halloween and fall décor makes it seem magical.  It’s worth a visit to see the zoo at night during such a fun, festive event.  All the decorations in the main zoo are “merry-not-scary” decorations so this event is great for all ages.

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

More than just Trick-or-Treating
Yes, the main attraction is the trick-or-treating for the kids but there is so much more to do! There are animal presentations, the fall classic straw maze, black light mini-golf, a carnival, carousel rides, and even a Haunted Hayride through Wild Africa. Yes, you heard me right. Binder Park has an Africa that makes you feel like you went on an African safari. The Haunted Hayride is for those that want a little more adventure!

ZooBoo is a great event for families and your kids will want to go back every year. You will too! Even as an adult, I still love ZooBoo and want to go back because I love the Halloween spirit that the zoo gives off this time of year. The memories it creates are timeless.

ZooBoo runs from October 15-30.
Wednesday – Friday: 5-8pm
Saturday – Sunday: 3-8pm
Haunted Africa is on Friday & Saturday ONLY from 6-8pm

Screen-Shot-2014-05-31-at-8.55.38-PM-250x194Becca Freybler is the Digital Media Marketing Manager for the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, handling all of their digital platforms.  She has worked for the CVB since 2010. Becca is a Michigan State University graduate and a lifelong Battle Creek resident. Outside of work she enjoys sports, cooking, being outdoors, and owns a Collie named Simba.

Transforming the Grand Rapids Downtown Market for ArtPrize 2014

The first round of votes are in and the top 20 entries at ArtPrize 2014 have been revealed! As we head into the final week of the art competition in Downtown Grand Rapids, guest blogger Claire Duthler tells us how one of this year’s first-time venues, the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, was transformed into a public art gallery for ArtPrize.

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 11.32.30 AMThe Grand Rapids Downtown Market celebrated its one-year anniversary on Labor Day weekend, with several exciting updates such as becoming LEED Gold certified, the opening of a new sushi bar and Creperie, and announcement of Food A’Faire, a fundraiser to benefit the Market’s Education Foundation. And what better way to continue that celebration through September and into fall than being a first-time venue in the sixth annual ArtPrize?

Downtown Market businesses are excited to be part of the action, welcoming ArtPrize crowds to “See our art. Taste our food.” Six pieces of art are exhibited at the Downtown Market, with installations located on both levels indoors as well as outdoors in the Market Shed.

ArtPrize is an excellent way to invite more community members in the doors to see how the artists have transformed the public spaces, as well as experience what else the market has to offer: 20 artisan food vendors, a picturesque greenhouse, beautiful patio to sit and enjoy a meal and an outdoor farmer’s market on Saturdays through November.

The Downtown Market’s mission includes engaging with the community in multiple ways and increasing accessibility to healthy food and nutrition education. In addition to welcoming guests in for public events such as ArtPrize, the Market works with local organizations on job training and programs such as the Healthy Eating for All scholarship program. Healthy Eating for All provides class scholarships to those with low-income to ensure they can learn about healthy eating and have the resources to purchase fresh produce at the Market

The Downtown Market’s education department even got in on the ArtPrize fun, hosting classes that combine our love of food with the season’s Art theme, such as “Play with your food”, “Artful Food Photography” And “Artful Dishes for ArtPrize.” While those classes are over now, the October schedule is full of upcoming classes filled with fresh local food themes, such as canning, cooking with seasonal produce, preserving root vegetables, homemade pasta, and more!

See our Art:

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 11.32.12 AMEntering the Market, guests are greeted by “Bloom Bloom,” Dana Lynn Harper’s overhead creation made of construction flagging tape and chicken wire. This beautifully bright piece is suspended from the ceiling of the Market Shed, blowing in the breeze, inviting onlookers to stop for a moment and look up.

Under the stairs to the second floor, Emily Moore’s “Ornamental Invasion” utilizes materials, ornamentation, location, and size as a means of processing Western society’s role in the degradation of nature and historical disparagement of anything understood as “feminine.”

Suspended from the ceiling and visible from both the downstairs and upstairs, “Mississippi Flyway: Alive in the Sky,” by mother-daughter duo Joan and Catherine Game, illustrates the path of migratory birds who use the Mississipppi River flight path to travel north and south. Thirty-four birds are represented as painted paper kites, with information below about each species.

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 11.35.39 AMIn the second floor atrium, “Oil Flowers,” a group of brightly colored, cartoonish flowers take on a more somber character when you read that they are created from plastic bags, which are made with substances derived from oil. This installation by Jerry Bleem addresses the ecological concerns associated with the material.

In the second floor hallway, two sets of paintings completes the ArtPrize art at the market. “A B See?” by Joel Schoon-Tanis is composed of 26 alphabetically themed canvases, approaching painting through a child’s lens. “Dinner Party,” by Christy De Hoog Johnson is a series of three abstract narrative paintings, each representing one piece of a story: The first is Cocktails; the second, Conversation; and the third, Charades.

An ArtPrize popup shop is also located in the Market Hall for art browsers to purchase ArtPrize gear. And a kids coloring area in the open seating area lets little ones get in on the action too by creating their own masterpieces for the refrigerator at home!

See more of the art featured across downtown Grand Rapids in the video below! Be sure to vote for your favorite piece by October 9th at midnight.

claireClaire Duthler is the special events and leasing manager at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, handling inquiries about being a Market tenant and coordinating special community events hosted by the Market.