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 Why Grand Rapids is Beer City USA

Home to 15 different breweries (and counting), the top beer grocery retailer in the nation and a number of brewery tour options, it’s no secret that the Grand Rapids beer scene is booming. Today, Blair Giesken of Experience Grand Rapids gives us an inside look at what makes Grand Rapids Beer City USA.

Read her post below and let us know what you love most about the Grand Rapids beer scene! And don’t forget that we’re giving fans the chance to choose a Pure Michigan beer style to be featured on tap at Founders Brewing Co. this July. Click here to vote for your pick.

Grand Rapids is no stranger to delicious craft beer.  It’s a city that proudly serves up big name breweries like the 3rd best brewery on the planetand the #1 brewpub in America, alongside rare finds that dot the outskirts of the city.  A place where small-scale experimental home brewers taste and tinker right alongside master brewers from some of the nation’s most acclaimed names in beer.

#1. Grand Rapids is home to the top beer grocery retailer in the U.S.

These brewers, whether by hobby or by profession, work together to create a blend of beer culture in Grand Rapids that is absolutely unmatched.  “Most of the folks who open breweries were at one time home brewers,” points out Steve Siciliano, owner of Siciliano’s Market.  Named 2013’s Top Beer Grocery Retailer in the United States, Siciliano’s provides one of the largest craft & imported beer selections in West Michigan, along with homebrewing supplies for enthusiastic hobbyists. “Home brewers and breweries feed off each other: there’s a wonderful synergy at work.”

#2. Grand Rapids has 15 different breweries (and counting!)

It’s easy to see why these breweries and pubs collaborate so well— no two are any bit alike.  There are raved-about Grand Rapids’ staples like Founders Brewing Co. and Brewery Vivant that now offer guided brewery tours on Saturdays to give guests insider access to the magic behind the brewing process.  But there are also newcomers who continue to invigorate the beer scene with their unconventional brews and cozy atmospheres.  Take Mitten Brewing Co., a Detroit Tigers-centric baseball themed brewery inside a historic firehouse, where the beers come with names like Crackerjack Porter.  Or Harmony Brewing Co. in East Town, where the focus is on crafting small, balanced batches of beer paired with rustic wood-fired pizzas inside a once-abandoned former party store.  Back downtown is the newly revitalized Grand Rapids Brewing Co., brought back as a modernized version of its original glory by the owners of world-renowned HopCat, who transformed the space just 6 blocks from the original brewery’s location into the Midwest’s first USDA Certified Organic Brewery.

#3. Grand Rapids has unique brewery tours

With so many great beercation spots in Grand Rapids, you won’t even have to work at quenching your craft beer thirst.  There are plenty of creative, crazy – and yes, safe— ways to hit all the stops on your Brew To-Do list.  For instance, you can pedal your way to beer bicycling bliss on the 15-person Great Lakes Pub Cruiser, hop aboard a Grand Rapids Motor City Brew Tour from Detroit to get your first true taste of the Grand Rapids’ beer scene, or snag a GR Hopper Pass to jump safely and affordably from brewery to brewery.

Whether you’re interested in taking your passion for beer out of the brewpub and into the home, or just love to sample and explore the delicious craft beer possibilities, it’s clear that Grand Rapids is quickly becoming our nation’s beer destination.

Already know and love the Grand Rapids beer scene, or waiting (impatiently) to get a taste?  Help us hold our place in the hearts and minds of beer lovers everywhere by dropping your beer ballot for Grand Rapids into the 2013 Beer City USA voting box.  You can cast your votestarting next week (May 6-10) by going to experiencegr.com/votebeer!

Blair Giesken is the Marketing Content Manager for Experience Grand Rapids.  In her spare time she enjoys writing, designing, and taking advantage of the incredible craft beer and local music scene right in her own backyard.