Something Good’s Brewing in Grand Rapids

BOB Brewery

Grand Rapids, MI is home to a number of award-winning craft beers and breweries. Guest Blogger Kirsetin Morello tells us about some unique craft beers brewing in Grand Rapids this fall.

Change is in the air in Grand Rapids, MI, Beer City USA 2013. The crisp, cool West Michigan mornings have local brewers ditching their citrusy summer concoctions, topped with wedges of fruit, and turning their attention towards crafting heartier beer to warm chilly crowds.

At The B.O.B, brewer John Svoboda is looking forward to some substantially darker, deeper caramel malts this fall, rolling out his Oktoberfest beer, and taking advantage of seasonal crops. “In Michigan, we’ve got some wonderful fresh hops at this time, so we can incorporate those into brewing,” he explains. “They’re going to pick them in the morning and I’m going to use them that afternoon.”BOB Brewery

But don’t come in looking just for hoppier, darker beer. As the season progresses, think about spices, too, like nutmeg, apple, and cinnamon. “We try to look at it from a more culinary perspective,” says Svoboda. He describes the fun he has making a small batch of apple cinnamon beer, for example. “What you would do in the kitchen, we try to do in the brewery.”

Brewer Rob Wanhatalo (Wob), at The Mitten Brewing Company, is also shifting his focus this fall. “It’s not necessarily a color shift, but a shift to something a little more warming, like a stout or a porter,” he says. For example, they’ve got a Scottish ale coming up that’s more malt forward. He says customers are likely to see their Country Strong IPA and Triple Crown Brown throughout the fall, as well as a rotating stout and something more seasonal. “Last year I did a pumpkin beer,” he says.

Over at Harmony Brewing Company, co-head brewer Barry VanDyke is considering a pumpkin beer, too. “Ours was made with real pumpkins,” he says, describing the beer they brewed last year in collaboration with other local breweries. They used ginger to spice it, rather than traditional pie spices, which he says gave it a bit of a bite.

The Mitten Country Strong IPA

VanDyke is also looking forward to Jackson’s Joy, an amber colored Oktoberfest-style ale. (His brother, Jackson, is the other head-brewer.) “It’s really rich,” he says, “It almost smells like falling leaves to me. It’s a style of beer that plays perfectly with the change of the season.”

Harmony Star Stuff beer

 

 

 

 

In Grand Rapids, there’s no shortage of breweries for locals and visitors to peruse, regardless of season. With the recent opening of Osgood Brewing and Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery and Supply, the number of area breweries jumps to almost 40 (22 in the Grand Rapids area, 16 more within an hour and a half drive).

For a self-guided tour, including HopCat, America’s Best Brewpub (RateBeer.com, 2013) and Founders Brewing Co., the World’s 3rd best Brewery (RateBeer.com, 2013) click here for a downloadable copy of our Beer Tour Map.

Small beer tour map

If you’d rather get an insider peek at the process, both Founders Brewery and Brewery Vivant offer behind-the-scenes scheduled tours every Saturday. (Click their website links for times, cost, and more information.) Many other breweries will offer tours, too, if time permits: just ask.

To get a taste of several Grand Rapids’ craft beers, paired with fantastic food, join the Beer Romp on Saturday, October 19 from 12:00pm – 5:00pm. The Romp will include stops at 15+ local restaurants, including HopCat and Grand Rapids Brewing Company. Tickets are $40 in advance ($50 the day of) and include beer and food samples at each stop. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the local charity, Kids Food Basket.

If all of this sounds so tempting that you want to visit Grand Rapids for a few days, you can indulge yourself with a stay at the JW Marriott, whose Beer City USA hotel package includes 4 local beers served to your room upon arrival.

Or, come for the Grand Rapids Wine, Beer, and Food Festival, happening at DeVos Place on November 21-23. The JW and Grand Rapids’ other luxury hotel, the Amway Grand Plaza, are both offering hotel packages that include accommodations, two tickets to the event, parking, and more.

Hope we’ll see you in Grand Rapids soon. Cheers!

Guest Blogger Kirsetin MorelloKirsetin Morello is a writer, author, and blogger who’s called Grand Rapids home for more than a decade. She’s enthusiastic about yoga, basketball and travel, and is a reluctant runner. Kirsetin, her husband, and their three children love to explore everything West Michigan has to offer. You can find her online at www.KirsetinMorello.com.

 

Have you been to any of these Grand Rapids breweries? Which of their Michigan craft brews is your favorite? 

5 Fun Photos from ArtPrize 2013 in Grand Rapids

ArtPrize 2013 is well underway in Downtown Grand Rapids! Through October 6th 2013, the city of Grand Rapids is transformed into an art gallery where artists and visitors come to display and view over 1,500 pieces of artwork. So far, we’ve seen some very striking photographs of the artwork at this year’s competition. Below is a roundup of some fun ArtPrize photos shared with us by Experience Grand Rapids. 

A colorful view of Grand Rapids during ArtPrize 2013 [Photo courtesy of eightWest]:ArtPrize in Grand Rapids 2013

Artists and visitors enjoy a beautiful day viewing the many displays of unique artwork:ArtPrize 2013 in Grand Rapids

A cool shot of a dragon on display at ArtPrize 2013 from Instagram user @sleepymonkey629:A piece of artwork on display at ArtPrize 2013

The Grand Rapids Public Museum  pays tribute to Grandmothers from around the world with this photography exhibit, Grandmother Power:Grandmother Power

ArtPrize visitors stop to marvel at an artist’s work:Viewing an artists work at ArtPrize 2013

ArtPrize 2013 runs through October 6th. Have you been to ArtPrize this year? What was your favorite display? 

Six Steps to Making the Most of ArtPrize 2013

If you’ve never explored the unique buildings or graced the diverse streets of Grand Rapids during ArtPrize, you may be wondering where to start. No worries, there are few simple things you can do to make visiting the world’s largest art competition simple, fun and inspiring. Todd Herring, Director of Communications for ArtPrize, shares these steps with us below.

Step 1 – Get Inspired – Visit artprize.org click “FIND ART.” Artists from all over the world will be showing at ArtPrize 2013.  Their work and their stories are inspiring, challenging and beautiful.  Browsing 1524 artist entries might seem daunting, but you can filter your search by choosing specific venues, types of artwork and descriptive tags like “music” and “photography.”  When you find artwork that you’d like to see, simply click the button marked “Add to Collection.”  This feature allows you to create multiple collections or “lists” that you can reference when you visit.

Step 2 – VOTE! – Voting takes you from passive observer to active participant.   There are two ways to register.  If you have an iOS (apple) or Android smart phone, simply open the ArtPrize mobile app while you’re in the ArtPrize district and you’ll be registered to vote in a snap.  Or you can check in at any ArtPrize voting site.  When you check in, you’ll get your free ArtPrize map, be registered to vote and able to purchase the complete ArtPrize event guide and transportation wristbands. All that’s left to do is GO SEE ART!  Cast your votes on the ArtPrize mobile app, online at artprize.org, or via text.  Go to artprize.org/visit to learn more!

Step 3 – Keep Moving – Here at ArtPrize, we’re all about experiencing ArtPrize in the most active way possible. Take the bus, ride a bike, or walk the ArtPrize district! This year we have five walking path options, all roughly 1-2 miles in length. They all begin at Rosa Parks Circle and will take you into our local neighborhoods: City Center, Heartside, Westside, Monroe North, and Hillside. Each neighborhood brings it’s own perspective to the ArtPrize event–eclectic, historic, natural, cultural, near the water or right in the heart of it all. Each walking path will help you explore the city and sample everything ArtPrize has to offer.

A display from ArtPrize 2012.

Step 4 – Stay in the know – Every morning ArtPrize will publish a Daily that kicks out the news, daily schedule of events, major announcements and an Epic Events recap of the day before. The Daily can be found at www.artprize.org/daily. You can even contribute to the Daily with your very own Epic Events video clips by downloading the Epic Events app from the Apple App Store. Checking out @ArtPrize for daily interactions and updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will also keep you up to date on all things ArtPrize.

Step 5 – Attend ArtPrize Events – From ArtFitness bike tours to Grand Prize Jury panels to Internet Cat Video Festivals, there is something for everyone. For a full list of events, visit artprize.org/events.

Step 6 – Make it Your Own. – Whatever you’re in the mood for, there’s a perfect starting point to plan your own adventure. You choose the views, how much art you want to see or how long to linger.  ArtPrize is not the creation of one individual or team, it is the culmination of hundreds of thousands of independent voices, ideas and perspectives. It is art, creativity, culture and adventure, and it’s all waiting for you at ArtPrize.

Will you be checking out ArtPrize in Grand Rapids? Tell us in the comments section below!

Todd Herring is the Director of Communications for ArtPrize, an international art competition that annually draws more than 400,000 visitors to Grand Rapids, Michigan. With a background in product development and innovation, Todd now specializes in crowd sourced engagement models and speaks regularly on collaborative design, urban engagement and arts management.