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12 Places to Drink in Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Capital for Beer

A guide for hops lovers to try in Beer City USA

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When Grand Rapids was named one of the nation’s Best Beer Towns in 2012, the craft beer destination had far fewer breweries. Today, the riverfront city has more than 45 breweries, with many of them right downtown. That number more than doubles if you extend to the grander Grand Rapids region, which is just over a two-hour drive from Detroit.

The city’s official “Beer City Ale Trail” has more than 80 breweries listed, and there are beer festivals, hotel beer packages, events, and a passport to keep track of it all. There’s even a Beer Month.

With all this pouring, it can be hard to know where to start. Here’s a guide to help drinkers navigate a burgeoning scene from breweries to beer bars.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Brass Ring Brewing

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Located about 10 minutes from downtown, Brass Ring Brewing operates a taproom pouring unfiltered brew and a tiny kitchen serving tikka masala tacos, roasted pork loin, beer cheese, and house pickles. Brass Ring’s mission for its small-batch beer is simplicity. At the beginning of the pandemic, Brass Ring built outdoor structures, seating two to four people; created Neighborly IPA, which raised money for charity; and moved live events online.

Arvon Brewing Co.

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Arvon creates bold New England-style IPAs and heavily fruited sour beers such as Jurassic Haze, Harbor Beach, Citra Drops, and De Tour Reef, targeting craft beer enthusiasts. The company moved to Grand Rapids in 2020 from Grandville, Michigan; until then distribution was limited to specialty stores in metro Detroit.

Sacred Springs Micro Taproom

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Sacred Springs launched in 2018 with a rotating lineup of non-alcoholic kombuchas on tap with flavors such as Root of Life (beets, ginger, and turmeric), Flower of Life (jasmine, elderberries, hibiscus), and Trop Hopics (pineapple hops). Now, the micro-taproom also serves hard kombucha, mead, and meaducha, a blend of mead and kombucha.

Brewery Vivant

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Housed in an old funeral home with original stained glass, this European-inspired brewery emphasizes Belgian and French country-style beers. Brewery Vivant has recently started adding lagers to the lineup. The newest beer is Rapid IPA, an American-style IPA full of Amarillo and Cascade hops.

Founders Brewing Co

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The state’s largest brewery and the one that helped elevate Grand Rapids onto the world brewing stage, Founders is pretty widely known to beer drinkers. Founders is now one of the biggest breweries in the nation, thanks to All Day IPA, the best-selling craft can in America, and Kentucky Bourbon Stout (KBS). The company also has a taproom in Detroit’s midtown. Masks are no longer required in the taprooms.

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This local beer bar turned popular chain got its start in Grand Rapids and now has nine locations, including in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and another in Grand Rapids. The original location has a small brewing operation and an extensive list of about 50 beers on tap. There’s a full menu of bar food such as beer-battered fries, burgers, salads, and pretzel nuggets.

B.O.B.'s Brewery

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Downtown’s oldest local beer brewery, B.O.B.’s (acronym for Big Old Building) features a variety of standard beers to niche one-offs like the mango chipotle or papaya farm peach ginger ales. The standard and classic brews — Afterglow Amber, Nautical Dawn Pale and Platinum Blonde — are still on the menu, too. Stouts, porters, and wheats also are on rotation.

Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery

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Jolly Pumpkin produces a variety of unfiltered and unpasteurized Belgian-style, barrel-aged sours and farmhouse ales. It has seven brewpubs, including in Detroit, Chicago, and Traverse City. Customers often pair their vegan-friendly taps with tasty pork toppings or vegan pizza.

Harmony Hall

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The spacious, westside post of Harmony Brewing Co. is modeled after a German beer hall. It doesn’t have pizza on the menu as it does on the eastside, but the food menu includes poutine, sausages (hopwurst, bulgogi, hotlink, and vegan Italian). The drinks menu is more extensive, however, with more taps, with a number of German lagers to toast the history of the building.

City Built Brewing Company

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A local favorite, City Built creates a wide range of complex but tasty beers, many of them inspired by plants, herbs, and fruit. The brewery not only is gaining recognition for its IPAs, but it’s also been honored nationally for the vibrant label created for its Czech pilsner Prague Underground. Fill up on food, too: The menu is inspired by the owners’ Puerto Rican heritage — yuca fries, tacos, tostones, and mofongo.

The Mitten Brewing Company

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The Mitten Brewing Co. opened as the Tigers were playing in the 2012 World Series with a vintage baseball-themed microbrewery. Made with real roasted peanuts and peanut butter from Detroit’s Germack Pistachio Co., the brewery’s Peanuts and Crackerjack robust porter is a favorite around the state. The westside brewpub also serves pizza and has sites in Saugatuck and Northport.

3 cans of Mitten Brewing Co. Peanuts and Crackerjack robust porter Kenneth Homan / Shutterstock.com

Greyline Brewing Co.

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Owned by Nate Walser, the former head brewer at the behemoth Founders, Greyline is a tiny neighborhood joint with 16 taps and limited snacks. (It’s fine to take your own food inside.) As Walser indicates on the website, the brewery, has “no plans to take over the world through distribution domination or be the next beer superpower.” Expect lots of great experimentation.

Brass Ring Brewing

Located about 10 minutes from downtown, Brass Ring Brewing operates a taproom pouring unfiltered brew and a tiny kitchen serving tikka masala tacos, roasted pork loin, beer cheese, and house pickles. Brass Ring’s mission for its small-batch beer is simplicity. At the beginning of the pandemic, Brass Ring built outdoor structures, seating two to four people; created Neighborly IPA, which raised money for charity; and moved live events online.

Arvon Brewing Co.

Arvon creates bold New England-style IPAs and heavily fruited sour beers such as Jurassic Haze, Harbor Beach, Citra Drops, and De Tour Reef, targeting craft beer enthusiasts. The company moved to Grand Rapids in 2020 from Grandville, Michigan; until then distribution was limited to specialty stores in metro Detroit.

Sacred Springs Micro Taproom

Sacred Springs launched in 2018 with a rotating lineup of non-alcoholic kombuchas on tap with flavors such as Root of Life (beets, ginger, and turmeric), Flower of Life (jasmine, elderberries, hibiscus), and Trop Hopics (pineapple hops). Now, the micro-taproom also serves hard kombucha, mead, and meaducha, a blend of mead and kombucha.

Brewery Vivant

Housed in an old funeral home with original stained glass, this European-inspired brewery emphasizes Belgian and French country-style beers. Brewery Vivant has recently started adding lagers to the lineup. The newest beer is Rapid IPA, an American-style IPA full of Amarillo and Cascade hops.

Founders Brewing Co

Shutterstock

The state’s largest brewery and the one that helped elevate Grand Rapids onto the world brewing stage, Founders is pretty widely known to beer drinkers. Founders is now one of the biggest breweries in the nation, thanks to All Day IPA, the best-selling craft can in America, and Kentucky Bourbon Stout (KBS). The company also has a taproom in Detroit’s midtown. Masks are no longer required in the taprooms.

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HopCat

This local beer bar turned popular chain got its start in Grand Rapids and now has nine locations, including in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and another in Grand Rapids. The original location has a small brewing operation and an extensive list of about 50 beers on tap. There’s a full menu of bar food such as beer-battered fries, burgers, salads, and pretzel nuggets.

B.O.B.'s Brewery

Downtown’s oldest local beer brewery, B.O.B.’s (acronym for Big Old Building) features a variety of standard beers to niche one-offs like the mango chipotle or papaya farm peach ginger ales. The standard and classic brews — Afterglow Amber, Nautical Dawn Pale and Platinum Blonde — are still on the menu, too. Stouts, porters, and wheats also are on rotation.

Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery

Jolly Pumpkin produces a variety of unfiltered and unpasteurized Belgian-style, barrel-aged sours and farmhouse ales. It has seven brewpubs, including in Detroit, Chicago, and Traverse City. Customers often pair their vegan-friendly taps with tasty pork toppings or vegan pizza.

Harmony Hall

The spacious, westside post of Harmony Brewing Co. is modeled after a German beer hall. It doesn’t have pizza on the menu as it does on the eastside, but the food menu includes poutine, sausages (hopwurst, bulgogi, hotlink, and vegan Italian). The drinks menu is more extensive, however, with more taps, with a number of German lagers to toast the history of the building.

City Built Brewing Company

A local favorite, City Built creates a wide range of complex but tasty beers, many of them inspired by plants, herbs, and fruit. The brewery not only is gaining recognition for its IPAs, but it’s also been honored nationally for the vibrant label created for its Czech pilsner Prague Underground. Fill up on food, too: The menu is inspired by the owners’ Puerto Rican heritage — yuca fries, tacos, tostones, and mofongo.

The Mitten Brewing Company

3 cans of Mitten Brewing Co. Peanuts and Crackerjack robust porter Kenneth Homan / Shutterstock.com

The Mitten Brewing Co. opened as the Tigers were playing in the 2012 World Series with a vintage baseball-themed microbrewery. Made with real roasted peanuts and peanut butter from Detroit’s Germack Pistachio Co., the brewery’s Peanuts and Crackerjack robust porter is a favorite around the state. The westside brewpub also serves pizza and has sites in Saugatuck and Northport.

3 cans of Mitten Brewing Co. Peanuts and Crackerjack robust porter Kenneth Homan / Shutterstock.com

Greyline Brewing Co.

Owned by Nate Walser, the former head brewer at the behemoth Founders, Greyline is a tiny neighborhood joint with 16 taps and limited snacks. (It’s fine to take your own food inside.) As Walser indicates on the website, the brewery, has “no plans to take over the world through distribution domination or be the next beer superpower.” Expect lots of great experimentation.

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