Grand Rapids, West Michigan’s largest city has just been named Beer City USA. Grand Rapids is home to Founders Brewing Company, a brewery that started out as a local favorite, but as since taken the nation by storm. Since 2011, Ratebeer.com has ranked this local favorite as the 2nd best brewery in the world (they were 4th best in 2010), and they have several beers listed in the top one hundred beers of the world on Beeradvocate.com. They were the winner of four medals at the 2010 World Beer Cup, two medals at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival, and one medal at the 2012 World Beer Cup. Needless to say, Founders is a local hotspot in which people from near and far come to enjoy.
However Grand Rapids is not the only city in this region that can boast for having great beer. Over on the Lake Michigan shoreline sit two fantastically unique, each in their own way, communities; Holland and Saugatuck. Most people know Holland for tulips, wooden shoes, and Dutch dancing, but when you visit the city you will realize that this community also has a very particular taste for beer. New Holland Brewing Company was established in 1997, and has since grown from a scrappy two-man start-up to a thriving regional microbrewery, recognized for its creativity and artistry. They are very proud of their accomplishments thus far, and believe in earning their place in the brewing industry and in their customer’s hearts and minds every day.
Only a few miles south of Holland sits the artsy community of Saugatuck. This incredibly art focused community with a knack for anything creative is a favorite among most West Michigan travelers. However, when you peel back all the paint you will find this this is yet another community with a unique sense for beer. Saugatuck Brewing Company is a traditional Irish style pub that features quality beer, wine, food, and service. It has twelve unique brews made by the Brewmaster that are served in the Pub and bottled and distributed throughout the mid-west.
The best part? It features the only brew-on-site facility in West Michigan. With five copper kettles, an array of natural ingredients, and over 100 recipes, you and your friends are invited to be the Brewmaster for a day. Create your own unique ale and return in two weeks to bottle 5 cases of fresh beer with a custom label of your choice.
There are way more breweries than just these three in West Michigan and the Michigan Brewers Guild represents all of them. The guild exists to unify the community of brewers, to increase the sale of Michigan Craft Beer, to contribute culturally and economically throughout the state, and to monitor and assure a healthy brewing industry. The guild is also celebrating it's 15th year in 2012! To find out more about all the breweries in West Michigan and when you can visit one of the famous Michigan Brewers Guild Beer Festivals, make sure to check out their website.
Thirsty yet? Go ahead, crack a beer with your buddies!