Grand Rapids Beer Week. Just the sound of it makes me quiver with excitement. There are so.many.events, it’s a little overwhelming, especially as a parent who still has to attempt to wear a Mom hat in some form this week, and fight through a medical condition, that, thankfully is numbed with a little alcohol. PHEW.
I look forward to GR Beer Week and MI Winter Beer Fest every year — the socialization, the rare tap-takeovers — breweries come to US! There is something happening in each of my favorite watering holes, and the buzz in the air is hypnotic. You can’t help but smile when you walk into just about any brewery and brewpub. You also can’t help but run into someone you know, whether you are a regular, or not! That’s half the fun of GR Beer Week.
This year is a little different.
Grand Rapids’ collaborative nature that helped win the Beer City title is really shining through — especially with my fellow ladies of Fermenta, who have seriously rocked it, collaboratively brewing 19 craft beers to be featured on brewery taps throughout the MI Winter Beer Fest this year! That makes my heart smile — as I was a lucky gal that helped brew two of those beers. I’m very excited to taste these beers!
And hey… on that note, I will get an opportunity to taste 5 of those Fermenta brews at Harmony’s GR Beer Week event on Monday, Feb 23 — it’s all day, friends! So my kids may be doing a little after-school root beer tasting!! The adults will find the following Fermenta-made selections on tap:
Pike 51, Super Bon Bon- Honey IPA w/ hops from Hop Head Farms
Unruly Brewing, Black IPA
Our Brewing Company, Salted Caramel Milk Stout
Saugatuck Brewing, Lemon IPA
Harmony Brewing, Fermenta Ruburosa – American Amber Ale with Beets
Tuesday always seems to be a jam packed day full of activity around GR Beer Week, and this year is no exception. You will find another collaborative tap-takeover at Rockford Brewing: Grandma’s Cookies, an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale with MittenBrew.com starting at 5pm, and/or you can swing down to the SpeakEZ for a NerdNight starting at 7:30pm featuring a trifecta of awesome: Michael Willcox from Founders, Ward; Jack Rainy Monday from Brewery Vivant, and David Ringler from Cedar Springs Brewing Company! Plus — Founders Brewing Co.‘s KBS and Brewery Vivant‘s Wizard Burial Ground will be on tap starting at 7:30pm. I have a feeling you will need to arrive sooner than 7:30 at the SpeakEZ to get a seat for this event.
So, if the line is out the door… head over to Logan’s Alley, because their GR Beer Week lineup is overflowing with awesomeness. You really can’t go wrong any day of the week there. Monday-Friday tap-takeovers look like this, in chronological order; Saugatuck (which will include 2 brews the Logan’s crew collaborated on at Saugatuck!) Dark Horse, Odd Side, Kuhnhenn, Greenbush. Oh, and those last two takeovers will include 20 taps each. Uh-huh.
Big Bob’s will also offer tap takeovers from Rochester Mills, Founders, Right Brain, Blackrocks — with 10 taps…
What’s that? It’s only Tuesday and your liver is telling you to slow the eff down?
Ok, I hear you. There are still many other events. Here. Check out ExperienceGRs full lineup of events; these are updated on a very consistent basis. Pick your poison. Take a cab. Uber. Designated-drivers. You know the drill.
If you’re not overwhelmed already, I’m about to give you the Winter Beer Fest taplist. Which has over one-thousand beers on it.
We can breathe through it together.
Because we’re friends.
Do the math, my friends. And yes, I want to try so many of them. I want to visit the little breweries I’ve never heard of. But I also want to support my brewer-friends and the beers they made especially for this event!
I always bring a list like a nerd, and I never ever stick to it, so here are a few initial nerdy thoughts I have — focusing on my Grand Rapids Beer City love — shout out to all my hard-working brewer pals!
You already know I’m looking forward to sharing my Fermenta brews from Pike 51 and Our Brewing with my out of town friends!
Next on my list?
Gravel Bottom has.me.stumped… Their entire series of Ginger and Maple Bourbon PLUS Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged series has my mouth drooling! It’s hard to believe this brewery has only been open for 18 months. They produce an excellent product. So good, I can not choose! It will be an on-the-spot decision that may be influenced by brewer Matt Michaels… and peer pressure. #truestory
I am going to try to narrow down my list a little… I mentioned a few collaborations earlier, I am going to highlight a few more, because, really, that is something that makes Grand Rapids so incredible. We don’t compete — we collaborate!! The smiles you see in the photos we post? That is a deep respect, mutual admiration and appreciation for one another. I’m telling you… this love shines through in the beer! So, along with what I’ve already mentioned, I am looking forward to the following…
Harmony, Black Perle 6.8%ABV
100% Michigan Hop Sea Salt Stout
Hopcat, S’more Sassiness 9%ABV
Imperial S’more Stout (PussyCat Beer Guild Collaboration)
Osgood, Tequilla Blonde Firkin 5.6%ABV
Tequilla French Oak Harvest Blonde
Perrin, Pale Ale 6%ABV
Pale with Mosaic & Motueka Hops
(Woohoo! Hop on the Perrin Bus!!)
Rockford, Heavy Medal 10%ABV
Belgian Golden w/ Cider & Honey
(American Homebrewers Association Collaboration)
White Flame, Hot Kevin 5.5%ABV
Smoked Jalapeno Porter with Bacon
I will be attending Winter Beer Fest on Friday this year! Look for me in a long black coat, red boots, and dark-red curly hair — boisterous laugh. Yes yes, the big laugh will help you find me best! If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, there are still Friday tickets available!! I’ll also attempt to make my way around town for GR Beer Week if I can trick the hubs into taking the kids for a couple hours here or there. Shhh. But I will be as active as possible on a multitude of social media accounts, so follow the hashtag #GRBeerWeek for all the fun!