Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids
When I’m not out and about in Grand Rapids, you can generally find me working at The Mitten Brewing Company, a local pizzeria and brew pub that opened in 2012. From a server/beertender point of view? Beer tourism has exploded over the past five years! Grand Rapids has dozens of reasons to attract craft beverage enthusiasts, which was part of the driving force behind Experience GR’s Ale Trail Map, published in 2014. Local lodging locations have helpfully joined in the enthusiast’s trend, with many downtown and area hotels offering inclusive beer packages that makes your weekend beer tour even more fun. If you’re getting ready to plan a beercation in the near future, check out a few of these hotels to enjoy the benefits.
Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids
Amway Grand Plaza and JW Marriott Grand Rapids [read more…]
Dave Engbers, Founders Brewing Company President
July is “Craft Beer Month” in Michigan, and there can be no better way of acknowledging this occasion than by interviewing Dave Engbers, one of the key figures responsible for Michigan’s ascension to America’s craft brewery mountaintop.
When Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens founded the Canal Street Brewing Company in the mid 1990s, they could not have know they were laying the cornerstone to what would become a West Michigan craft brewing dynasty. As we all know, the Canal Street Brewing Company eventually morphed into Founders Brewing Company, and the overall brewery regularly ranks as one of the best in the world, with many of its individual beers also ranking among the world’s best.
Inspired to a great extent by the tremendous success of West Michigan breweries like Founders, New Holland Brewing in Holland and Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, several other high-quality craft breweries have emerged across the Michigan landscape in the hopes of experiencing similar success. While some craft breweries, like the Dark Horse Brewing Company in Marshall, have proven to be quality driven breweries in the same vein as Founders, others have fallen by the wayside.
Fortunately, Dave’s experiences creating a successful craft brewery have also developed a makeshift set of guidelines to craft brewing success. And, over the course of a 30-minute conversation, he revealed almost everything an aspiring craft brewer would need to know about establishing a successful brewery in West Michigan, or anywhere else for that matter. What we present here, in Dave’s own words, are 18 essential rules, steps, and considerations that would-be brewers should take into account if they want to replicate Founders’ success. [read more…]
Earlier this month, Experience Grand Rapids announced the names of 5 artists whose works will be featured on billboards around the state this summer. A juried panel selected their artwork from over 25 submissions in response to a campaign to help inspire art enthusiasts to visit Grand Rapids by creating art for the their “Art Outdoor” project.
Alex Gilford at work
Over the next few weeks, we’ll profile each of these artists so you can learn a little bit more about the artists behind the billboards. Meet our first artist:
Alex Gilford: “Modern Window Cleaners” [read more…]
Summer has officially arrived and it’s obvious that it’s here as the farmer’s markets swell with more stalls and colorful produce. There’s something to be said about eating during this time of year- drinks taste more refreshing, desserts taste more indulgent, and every course in between leaves you feeling content. August 12th-23rd, locals and visitors can capitalize on this summer foodie phenomenon as Grand Rapids celebrates the 6th annual Restaurant Week GR.
With sixty participating chefs and restaurants participating, there’s no finer place to be than in eating in Grand Rapids…for twelve days straight.
Photo Courtesy of Essence Restaurant Group
This year, Experience Grand Rapids has challenged chefs to help customers “Taste the City”. Since mid-August coincides with a lot of West Michigan harvest seasons, this could mean that the menus include tomatoes, Lake Michigan perch, beets, peaches, local beef, or artisan green beans, just to name a few. Gordon Food Services, founded in Michigan, will be this year’s Food Service Major Partner.
Photo courtesy of Octagon Events and Hospitality
The second annual Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft returns to Grand Rapids July 21-26. Whether you plan to watch professional golf at its finest at Blythefield Country Club, or enjoy events in Grand Rapids once the links close for the day, the Meijer LPGA Classic offers plenty of fun for everyone.
“Each of the week’s festivities will benefit the Meijer Simply Give program which has helped keep local food pantries stocked with food since November 2008,” said Libby Peacock, senior account executive for Octagon Events & Hospitality Division. “Last year the inaugural Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft raised $600,000 for the Simply Give program to feed those in need.”
In keeping with the food theme, Top Chef judge and culinary expert Gail Simmons along with celebrity chef Mario Batali will be at the Grand Rapids Public Museum 6:30 p.m. July 24 hosting the Celebrity Chef Cook-off.
“Both Batali and Simmons will prepare an appetizer and main course while interacting with guests throughout the evening,” said Libby Peacock, senior account executive for Octagon Events & Hospitality Division. “The event will also feature local pastry fare that will be voted on by the guests.” [read more…]
The pool area at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
Though my family lives just over an hour from downtown Grand Rapids and can easily make day trips, we like to stay overnight whenever we can. Grand Rapids offers a great variety of family-friendly hotels close to attractions and transportation, and the kids get even more excited about a trip when they know it’ll involve pool time and a hotel bed.
Here are some of my go-to hotels when I’m visiting Grand Rapids with the kids:
Amway Grand Plaza