Voted Best Beer Town, Best Beer Scene, and Beer City, USA, the Grand Rapids area is surrounded by more than 80 breweries. However, only a couple of decades ago, Grand Rapids wasn’t nearly as prominent on the map. 

In this third installment of a blog series exploring some of Grand Rapids’ longest-standing breweries, we focus on Schmohz Brewing Company. 

When Schmohz Brewing Company first opened, Grand Rapids only had a few other breweries, including Founders Brewing Co. and B.O.B.’s Brewery. One of Beer City’s founding microbreweries, Schmohz now distributes its brews throughout Michigan. 

Schmohz's regulars and visitors alike enjoy the casual, friendly atmosphere.

Schmohz's regulars and visitors alike enjoy the casual, friendly atmosphere.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Schmohz’s Origins

Jim Schwerin, a Michigan Technological University alumnus, opened Schmohz in 2004 during the first wave of the microbrewery industry. Many breweries, including Founders Brewing Co., struggled to make ends meet before craft beer gained significant popularity, and many others closed up shop. In fact, Schmohz opened in the building of the former Robert Thomas Brewing Company.

Schmohz’s beer engineer, Chas Thompson, has seen Grand Rapids’ journey to its Beer City title; he has been involved in the beer industry since the 1990s.

Our regulars’ knowledge about the brewery makes for an extremely receptive environment for new guests.

A Community for Locals and Visitors Alike

Schmohz is located in an industrial part of the city, near the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. It keeps a casual atmosphere with a bevy of regulars. Schmohz also fosters the community with events like its annual Achilles 5K.

“We strive to keep the family feeling,” Thompson says. “Our taproom staff strives to learn the names and occupations of our mug club members as well as their tastes in beer. Our regulars’ knowledge about the brewery makes for an extremely receptive environment for new guests.”

“It is very common for our regulars to offer opinions on what beers to try, or directions around town, to visitors new to Grand Rapids.”

The brewery’s proximity to the airport makes Schmohz a logical first step to those flying into Grand Rapids. From Schmohz, it’s easy to hit a variety of breweries around town for a tasty weekend — which is what helps make Grand Rapids a great beer city.

“I remember when the common faucet count was six different beers on tap at a single brewery. Today, 30-50 can be found in some locations,” Thompson says. “People still come to our community to experience the excitement of visiting several breweries.”

With 16 taps and varying brew styles, Schmohz Taps of Grand Rapids pours beer for almost any taste preference.

With 16 taps and varying brew styles, Schmohz Taps of Grand Rapids pours beer for almost any taste preference.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


What’s on Tap

Schmohz features an eclectic mix of beers reminiscent of how the early craft beer industry gained popularity, specializing in a few like the Treasure Chest ESB, Amber Tease Ale, Pail Ale, and Bone Crusher Stout. More specialty beers like Kiss My Scottish Arse, Miracle of 28th Street, and Pickle Tink Ale round out the annual releases.

The taproom has 16 taps, and the brewery makes more than 36 varieties of beer to satisfy almost any taste preference. Since 2009, when the brewery purchased a bottling line, Schmohz beers have been found across much of the state.

Last year, Schmohz opened up a second tap room in Petoskey. 

A game of pool pairs nicely with any of Schmohz's brews.

A game of pool pairs nicely with any of Schmohz's brews.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Microbrewery Benefits

As a fairly small operation, Schmohz tries its best to accommodate tours with 48 hours notice, with a form on its website. Schmohz also has a mug club, with limited spots to avoid a factory warehouse club feel. Members receive $3 beers on Mondays. 

Schmohz doesn’t feature a kitchen, but the staff does occasionally roll out a grill and offer up $1 hot dogs. And the brewery isn’t just for beer fans; they also make drinks like root beer and black cherry soda which are popular non-alcoholic options at Schmohz. 

“While we are here to make great alcoholic beers, the ability to serve up a selection of non-alcoholic beverages to designated drivers or those who choose not to drink for other reasons makes a visit to Schmohz more personal for everyone,” Thompson says. 

Schmohz is participating in Beer Month GR, which runs annually February 15 - March 15. For more information on local breweries that also offer unique food and craft beer experiences, visit our list of beer events, and be sure to grab or become a Beer City Brewsader® passport or download the app. 

A visit to Schmohz counts towards your Brewsader (stamps at eight breweries) or Ultimate Brewsader (stamps at 40 plus breweries) status!

What are you excited to try at Schmohz? Let us know in the comments!

Breweries That Built Beer City logo jpeg

About the Breweries That Built Beer City series: Grand Rapids first earned the title Beer City USA in 2012, when there were far fewer breweries than the 40+ currently on the Beer City Ale Trail. This blog series focuses on those early pioneers – breweries that built an industry from the ground up starting in 1997 and firmly established the city’s reputation for world-class craft beer.

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