Let’s Talk About BEER !

Brewery Vivant

Brewery Vivant


As I mentioned in a previous post, I love our local craft beers ! Today let’s talk about a few of my favorites. Not really a review, just some ideas on what breweries to visit if you find yourself in the area and which brews you’d find in my man-cave.

Brewery Vivant

I’ll start with the above image, inside of Brewery Vivant. French and Belgian inspired beers are their focus here, housed in and old funeral home and chapel. The European style food will blow your mind and warm your soul. Tip, Garlic Herb Escargot . . . trust me.

On Tap

So many too mention. Some are seasonal but they have several on tap most of the time. My favorites are Big Red Coq ( right now you are making a joke and laughing out loud ) and Triomphe. Big Red is an American style red ale, smooth and tasty. Triomphe is Belgian style IPA, crisp, clean, hoppy.


Probably the best know brewery we have. They have mastered their craft and their beers can be found in fine libation stores around the country. The location is huge, fun, open seating, outdoor patio, live entertainment, and the sandwiches are bold.

On Tap

On tap all the time and in stores, are six robust beers. My wife’s favorite is All Day IPA. This beer is our summertime beer, although we keep it in the house all year around. Coming in at ABV of 8.5%, is Dirty Bastard. Smoke and peat, with a malty richness and a right hook of hops, this beer is dark and will give you a good spanking. Head to Founders the next time you’re in town, or plan a trip to GR today.

Perrin, New Holland, Harmony, Schmohz, The Mitten, Elk are just a few of the other craft breweries in West Michigan. There are several micro breweries as well that rotate what’s on tap regularly and are always inventing and playing around with their craft.

Beer Tours

We even have a beer map ! That’s right, a map you can find in most breweries, local stores and restaurants or the chamber. I posted it below. If you do plan to visit GR for the sole purpose of brewery hopping, I would consider booking a limo or party bus. We did this a few years ago with a group of friends. Six couples on a sweet party bus, stopping at the hot spots, grabbing dinner at one of the breweries and no worries on parking or who’s driving ! There are a few services to choose from but we used these guys Limo Grand Rapids, they’re affordable, clean and friendly rides. Book a hotel or bed and breakfast downtown and walk. A few aren’t too far apart, so if you want to walk off those beer calories, go for it !

I myself, have not been to all our craft breweries. Something that is an ongoing goal and welcomed journey. Come have a beer with me . . . that’s all for now.

Take care,


Beer Tour Map

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West Michigan Progress

West Michigan has been know for many things over the years since it’s founding in 1826. Being settled along the Grand River and only 30 miles from Lake Michigan made it perfect for industrial growth. As a natural lumbering center, that industry allowed for the establishment of the furniture industry. Many furniture companies popped up and Grand Rapids became the “Furniture City”. Furniture companies included the William A. Berkey Company and its successors, Baker Furniture Company, Williams-Kimp, and Widdicomb Furniture Company followed by Herman Miller and Haworth. Other fine wood product manufacturers sprung up in the region as well, Like Howard Miller, makers of beautiful Grandfather Clocks.

Companies have come and gone over the years, just like any other city. West Michigan also has many manufacturers of automotive parts that supply the big 3 automakers in Detroit. Naturally, some of these companies have left or are out of business but many have remained and are flourishing.

West Michiganders are inventive by nature and are always creating new businesses, large, medium, small, and mom & pops type businesses. The most recent boom, the last ten years or so of the craft breweries. If know anything about the area, you know this is kind of funny. Why ? Well let’s just say that the area has a diverse culture of folks that settled here. In trying not to call a particular group out, one in particular helped the area in being nicknamed the Bible Belt of Michigan. Before the mid 1990’s, having a brewery on every other street corner would have many up in arms.

Times are a changing ! As we all become more open minded, new and exciting companies will continue to start and grow their businesses in West MI. Take the all the focus on medical marijuana for example, a friend of mine started a company selling CBD Hemp Oil at www.newlifehempoil.com. His products are FDA approved and legal to ship to all 50 states. This is great progress and my friend has done this in what has been know to be, a very conservative area. BEER, and the fact that we have more award winning craft breweries than any other state, speak volumes to the progress and new found open mindedness.

Tourism in West Michigan is always growing as we have so much to offer visitors. I’ll only mention my favorite right now and highlight others in separate blog posts. Artprize is happening right now in Grand Rapids. If you have never visited GR during this time, please do. It is the largest competition of fine art in the world. Open to any artist in most mediums, artists display their work in businesses and organizations throughout the city. Winners are judge and winners are chosen by the public and a juried panel of art critics and art museum curators. Truly a fantastic two weeks of walking around downtown GR surrounded by outdoor sculptures, performance art and visiting buildings full of 2D art and much more !

Anyway, that all for now. Please check back often for more things I dig about West Michigan.


2014 ArtPrize winner, ‘Intersections,’ by Anila Quayyum Agha $200,000

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Welcome To My Blog On West Michigan’s Greatness !

Welcome to my blog on West Michigan ! I will ramble on about Grand Rapids, MI and the surrounding area, sometimes incoherently. I am very passionate about our state and the city I’ve called home for the last 20 years. I hope to share with you what West Michigan has to offer as a vacation destination, a place to start and grow a business, and a place to move to. Whether you are single or a family, West Michigan cities and towns have a lot going for them.

I’ll do my best to blog often on different events, local news, nightlife, sporting events and whatever else I find beneficial to you the reader. I’ll likely have several postings on the many outstanding Craft Breweries we have. I love our many local beers and enjoy them maybe a little to often. But hey, they don’t call us Beer City, USA for nothing ! Distilleries are also coming on strong, which plays into my whiskey obsession.

Lake Michigan, enough said. Just come and see it, if it’s your first time to the lakeshore, be prepared for Michigan Awesome ! We had a family friend from London come visit and stay with us for a few weeks. On this first of several Lake Michigan visits with her, her reaction as she approached the beach and lighthouse in Grand Haven was priceless. She said it looks like the ocean !

Looking to move to the area ? Please do. The suburbs and small towns surrounding Grand Rapids are only 5-15 minutes, drive time away. This makes working in GR a breeze with such quick commutes from one of those fantastic little towns.

The people of West Michigan are, look you in the eye, polite and friendly type people. This does freak newcomers out a bit. I spoke to a gentleman the other day that just moved to GR from the east side of the state ( Flint ). He said he like the feel of the area and is getting use to a lot of handshakes. I’ll try to pick different towns to blog about, like one a month. I’ll highlight their pros and cons ( if any ) and maybe provide school info as well.

From sporting events to live concerts at Van Andel Arena, like the Sir Paul McCartney concert last month, to Artprize and the many other carnivals, fairs, and festivals . . . I’ll try to hit on them all.

So please, check back soon and often. I may even have a ghost story or two to tell . . . stay tuned in my friends.

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