Grand Rapids, Michigan has one of the best beer scenes in the country, with over 60 craft breweries along their Beer City Ale Trail that are putting out some amazing brews (not to mention delicious food). Voted Beer City USA in national polls and named Best Beer Town and Best Beer Scene by USA TODAY, Grand Rapids has quickly become a popular beercation destination for hops heads.
Experience Grand Rapids recently invited us to come check out their beer scene for ourselves, and when we shared this news on social media, the suggestions started flooding in. “Make sure you hit up Founders!” “Are you visiting Creston Brewing?” “Dude, you can’t leave Grand Rapids without trying the crack fries at HopCat.”
With so many breweries in town, it was impossible for us to hit them all, but we made a valiant effort, visiting 11 breweries in just two days and collecting enough stamps in my Brewsader Passport to score me a sweet Brewsader t-shirt to commemorate my visit.
So how does one choose which breweries to visit? Honestly, that’s the challenge that brewers here face, as they all produce great beer. So to differentiate themselves from one another, they’ve upped their food game, each offering their own signature dishes to go along with their beers.
Here were our 5 favorite Grand Rapids breweries:
1) Founders Brewing has been named the third best brewery in the world, and it’s a must-visit if you come to Grand Rapids. As the story goes, founders Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers quit their day jobs to get into the brewingr business, but their unremarkable beers weren’t wowing people and they were on the verge of bankruptcy. So they decided to brew the kind of beer that got them excited about brewing in the first place: complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics, bigger body, and tons of flavor. Their Kentucky Bourbon Stout (KBS) was met with rave reviews, and the rest is history.
They’ve got a wide variety of beers to choose from, and one that really won me over was their Lizard of Koz, a bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout with blueberry, chocolate, and vanilla. It was ridiculously good. Equally good were their sandwiches, which are hand crafted, just like their beers. Seeing as how it was lunchtime, I decided to order the Backwoods Bastard (bourbon barrel-smoked pulled pork, Colby Jack cheese, tangy coleslaw & Dirty Bastard BBQ sauce on toasted ciabatta roll), and it was SO FREAKING GOOD!
2) Brewery Vivant is a distinctly unique brewery in the fact that it’s housed in an old funeral home, featuring rustic farmhouse inspired beers (like their signature Big Red Coq) alongside European inspired cooking from their scratch-kitchen. Their Duck Confit Nachos is a popular menu item that pairs well with their beers, and who doesn’t love some Poutine? The food is on a whole other level, and they use locally sourced ingredients.
Furthermore, Brewery Vivant was awarded the first ever LEED certification for a production brewery in the US in 2012, designing their space to use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which not only save them money but also benefits the environment as a whole. These guys just don’t talk the talk when it comes to being environmentally friendly, but they walk the walk as well.
3) The Mitten Brewing Company (named after the shape of their home state) is a vintage baseball-themed microbrewery that also pulls double-duty as a pizzeria. That’s right, because what goes better with ice cold beer than some piping hot pizza? Taking the marriage of beer and pizza one step further, the beer isn’t the only thing you can order as a flight – They offer a flight of pizza, allowing you to sample up to six different varieties of their delicious pizza. My favorite was the chicken and waffles pizza!
Located on the West Side of Grand Rapids, The Mitten is located in a historic firehouse, and it even includes the original fireman’s pole. Despite expanding the building with the addition of a second story taproom and bi-level outdoor decks, this place can still get pretty crowded at night (especially on a weekend), so make sure you stake out a table early, or you’re bound to be waiting for awhile. But trust me, it’s totally worth it!
4) New Holland Brewing is known for their Dragon’s Milk Stout, and they’ve since introduced a number of other Dragon’s Milk varieties. So, I decided to order up the Flight of the Dragon so I could try all of them. In retrospect, that might not have been such a bright idea, given that each of them were over 11% ABV. But it was totally worth it, as Dragon’s Milk is pretty amazing and totally lived up to the hype.
We visited The Knickerbocker location (on Grand Rapids’ West Side), and the building is just incredible. It’s a massive space, and the architecture is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Add in unique fixtures (like a huge metal dragon when you first walk in) and the gorgeous flight tray you see above, and you can see why The Knickerbocker stands out from the crowd.
5) City Built Brewing Company is another spot you should definitely check out. One of the newer breweries in the area (opened in 2017), City Built offers 4 tiers of beer, from the mild to the wild, along with something you don’t see nearly enough.. Mead! I fell in love with their Beyoncé Blackberry Mead, and I would have been happy staying here all afternoon drinking them (and eating some of the delicious looking Puerto Rican food that they serve up), but sadly our limited time didn’t allow for it.
We had a chance to meet up with the owners (Dave Petroelje and Edwin Collazo), and they took us behind-the-scenes, giving us some background on them and where they see the business going. Definitely keep an eye on them, as these guys are going places!
Overall, we had an amazing time in exploring the Grand Rapids beer scene with our #MenWhoBlog buddies. It is crazy to think that we barely scratched the surface, only visiting 11 of the 60+ breweries that GR has to offer. They’ve definitely earned the title of Beer City USA, and I highly recommend it to any beer aficionado looking to satisfy their thirst for foam and hops.
Want more? Then make sure you check out Men Who Blog, as they’ve compiled a list of posts from all of the other guys who took part in the Grand Rapids beercation weekend with us.
Michelob ULTRA Created The Ultimate Golf Bag.. Complete With A Keg Inside!
Yes, you read that right. Michelob ULTRA has unveiled quite possibly the coolest golf bag on the planet, one that every golfer and Caddyshack fan could only ever have imagined in their wildest dreams. And best of all, they’re giving away this bad boy to lucky beer lover, so you’ll definitely want to enter for your chance to win.
The Michelob ULTRA Caddie Bag is a one-of-a-kind prototype bag that includes everything you could ever need for the optimal 19th hole experience:
- 128 oz. refillable beer keg with a custom Michelob ULTRA tap handle
- Rechargeable BOSE Bluetooth speaker
- Built-in tablet for streaming all your favorite media
- Storage for pint glasses
- LED lighting
Want to be the envy of your golfing buddies with your own ULTRA Caddie? Enter for a chance to win it by sharing how you live ULTRA with @MichelobULTRA using #ULTRACaddieContest on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The contest runs through August 12th, at which point a winner will be chosen at random.
“We are always looking for new ways to innovate and help our consumers live fit and fun, and the ULTRA Caddie delivers both,” said Azania Andrews, vice president, Michelob ULTRA. “Michelob ULTRA has been the official beer of golf for more than a decade, and we’re excited to unveil the ULTRA Caddie at the PGA Championship in St. Louis.”
As the official beer sponsor of the PGA Championship, Michelob ULTRA will debut the ULTRA Caddie at the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis this weekend.
You can see more photos of the Michelob ULTRA Caddie Bag below.
What do you think of the Michelob ULTRA Caddie Bag?
Brandy Dessert Recipes – Boozy Treats To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
There’s no doubt that brandy is a versatile drink. It is made from distilled wine and aged in oak barrels. You can sip it, shake it and consume it with or after a meal. But, did you know that you can chew it too? Yes you can! Here are some mouthwatering brandy dessert recipes that are a great conversation starter and make for an excellent after-meal companion. All you need to do is to bring home a bottle of any of the premium brandy brands in India like Lincoln from Hermes Distillery and get started.
Though it’s an old-school dessert, nothing beats the mouthwatering taste of a brandy cake. To prepare this delicious dessert, you will require the best premium brandy, cream cheese, lemon peel and all other ingredients that are needed to bake a cake. Leave the brandy aside and put the cake on bake. While the cake is getting baked, mix water, cinnamon stick, sugar and lemon peel in a pan and put it to boil. Cook on low heat for 10 mins. Strain it in a cup and mix brandy. Poke holes in the cake using a skewer and drizzle the mix. Your brandy cake is ready to be served. You can top the cake with fruits and cool whip for added flavour.
Frozen Brandy Alexander Pie
This is one of the best desserts made with brandy. A shot of brandy and Kahlúa come together to make this creamy, boozy, frozen dessert that is for adults only. For the crust, you will need cinnamon graham crackers, chopped pecans, sugar and melted butter (unsalted). For the filling, stock up on heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, Kahlúa, premium brandy and vanilla extract. Process the crust constituents in a food processor (except butter) and then combine crumbs with melted butter. The next step is to beat cream at medium speed, combine condensed milk, Kahlúa, brandy, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Carefully line both (crust and filling) in a springform pan and place it in the freezer for 24 hours. Let the clock tick, and your frozen brandy Alexander pie is ready to serve.
Brandy-Stewed Apples or brandied cinnamon apples are the perfect treat for a cold weekend. Though the recipe is simple, the hardest part is to resist the temptation of finishing all the brandy while peeling the apples. Top ingredients include best Indian brandy, cornstarch, apples, butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, ground nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice.
Mix a tablespoon of brandy with cornstarch and set it aside. Pick a saucepan and mix melted butter and brown sugar, cook it for a few seconds. Add vanilla, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and brandy + cornstarch mix and mix well. Put the apples in the mixtures and cook for another 7-8 minutes. Add two tablespoons of brandy and serve.
Last but not least is a famous British dessert – Brandy Snaps. These crispy biscuits are best served with piped cream or vanilla ice cream. The required ingredients include butter, brown sugar, golden syrup, plain sifted flour, ground ginger, brandy, half lemon, oil (for greasing).
Mix butter, corn syrup, and sugar in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat. Add brandy, ginger and flour after removing the pan from heat. Use a teaspoon to drop the mix on some parchment paper. Bake until golden brown. Cool them for a few seconds and curl each cookie around the handle of a wooden spoon. Fill with cream, sprinkle chocolate and serve them up to your guests.
So, for all the brandy connoisseurs out there, make sure you bookmark these dessert recipes that have a fine hint of brandy and are great for any occasion. Cheers!
From Cocktails To Mocktails: 3 Boozy Drinks With Non-Alcoholic Variations
The summer season is fast approaching, and many people choose to enjoy it by drinking nice, cool cocktails under the warm, summer sun. Of course, there will be days when an alcoholic drink won’t work for any number of reasons. Maybe you want to enjoy the taste of a mimosa but not the late-afternoon hangover or drowsiness. Perhaps you really want that screwdriver at your favorite cocktail house, but you already volunteered to be the designated driver. Or maybe you could choose to avoid alcohol altogether as part of a sober lifestyle.
Even if consuming alcohol is a no-go, the idea of a delicious, mixed drink on a relaxing day or energetic night out still could sound appealing to you or someone else. Mocktails are a safe and healthy alternative to the original concoction.
The term “mocktails” originated during the 1970s and ever since has been a savior for people who want the delightful taste of a mixed drink but with one specific ingredient missing.
A few classic alcoholic recipes can be tinkered with to create non-alcoholic masterpieces. These variations of popular cocktails either replace alcohol with the ideal replacement ingredient or drop the booze altogether. Vodka becomes ginger ale. Champagne becomes grape juice.
In the end, the alcohol might be missing but the taste is nearly identical to, if not better than, the original.
The Recovery Village has a useful summary of how to craft the non-alcoholic version of this brunch-time favorite. They also offer treatment for anyone struggling with substance abuse like the Ohio drug rehab. Mimosas are usually created by combining orange juice with champagne or sparkling wine.
This Mockmosa recipe trades the champagne out for some sparkling white grape juice, which makes a perfect non-alcoholic replacement. Look for grape juice brands that are dry in flavor, with little or no sugar or corn syrup, to replicate the champagne taste. Combine them in a champagne flute and, if you want to add a unique touch, garnish the drink with a mint sprig.
Usually, screwdrivers are made by combining vodka and orange juice. Replacing the alcoholic ingredient with ginger ale doesn’t drop the tastiness level at all. Leaf.Tv shows how to prepare this variation of the simple two-ingredient mixture.
Start with ice cubes, fill half the glass with ginger ale, and then top it off with a pulpy orange juice brand of your choice. Finish the process with a swizzle stick to combine the two liquid ingredients until the colors have swirled together to mimic a screwdriver. Before the ice melts, sit back and drink up.
Virgin Cucumber Mojito
This smooth-tasting drink is a favorite when temperatures rise and the summer season hits its peak. The alcoholic version includes rum, but it’s not really necessary to create the drink’s refreshing taste. A Frugal Chick has a great alternative to this classic, and the only change is dropping the alcoholic ingredient. Combine one lime, some mint leaves, white sugar, two cucumber slices, ice cubes and soda together for another version of perfection.
Cocktails are a staple of American drinking culture, especially at restaurants or bars with a group of friends or on a date. In the summer, they become staples for days spent by the pool or on the beach. But don’t give up — or give in to temptation — if you originally hoped to spend your day or night without any alcohol. These mocktails not only flatter the originals with their imitation, but they sometimes raise the bar even higher.