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Great Summer Road Trips
Craft Beer Capital

Grand Rapids, MI

Drive time: 2.75 hours

Grand Rapids has a rich history of brewing great beer—one cut woefully short when Prohibition plugged its ale slingers’ spigots in 1920. They didn’t start flowing in earnest again until recently, as the craft beer boom catapulted this southwest Michigan town and its 40-plus breweries into the national spotlight. Here, the five best places to get your hops fix in Beer City, USA (reigning champ since 2012).

Published May 19, 2016

The Mitten Brewing Co.

Setting:The former firehouse is smothered in vintage sports ephemera.
Suds:As many as 24 classic creations (with a twist) on draft. Try Label Up, an American brown ale with a maple finish.
Extras:Gooey, pillow-soft pizza
Tour:No, but they’ll let you peek behind the scenes if they’re not busy

Founders Brewing Co.
Photo: Courtesy of brewery

Founders Brewing Co.

Setting:The depot-turned-brewpub engulfs an entire city block and boasts a tap list just as vast.
Suds:More than 25, including mainstay favorites (Dirty Bastard, All Day IPA) and taproom one-offs (Mango Magnifico, a spicy-sweet fruit blend with a habanero kick)
Extras:Patrons flock here for the live music. Crowds often spill from the rustic, wood-lined taproom onto the high-beamed patio.
Tour:$10 for the basics; $30 for a guided tasting

Brewery Vivant
Photo: Paul Bomers


Brewery Vivant

Setting:High arched ceilings and stained glass panes are remnants of its funeral home past; communal benches are a cheeky nod to church pews.
Suds:15-plus Belgian- and French-style brews
Extras:The kitchen churns out Euro-inspired pub fare from scratch. (Think nachos with brie cream and duck confit.)
Tour:$10, including plenty of samples

Harmony Brewing Company
Photo: Terry Johnston

Harmony Brewing Company

Setting:In 2012, three Chicago siblings set up shop in an abandoned party-supply store in the Eastown neighborhood. Last year, they launched a sister location just across the river from downtown.
Suds:Up to 30 concoctions veering toward the experimental, including Black Perle Salted Stout, a hoppy dark beer with a pinch of sea salt, and La Gabelle Gose, a lemony sour with notes of salt and coriander
Extras:The new location features eclectic artwork and savory sausages.
Tour:Not officially—but they may show you around if you ask nicely

Perrin Brewing Company
Photo: Courtesy of brewery

Perrin Brewing Company

Setting:Planted on a 10-acre plot 15 minutes outside the city, it’s a beer oasis on an otherwise stale stretch.
Suds:A diverse list of roughly 20 brews that span from the easy-drinking Perrin Gold to the bitter-punched Sonic Highway IPA
Extras:A food truck!


While You’re There:Drop by Frederik Meijer Gardens ($15), a 158-acre botanic art park that features sculptures by the likes of Ai Weiwei.

Where to Stay:The JW Marriott is less than 15 minutes from each of the five breweries (from $289, marriott.com).

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