A beer sampler
Drink me: A flight ready for take-off

Beer There

It’s time for a brew (or two) in Kalamazoo this weekend, as the city in Michigan launches its third annual Kalamazoo Beer Week. KBW begins Friday, January 11, and continues through Friday January 18. Over the week, local restaurants and breweries will host more than 100 beer-related events, including tastings, home brewing and bottling demonstrations, brewery tours, seminars in beer cocktails, and a “Sunday beer brunch.” Among this weekend’s highlights:

  • Beer pairing dinner: From 6:30 to 9 p.m., Friday, January 11, New Belgium representative Michael Lasher will act as sous chef at Zazios restaurant (100 W. Michigan Ave., 269-384-2650, zazios.com) for a five-course “chef’s table” feast, with beer pairings selected by Lasher. Reservations required; for more information, call 269-384-2650.
  • Breakfast beer: On Saturday morning, start at O’Duffy’s Pub (804 W. Vine St., 269-381-9771, oduffyspub.com), where the “Backwoods Bastard Breakfast” will include face time with a representative from Grand Rapids’ Founders Brewery (foundersbrewing.com). The Backwoods Bastard brew—with hints of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, caramel, and roasted malts—will be served with traditional breakfast fare. Reservations required; for more information, call 269-381-9771.
  • Beer run: Also on Saturday morning, you can limber up for the weekend’s festivities by jogging through an obstacle course involving stops at the local pubs, including the University Roadhouse, Shakespeare’s Pub, the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange, and Harvey’s. Prizes will be awarded to those who finish five of the eight challenges on the route. Registration begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 12, at the Eccentric Café in Bell’s Brewery (355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., bellsbeer.com/eccentric-cafe/), where participants also begin the run, going at their own pace; for more information, call 269-382-2332.
  • Beer bus: Saturday night, a double-decker bus will be available to facilitate pub crawling. From 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., the free bus will run in a continuous loop starting at Gallagher’s (4210 Stadium Dr., 269-372-7177, gallagherseatery.com) with stops at taverns in the Vine Street neighborhood and along Kalamazoo Avenue.
  • Beer tour and taste: On Sunday, consider touring a brewery, taking in a tasting, and perhaps even marking the anniversary of a local quaff in song. Guided tours of Bell’s (see above for info) will run at 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 13. Also Sunday, there are tastings from 4 to 6 p.m. at Tiffany’s Wine & Spirits (1714 W. Main St., aatiffany.com). Finally, should you want to end the weekend with a bit of celebratory exhibitionism, head over to Shakespeare’s Pub (241 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 269-488-7782, shakespearespub.com), where patrons will be celebrating Arcadia Ales’ 16th year of small-batch brewing with a karaoke competition.

GO Third Annual Kalamazoo Beer Week. Kalamazoo, Michigan. For more information, call 269-382-4200 or go to kalamazoobeerweek.com.

Where to Stay: The Kalamazoo House Bed and Breakfast (447 W. South St., 269-382-0880, thekalamazoohouse.com) has ten lavishly appointed rooms (two with fireplaces and whirlpool baths) and is convenient to downtown Kalamazoo; rates range from $129 to $189 per night. The Stuart Avenue Inn (229 Stuart Ave., 269-342-0230, stuartavenueinn.com) has 10 guest rooms and is offering a 20 percent discount on double-occupancy rates for Beer Week; rates range from $110 to $179.

Where to Eat: Food Dance (401 E. Michigan Ave., 269-382-1888, fooddance.net) has long emphasized locally sourced, organic ingredients and offers a range of gluten-free entrees. Rustica (236 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 269-492-0247, rusticakzoo.com) specializes in European cuisine including charcuterie crafted in house, artisanal cheeses, and fresh baked desserts.


Photograph: Courtesy of the Imperial Beverage Company