Beer City Brewers Guild to host Brews at the Calder festival

Courtesy Beer City Brewers Guild

A festival being held next month in downtown Grand Rapids will feature beer from more than 30 Grand Rapids breweries.

After a year of enduring pandemic hardships, the Beer City Brewers Guild said Wednesday, Sept. 15, it plans to bounce back with a festival that celebrates Grand Rapids’ craft beer industry. On Saturday, Oct. 2 — the last weekend of Art Prize — the guild will host “Brews at the Calder” from 4-8 p.m. at the Calder Plaza.

The lineup showcases more than 30 participants, and the entrance fee will be free to the public. Guests can purchase drink tickets onsite for beer, but they can enjoy the festivities without buying if they wish. Chad Atherton, event chair of the Beer City Brewers Guild, said removing the paywall will help weave Grand Rapids’ beer scene into the fabric of the city at large.

“This pivot to more of a community-based event promotes a different kind of atmosphere,” Atherton said. “While our spotlight is on beer, we hope to broaden our appeal to a larger audience than just ‘Beer City’ enthusiasts,” Atherton said.

The Pro-Am tent featuring beers brewed for the Pro-Am competition is designed to provide another draw for the festival. Now in its fourth year, the guild’s Pro-Am competition has grown into an annual event that pairs decorated homebrewers with commercial brewers to brew a one-of-a-kind batch of beer.

“It’s a great opportunity for homebrewers to expose their talents while promoting a culture of fellowship around beer,” Atherton said.

Nick Rodammer, head of the Pro-Am committee and a participant in the Pro-Am competition, said he sees value in fostering relationships between these two brewing sectors.

“Homebrewing culture was the starting point for a good portion of commercial brewers in Grand Rapids,” Rodammer said. “It’s amazing to see how the two worlds continue to inspire each other.”

The intersection between hobbyists and careerists has produced fruitful collaborations in years past, and while commercial success isn’t necessarily the goal, many of these original recipes end up becoming fan favorites and see returns to draft lists, the guild said.

Local tap takeovers are planned for most of the Pro-Am competition beers. Events will be at Horrocks Market Tavern, 7 Monks and both Grand Rapids Hopcat locations.

Brews at the Calder aims to give Grand Rapidians a reason to rally around an industry that’s helped put the city on the map, in a giant display of pride in Grand Rapids.

Tasting tickets will be $2 each and sold in bundles of 10. Ten-ounce pours will be available for two to three tickets each. More information is on the Beer City Brewers Guild’s Facebook event page.

Participating breweries at Brews at the Calder

  • 3 Gatos Brewery
  • AleBird Taphouse & Brewery
  • Archival Brewing
  • Arvon Brewing Co.
  • Atwater Brewery Grand Rapids
  • Bier Distillery
  • Big Boiler Brewing
  • Black Calder Brewing Company
  • O.B.’s Brewery
  • Brewery Vivant
  • Brick Haus Brews
  • Broad Leaf Local Beer
  • City Built Brewing Company
  • DeHop’s Brewing Company & Café
  • ELK Brewing
  • Founders Brewing Co.
  • Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery
  • Grand Rapids Brewing Co.
  • Harmony Brewing Company
  • Harmony Hall
  • Perrin Brewing Company
  • Pike 51 Brewing Co.
  • Railtown Brewing Company
  • Rockford Brewing Company
  • Speciation Artisan Ales
  • The Mitten Brewing Co.
  • Third Nature Brewing
  • Thornapple Brewing Co.
  • Trail Point Brewing Company
  • TwoGuys Brewing
  • White Flame Brewing Co.

Beer City Brewers Guild

Founded in 2016 as a group of greater Grand Rapids brewers, in collaboration with beer-centric businesses, the Beer City Brewers Guild works to celebrate, promote and raise awareness of the craft brewing culture in Grand Rapids. The nonprofit functions as a vehicle for collaborations, charitable giving and knowledge-sharing around the subject of craft brewing.

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