Grand Rapids gets to celebrate what it arguably does best this month. Starting Thursday, Grand Rapids Beer Month takes hold of the city’s breweries and many bars and restaurants, promoting the idea Grand Rapids is one of the best beer cities in the country.
Running Feb. 15 to March 15, multiple events will mark the month-long celebration of beer, including the 13th Annual Winter Beer Festival, Cool Brews. Hot Eats., and KBS Week, the celebration of Founders Brewing Co.’s world-renowned bourbon barrel-aged stout, KBS.
Cool Brews. Hot Eats.
Nearly 47 bars and restaurants are participating in Cool Brews. Hot Eats. this year, which celebrates beers outstanding ability to pair with food.
Along with many of the city’s 80 breweries, multiple restaurants are participating in the event, such as The Sovengard, 7 Monks, Mazzo Cucina D’Italia, Palio, The Winchester and The Green Well.
Some of the items on menus include beer, while others are matched with a beer from the menu.
It’s a month that can change a person’s perception of how beer takes on the world.
Winter Beer Festival
For the 13th year, the Michigan Brewers Guild is hosting the Winter Beer Festival Feb. 23 and 24 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. outside in the parking lot at Fifth Third Ballpark.
Throngs of beer lovers convene at the giant, freezing gathering to taste the thousands of brews brought by hundreds of breweries during the two-day shindig. Along with beer, there will be loads of entertainment and food.
While the Saturday session is sold out, Friday tickets are still available.
Tickets are $45 in advance or $50 at the event as long as tickets remain.
In the week leading up to the Winter Beer Festival on Feb. 23, The Sovengard will be hosting an array of small breweries paired with small plates, called Small Ball.
Founders has put Grand Rapids on the world’s beer map and in no small part thanks to KBS, a big, boozy bourbon barrel-aged stout — with loads of coffee and chocolate — released once a year to a lot of fanfare.
Now with its own week of celebration (March 5 – 10), it’s hard to believe Founders once brewed small amounts of this beer and had trouble selling it. Today, thousands of bourbon barrels age with the beer for a year before being packaged and sold quickly to ravenous fans. (Note: this year marks the first time the Detroit taproom will have its own bottle release and will host its own KBS Week tappings around the Motor City.)
Bars spread across Grand Rapids will host tappings of the celebrated beer throughout the week. Visit KBS Week for more.
Many of the city’s breweries will be offering tree-inspired brews with $1 of each pint sold heading to tree plantings through Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. In the fall, brewers will plant trees at Riverside Park during the annual Brewers Grove Planting and Party, an event started in 2013.
This year’s Tree Beer release party will take place at Harmony Hall on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m.
A few Tree Beers to check out are Brewery Vivant’s Nordhouse, a juniper IPA; City Built Brewery’s Chaga Stout, brewed with chaga fungus; and Creston Brewery’s Marywood, a Belgian-style Abbey Ale aged on toasted American oak.