Grand Rapids, MI

Tue May 21, 2013 11:34 am

Might be taking an impulse trip to GR for the long weekend.

1) What area would be a good place to stay?
2) Must see beer destinations?
3) Non-beer activities?

Thanks - going to be trying to convince the gf this is where we should go, but can't devote everything to beer.
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PseudoChef
 
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Re: Grand Rapids, MI

Tue May 21, 2013 12:51 pm

You can't pass up Founders, The Hopcat or Brewery Vivant. But that's just a start. It seems like there is a new brewery in the Grand Rapids area every week.
dannypo
 
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Re: Grand Rapids, MI

Tue May 21, 2013 4:05 pm

Best places to stay are downtown. More reasonable hotels on the SE side near 28th street and the highway intersection. Lots of stuff to do for adults and kids. Ball games, hockey, museums abound. For something you can't do anywhere else, try the Meijer butterfly garden.
Brewery Vivant is an awesome small Belgian place in an old funeral home with great food. Founders-no brainer. There's Hideout, Jaden James(also wine and mead and a LHBS), The BOB has some good beer they contract.
Hopcat is also stupid awesome. Just ask anyone you find at any of those places and they will tell you where to go. Beer City USA!!!
Edit: forgot HORRIBLE construction on SE side. Don't stay there.
Effingbeer
 
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Re: Grand Rapids, MI

Tue May 21, 2013 4:49 pm

Effingbeer wrote:Best places to stay are downtown. More reasonable hotels on the SE side near 28th street and the highway intersection.


Not to mention there's 3 freeways that cross 28th. Not one of them is near good beer & since I'm assuming the conference will be at one of the downtown hotels, it'd be a royal pain to get back & forth. 28th in general is a royal fuckshow. Schmohz brewery is just north of 28th on Patterson (same road the airport's on) & when I was working/hanging out there, the brewer... well he was an idiot. Nice guy, but couldn't brew worth a shit. I've heard he fucked up a strong scotch a few years back & is only doing promo stuff now & the owner, Jim, is doing all the brewing. Jim's awesome, I learned a ton from him, but I can't say I've ever tried his beer. Worth a stop & it's definitely got a good vibe inside.

Don't confuse East GR & EastTown, but if you're into music, Billy's in EastTown was always a fantastic place to catch a live show - it used to be a straight up blues bar, but I've heard they do a lot of different stuff now. If you're in EastTown, Sami's has killer authentic greek food. EastTown is like a big collision of punk, metal, hippies & a general counter-culture attitude. East GR is a bunch of rich assholes & there's not really much to do there. GR in general has an amazing music scene, no matter what genre you're into. There's dozens of shows across the city every night of the year. The new Intersection would be something to look at, in fact I heard Steel Panther is playing there tomorrow. Smaller venue with a big feel.

The name is slipping right now, but there's a London/Indian pub just north of downtown that has amazing food & a huge beer selection. I'll post it when I can remember what the hell it's called.

+1 on HopCat. They opened up after I left, but I've visited twice. They weren't the most knowlegeable to chat with, but they sure brought in some great beer. The last time I was there, they were starting to install what appeared to be a ~3bbl system. Also +1 on Meijer Gardens. They're famous for the butterfly deal, but they do some other stuff there as well. (Meijer is like a family owned WalMart that's less dirty & ghetto - unless you head to west 28th, which is well known as the 'Ghetto Meijer')

For a fun night, try to have a pint at every bar on Michigan St. Not many make the end of it. GR used to be (& may still be) the city with more bars per square mile than any other in the U.S.

If you've got the extra time & a rental, make the trip south to Kalamazoo & hit up Bell's Beer Garden. It's worth the gas, the price of the rental and then some. Lake Michigan is also not too far of a drive; both Holland & Grand Haven have some great beaches/dunes. If you go the Holland route, stay on the highway for an extra few minutes to Saugatuck. Amazing, tiny town. Very liberal, a ton of arts, amazing food, the Red Dock (one of the very, very few things I truly miss about the entire state - it's a floating bar with live reggae every Sunday night), & the Saugatuck State Park has some great short day hikes that put you out on the beach.

Whether you're there just for the NHC or decide to bring the family for a few extra days before/after, there's a ton of stuff to do in less than an hour's radius from GR.
Lee

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Ozwald
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Re: Grand Rapids, MI

Wed May 22, 2013 3:37 am

+1 to Schmoz blows. But Oz, can you remember what they were called before Schmoz? I used to hang out there back in the day, and none of us can remember the old name. I could get on with my life if someone could tell me.

True, most of the spots are right downtown, but this is the auto state 1st, we expect people to drive around. And besides the 28th street in Cascade township debacle, it's an easy place to get around.
Also East Town is cool IF you can stomach the hipsters.
Effingbeer
 
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Re: Grand Rapids, MI

Wed May 22, 2013 5:01 am

Effingbeer wrote:+1 to Schmoz blows. But Oz, can you remember what they were called before Schmoz? I used to hang out there back in the day, and none of us can remember the old name. I could get on with my life if someone could tell me.

True, most of the spots are right downtown, but this is the auto state 1st, we expect people to drive around. And besides the 28th street in Cascade township debacle, it's an easy place to get around.
Also East Town is cool IF you can stomach the hipsters.


Rob Thomas or more commonly RT's. The douchebag who owns Madison River used to brew there. A lot of my friends worked there as well. We hung out mostly out of loyalty, but the brewer Schmohz had up until a few years ago just didn't know what he was doing. The double IPA which was black & had over 20% crystal; it was so cloying it was borderline undrinkable. The Pickle Tink was pretty good & the 'gruit' wasn't a gruit at all, but I really enjoyed it. It was just him & Jim, the owner, who I've heard is the only one brewing now. Back when I was there it was just a side gig - everyone who worked there had a main job elsewhere. Jim's a smart dude & if you haven't been there in a while, you might want to check it out again. I've heard the beer has improved immensely.

...and it used to be the auto state, before that dumb bitch Granholm completely destroyed it. GR's the biggest small town I've ever been to. They think they're a city, but they're really not. The main districts are really spread out, like upper Alpine, Leonard St., Downtown, Forest Hills, Cascade, east 28th, Kentwood... they've all got some pretty cool stuff, but you pretty much have to pop on the freeway to get between any of them easily, especially if you don't live there. I dug EastTown, but I've heard it's changed a lot. It's definitely a 'different' place & has it's own thing going on. I heard the Ital Shack is gone now & Mulligan's has completely changed which is pretty sad. It was all hardcore, punk & metal when I was there. Great dirty bar, the the Mulligan's Stew was awesome (flaming shot that you drank through a straw while it was still on fire - it took some skill). Brew & Stew for 2 on Tuesdays. $2 for a Stew & a pint of PBR all night long. I staggered home from that hole many a night.

The one I'm trying to remember is where Division turns to P-something at Leonard St. There's a bar about 2 or 3 buildings north of the intersection on the west side of the street. It changed into a Indian/London-style place. Both the menu & beer list were phenomenal. It's in a shady part of town & was another shithole bar before they put that place in. Can't remember the name of what it was before either, but my friend Gina bartended & we had some really good nights there.
Lee

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"Every zoo is a petting zoo if you man the fuck up."

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Ozwald
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Re: Grand Rapids, MI

Wed May 22, 2013 12:22 pm

Graydon's Crossing at Plainfield/Leonard

And thanks for the name! RT's is what I remember. I did try the octoberfest last fall, still didn't do it for me.
Effingbeer
 
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Re: Grand Rapids, MI

Thu May 23, 2013 12:03 am

Effingbeer wrote:Graydon's Crossing at Plainfield/Leonard

And thanks for the name! RT's is what I remember. I did try the octoberfest last fall, still didn't do it for me.


That's the place!

I'm not sure how many people knew what RT's stood for. I know the Thomas family through my best friend so maybe the full name wasn't all that well known. I wasn't introduced to the place until after it had turned to Schmohz, but it was pretty soon after the change & since I knew most of the long time regulars/former RT's employees, I heard a lot about it.
Lee

"Show me on this doll where the internet hurt you."

"Every zoo is a petting zoo if you man the fuck up."

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