Re: Grand Rapids, MI

Wed May 29, 2013 11:38 am

Had an overall great time - a perfect mix of doing non-beer stuff during the day (Meijer Gardens Sunday and Zoo Monday) to placate the gf with the beer stuff at night. She was pretty hungover all Sunday though after Saturday night. But anyway - here's my review:

GRBC: Meh. First stop and worst (beer) stop of the trip. The beer wasn't good. Any of it. Very astringent and thin. We tried the Mango Blonde, Rye PA, IPA, and Brown Ale. I would guess a water problem since the issues were consistent across the board. The food was ok. Fried pickles were great, and the sausages were ok (Kielbasa was fantastic, Smoked Polish had good flavor but was dry, and the Duck has way too much anise/fennel going on). We also ordered the Poutine. I should know better than to order Poutine in the US, but just don't do that. Melted cheese on fries with a tiny bit of gravy pooled into the bottom of the dish just won't cut it! Our server was fantastic, however - so he gets some props.

Hopcat: Absolutely awesome. Great crowd, great bartenders. Very attentive and knowledgeable. I had a Short's Huma Lupa-licious, Perrin Kona Brown, Brewery Vivant Solitude, and the house DIPA from Hopcat. All great. The Kona may have been the best coffee beer I've had. My gf had a Founder's Dirty Bastard (one of her favs) and some mixes the bartenders were doing.

Brewery Vivant: Also great. Good staff - super neighborhood vibe to this place. My gf being hungover from the night before and a day of walking around the gardens in the sun, I felt kinda bad dragging her into here, so we didn't stay long. But in that short stretch of time, I must have seen 5 people come in to fill growlers, and 3-4 come in to drink out of their Monk Club chalices. Bartenders knew all the regulars - made me happy to see that type of interaction. Had the common sampler (everything great - the IPA had a little phenolic rubber thing going on) as well as the Tart Side of the Moon. Got a growler fill of the Big Red Coq for the hotel room - awesome, awesome brew.

Founder's: Neat place, jam packed on Sunday night. Had a couple off the cuff things that I tried. Did the Blonde Ale, All Day IPA, Sleeper Cell (great beer - no way it could have been 11%!! Seriously tasted like 7% tops), Oatmeal Stout on Nitro, and the Hazelnut Coffee Stout on Nitro. The staff was meh. We had 5-6 different bartenders throughout the night, so we were unsure where our tip was going. They also lost part of our tab, didn't seem to upset about it when we inquired so we left a big tip, but must have found it later and charged us anyway. The food was good. The sandwich line thing is cool - with how packed it was, we got it really fast. The beer cheese is pretty awesome.

Asides:

Ate at this place called the Cherry Deli. This place was fucking awesome and a fantastic way to get rid of a hangover. You'll be fine with a half-sandwich. Definitely going to drag my group here during 2014.

Tried this small coffee shop called Local Mocha because it seemed to be the only place open on Sunday morning. Please don't go there. $16 for two breakfast sandwiches and two coffees. I drink mine black and couldn't drink this (and I drink my workplace coffee sometimes). My gf's sandwich came out 15 minutes after ordering (we were the only customers) and mine came out after she was done with hers - maybe 25 minutes total. The employee/barista (if you could call her that - only one person working there) stopped making them when she got new customers in, and she screwed up that girl's coffee (specialty drink) the first time she attempted it - then went back to the sandwiches. Then mine came out and wasn't even right, but it was too late to complain. Was rather comical.

All things said, though, had a great time and can't wait for 2014!
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PseudoChef
 
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Re: Grand Rapids, MI

Wed May 29, 2013 3:50 pm

PseudoChef wrote:GRBC: Meh. First stop and worst (beer) stop of the trip. The beer wasn't good. Any of it. Very astringent and thin.


Ahh, so they have gotten better :lol: I laugh, but I'm not joking. Every time they got new owners it was rumored to be 'so much better'.. once it needed major improvements just to be drinkable. Or swallow-able. I don't think it's the water though, I'm not a fan of Founders but they do some decent beers with that cities over choramined water supply. (IIRC, GR was the first city in the country to introduce it, but maybe it was florinated water). My best friend who still lives there said there have been some flooding issues this spring & the Grand (river) has always been known to be pretty nasty just may have something to do with it.
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Ozwald
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Re: Grand Rapids, MI

Wed May 29, 2013 7:02 pm

Interesting. But perhaps all the others are RO'ing the supply or something. That or some crazy house flavor - maybe a hint of the beginning of a full-blown infection with the thinness/astringency.

I now remember that I also had the German Pils at GRBC. It was the best beer of the night, but still no Pils. Pretty clean but no hop character that I'd expect.
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