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  • Took a trip to Saugatuck Brewing Co this winter to check out their beers. Arriving later in the evening on a Sunday the parking lot was packed but turns out most of the people were at the Antique store next door I guess. Inside the brewery is really nice and cozy even though there is lots of seating. There was a big group there from Lansing that had come and spent the day brewing their own beer and when we arrived they had obviously been enjoying the beers on tap, good thing they had a bus to take them all home.
    Ordering a flight of samples Saugatuck has some mainstay beers we didn’t even bother trying since we could get them in stores and instead we tried a variety of limited edition beers they had on tap from Hoppy IPA’s to an Irish Stout and a Scot beer too. All we very good and complimented our food nicely.
    We ordered chili cheese fries to start and then I got Hot Dog that was nice and plump with chips too. Overall the food was good and filling and the beers were drinkable. This would be a great bar/brewery to hang out with friends or even have a party as they had some areas that were more private and even some dart boards in one area.

  • I visited Osgood Brewery on a cold January evening with my gf. Outside the brewery doesn’t look too impressive though it is located right downtown Grandville, MI. Walking inside though I was surprised at how large the seating area was with tons of tables and large glass windows to look outside. The actual bar is decent size with some high tops nearby for more seating, it looked like the families were sitting at the low tables and a more thirsty crowd near the bar. Behind the bar there is one area with taps, large chalkboard listing their various beers and two tvs for people wanting to watch sports though this is not a sports bar. Along the back wall there are a few dart boards setup and a wall of windows to look inside and see the big tanks used in brewing beer.
    We ordered a flight of beer samples and after tasting them all it seems they tend toward the hoppier varieties even the stouts seemed hoppy to me. They have a nice list of mainstay beers always on tap and a rotating selection that the brewery experiments with. Overall the beers were drinkable but none stood out as exceptional or exciting.
    We also ordered a pizza from the kitchen, wood fired and on special. They don’t have a big menu but judging from the one we got the pizza’s are going to be a great seller for them. The crust was perfect and the flavors really helped me appreciate the beers.
    Osgood only recently opened so it is worth checking out and hopefully as they grow and mature their beers will become more exciting and I’m assuming they will offer live music and entertainment periodically too.

  • I thought the night would end simply enough. I was wrong.

    9pm Thursday night I text a friend that I’m considering walking downtown to Ritz Koney for 1 drink, see my friend Jason Eller hosting open mic and maybe catch some NFL football. Then back to bed, only buying 1 drink at the bar was the plan. Like all plans that didn’t happen.
    Jake says he can meet me at Ritz, I decide to drink a shot or two of cheap whiskey before my long walk down the hill. It is Art Prize in Grand Rapids which means 1500+ art exhibits in hundreds of venues in a 3 mile x 3 mile downtown area, so lots of people and I figure a shot would get my mind straight. Proceed down the hill and enter Ritz Koney to find my friend and his wife and another couple ordering drinks. I get a beer.
    1 beer down and everyone is having a great time laughing and joking, live music is pumping, friend buys me a beer.
    Second beer down, time for a shot and might as well buy one for my singing friend….
    Yep it’s now 1:30am and I’ve had too many shots and beers to care to remember, time to walk home.
    Oh look it’s a full moon and the streets are empty, might as well look at some art. Homeless man is walking towards me, before he says anything I say “hey can you spare some change so I can get a bus ticket?” (the buses have stopped running hours ago), he says “no man I ain’t got no money”, at this point I’ve passed him and avoided looking like a drunk dick that wants to save his money from homeless people, score for me!
    Lots of random art and sculptures scattered around the city, I see one ‘artist’ working on a project that I don’t care for but refrain from insulting him, move on to giant dragon made from scrap cars that is kind of cool. I wonder if I can climb on it without getting arrested, sobriety prevails and I move on.
    I’m in the park downtown and see porta-johns, realizing I need to pee I feel divine intervention and quickly relieve myself only to find that as I’m leaving the plastic coffin the door bangs my hand causing a bleeding gash and I quickly decide will fester and become infected with herpes, syphilis, chlamydia and AIDS (do people still care about AIDS?). This is in front of the 24 hour news station setup specifically for Art Prize and I’m sure I will be on the morning news with a blood hand walking by the artwork, being famous is HARD!
    After avoiding the news people I stumble across another dragon sculpture only this one has 10 ghetto kids standing around it all acting like drunk fools while I carefully examine the artwork for presentation and detail (or maybe I just stumbled around it looking like a white dude…). Luckily they did not knife me or ask for my wallet (it was empty anyhow).
    Finally proceed back up the hill to my apartment only to find that halfway home there is a dark shadow in the middle of the sidewalk, oh wait it looks like a bunny rabbit! cute.
    Shit, there is another shadow closer to me on the sidewalk and it doesn’t look like a rabbit… hm white strip on its back? SKUNK!! I put on the brakes a few feet from the smelly beast and stomped my feet, possibly shouting too. Skunk runs under car parked in the street and I realize there is no reason to continue on this side of the road, crossing the street seems to eliminate the possibility of my getting sprayed by a skunk on the first day of Art Prize. Luckily my alcohol fueled mind isn’t too stupid!

  • My friends and I decided to do a Sunday brewery crawl, attempting to visit as many breweries around Grand Rapids, MI as possible in one day and sampling as many beers as possible too. We actually visited B.O.B’s Brewery on Saturday night since it wouldn’t be open on Sunday, trying 9 samples including a rye wine that topped out at 11% alcohol which I found tasty but the girls didn’t enjoy.

    Brewery Crawl starts Noon at Old Boys Brewhouse in Spring Lake promptly as they open for the day we were waiting in the parking lot. Ordering a flight of 6 beer samples with names like Kennel King IPA at 8.1% it was a good start with a nice lunch of burgers to fill our stomachs and slow the alcohol seep into our blood. The brewhouse is big with a nice patio and good service, defiantly a place you want to visit again and would like to stay at all day but we had more brews to samples!

    Next we made our way to Odd Side Ales in Grand Haven. This is a newer brewery making a name for itself with interesting and diverse beers. We tried two samplers totaling 12 beers. There was a raspberry beer and a mocha stout that were favorites but all seemed to have good flavors and my friends even bought a howler to take home with them.

    Having reached the lake we turned and headed back to Grand Rapids and the epicenter of the brewery revolution. Reaching the Hideout Brewing Company north of GR you get a bit nervous pulling into the parking lot because the brewery lives up to its name, hidden behind unkept tree’s and brush it almost looks abandoned. Walking inside you are greeted by a small bar with a friendly bartender, when I asked for a sampler flight he informed me that the full sampler was $45, which seemed high until I found out it had a TON of beers. So we opted to go for only 15 samples and selected the most tasty sounding options based on our last few palate tasting experiences. We went heavy on the fruity beers and ales but I added a few stouts for good measure, I always say the higher the alcohol content the better the deal and more I’ll drink! This was the surprise brewery for me with amazing options including a watermelon whit that everyone loved and I was partial to a strawberry brown as well as a bubblegum flavored beer! The bourbon stout was quite strong at 10.5% and I was the only one that would drink it. This brewery might not look impressive but it’s quirky and fun, with an outdoor ‘beer garden’ in back including an empty swimming pool that now has horse shoes game setup it’s bound to be fun all the time!

    Continuing south towards downtown we stopped into The Mitten Brewery which is housed in an historic firehouse and is one of the newer breweries in town. While the decor and atmosphere is nice we found the beer selection lacking compared to the previous libations. They only had 7 beers total on tap and none were very interesting, instead they ran the standard from ales to IPA’s, the raspberry cider was the only standout in my book.

    By now it was 6:00pm and the crew was getting tired but we soldiered on to Harmony Brewing Company in EastTown. This too is a small brewery and only had 7 samplers for us to test. My notes indicate the ‘Cavendish’ was ok but otherwise this was a disappointment.

    Brewery Vivant was our salvation providing church for our weary souls on this holy Sunday of beer tasting. We tried 8 samples, 4 of their standards and 4 seasonals. The Zaison is always one of my favorites but the Tripel and Solitude were also well received by the group.

    At this point our bodies needed food to fuel us forward so stopping at Founders Brewery we ordered sandwiches and then 11 more beer samples. I made the bold choice of ordering a Barrel-Aged Spite Habanero sampler which scared away my friends but I gamely chugged which on second thought wasn’t that smart. Habanero beer is best for marinating food, not drinking! With our bellies full and minds foggy we had to leave Founders or our brew crawl might have ended prematurely.

    Our finally stop was the Grand Rapids Brewing Company in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. We ordered a complete sampler which luckily was only 6 samples and they were smaller glasses. The fish ladder at 7.5% was best received but at this point our palates were drunk and our minds foggy so it’s hard to say if anything would have gotten our interests. So at about 10:00pm our beer crawl concluded.

    Total beer samples: 72 Total Breweries: 8 Total Time: 10 hours

  • Voted Beer City USA two years running Grand Rapids, MI is really showing it’s affinity for craft breweries and beer drinking.  With at least 15 breweries in the area and more slated to open this year it’s hard to argue that Grand Rapids isn’t a beer loving city. GR Beer City USA

  • Budweiser just emailed me to say that, the company is unveiling a bow tie shaped can that will mirror the brand’s longtime bow tie logo. The can will be available in eight-packs nationwide beginning May 6.  After a bit more research I found that the can won’t be 12oz but actually 11.3oz so for a serious drinker this seems like a step backwards.  I’m not really sure how this can will be better then a normal one other then requiring more effort to create.  I will report back after testing it on May 6th but from what I’m reading it seems to be a waste of effort.

    budweisers new can design

  • Rocky’s Bar and Grill is located at 633 Ottawa in Grand Rapids, MI on a side street in an industrial area that looks a bit sketchy but don’t worry it is Grand Rapids so it is still safe and only a few blocks from the downtown area.  Rocky’s is a two story bar with an outdoor upper deck (that I haven’t seen yet since it is so damn cold).  We visited this bar on a Wednesday evening around 7:30pm so not a busy time of day but the bar was empty save for 1 guy when we arrived.  The bar lady was nice and quick offering drinks and providing menu’s when I inquired about the possibility of food.  From their website you can check out there menu and see it is pretty good even if their kitchen is the size of a small food truck.  The bar itself isn’t too big but there is plentiful seating and the historic building gives some character.  The food was good and quickly delivered, I tried a B.B.L.T which is a 1lb burger with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato and lets be clear this burger was huge with a nice bun too, very tasty.  Also upgraded to krinkle fries but they weren’t anything special.  I also got a pint of Rolling Rock from the tap, that was only $3, not too bad a price.  Overall a decent local bar , will be interesting to see what it is like when busy and in the summer.

    633 Ottawa
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503

    Phone: 616.356.2346

    Rocky’s Bar and Grill website

  • Mulligan’s Pub claims to have an Irish theme but in my opinion that is overshadowed by it’s skater/hipster/alt vibe but still it is a fun big bar with good specials if you don’t mind the dark interior and oddball customers that occasionally stumble in.  The bar offers four sides and decent service with adequate additional seating at tables in the front area.  This is an old converted building so there is a back area with pool tables and then another back room with a stage that when we visited was being used by an alt type band doing a lot of screaming and yelling into the mic, not my type of music but if you want something different this would be the place to check.  Luckily it’s mostly separate from the main bar area so mostly easy to ignore.  The ceiling of Mulligan’s has dollar bills stapled to it, some new tradition I suppose.  If you enjoy cheaper beers and can handle some goofy looking customers this is a bar to checkout.

    http://mulligans-pub.com/

    1518 Wealthy St SE Grand Rapids, MI 49506
    (616) 451-0775

  • Billy’s Lounge is located on Wealthy Street in the Easttown section of Grand Rapids, a local landmark this bar is always popular with all age groups.  We dropped in on a Saturday night, after paying cover you enter the open bar area and are immediately presented with a band on stage rocking out, this particular evening it was “The Outer Vibe” playing and they had the dance floor packed with college kids, middle aged women, and old dudes all having a blast to cover songs.  The bar itself is well staffed and lines one wall of the building, it can be a bit of a struggle to get a drink when the bar gets busy but it’s worth the wait and you get to enjoy the live music!  There is plentiful table and booth seating beyond the dance floor and a back room with pool tables for the more chill crowd.  This is a bar you can take your parents and everyone will have a good time, especially if you enjoy people watching this is the area to see some interesting characters!

    http://www.billyslounge.com/

    1437 Wealthy SE-Gand Rapids, MI 49506

  • The Pyramid Scheme bar located in downtown Grand Rapids is a party in the front and another party in the back!  With a retro vibe (bit hipsterish too), this bar has a bunch of old school pin ball machines in the front bar area but if you continue to the back there is another big room setup for shows with a stage and seating, this is where we went to see the comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates perform last night!  Little background for those that don’t know: Garfunkel and Oates is an American comedy-folk duo from Los Angeles, California, consisting of actress-songwriters Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome. The band name is derived from “two famous rock-and-roll second bananas”, Art Garfunkel and John Oates.

    These two girls rocked the club with hilarious comedy music featuring a ukulele and guitar, playing such songs as “Pregnant Women are Smug”, “Weed Card”, “Go Kart Racing” (about getting an orgasm from the vibrations in a go kart!), “Handjob, Blandjob, I Don’t Understand Job”, and others.  Obviously this was an explicit R rated event but luckily even in GR there are some people with good sense of humor and both the girls thought it was one of the best audiences they had ever played for.

    Seating consisted of basic folding chairs and was a bit cramped but also made it feel intimate and allowed everyone to see the performers which was important as Garfunkel and Oates have amazing expressive facial expressions that add to their musical act.

    http://pyramidschemebar.com/

    Directions to Pyramid Scheme Bar