Dan VanderKooi

Dan VanderKooi

Dan VK has been following the Michigan Craft Beer scene since before Oberon has been available in 6-packs. Besides making the rounds at all the local craft breweries and beer bars, Dan also supports the local music scene, reads crime fiction, and enjoys playing volleyball with his wife and friends.

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vander fest article image

Vander Fest is the annual fall festival of Spring Lake’s Vander Mill Cidery bringing craft breweries and cideries together each year for an amazing evening of food, fun, and music. 2014 marked the 5th year for this event, and the continual fine-tuning from year to year has paid off with this year featuring the perfect balance of beer, food, cider and entertainment. A variety of outdoor food vendors competed this year with the Mill’s own very busy kitchen. While the cold and rain couldn’t keep fest-goers away from the outdoor tented event, inside the mill proved busier than ever with many seeking temporary shelter from the weather.

wabf-2014

The weekend was cold and rainy but that couldn’t keep the legions of thirsty beer drinkers away from Brewery Vivant’s 4th Annual Wood Aged Beer fest. The brewery has continued to expand the festival to keep up with demand which has gone from overfilling the pub, to the beer garden, to last year the parking lot, to this year a whole stretch of Cherry St. and all this after only over the last few short years. Fortunately large tents awaited those who braved the weather to sample the 20+ specialty wood age release and sour Brewery Vivant specialty beers.

hopos-at-84-article

Hops at 84 East is located at 84 East 8th Street in downtown Holland. The former 84 East and Froggy’s restaurants have been combined and renovated with a new bar featuring 70 taps of craft beer, cider, and wine and the kitchen enhanced to include old menu favorites as well as new 600 degree brick pizza ovens. Rotating taps for the grand opening weekend included KBS, Devil Dancer, and Backwoods Bastard from Founders, and Q Falls, Oracle, and Wedding Ale from Bell’s. A special “hop-rocket” wet hopped craft beer was also tapped each day for the celebration. Live music was featured all weekend long with Further Closer on Friday, De Hurricane Reggae Band on Saturday, and Matt Plessner on Sunday.

fetch article

Fetch Brewing Company is now open in downtown Whitehall being the third brewery to open in Muskegon County in less than a year’s time. Fetch was preceded by Unruly and Pigeon Hill Brewing Companies both located in downtown Muskegon whereas Fetch is the first brewery to open in the White Lake area. Fetch is located in the former State Bank Building on Colby St. and has been renovated to incorporate elements of the historic location such as the bank vault and elevator shaft into the design of the brewery.

rupert-article

Rupert’s Brew House was the first to open of the current wave of nanobreweries sweeping Kalamazoo which also includes Tibb’s, Boatyard Brewing Company, and Gonzo’s Biggdogg. Rupert’s is also currently the smallest brewery in operation of the bunch, still brewing off the 1.5 barrel system they opened with last October. The brewery is located in the historic Oakland pharmacy building at 773 W. Michigan Ave and while Michigan already features dog-themed beers, breweries, and even beer blogs, Rupert’s Brew House is the only brewery I’ve visited that features it’s own resident dog, Captain Stooby, a Great Dane approaching 200 pounds that happened to tolerate my visit while taking his afternoon nap.

rockford harvest fest 2014

The City of Rockford kicked off the 2014 fall season with an all weekend-long downtown Harvest Fest celebration and Rockford Brewing Company was on hand with live music, food, and 20 different beers flowing between the pub and outdoor beer tent. Each day featured exclusive tappings with Saturday’s activities including a chili cook-off and the Coq2Fly 14.7 mile group bike ride from Brewery Vivant which included the tapping of a new collaboration brew.

hops and props third annual article

Downtown Manistee’s 3rd Annual Hops and Props on the river was a weekend long celebration of beer, boats, music and food. The festivities began Friday evening with a kickoff reception at the Boathouse grill, with events throughout the day on Saturday and wrapping up on Sunday morning with the Boater’s Brunch in the lobby of the Ramsdell Inn. Featured events included a beer tent, art and boat shows, and a series of tap takeovers throughout the downtown area.

Osgood Brewing article

Osgood Brewing in Grandville recently celebrated their 1-year anniversary with a party featuring an evening of live music, exclusive beer tappings, and firkins. 16 different beers were on taps for the celebration with the centerpiece being the 1st Anniversary Ale, an Imperial take on the popular Oakestown American Amber Ale. A commemorative growler and special merchandise were also available at the anniversary party.

brew house article

Brew House is located at 255 Seminole Dr. in the City of Norton Shores in Muskegon County conveniently right off the Seaway Drive / Business 31 on the way into town. The business was previously a coffee house but has been relaunched under new ownership and has recently expanded beyond traditional coffee drinks with the addition of a full bar with an emphasis on Michigan craft beer, wine, and spirits.

tibb review article

If you’ve not paid a visit to Kalamazoo in a couple years, a lot has been going on with their local brewery scene. While staples like Bell’s and Olde Peninsula brewpub continue to thrive, the biggest news is of course Arcadia Brewing Company’s recent move from Battle Creek to Kalamazoo with a new productions facility, pub, and restaurant. But while this maybe the most visible and apparent recent addition to Kalamazoo brewing community, behind the scenes another craft brewing revolution is current in progress at the nanobrewery scale with the introduction of several new smaller breweries with brewing systems of 3 barrels and less. To put this in perspective, Bell’s recent expansions have put them in the capacity to brew 500,000 barrels or more a year.
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