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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Kitzingen Brewery is the latest brewery to open in the Grand Rapids area and also the first to call City of Wyoming home on 44th Street Southwest just off from Burlingame Avenue as part of the Chateau Center Strip Mall. Demand at the brewery has been high since opening this past December with two additional 5 barrel fermenters already on order to help boost production.The brewery’s focus is to bring the influence of traditional German beer to complement the recent boom of American craft breweries.


Harmony Hall opened this past October in Grand Rapids on the West Side, located at 401 Stocking Avenue NW in the building formerly occupied by Little Mexico restaurant. The new brewery has been in the works for over a year with demand exceeding capacity and no further room for on-site expansion at the Eastown location of Harmony Brewing Company which opened in 2012. The new brewery location serves to both supplement the original Harmony location while offering a unique atmosphere and experience of it’s own.

cedar springs brewing company article

Cedar Springs Brewing Company recently held it’s grand opening in mid-November. The brewery had been in development for a few years by Dave Ringler (“Director of Happiness”,) and finally broke ground for new construction in late 2014. Construction of the building wrapped up in 2015 which included the installation of a new 15 barrel brew house. Professional brewer Matt Peterson also joined the team at Cedar Spring Brewing Company who most recently brewed for Schlafly Brewery and Bottleworks in St. Louis, MO. Also joining Cedar Springs Brewing Company at the new location is Coldbreak Brewing Equipment homebrew supply store.


This year’s International Wine, Beer & Food Festival was held Thursday, November 19th through Saturday, November 21st and was located at the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. This year featured over 1,500 varieties of beers and wines, as well as ciders, meads, and spirits. Over the past couple years, beer has played a more prominent role in the festival and with this year’s fest, the new “Beer City Station” shared main stage with the wine on the main floor which was expanded to double the size of prior year events to accommodate more options.

limited edition odd side ales article

Just in the last few years, fans of craft beer could find solace and escape from the madness of Black Friday shopping with a stop at their local brewery such as Odd Side Ales in Grand Haven which has opened early and welcomed people to stop by for breakfast, pajamas welcome. The now legendary Morningwood coffee stout became a staple at these morning gatherings and one of the first ever Odd Side Ales beers to feature a bottle release in limited edition bomber bottles. This beer has continued in it’s popularity and has shown up at the pub on draft as well as a limited bottle releases including Halloween and this year’s Black Friday.

detroit fall beer fest 2015 article

This year’s Michigan Brewer’s Guild Detroit Fall Beer Festival took place on Friday October 23rd from 5 p.m to 9 p.m. and Saturday October 24th from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event featured over 675 beers from 80 different breweries from all over Michigan. Also featured were local bands and food from Detroit area restaurants. The weather cooperated for a beautiful fall weekend this year in Detroit and the festival was well attended with Saturday’s event selling out in advance. DJ Dante provided music for both days with Friday featuring Orbitsuns and Saturday’s live music lineup featuring the Strapping Owls, Taken Aces and Octopus. This year’s food vendors included Slows Bar BQ, Grand Trunk Pub, Detroit Beer Co and Mudgie's Deli.

dutch girl bier garden15 article

Dutch Girl Brewery opened this past summer in Spring Lake and things have been moving full speed ahead with the celebrating of their first ever Dutch Girl Bier Fest on Saturday, October 17th from 4:00 p.m. to 11 p.m. The event featured several speciality tappings including Dutch Girl’s first ever barrel aged release beers as well as food and live music. The food and music and specialty beers were provided in and outdoor tent setup in the parking lot outside the brewery, while the pub inside was also open for those who did not want to miss the U of M vs. MSU game.

brew works of fremont article

Brew Works of Fremont held their Grand Opening Bash this past October with food and drink specials, giveaways, and live music. The all day event started inside the pub with a speciality beer tent and entertainment stage setup outside in the beer garden. The garden featured the tapping of the Drunken’ Pumpkin Porter at 8 p.m. and live music including Watching for Foxes and R.J. Nordlund starting around 9 p.m.

grand armory brewing article

Grand Armory Brewing opened earlier this year as downtown Grand Haven’s second brewery following the now well established Odd Side Ales which has been open since 2010. Grand Armory Brewing is located in the historic 110-year old Armory building in which the brewery shares space with Aldea Coffee, Righteous BBQ, and the Armory Art Center. The Grand Opening Street Party was held this past October and featured a pig roast from Righteous BBQ and a live performance from the Grand Rapids-based folk rock band The Crane Wives.


Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply opened in 2013 in Ada with a unique concept functioning as both a homebrew store and craft brewery. With a brew house directly behind the bar, Gravel Bottom has allowed patrons an educational experience along with their beer or in essence a brewery tour without having to leave their seat. For Gravel Bottom’s first year anniversary in 2014 they celebrated with over 15 different beers available on tap, and this year saw them doubling that number with 30 different beers on tap.
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