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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big lake celebrates-2 years

In celebration of their 2-year anniversary this past 4th of July weekend, Big Lake Brewing threw a party in the parking lot of the strip mall where they are located on Butternut Drive in Holland. Live music was featured all day long with Turk’s, Peppino’s, and Thai Palace all also from the stip mall providing food for the event. The brewery featured bottle releases of barrel aged beers and specialty tap releases all day as well. Additionally, the party included games and prize drawings with Big Lake Brewing swag and merchandise giveaways.

summer beerfest ypsi 2015

This year marked the 18th year of the annual Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Fest and featured over 100 Michigan breweries with 1,000+ beers. The event was held in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town Riverside Park and sold out for both the Friday and Saturday of the 2-day festival. Breweries were spread out among 4 different beer tents, with additional locations along the river and also located in the “Back 40’. An entertainment stage included a full lineup of live music and food vendors (including several breweries) were on hand to provide well-needed nourishment of the non-liquid variety.

 black heron article

The west side of Grand Rapids continues to foster new growth and development with The Black Heron Kitchen & Bar being the latest venture to opens it’s doors. Located on the corner of Sumner Ave and Bridge St NW, this new restaurant sits kitty corner to the upcoming location of New Holland Brewing’s Grand Rapids location now under development. My wife and I were recently invited to attend a sneak preview of the Black Heron along with the Grand Rapids-based food community group EatGR and jumped at the opportunity. Our visit include a complimentary champagne toast which was a nice touch to complement the soft opening.

 newaygo brewing-company-article

Newaygo Brewing Co. held it’s grand opening celebration the first weekend in May with a Friday afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony and a weekend full of live music and food and drink specials. The new brewery is located in downtown Newaygo and is open 7 days a week. 15 different beers are currently offered in a variety of styles as well as a full food menu to complement with a focus on pizza. I recently stopped in with my family to enjoy some pizza and beer and check the place out.

rockford fly the cog event 15

For the third year, bicyclists gathered early at Rockford Brewing Co. for this year’s 14.7 mile Fly to the Coq group bike ride. The ride starts on the White Pine trail outside the brewery eventually making it’s way through the streets of Eastown to Brewery Vivant. Prior to the event, a celebratory tapping of the Fly2Coq Rockford edition collaborative brew occurred at 11 a.m. with bikers departing Rockford at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 7th.


The 3rd Annual Lansing Beer Festival was held on Saturday June 27th on the streets of REO Town at Washington Avenue between South St. and Elm St. This year was my first year attending the event which featured 30 breweries, cideries, meaderies, and/or distilleries. VIP entry began at noon with the dedicated braving a particularly cold & rainy day for late June. Many fest-goers came prepared with umbrellas, ponchos, and jackets. Fortunately, the weather began to clear as the festival progressed into the afternoon.


Saugatuck Brewing Company celebrated their 10 Year Anniversary on Sunday, June 14th with barrel aged bottle releases, food and drink specials, and party complete with live music and free appetizers. The main pub/restaurant was running 10 special $10 deals all days long which included $10 flights, food and merchandise deals, and $10 growlers with fill. The celebration party itself took started at 2:00 p.m. in the brewery’s Singapore Room and was free to attend.

hudsonville anniversary 2015

Pike 51 Brewing Co. recently celebrated their 3-year anniversary along with the 6-year anniversary of the Hudsonville Winery where the brewery makes it’s home. Live music, food, and wine and beer specials took place all day long for the tented event outside the winery. Several speciality beers were tapped for the occasion as well as anniversary bottled beer and wine releases. Pulled pork sandwiches were on the lunch menu for the day, with an all-you-can eat buffet including chicken starting in the afternoon and into the evening.

founders fest 2015 

Founders Fest is the one day of the year in the summer that Founders Brewing Co. closes the doors to their taproom and invites everybody of drinking age to join them for a street party and music fest right outside the brewery. There is also food and entertainment and of course Founders is also known for some of the best beer in the world. The party starts early in the afternoon and goes late into the night. Getting there early is always best before the crowds get thick and lines get long but sticking around always pays off to stay for the later bands and who knows what they will tap next at the Specialty tent?

tapistry brewing celebrates 2years article

Tapistry Brewing in Bridgman is getting ready to celebrate their 2-year anniversary with an all day celebration including food specials, live music, and special beer releases in bottle and on draft. The brewery is planning a mug club members-only buffet to start the day at 10 a.m. prior to their regular 11 a.m. opening. I recently paid a recent visit to Tapistry prior to the Anniversary date to check out the latest happenings at the brewery.
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