Sunday, November 04, 2012

A Grand Pumpkin Tour of Grand Rapids, “Beer City USA”

Written by  Dan VanderKooi
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A Grand Pumpkin Tour of Grand Rapids, “Beer City USA”

If you enjoyed the Beer City Pale Ale promotion awhile back, 11 Grand Rapids area breweries have returned with the new Grand Pumpkin - and this time each one has something a little different to offer. Brewery Vivant and Harmony Brewing Company in Easttown have both participated. Harmony’s Grand Pumpkin is a 7.4% ABV Chai beer. Also on special here when I visited was the Goatoberfest pizza with sausage, goat cheese, basil, and pumpkin sauce. Perhaps you’ve heard of the White House honey ale? Harmony has brewed their own version “Ale to the Chief” and I can attest to the deliciousness. If you are out on 28th Street in Kentwood / Cascade area, you can check out Schmohz experimental Pumpkin Rye and Jaden James has their Pumpkin Ale on tap now also.
Headed downtown G.R. for your Pumpkin fix? Hopcat and the B.O.B. both have you covered. The B.O.B.’s Grand Pumpkin is prominently spiced and so is Hopcat’s 7% ABV doppelbock. The B.O.B. is also currently featuring newly designed labels for all of their signature beers with new tap handles coming soon. Mitten Brewing which has just opened on Leonard is featuring a Pumpkin Amber as their contribution. (Brewmaster “Wob” also brewed a Grand Pumpkin Milk Stout for Hideout before joining the Mitten Crew.) Their Peanut and Crackjack porter is also not to be missed.

Sparta’s Michigan Beer Cellar along with both White Flame and Pike 51 of Hudsonville have all contributed. The Beer Cellar has concocted up a Pumpkin Pale. I also enjoyed the Peanut Butter Nitro Stout during my visit there. I met up with brewmaster Jeff Williams at Pike 51 who chose a smoky wee heavy for his take on the Grand Pumpkin, a very flavorful beer without the traditional pumpkin spices one might normally expect. I also liked his Hopsunville Red IPA, a wet-hopped harvest ale. Pike 51 also just opened up their “pub club,” their version of a mug club sans the mugs. White Flame is featuring a Cinnamon Cocoa Coffee Pumpkin Stout on nitro. Also on tap there right now is Red Shoes Habanero Pale and (MI)PA, the 2nd place winning beer brewed for the G.R. Museum “Thank you, Beer!” exhibit. Wherever you may find yourself in Grand Rapids, and whatever style you prefer: A Grand Pumpkin beer is waiting for you somewhere that should meet your needs. So go out and show your support for some great Michigan beer!

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.