Tag Archives: Beer City

Old-time brews: New Holland Brewing plans ‘throwback beer’ releases

New Holland Brewery will be serving up some oldies but goodies during its “throwback” beer release event June 10. (Supplied)

By K.D. Norris



As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, New Holland Brewing Company plans to release six throwback beers — both fan and brewer favorites from the past 20 years — during New Holland’s annual Hatter Days Street Party, Saturday, June 10, at the brewery’s Holland Pub on 8th.


In addition to being available at the Holland Pub — located at 66 E 8th St., in Holland  — the throwback beers will also be available June 10 in six packs at New Holland’s Grand Rapids westside’s The Knickerbocker, located at 417 Bridge St. NW.


“We are thrilled to include throwback beers as part of our 20th anniversary celebration,” New Holland President Brett VanderKamp said in supplied material. “We want to thank everyone who has supported us over the past two decades by bringing back some of our favorite brews. It’s a special time for us, and we’re excited to revel in the nostalgia of this milestone with the community at what will be our most dynamic Hatter Days Street Party yet.”


This year, New Holland Brewing will partner with Kids’ Food Basket for Hatter Days. Guests who bring items from the Kids’ Food Basket Wish List to street party will be entered to win one of many raffle prizes, including a private beer- and spirits-paired dinner for 10 persons.


The throwback beer lineup includes Kourage, a brown ale was originally named “Dutch Kourage” and a dark, aggressively hopped brown ale; Zoomer Wit, a summer-favorite wheat ale first brewed 1998 with orange, spices and American-grown wheat; Y2K, from 1999, a barleywine-style ale with deep mahogany hues; Green Hornet, also from 1999, an American-style golden pale ale; Jubilee, also first brewed in 1999 — “It was a very good year …” — that harmoniously blends fruit and fermentation character; and finally Blue Goat, dating from 2006, this doppelbock beer is chestnut in color with a nutty malt profile from its Munich malt.


In addition to the throwback brews, Holland’s Hatter Days will feature free, family-friendly event where all ages are welcome for a BBQ cookout, live music from local and national acts and all-day acts from Daredevil Circus from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Hatter Days will continue with an afterparty inside the Pub until 1 a.m.


The live music lineup includes The Ragbirds, Mucca Pazza, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The afterparty music will be from Rusty’s Big Ass Band & Silent Disco, with  DJ Dr. Joel between sets.


For more information visit newhollandbrew.com .


Kentwood 50: Railtown’s golden ale a natural fit for celebration

Railtown Brewing’s Gim Lee, at the brewery’s tap room, will be serving up some spacial Kentwood 50 golden ale this year. (K.D. Norris/WKTV)

By K.D. Norris



Following the City of Kentwood’s special City Commission meeting Monday, held as the kickoff event of the year-long Kentwood 50 celebration of the city’s 50th anniversary, the reception was held at Railtown Brewing Company and the beer of choice was — naturally — a golden ale brewed with a touch of mango.


Two reasons for the beer being the natural choice of the celebration: a 50-year anniversary is considered a “golden” anniversary, and the brew was the pick of some staff at the city’s Park and Recreation Department, which has, shall we say, a relationship with the 2-year-old Railtown.


The addition of the mango flavor? Well, the parks people also liked it so that was good enough for the brewery.


“A lot of the Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department are actually mug clubbers here, they have a mug on the wall over there, they are just regulars,” said Gim Lee, who along with his partner Justin Buiter opened the brewery in late 2014. “They are friends and they asked if we would like to do something special (for the anniversary celebration) and we said ‘absolutely.’


“A group of them came, we sat down and collaborated on what they were celebrating and what kind of beer would work with that. They threw a whole bunch of different styles on the table, what they might want to try. They, as a team, actually landed on the golden ale — this is their golden 50th — and the mango being a golden fruit, that would be a perfect pairing. They wanted something unique and mango is a flavor not used too frequently.”


Railtown is located at 3555 68th St., in Dutton but just across the border with Kentwood. Since it opened it has grown to be a 3,500-square-foot space at the east end of the Village Mall plaza. The brewery’s tap room has 10 taps and usually 10 different brews available, and it has started to distribute kegs to other restaurants.


While the special Kentwood 50 brew was tapped at Monday’s invite-only opening ceremony reception, Lee said it would be available to the public — just maybe not until they brew up some more.


“We will have it on and off throughout the year, so people should be able to come in here and get it through the rest of the week — assuming we do not blow it out that first night,” he said. “We’ll see.”


If you fill the special Kentwood 50 growler at Railtown Brewing a donation will be made to the city’s Park and recreation department. (Supplied)

Also debuting on the night of the reception were growlers with a special logo, which are part of the brewery’s continuing support of the Kentwood 50 event. The brewery will be donating a portion of its growler sales as the celebration continues.


“We are raising some money for the parks and recreation department by doing this,” Lee said. “When you buy a growler, we will be donating a couple bucks back to parks and recreation every time you fill that growler, regardless of what beer it is. It doesn’t have to be the golden ale. This will be an on-going promotion.”


As far as the process of developing the new brew, Lee admitted it was pretty much like Railtown decides on any beer it brews — they like to drink it, so they know other people will like to like to drink it. Although, he said, this time they had to satisfy more tastebuds than just the staff’s.


“We have brewed golden ales, we have done a lot of that. That part is easy,” he said. “We took a different golden ale, we racked it off to what is called a firkin, a 10-gallon cask, it is an old-fashioned way of serving beer. In the firkin you can dose whatever you want in it, that is part of the fun of using a firkin — you can add a little fruit, extra hops, a little coffee, whatever you want. It is a really good way to experiment with different flavors. … based on that, that flavor profile, we can scale it up to a bigger scale” for brewing.


“The (Kentwood 50) beer has been done for quite a while, and that was intentional,” he said. “I wanted to make sure if they did not like it at all, I would have time to brew something else if I had to. Its been done for a month. They came in and tried it, and I tried it, and my brewers tried it. We all thought it was pretty nice.”

For more information on Railtown Brewing Company, call the taproom at 616-881-2364 or visit railtownbrewing.com (leads to a Facebook page).


Harmony Brewing’s celebration offers something for under, over age 21

Harmony Brewing Company celebrates its fifth year of business this weekend, and, yes, there is something special on tap. (Supplied)

By K.D. Norris



Keep it straight: the magician is for the kids and the barleywine is for the adults — unless the adults like magic too.


As Grand Rapids’ Harmony Brewing Company celebrates its fifth year of business this weekend, it will offer an hour of kid-friendly family fun and then a little something special for the older crowd.


On Saturday, Feb. 4, Harmony will host a party and a limited edition bottle release of their annual brew, Birthday Barleywine, according to supplied material. Festivities include an hour of family fun, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. with brunch and kid-friendly magician and comedian PJ Weber in attendance.


The celebration will get a little more loud at night with the Vinyl Night All Stars featuring a line up of the most popular DJ’s from Harmony’s weekly event, Vinyl Thursday.


For those unfamiliar with Harmony’s barleywine, the brewery describes it as “a brilliantly clear ruddy copper color with a lingering lacey off-white head. Deep earthy, spicy, resiny hops are balanced with a hint of caramel maltiness in the aroma. The first sip is surprisingly light, and balanced for such a large beer. As the glass warms up, assertive hop bitterness interplays with a delicately malty body and a characteristic alcohol warmth.  The aftertaste lingers clean and bitter as the beer creates legs and lace down the sides of the glass.”


Seems a little like magic for me.


Harmony Brewing’s Eastown brewpub was opened in 2012. Harmony later opened a second location, Harmony Hall, on Grand Rapid’s West Side. (Supplied)

Harmony Brewing’s Eastown brewpub was opened by siblings Heather Van Dyke-Titus, Barry Van Dyke and Jackson Van Dyke in February 2012. Harmony later opened a second location, Harmony Hall, on Grand Rapid’s West Side.


“Its been an amazing five years,” Jackson Van Dyke said in supplied material. “Opening Harmony gave us the opportunity to pursue things that we’re truly passionate about: inventive, creative beer, simple but delicious food and being a part of building our community and city.


“Since we’ve opened Harmony has been a part of, and witnessed, Grand Rapids being recognized as Beer City USA, a national and even global beer destination,” he said.


For more information visit harmonybeer.com


Wyoming’s Kitzingen Brewery to host KD aLe tour

Wyoming’s Kitzingen Brewery will host a visit from the Kent District Library’s KD aLe program this week. (Supplied)

By K.D. Norris



The Kent District Library’s continuing KD aLe program will visit Wyoming’s Kitzingen Brewery on Wednesday, Jan. 11, for a brewery tour — and a little taste of Kitzingen’s speciality: German beers and German food.


The event beings at 7 p.m. The brewery is located at 1760 44th St SW.; Suite 8A; in the Chateau Centre strip mall. Attendees receive a discount on beer when you show your library card.


The beers produced by Kitzingen brewmaster Rommie Bailey include between 9 and 15 brews on tap, including an IPA, a stout and a seasonal authentic Hefeweizen, according to its website: “We’re inspired by the proud German brewing tradition but we will give it a healthy twist of the innovative American craft brewing spirit,” Bailey said.


For more information on Kitzingen Brewery call 616-805-5077 of visit Kitzingen-Brewery.com . For more information on the library’s KD aLe program visit KDL.org


Limited release brews planned for Rockford Brewing anniversary

Get your Beer City Passport stamped and sample an Anniversary Ale, or two, at Rockford Brewing Dec. 17.

WKTV staff


Lovers of limited release brews — and unusual blends — will get a chance to sample some of Rockford Brewing Company’s finest as the north-end brewpub will be celebrating its fourth anniversary Saturday, Dec. 17, with special releases and themed food menu from its newly opened on-site kitchen.


The free party starts at 11 a.m. and runs until midnight. The brewery and pub is located at 12 East Bridge St., Rockford; downtown at the dam. And make sure to get your Beer City Passport stamped if you have not already done so.


“We love sharing something special with our customers who are passionate about RBC through this event,” Chris Kies, general manager, said in supplied material. The Anniversary Party always has a festive, happy atmosphere, for our customers and our staff.”


The brewpub will be tapping kegs of 2014 and 2015 Anniversary Ale for attendees, “as well as featuring different versions of the 2015 batch with flavor infusions to complement the Belgian style beer,” according to supplied material. The flavor-enhancing additions will be changed throughout the day, featuring ingredients such as coffee, cocoa nibs and vanilla; oak chips and ginger; dried garden peppers and blood oranges; and peppercorns and cinnamon.


For more information call 616-951-4677 or visit rockfordbrewing.com


Expanded Beer City Passport, ‘Brewsader’ program debuts

Not only does the Beer City Passport program allow you to get great beers, you get to fly your Brewsader freak flag with a t-shirt. (Supplied)
Not only does the Beer City Passport program allow you to taste great beers, you get to fly your Brewsader freak flag with a t-shirt. (Supplied)

By K.D. Norris



So many brews; so little time.


For those of you who, like me, are on a mission to fill out your Beer City Brewsader Passport book by visiting all the participating Western Michigan breweries and brew pubs, the constantly growing list of brewers is a pleasant frustration.


expgr-brewsader-logo-final-copyBut good news: The passport book now has an addendum adding nine additional beer stops to the original 23 locales — including Wyoming’s Kitzingen Brewery — where stamps and brews are available.


Experience Grand Rapids officially rolled out the second edition of the Beer City Passport last week. Among the new stops are Atwater GR, Bier Distillery, City Built Brewing, Creston Brewery, Elk Brewing’s Comstock Park location, Greyline Brewing Co., Schmohz Brewing Company, New Holland Brewing’s The Knickerbocker, and Fountain Hill Brewery at Grand Rapids Community College.


For those of us with a partially filled out passport already, the addendum sticks on the back of the original. But it is a little bit of a tricky maneuver, so do so before you start tasting at you next beer city stop.

The Beer City Passport, which debuted a little more than a year ago, has had more than 4,200 beer lovers get at least eight stamps and join the Brewsaders club, according to Experience GR.


“The Beer City Passport was a huge success in the first year,” Janet Korn, senior vice president of Experience GR, said in supplied material. “We created the second edition to add new craft beer locations and prepare for future breweries. When a new brewery opens, we will announce on our website if they are going to be a part of the Passport. If they are, visitors can go there and collect a stamp on one of the newly included blank pages.”


To become a Brewsader, the passport must be either take to the Welcome Center in Grand Rapids Art Museum or mailed directly to the Experience GR office. New this year, collect all 32 stamps and earn an Ultimate Brewsader wallet card which offers discounts on the Beer City merchandise at GrandRapidsStore.com and perks at local businesses.


According to Experience GR, Longwoods Intl. found that 1 percent of Western Michigan tourists come specifically for beer compared to the national average of about 5 percent.


For more information visit ExperienceGR.com/Brewsader. and join the social media conversation at #GRBrewsader.

Gravity Taphouse Grille and Aryana’s Restaurant and Lounge kick it up a notch for Cool Brews. Hot Eats.

kathy_grayWhat does Beer City, U.S.A. do to escape the winter blahs? It hosts a week-long craft beer and even craftier cuisine celebration called Cool Brews. Hot Eats. From Feb. 17 through Feb. 28, nearly 50 local eateries will be showcasing special menu items, some made with beer, some paired with beer, all leading up to the 11th Annual Winter Beer Festival at Fifth Third Ballpark, 4500 West River Dr. NE, Comstock Park, Feb. 26 and 27.

Gravity Taphouse Grille


Gravity Taphouse Grille, 3210 Deposit Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, will be participating in Cool Brews. Hot Eats. for the second year. Chef Mary Hunter has been planning her dishes very thoughtfully for months, while General Manager, Jeremy Edwards–using his extensive experience with craft brews–worked to find the perfect pairings for each dish. Edwards explains, “The pairings offer a chance to compliment or contrast the flavors of each recipe.” Not only is each dish paired with a unique beer, beer is also incorporated into the recipe, used as a marinade, brine, or sauce.


Gravity will have three unique offerings during Beer Week:


Beer-brined Chicken Wings using Unruly 21 Guns, tossed in a Sesame Shiso Glaze, served with a carrot and celery slaw (paired with Unruly 21 Guns)

mystery meat at gravity
Filet of beef marinated in New Holland Poet Oatmeal Stout


Filet of beef marinated in New Holland Poet Oatmeal Stout, served on a bed of Butternut Stout grits, Gremolata, and a Stout Brown sauce (paired with New Holland The Poet)


Sticky Toffee Pudding, served with a Black Pepper Fig Caramel sauce (paired with Founder’s Dirty Bastard)

Sticky Toffee Pudding


Brewers in West Michigan are a very collaborative and supportive group. With the explosion of the number of breweries in the state of Michigan, especially locally in the Grand Rapids area, the food industry is growing as well.


“Grand Rapids was well behind the curve,” said Hunter, “Our restaurant offerings were 10-15 years behind those of larger cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.”


The need for unique foods made especially to compliment the craft beer expansion has brought Grand Rapids to a new level in the restaurant world. Hunter explains that 17 years ago as a chef, she was the only female in the kitchen and that chefs were almost secretive about recipes and ingredients.

aryana (2)
Aryana’s Restaurant and Lounge


“That is changing,” she states. “Not only are many women staffing the kitchens, but they are part of a more sharing and friendly environment.” Women are also a major clientele of the taprooms and breweries.


Cool Brews. Hot Eats. gives the local craft breweries a chance to showcase their styles, and livens up the restaurant industry in the dreariest month of winter.


“The relationship between beer and restaurants in West Michigan is pushing the limits,” states Edwards. “There’s nowhere to go but up.”


Across town, Aryana’s Restaurant and Lounge (found in the Crowne Plaza, 5700 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids) is participating in Cool Brews. Hot Eats. for the first time. Joseph Fragala, Director of Food and Beverage, states, “Restaurant Week was a huge success for us.” He hopes Cool Brews. Hot Eats. will entice people to come out during February.

aryanna food
Poached apple and rocket arugula


Fragala explains, “Being located in a hotel presents a challenge in some aspects, but it is also a wonderful location to showcase Grand Rapids upscale casual dining while highlighting the terrific numbers of Michigan craft beers to our visitors from out of town.” As with many local eateries, “farm to fork” local produce is a major part of their offerings for Beer Week.


Aryana, with Chef Andrew Sprite, is featuring these pairings:


Poached apple and rocket arugula, toasted pecans, braised beer, and local honey vinaigrette (paired with New Holland Monkey Kingdom (saison/farmhouse ale)

food at aryanna
Herb-marinated grilled duck breast


Herb-marinated grilled duck breast, Michigan IPA-Asiago risotto, and fresh steamed asparagus (paired with Frankenmuth Brewery Batch 69 IPA)


Dark chocolate flourless tart, flame-roasted orange coulis (paired with New Holland The Poet)

aryana dessert
Dark chocolate flourless tart


Whether you are in the mood for just appetizers or want to add an entrée or dessert, this is the week to explore what the Grand Rapids food industry has to offer. Each chef has spent hours to meticulously plan the blend of flavors and special ingredients to tempt your palate. With the craft beer and brewery explosion in West Michigan, no doubt you will find the perfect taste to compliment your meal.


Do your part. Get out, eat yourself silly and beat the blahs!

New ‘Inspired Hospitality’ Kitchen and Dining Experience Coming to Eccentric Café in 2015

The Eccentric Cafe is getting an overhaul
The Eccentric Cafe is getting a reboot

By: Josh Smith


Construction has recently begun on a brand new full service kitchen and dining room at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., in downtown Kalamazoo, adding about 130 seats.


The gastro pub style space will occupy more than 6,600 square feet of space that most recently served as storage and warehouse space to the east of the original Café.


This space was also part of Bell’s original brewery and well before that, a full service gas station.


“Our goal is to match and even enhance the high quality beer that is already being served with high quality food and service,” said Jason Reicherts, Director of Retail at Bell’s.

Eccentric Cafe


“We will be focusing on both the front and back house experience and with our Inspired Hospitality program, service will be a huge focus,” he said. “Our staff training program will feature an ever evolving and ongoing course of modules covering everything from the latest news in the craft beer industry to food and beer pairings,” Reicherts said.


The new menu will be a collaboration between kitchen management and the eccentric mind of Bell’s President and Founder, Larry Bell.


While still being developed, the new menu will feature fish and chips, fresh ground burgers (more than beef), fresh and unique salads, smoked meats, steamed mussels and eggs prepared in a variety of ways.


“We will try to source our ingredients locally whenever we can, but our focus will also be non-GMO and organic foods. Quality is the top priority, no matter where it comes from,” Reicherts said.


The new dining space will feature a gas fireplace along with an intricate mosaic tiled floor. The bar inside the original Café will also be expanded into space where the current 150 sq. ft. kitchen now resides, adding even more seating.


An employee area for the approximately 120 employees that work at the Café will also be part of this expansion. Adding additional parking options are also planned.


Local architect Nelson Nave, structural engineer Nehil-Sivak and construction company Maxwell & Associates are all working on the project.


Because of construction, brewery tours of Bell’s original brewery will not be offered on the weekends for the time being. Brewery tours in Comstock will be expanded however to Sundays at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. A third Saturday tour option has also been added (2 p.m.) in Comstock.


“There may be some minor inconveniences in the interim, but the end result will be more than worth it. We hope our customers will be patient with us as we work to bring them an even better experience here at the Eccentric Café,” Reicherts said.