Tag Archives: beer

Grand Rapids Brewsader Tour

1 Jan

It took me a while to getting around to writing this post – Hubby and I did our own Beer City Brewsader Tour of Grand Rapids, Michigan, over a weekend in the Fall. We mostly walked between breweries (gotta earn our beers!), with a couple of Uber rides thrown in. Since winter is a great time to hang out indoors while tasting craft beers, hopefully this post is still relevant.

Kick off the morning with brunch at Grand Rapids Brewing (1 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503). Have a pint, a beer sampler, or hit the Bloody Mary bar.


Hubby had the breakfast platter – it’s a good amount of food with eggs, a sausage, potatoes, and toast.

For smaller appetites (since you’ll have to pace your eating for the day), there are several brunch appetizers. I had a salad and a Scotch egg – I have a weak spot for Scotch eggs…The sausage was good, but the egg was fully cooked, without the soft-centered yolk I had hoped for.


Don’t forget to ask your server for a Brewsader passport – collect stamps at 8 or more participating Grand Rapids area breweries, then submit your “passport” to receive a free t-shirt (to advertise your love of alcohol, or you can use it as pajamas since it’s very comfy and soft). All of the breweries I mention here are part of the Brewsader program. And if you use the Untapped beer app on your phone, you’ll also get the Brewsader badge (more incentives to drink).

Just a couple doors down you’ll find HopCat ( 25 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503). Grab a seat at the bar for a drink or two. The beer list is great, the bartenders are fantastic, and so is the decor. 

If you need a break from beer, head to the Grand Rapids Downtown Market for a bite to eat – you’ll find soups, tacos, Thai food, pizza, and fantastic ice cream at Love’s. From there, it’s a 1 mile (20 minute) walk along Wealthy Street to ELK Brewing (700 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503). Though ELK’s brews weren’t really my style – I found the flavors too obvious and overpowering – there were a lot of local regulars who came in to refill their growlers.

Then it’s another 20 minute walk (or short cab ride) to Brewery Vivant (925 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506), a brewery in a former historical funeral home. Once inside, under the vaulted ceiling, you’ll feel as if you might be in a small Belgian town. My photos don’t do it justice.


I recommend trying the charcuterie plate at Brewery Vivant:


But save room for dinner, because you’ll want to head to Harmony Brewing Company (1551 Lake Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506) to enjoy some good beer, and some of the best pizza in town (I forgot to take photos because I was too busy devouring that  pizza!)

Finally, finish off the night at Founders Brewing Co. (235 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503), with its large beer hall, fantastic patio, and beer shop. 


Mitten Brewing
If you have room in your belly for one more brewery, kick off Day Two at Mitten Brewing Company (527 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504). It’s a bit further afield from the others, but it’s a cool place – in a restored Victorian-era firehouse, decorated with a baseball theme. This place is kid friendly – we saw many families enjoying pizza together. We opted to snack on the trout dip, which is absolutely delicious!!
Happy new year, and happy brewsading!!

Grand Rapids Brewing Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Brewery Vivant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

24 Hours in New York

9 Nov

Eat your way around Manhattan

pizza dough flavorKick off the day with dim sum at Red Egg in Chinatown. It’s comfortable and clean, though the decor hints at the restaurant’s alter ego as a lounge/nightclub when the sun goes down. We enjoyed a variety of yummy dumplings, Peking duck sliders, rice noodle rolls, and pan-fried turnip cakes.

Spend the afternoon shopping and wandering through the neighborhoods.  Stop by swanky kitchenware stores like Sur La Table – surely only a place like New York has a market for things like “pizza flavor”.

Surround yourself with delectable treats at Dean and DeLuca, like pastries and chocolate truffles, or gawk at impeccable cuts of meat and sashimi-grade fish.

breads at Dean & DeLuca

Stop by the Farmer’s Market at Union Square, take a studio tour (we checked out the NBC studios), visit a museum (I love the MoMA), or stroll along the Highline Park (free!)

Then, satisfy your dinnertime hunger at Bareburger (several locations). The burgers hover around $10 each, and there are tons of choices. You can also build your own, selecting from proteins ranging from the classic beef, to the more adventurous bison, elk, ostrich, or buttermilk fried chicken. Those with dietary restrictions will appreciate the vegetarian options as well as a gluten-free bun choice.

"Roadhouse" elk burger

“Roadhouse” elk burger

I ordered the Roadhouse burger with elk, cooked medium, on a brioche bun. I would definitely recommend it to anyone! The Roadhouse comes with pepper jack cheese, Haas avocado, roasted red peppers, grilled onions, bacon (which I omitted) and smoked paprika mayo. My boyfriend ordered the California burger with a classic beef patty.

Top off your burger with mustard and ketchup in cute bear squeeze bottles at each table. Fries are on the softer side but still yummy. As for the breaded onion rings, they aren’t kidding when they say “breaded” ! If you crossbreed an onion ring and a chicken strip, you might get something similar. The homemade lemonade is quite sweet but pairs well with the burgers.

"California" beef burger

“California” beef burger

Catch some stand-up comedy at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village. Afterwards, grab a drink at one of the many nearby bars. My guy and I went to Vol de Nuit (148 W 4th St  Manhattan, NY 10012), a hole in the wall spot specializing in Belgian beers. We walked by its gated entrance twice before realizing it was there. The gate leads to a walled, open-air patio with a few tables scattered about. A single unmarked door at the back of the patio leads into the dark bar. A few wooden high-tops line the wall opposite the bar. Though decor is scarce, the beer list makes up for it, and they did have my favourite beers on tap, including Chimay, Kriek, and (Pawtel Kwak), and served it in the proper, bulb-shaped glass.

For a late-night snack, grab a mini pie at Pie Face (several locations). The cherry pie is stuffed with cherries. All of them are decorated with cute smiley faces. Definitely take the pies home and warm them up before eating, as they don’t heat them up very much at the shop. Pie Face also offers large brownies, but mine are better. Finally, for those who prefer to drink their calories, consider getting a pie shake!


After a full day of eating, rub your belly and congratulate yourself on successful day!

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