An ample supply of fresh spring water helped Grand Rapids, MI, become one of the midwest’s best-known beer cities in the early 1900s. Prohibition ended brewing here until the recent rise in popularity of craft beer. Today, there are more than 15 breweries in Grand Rapids and the surrounding area, quenching the thirst residents have for premium, sophisticated brews over mass-produced domestic beers. What makes living in Grand Rapids (one of our 2015 Best Places to Live) even better for beer lovers is that they’re less than an hour away from Kalamazoo, which made our list of Best Beer Cities in 2011.
Beer critics near and far continually point to Founders Brewing Co. as being one of the best breweries in the country. Some say the world. Founders, established in 1997, produces complex, bold beers with heavy aromatics and strong flavors. Brewery Vivant creates high-octane Belgium brews that pair wonderfully with the artisanal cheeses, lamb shank and other grub served at this pub, which resembles a monastery. Mitten Brewing Co. and Harmony Brewing Co. represent the smaller up-and-coming breweries that seem to keep popping up in and around Grand Rapids. Thanks to brewers who aren’t afraid to venture into uncharted waters, these breweries have experienced tremendous growth in the two years they’ve been in business. Many stores sell craft beer in Grand Rapids, including Siciliano’s Market, which sells beer by the bottle and carries all supplies and ingredients for home brewing.