Beer City Brewers Guild announces “Brews at the Calder” beer festival
The festival will feature beer from more than 30 Grand Rapids breweries
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (September 15, 2021) — After a year of enduring pandemic hardships, the Beer City Brewers Guild plans to bounce back with a festival that celebrates Grand Rapids’ craft beer industry in full. On Saturday October 2—the last weekend of Art Prize—the guild will host “Brews at the Calder” from 4 to 8pm at the namesake Calder Plaza.
This year’s lineup showcases the largest collection of breweries yet with more than thirty participants bringing a lot of awesome beer. Perhaps most notably, the entrance fee will be free to the public. Guests can purchase drink tickets on site for beer but they aren’t required to enjoy the festivities. Chad Atherton, event chair of the Beer City Brewers Guild, believes that removing the paywall will help weave Grand Rapids’ beer scene into the fabric of the city at large.
“This pivot to more of a community based event promotes a different kind of atmosphere,” Atherton said. “While our spotlight is on beer, we hope to broaden our appeal to a larger audience than just “Beer City” enthusiasts,” Atherton said.
The Pro-Am tent featuring beers brewed for the Pro-Am competition should provide another draw for the festival. Now in its fourth year, the guild’s Pro-Am competition has grown into an annual staple that pairs decorated homebrewers with commercial brewers to brew a unique batch of beer.
“It’s a great opportunity for homebrewers to expose their talents while promoting a culture of fellowship around beer,” Atherton said.
Nick Rodammer, head of the Pro-Am committee and participant in the Pro-Am competition, also sees the value in fostering this relationship between these two brewing sectors.
“Homebrewing culture was the starting point for a good portion of commercial brewers in Grand Rapids,” Rodammer said. “It’s amazing to see how the two worlds continue to inspire each other.” This intersection between hobbyists and careerists has produced fruitful collaborations in years past, and while commercial success isn’t necessarily the goal, many of these original recipes end up becoming fan favorites and see returns to draft lists.
Local tap takeovers are planned for most of the Pro-Am competition beers. Look for events at Horrocks Market Tavern, 7 Monks, and both Grand Rapids’ Hopcat locations.
Ultimately, “Brews at the Calder” gives Grand Rapidians a reason to rally around an industry that’s helped put our city on the map. With all these moving parts set to the backdrop of the iconic La Grand Vitesse, “Brews at the Calder” represents a real display of Grand Rapids pride.
“Bringing it back downtown takes this to the next level,” Rodammer said. “It’s come full circle and gives a lot of visibility to this signature event for the guild.”
Tasting tickets will be $2 each and sold in bundles of 10. 10 oz pours will be available for 2-3 tickets each.
3 Gatos Brewery
AleBird Brewery &
Archival Brewing C
Arvon Brewing Co.
Atwater Brewing GR
Big Boiler Brewing
Brick Haus Brews
Broad Leaf Local Beer
City Built Brewing Co
Founders Brewing Co
Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery
Grand Rapids Brewing Co.
Harmony Brewing Company
Perrin Brewing Company
Pike 51 Brewing Co.
Railtown Brewing Co.
Rockford Brewing Co.
Speciation Artisan Ales
The Mitten Brewing Co.
Third Nature Brewing
Thornapple Brewing Co.
Trail Point Brewing Company
White Flame Brewing Co
BEER CITY BREWERS GUILD ANNOUNCES FIRST-EVER “BREWS IN THE GROVE” BEER FESTIVAL
The festival will feature new and exclusive beer selections from more than 20 Grand Rapids breweries
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (Sept 15, 2020)— The Beer City Brewers Guild has announced it will host a new beer festival celebrating the craft brewing community of Grand Rapids this fall. “Brews in the Grove” will take place on Saturday, October 19 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Riverside Park in Ballpark 4. The festival will feature never-before-tasted offerings from a diverse selection of breweries.
“This will not be a fest filled with beers from our regular beer lineups,” said Mitch Ermatinger, vice president of the guild and co-owner of Speciation Artisan Ales.
The Beer City Brewers Guild is a group of Grand Rapids brewers working in collaboration with beer-centric businesses to celebrate, promote and raise awareness for the craft brewing culture of Grand Rapids.
For the last three years, the guild has hosted a Pro-Am competition, which pairs local award-winning homebrewers with microbreweries to craft unique recipes. Entries in the 2019 Pro-Am competition will be available to taste at the festival.
“These are all one-off beers, but many of them become so popular that they make it into regular lineups for breweries,” Ermatinger said.
The winner of the 2019 Pro-Am competition will be announced at the festival.
Over 20 Grand Rapids breweries will be represented at “Brews in the Grove,” and each participating brewery will have at least one new beer made especially for the festival on tap.
“We are requiring every brewery to debut a new beer at this fest,” Ermatinger said. “That can be either a one-off keg, or a whole new brand or batch of beer.”
Unlike many beer festivals, which are often hosted by third parties, “Brews in the Grove” will be hosted by the brewers of Grand Rapids.
“The sole purpose of this festival is to celebrate and promote beer made in Grand Rapids, so the brewers of GR are coming together to throw a unique event,” Ermatinger said.
Tickets to the festival are $45 each and include 10 tokens. Each token purchases one 3-ounce sample of any beer at the festival. Additional tokens will be available for purchase for $1 each. Tickets will available to purchase on Eventbrite.
The festival promises to be a celebration of the one-of-a-kind craft beer community that has earned Grand Rapids nationwide recognition.
“I’m excited to have one event for the brewers and beer fans of Grand Rapids to come together and show the world why we are consistently named in publications as being one of the best beer cities in the country!” Ermatinger said.
2018 Beer City Pro-Am Results!
The 2nd annual edition of the Beer City Pro-Am concluded this past Saturday with the competition’s judging and awards ceremony, which coincided with the Beer City Brewers Guild Summer Picnic at Townsend Park in Cannonsburg.
This year’s event paired 25 breweries from the Beer City Brewers Guild with 25 local homebrewers who qualified for the event by scoring highly in local homebrewing competitions over the past year. This year’s winning entry came from the team of Founders Brewing Co. and Trevor Hawkins, who paired up to brew Scorpion Pale Ale, an American Pale Ale featuring Citra hops and Habenero peppers.
This year’s runner up was Final Pairing, a blended barrel aged stout made by the team of New Holland Brewing – The Knickerbocker and Paul Arends, who nearly repeated as winner after partnering with last year’s winner, City Built Brewing Co. 3rd place went to The Mitten Brewing Co. & Ken Pitchford, for Called Up, a Session Black IPA. (see below for details on all entries!)
Beers were judged based on the Brewers Association style guidelines by a panel of local beer experts. Pro-Am chairperson Nick Rodammer noted that the beers entered this year were not only diverse and creative, but were also very high quality.
“Selecting the finalists and the eventual winner this year was no easy task, as there were numerous entries that scored very highly, which is indicative of just how well made these collaborations were. This year’s event really showed the best of what Beer City’s brewers are capable of, both pro and amateur.”
By virtue of winning, Founders will take possession of the Beer City Cup, the competition’s traveling trophy, from City Built Brewing Co., the winner of the inaugural event in 2017.
The third rendition of the Beer City Pro-Am will kick off in early spring of 2019 with the announcement of the teams of breweries and homebrewers who will begin the months-long process of collaborating and brewing their entries for release and judging in the summer of 2019. Local homebrewers who live within the geographic footprint of the Beer City Brewers Guild who are interested in participating, still have chances to qualify for next year’s event, via either the O’Connors Homebrew Supply Competition taking place in September, or for members of local American Homebrew Association registered clubs, via the Beer City Club Competition this coming fall.
Beer City Brewers and Homebrewers Reconvene for the 2nd Annual Pro-Am Homebrew Championship
Area breweries are teaming up with local award-winning homebrewers to take part in the annual Beer City Pro-Am, collaborating on the creation and brewing of original recipes which will go on tap in their respective breweries, releasing July 30th through August 3rd at the respective locations.
Horrocks Market Tavern will be holding a tap-takeover on August 3rd from 5-8pm. Come on by and bring some friends to sample these creations and give you opinions! Horrocks Market is located at 4455 Breton Rd. SE in Kentwood, MI 49508.
Logan’s Alley will also be hosting a tap takeover on August 10th for the whole day from 7am until they close at 2am. Logan’s Alley is located at 916 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.
Below is the official list of all entries for the competition. Cheers!
- 5 Lakes Brewing Co. w/ Jim Verlinde
- Space Force – Pale Ale
- Atwater Brewing Co. GR w/ Nick Rodammer
- Callista – Dry-hopped Imperial Pilsner
- Bier Distillery w/ Chad Zomerlei
- Chocolate Cherry Porter – American-style Fruit Beer
- BOB’s Brewery w/ Andrew Perry
- MI All in All – All Michigan Sourced Steam Beer
- Big Boiler Brewing Co. w/ Ryan Falk
- Ryetooka – Session Rye IPA
- Brewery Vivant w/ Phil & Liz Pierce
- Cherry Street – Cherry Saison
- Cellar Brewing Co. w/ Mike Finocchio
- Eiken Kers Dubbel – Oak-aged Belgian Dubbel with Tart Cherries
- City Built Brewing Co. w/ Andrew Brouwers
- Hazy as Helles – Dry-hopped Helles Lager
- Founders Brewing Co. w/Trevor Hawkins
- Scorpion Pale Ale – Habenero Pale Ale
- Grand Rapids Brewing Co. w/ Jesse Colclasure
- Loral & Victoria’s Secret Galaxy – India Pale Lager
- Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply w/ Steve Morren
- Taco Buddy – Spiced Lager
- Harmony Brewing Co. Eastown w/ Craig Folger
- Folger’s Belgian IPA – Belgian IPA
- Harmony Hall w/ James Lewis
- Hefe Lewis & The News – Hefeweizen
- HopCat w/ Kathy Troxell
- Orange-Gasm – Kviek Cream Ale w/ Orange & Vanilla
- Mitten Brewing Co. w/ Ken Pitchford
- Called Up – Session Black IPA
- New Holland Brewing – The Knickerbocker w/ Paul Arends
- Final Pairing – Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
- New Union Brewery w/ John Britt
- Saison du Vin – Dry-hopped Rye Saison aged in Chardonnay Barrels
- Osgood Brewing w/ George Lawlor
- Wicked Citra – New England IPA
- Pike 51 Brewing Co. w/ Jeff Carlson
- Beer City EXTRA Special Bitter – ESB
- Railtown Brewing Co. w/ Mark Staves
- Blackberry Saison – Saison
- Rockford Brewing Co. w/ Stan Strait
- Atomic Tangerine – Belgian Witbier w/ Tangerines
- Speciation Artisan Ales w/ Mark Hofman
- Cucumosis – Tart Saison w/ Cucumber, Pineapple & Sea Salt
- Thornapple Brewing Co. w/ Frank Landgraff
- Frank-N-Bier – Belgian Golden Strong Ale
- Two Guys Brewing w/ Jim March
- Green Cottage – American Pale Ale
- White Flame Brewing Co. w/ Lou Fischer
- Count Chagula – Brown Ale w/ Chaga Mushrooms & Cacao Nibs