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beer city runner

From bachelor and bachelorette party goers, to tourists, to brewery hoppers, to you name who—the Beer City Runner has driven them through and through. Beer City Runner started with a small mission—to bring people together for a night out to experience some of the best breweries in Grand Rapids. The BCR takes the questions, “How are we going to get home later? Where should we park? Who is staying sober? How far is the walk?” out of the equation.

Chris Myers, owner of BCR, always wanted to operate his own business. He just didn’t think a beer bus was going to be the way to go.

beer city runner

“The idea came to me one day and it made sense. It was completely out of the blue. My buddy and I were discussing checking out some breweries in town. We checked out an app that pinned on a map all the breweries in Grand Rapids. Seeing them all laid out, it was easy to see how simple a route could be,” stated Myers.

Running since September 2014, Hoptimus Prime (the name of the bus) has been the host to a lot of out-of-towners. Chris Schultz, from Chicago, found BCR on Google, finding it to be a great idea to check out a bunch of new places all at once for a bachelor party. Chris Preston, from Chicago as well, also found BCR on Google. His gravitation towards purchasing tickets were the unbeatable pricing of $15/person and the one hour time frame at each location.

The BCR has a predetermined route stopping at B.O.B.’s Brewery, Founders Brewing Company, Reservoir Lounge, HopCat/Grand Rapids Brewing Company, The Mitten/Long Road Distillers, Elk Brewing, and Brewery Vivant with precise times for pick ups and drop offs. If you miss the bus the first time around, have no fear, you can catch it when it comes back through an hour later.

“Chris was pretty flexible on stops and times, depending on what the other fares were doing. The best thing was the total number of places you could experience in an evening with relative ease and convenience,” stated Eric Vegter of Grand Rapids.

Currently, you can catch Hoptimus Prime every Friday evening and Saturday. Tickets can be purchased through their website, or you can catch it around town and purchase on the spot (however, people who purchase in advance will have precedence over those who did not.)

beer city runner

BCR is a flexible, enjoyable experience supporting our local beer scene. Heck, Hoptimus Prime itself exposed Chris to the wonderful beer scene our city has to offer and it can do the same for you too! The BCR holds a future full of more routes with breweries looking to open later this year. There is also discussion about starting a lakeshore route, with shuttle service from Grand Rapids to the lakeshore route and back.

Beer City Runner is the name and fun is the game.

 

Photography: Bri Luginbill

WMCFO

AUGUSTA – The days for golf in Michigan are numbered, but a local golf club and beer tour company are pairing up to make the most of them.

West Michigan Beer Tours and the Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort are hosting the first-ever West Michigan Craft Beer Open Oct. 16-18. The weekend will feature three days of golf, two nights spent in the resort, two separate beer tours covering six different breweries, and more.

Prospective attendees can look forward to enjoying the changing fall colors and a relaxing weekend of beer and golf. Attendees can choose which events they’d like to participate in, with ticket options starting at $54. For more information about participating breweries and the schedule of events, visit the West Michigan Beer Tours website.

GRAND RAPIDS – Grand Rapids Beer Tours is once again offering outings combining beer and art for the city’s ArtPrize event.

Since beginning operations in June 2014, they’ve been giving locals and visitors a way to experience Beer City’s lively craft beverage scene with a personal aspect.

Brian Haik, Owner and Tour Guide, is a born and raised Grand Rapidian. He attended Grand Valley State University with the intention of becoming a history teacher, but decided that teaching people about the history of beer was a more desirable ambition.

Danielle Haik, Brian’s wife, helps run the walking tours. They have three additional tour guides and drivers to handle the burgeoning business.

This is the second year they’re scheduling ArtPrize tours. They begin with a walking tour taking place on the first day of the competition, Wednesday, September 23rd, from 3pm to 6pm.

“The walking tour has you going to four venues this year—Founders, HopCat, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, and BOB’s Brewery,” said Brian Haik.

“The driving tour goes to Founders, Mitten Brewing Company off of Leonard and then Grand Rapids brewing Company,” he added.

If you’re contemplating joining them on one of their popular tours, you’ll need to make your reservation soon. Spaces are limited and many tour sessions are already booked solid.

“There are a lot of extra people in town who want to drink beer and who want to do ArtPrize,” said Haik.

Grand Rapids Beer Tours specializes in providing an intimate experience.

“It’s not like a giant party bus,— we’re not like some companies where their specialty is just transportation. Our specialty is taking people to places and experiencing the breweries. We prefer to keep it smaller, that’s why we have a fifteen-passenger van.”

People appreciate having a responsible driver for a day of drinking with friends.

“On a four hour driving tour, for example, samples equal about a pitcher of beer per person. That’s a good amount, and they don’t have to worry about driving at all!” he said.

“What separates us is we educate people on the tours. It’s not going to be a booze cruise,” said Haik. “You’re going to be learning about the breweries you go to, learning about the beers, and you’ll get a behind-the-scenes brewery tour at one of the stops.”

“I’m passionate about what I do. I have love for the culture and Grand Rapids, it’s my home,” he added.

Future plans include tours to areas of the lakeshore from Saugatuck to Traverse City. They’re entertaining the idea of doing a cider tour, and possibly a gluten-free tour that includes mead if there’s enough interest to support it.

Private tours are available in addition to public tours shown online.

“Sixty to seventy percent of our tours are private tours. Bachelor parties, bachelorette parties, birthday parties, business groups,” said Haik. “We’ve had people from pretty much every continent already. From China, Guatemala, Central and South America, Australia, New Zealand, all over the whole world really.”

They’re capable of filling a gap in public transportation, sometimes driving from the city to the lake shore to pick up a tour group for a day of brewery-hopping. They can also offer hotel pickup and drop off in many places, ask for availability when you book your tour.