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.
“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.)
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