kalamazoo beer week

Breweries, bars, restaurants and other venues will provide unique programming all week


KALAMAZOO, MI – The first community in Michigan to host a “Beer Week” celebrating its craft beer culture will toast to a decade in January. 

Kalamazoo Beer Week will be held Jan. 11-18 with a variety of new and unique events as well as some fan favorites for the beer-loving traveler and local alike. The week-long program will feature new beer releases, food pairings, meet-and-greet opportunities, behind-the-scene glimpses, recreational activities and more. 

“For the past ten years, we have seen significant growth in the craft beer industry throughout the Kalamazoo region. From support of the annual celebration of Kalamazoo Beer Week to the launch of the Give-A-Craft ® Beer Trail, Discover Kalamazoo has invested in the promotion of craft beer as one of many reasons to discover Kalamazoo,” Discover Kalamazoo President and CEO Greg Ayers said. “We are excited to be the presenting sponsor of this annual event.” 

One of the other highlights of this year’s events will be the introduction of a digital presentation of Discover Kalamazoo’s popular “Give A Craft® Beer Trail” program where visitors receive a reward for visiting at local breweries. Launched to coincide with Beer Week, the digital passport will allow visitors to check in on their mobile devices to receive the reward. 

Discover Kalamazoo took over management of the event from Imperial Beverage in recent years and continues to promote the events around the region. Among the more popular events offered at Kalamazoo Beer Week are: Bell’s Brewery’s Snow Jog; Tibbs Brewing Co.’s CANtucky Derby; Beer vs. Wine battles, beer dinners, specialty tappings and many others. 

Kalamazoo Beer Week was imported here by local distributor Imperial Beverage in 2011 and inspired by a similar concept held in Philadelphia. Imperial Beverage, fronted by the Cekola family, had been named Craft Beer Distributor of the Year by the Brewers Association in 2010 and decided a “Beer Week” would be an appropriate way to celebrate the title. 

The annual event expanded after 2011 to include more area distributors and local breweries, as well as nontraditional venues. Other communities around the state have replicated the program. In previous years, Kalamazoo Beer Week featured more than 250 events.


belgian beer week

WESTLAND, Mich. – The seventh annual North American Belgian Beer Festival (NABBF), the largest exclusively Belgian-made beer festival in the US, leads off a new national Belgian Beer Week. The event, sponsored by the Consulate General of Belgium/Flanders Investment and Trade and major importers, will be held near Westland Shopping Center. This year there will be two sessions; one on Friday July 14 and a second session Saturday July 15.

This year’s event will have its largest contingent of brewers in from Belgium to the US at one place and time. “One would have to go to Belgium to meet this many Belgian brewers and even then it would be hard to talk with so many,” said the Festival’s Michigan-based organizer Roy More. Belgian beer experts will be on hand representing over forty Belgian craft breweries to discuss the 160 beers being offered. “This event is for those who care about what they drink and want to learn or to learn more about some of the best beers in the world,” said More.

Belgium is recognized by many experts as one of the world’s top beer nations, with Belgian brewers creating more recognized styles of beer per capita than any other country. The Michigan festival is the start of a national Belgian Beer Week. After Michigan’s group gathering, brewers individually will fan out across the country for other showcase events from California to New York, from Texas to Vermont. “The U.S. Belgian Beer Week aims to garner appreciation for arguably the best brewers in the world. These are the original, authentic craft brewers who started brewing beer generations ago for their village, and today export their brews to countries all over the world. One week of recognition for these pioneers in brewing is a long time coming here in the U.S.” – Steve Villani President, Global Beer Network

Tickets and more Festival information are available online.

About Consulate General of Belgium/Flanders Investment and Trade

Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) promotes international enterprise in Flanders in a sustainable way as a key factor in the social and economic development of the region. FIT does so by supporting the international activities of Flemish companies and by attracting foreign investors to Flanders.



beer month gr

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Experience Grand Rapids announces Beer Month GR: Savor the Craft, February 15-March 15, 2017, a month-long celebration of Grand Rapid’s exceptional craft breweries. Highlights include Cool Brews. Hot Eats., the collaborative event that blends craft beer and fantastic food, the 12th Annual Winter Beer Festival, KBS Week and numerous beer dinners and tap takeovers at Grand Rapids craft breweries.

Throughout Beer Month GR, over 50 area restaurants and breweries will participate in Cool Brews. Hot Eats. The collaborative event will now run from February 15 through March 15, as local chefs and brew masters offer beer-infused dishes and meals with complementary beer pairings.

Beer Month GR also includes the 2017 Winter Beer Festival, February 24 and 25, featuring more than 100 Michigan breweries and approximately 1,000 different craft beers. Tickets for Friday, February 24 are still available and can be purchased online.  Also included in Beer Week GR is the highly anticipated KBS Week, hosted by Founders Brewing Company.

Experience Grand Rapids continues to offer the Beer City Brewsader Passport, featuring exclusive deals to Ultimate Brewsaders throughout Beer Month GR. Ultimate Brewsaders are individuals who have collected every stamp in their passport.  

To schedule a Beer City hotel package, visit here.

TC Beer Week

traverse city beer weekMany cities have their own beer weeks which highlight the best of the local craft beer scene. Traverse City Beer Week, held every November, does just that with its own twist. Traverse City has made its mark on the beer map with over a dozen breweries, hundreds of acres of hops, and one of the top 100 beer bars in the country: there’s plenty to celebrate.
This will be the fourth year for Traverse City Beer Week (TCBW), and events will take place from November 11 through November 17. Every year, Imperial Beverage coordinates with breweries, restaurants, and other distributors to highlight the area’s booming beer scene. A wide variety of events take place throughout the week, offering something for everyone.

And, as the beer scene has evolved in Traverse City, so too has TCBW. Some traditions have held strong, like the Short’s Pub Crawl, while venues like 7 Monks, Little Fleet, and Right Brain Brewery get more creative every year.

“We aim to exceed expectations, have fun, and be adventurous,” said Matthew Blanchfield from Imperial Beverage.

traverse city beer weekTraverse City Beer Week has a local focus, but is not just designed for locals. It can be a great week to travel to Traverse City, which is known to be quite busy in the summer time. By November, festivals have slowed down, the weather has cooled, and the tourists have left.

“Fall and beer just go together,” added Coryn Briggs, Digital Marketing & Design Specialist for Traverse City Tourism.

If you’re looking to partake in Traverse City Beer Week, there are a number of ways to enjoy it. TCBW works nicely around any budget and any schedule. Most events are free to attend (with the exception of cost of beer/food) and happen throughout the day.

traverse city beer weekIf you’re from the area, simply attend an event or two after work or stop in to your favorite bottle shop for a beer tasting.  This is a good way to explore new places and brews, as well as experience some of your favorites in new ways.

If you’re from out of town, it’s easy to find a fun place to stay for the weekend. Many area hotels offer special “Fall Fab” packages through the season and still have availability for beer week. If you cannot commit to the entire weekend, beer week is a great reason to take a day trip up north. For instance, you could run (or walk) in the Great Beerd Run in the morning, and then enjoy a nice beer pairing in the evening.

The luxury of Traverse City Beer Week is that there’s more than enough going on to keep everyone busy, but there’s no major commitment to make and each person’s experience can vary.

“It’s good for any type of drinker: we offer everything from casual beer tastings where you can grab a six-pack and go, to five course beer pairing dinners,” said Briggs.

Events to consider:

Short’s Pub Crawl

If you know Short’s, you know it does things a little differently. This rings true for the pub crawl the Short’s crew puts on every year to kick things off on Friday night.

“We try to coordinate a different Short’s beer at each stop,” said Matt Blanchfield from Imperial Beverage.

At the start of the crawl, each participant gets a punch card and then can “choose their own adventure.”

“There’s no set timeline, so you can go on your own. It keeps things busy and staggered throughout the night. And once you get five to six punches, you get a t-shirt,” said Rachel Payne, Short’s Northern Michigan Beer Liberator..

The Short’s crew is usually on site to help direct the crawl, but people travel in all directions along the route. Tip: Start at the opposite end to avoid large crowds.

Guided Beer Tastings

“These are a good way to try something new. And the brewery rep is usually on hand to answer questions,” said Payne.

Guided tastings take place throughout the week, are free, and happen in a variety of locations. These work well if you’re looking for a free and/or quick event. These events work well for a quick stop after work or before eating dinner at a downtown restaurant.

Great Beerd Run

Are you a runner who also enjoys beer? The Great Beerd Run just might be for you. This 5k race is held at the Grand Traverse Resort, features local craft breweries, and fun swag.

traverse city beer week

“There are beer samples at each mile marker and a gathering after,” said Payne.

This year, the race will be on Saturday November 12. Visit to register.

North Versus South Beer Pairing

Another event held at the Grand Traverse Resort, the North vs. South pairing is a more formal event for TCBW.

“Last year, similar style beers from Short’s and Atwater were paired with dishes coordinated by the Aerie chefs,” explained Blanchfield.

This event, and other formal beer dinners, may require the purchase of a ticket.

Tap Takeovers and Beer Pairings

traverse city beer weekRestaurants and taprooms throughout downtown hold their own events throughout the week.
Takeovers feature not only local breweries, but also
Michigan favorites and other well-known breweries throughout the country. Pairings often combine beer and unique food options: tacos, desserts, cheese, etc.

There are a wide array of other options as well. As events are planned, they will be added to the
Traverse City Beer Week website. Traverse City Beer Week information and highlights can also be found on their Facebook page or by following #HoppyinTC.  



Sponsored by Traverse City Tourism

Photography courtesy Traverse City Tourism

GRAND RAPIDS–Any restaurant engaged in the annual Cool Brews. Hot Eats. has an appetite for enhancing beer culture. Though beer has been paired with food for a long time, there are still folks out there who are newcomers to the concept. Thankfully they can experience this phenomenon at 51 different locations throughout Grand Rapids from February 17-28th.

cool brews hot eatsExperience GR is working with the area’s restaurants to create these unique beer and food pairing deals and centering the week and a half long event around the annual Winter Beer Festival.

I’ve taken some time to look through the pairing options that we have coming up for Cool Brews. Hot Eats. I was pleased to see a range of subtle uses of beer as a cooking medium, all the way to creative collaborations of pairing a specific glass of Michigan beer with either a lunch or dinner plate.  

While digging through the various restaurant offerings, I found out that everyone is obsessed with cheese. Go figure. Beer and cheese will forever be the ultimate pairing, so venues have decided to play up this known fact by offering selections such as the Beer Cheese Soup at Tom and Chee’s ($3.50/Cup, $5/Bowl), which is made with a Five Cheese Blend and New Holland Brewing Company’s Sundog Amber Ale. Aperitivo is offering The Meltdown, their ever-changing fancy grilled cheese paired with beer. They’ll create your special pairing AND you’ll get $2 off if you order both.

If you’re excited to gorge on meat and beer, don’t you worry. Cool Brews. Hot Eats. restaurant participants knew you’d crave it, and there is no shortage of deliciousness like pot roast and pork belly being offered. For instance — Ramona’s Table is serving up an Atwater Vanilla Java Pot Roast Sandwich plus a side dish ($9.99). The sandwich is made of Vanilla Java Porter Simmered Pot Roast served on a Grilled Pretzel Bun with Haystack Onions and is sure to stick to those ribs to keep you warm for excursions such as the Winter Beer Festival.

Looking for a fresh catch instead? Check out The Heritage at Grand Rapids Community College to educate your palate with their Dark Mahogany Shrimp Etouffee made with Founders Porter ($14.50). It’s sure to make for a satisfying lunch. Osteria Rossa also collected their ingredients from the sea with their Cioppino. Made with Brewery Vivant’s Farmhand, their Cioppino consists of P.E.I. mussels, Tomato Broth, Manilla Clams, Italian sausage, Potatoes, and Fennel. It sounds oh so fresh — yet hearty.

The beer selections themselves caught my eye most of all. Founders Brewing Company is forever present with their Porter, Dirty Bastard and All Day IPA (among others of course), but Atwater’s Vanilla Java Porter and New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk made an appearance on almost every other menu I saw.

Though these giants in the Michigan beer scene are prevalent, it was wonderful to see lesser known items pop up such as the Odd Side Ales Troll Toll IPA that will be used at the Black Heron for their Troll Toll Risotto and Łosoś ($22). This Parmesan and Lemon Risotto made with Odd Side Ales Troll Toll IPA comes with a Salmon Steak topped with a Cherry and Thyme Chutney. It will turn quite a few heads I’m sure.

Thought that you were all done with your beer pairings because you’ve moved onto dessert? Think again. Pairing beer with dessert is a special sort of perfection in life, and sure enough there are several venues that will indeed be proving this to you. CitySen Lounge anyone? Take a walk into the CityFlats Hotel and visit the Lounge so you can test out their pairing of Bell’s Double Cream Stout with their Peanut Butter Double Cream Stout Brownies that comes with Sticky Plum Jam and White Chocolate ($6). Decadence without a doubt.

With 51 restaurants, breweries, and brewpubs participating, be sure to visit as many venues as you can to get in on these great deals and personal approaches to pairing the fine suds of Michigan with a meal. The lessons gained can only comfort the residents and guests who lovingly call Grand Rapids, Beer City USA.


kalamazoo beer week

As the new year begins, Kalamazoo likes to start it off right by hosting the annual Kalamazoo Beer Week.  During the middle of January, Kalamazoo invites locals and visitors to come and celebrate their appreciation for craft beer. Local restaurants and breweries have come together to create a weeklong series of events that promotes different craft beers from Michigan and other states through dinners, tap takeovers, and lively events held all around Kalamazoo. Some events provide their guests opportunities to dine with local brewers over a dinner designed to be paired with their beer. Other events offer the chance to challenge a brewer to a Mario Kart race while sipping on their KBW specialty beer on tap.

This year Kalamazoo has selected to host KBW from January 16 – January 23. Local breweries started the week off with several release partys and tastings around the area. All week long, Gonzo’s Biggdogg Brewing will be serving KBW limited release beers on tap and ending it with a barrel aged beer week finale that will include five barrel aged beers.

Both Brite Eyes Brewing Co. and Tibb’s Brewing Company have teamed up with local beer enthusiasts, the Malt Mavens, to brew special beers for KBW. Brite Eyes will be serving their collaboration, a Spiced Rye Stout, on tap starting January 20 while Tibb’s will tap their Beardless Blonde Ale on January 22.

Bell’s Brewery is partnering with Louie’s Trophy House on January 21 to host “Beat the Brewer at the Putting Green.” Louie’s invites KBW partygoers to come and enjoy some Bell’s beer while challenging a Bell’s Brewer on the green.

Towards the end of the week, Kalamazoo Beer Exchange will be hosting a never-before-seen Total Tap Takeover of Hop Head Farms on Friday January 22. They will be serving twenty-eight local beers brewed with hops from the local Hop Head Farms.

Even though these events are only a select few of all the ones KBW has to offer, they are great examples of how Kalamazoo has set out to help attendees create a relationship with craft beer.

If you are interested in the events KBW has to offer this year, check out the events page on their website.