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Asheville beer reviewer tours Grand Rapids beer scene

Local beer reviewer Ben Darcie led Asheville beer reviewer Adam Reinke on a tour visiting microbreweries in and surrounding Grand Rapids for a day.
Ben Darcie (left) and Adam Reinke (right) clink glasses before starting the first drinks of the tour.

Ben Darcie (left) and Adam Reinke (right) clink glasses before starting the first drinks of the tour. /Ryan Hagerman

Underwriting support from:
Two flights of samples at Perrin Brewing Co.

Two flights of samples at Perrin Brewing Co. /Ryan Hagerman

Adam Reinke picks what to order at Harmony Brewing.

Adam Reinke picks what to order at Harmony Brewing. /Ryan Hagerman

Recently, local beer reviewer Ben Darcie introduced Adam Reinke, “beer ambassador” of Asheville, North Carolina, to the local microbrews of Grand Rapids. The two cities had tied for the title of “Beer City, USA,” in a recent Examiner poll. The tour went to eight breweries over the course of 13 hours.

The tour helped Reinke see the Grand Rapids beer scene and taste its brews.

“The purpose of the tour was to give Adam the best possible experience of our beer culture,” says Darcie. “Not only get to taste the beer, but meet the owners. Meet the brewers. Meet the hands and faces that make our beer scene so great.”

Reinke’s tour was also a chance for the two beer cities to connect.

“I decided to visit Grand Rapids beer scene… after Grand Rapids tied Asheville in the Beer City USA poll earlier this year,” he says. “After mentioning the trip to some of the Asheville Brewer’s Alliance breweries I was given a bunch of beer to share and the unofficial title of Asheville Beer ambassador.”

The day before the tour, Reinke had a peek downtown at HopCat, The B.O.B., and the newly opened Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

The official tour began in Comstock Park at Perrin Brewing. There they had burgers and beer samples before going on a tour around the brewery.

“I took a recommendation from the bar manager and tried a flight of samples, most enjoyable was the Bourbon Barrel Brown and Kona Brown,” he says. “The bourbon and the coffee were both well balanced.”

After touring the brewery, the group stopped at Hideout Brewing Company before heading to Hudsonville to check out Pike 51 Brewing and White Flame Brewing Company.

“As a part of the tour, I made sure to include the breweries on the outskirts of the city,” Darcie says. “Sure, Perrin, White Flame and Pike aren't ‘Grand Rapids’ breweries, but they sure do play a vital part in our craft beer scene, which is exactly why I wanted to include them. This tour was more focused on our craft beer scene than our craft beer city.”

They arrived back in Grand Rapids to see Harmony Brewing Company in Eastown where they enjoyed pizza and breadsticks for dinner. They moved on to Brewery Vivant in East Hills and ended the tour downtown at Founders.

“Founders continues to focus on high quality and depth of flavor, which is shown in every beer," Reinke says. “[Most] memorable beer: Bolt Cutter- wow.”

“We ended our night at Founders Brewing Company to see special-occasion band Oracle, and spent the end of our tour sitting at the bar at Founders, the perfect way to end the night,” Darcie says.

“My overall experience was great,” Reinke says. “The beer, the food, the varying atmosphere and ‘vibe’ of each place made for an amazing experience.”

“The most amazing part was the people I met who make the great community of Grand Rapids Beer,” he continues. “Each brewery and their beer tell a different story: from the smallest of brewhouses tucked in the back of a kitchen to a towering million dollar investment.”

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