By Chris Siciliano
Voting begins today in the Charlie Papazian-run American Idol-like "Beer City USA", a contest in which loyal beer fans from across the country are asked to choose, solely on the basis of suds, the one city in our great nation that dominates the rest.
This year Grand Rapids joins 30 other contenders on a ballot which includes perennial beer powerhouses such as Portland and San Diego, San Francisco and Chicago. There's no question GR deserves recognition, but do we deserve to win? I contend we do, and here's a list of the reasons why.
- Founders Brewing Co.
- Brewery Vivant
- The fact that beneath Grand Rapids there exists a system of old gypsum mines in which area breweries are storing/aging incredible beers, like Founders KBS. (What other city can boast that?)
- Logan's Alley
- Siciliano's Market and the other great beer stores to which we tip our cap (GB Russo's, International, Martha's, et al)
- Mitten Brewing Co.
- Harmony Brewing Co.
- Perrin Brewing Co.
- The Hideout Brewing Co.
- Graydon's Crossing
- The Meanwhile Bar
- The Pyramid Scheme
- Grand Rapids Brewing Co.
- B.O.B.'s Brewery
- Michigan Beer Cellar (Sparta is close enough)
- White Flame Brewing Co. (Hudsonville is close enough)
- Pike 51 Brewing Co. (Like I say, Hudsonville is close enough)
- Rockford Brewing Co. (Rockford is close enough)
- Jaden James Brewing Co.
- Schmohz Brewing Co.
- High Five Co-Op Brewery
- The fact that GR is in close geographical proximity to an array of a pretty incredible West Michigan breweries including Bells, New Holland, The Walldorff, Dark Horse, Arcadia Brewing, Odd Side, Old Boys, Saugatuck Brewing Co., Vander Mill, Jamesport, Crankers, Mt. Pleasant Brewing Co. and so on.
- The Michigan Winter Beer Festival at 5/3 Park.
- The Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Festival
- The Elk Brewing Co.
- A terrific homebrew scene that includes several clubs, contests, and events like this one.
- Siciliano's Market and other area homebrew shops to which we tip our cap (Pauly's, O'Connors, et al).
- Founders Fest
- Fox Brew Ha Ha
- The thousands of die-hard fans who vehemently support, defend, and make possible the vibrant craft beer scene in Grand Rapids, MI.
Did I forget anything? Let me know by including the breweries/bars/events I missed in the comments section below. And remember, vote GR as Beer City USA!