Dan VanderKooi

Dan VanderKooi

Dan VK has been following the Michigan Craft Beer scene since before Oberon has been available in 6-packs. Besides making the rounds at all the local craft breweries and beer bars, Dan also supports the local music scene, reads crime fiction, and enjoys playing volleyball with his wife and friends.

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vander-mill-festival-recap-2015

This year’s sold out Vander Fest featured a reconfigured layout from prior years. Gone was the “beer tent” aspect with a more open design putting added emphasis on the food and live music. In addition to the great beer and cider, the new layout benefited early attendees the most as this year’s incredible tap lineup of beer and cider saw some of Vander Mill’s longest lines as this year’s fest progressed into the evening hours. This year’s fest featured one of the most impressive tap lists yet and proved to be worthy of the longer waits. Also new this year was a tented VIP section which featured food, service, and great seats for the live music.

fly-the-cog-fall-2015 

Every spring bicyclists gather at Rockford Brewing Co. and embark on the almost 15 mile group ride to Brewery Vivant, and each fall gather at Brewery Vivant for the approximate one hour return trip. The first go-round has become known as “Fly to the Coq” with each year’s return trip known as “Coq to the Fly”. The breweries have also made a tradition of collaborating on a special beer for each event with a version of the brew tapped before and after the ride at each respective location. For this year’s Coq to the Fly, the collaborative beer was a Dark Ale called “On Your Left” brewed with naked oats and dark malts.

art-prize-michigunder-2015-article

This year’s ArtPrize is taking place from September 23rd until October 11th on downtown Grand Rapids and B.O.B.’s Brewery has collaborated with Detroit’s own Atwater Brewery for a special release of the Michigunder Dortmunder Lager. A tapping event was held at Containment outside the B.O.B. which featured a brewer meet & greet, art unveiling, and DJ. The label design for the beer was designed by Ypsilanti artist Morgaine Fambrough and $1 from every pint sold as well all as 100% of merchandise sales benefit the organization ACT - Artists Creating Together.

 knights-hundsonville-2015

Pike 51 Brewing Co. celebrated Knight’s Fest on Saturday September 19th from noon until 11 p.m. with special beer releases, live music, and food from Pietro’s Italian restaurant. The event showcases the fall releases from the brewery with a beer tent which also featured the annual release of the Hudsonville Winery’s Harvest wine along with a bottle release for a selection of Pike 51’s beers. In addition to the beer tent, a full tap lineup was featured inside as well with 25 or more different beers available for the fest.

 trail-point-brewery

Trail Point Brewing Company in Allendale held it’s Grand Opening on Saturday, August 8th with an all day event which included their amazing beer along with food, door prizes, and giveaways. The location at 6035 Lake Michigan Drive near 60th Avenue gives the a brewery a prominent spot between both the “Beer City” breweries of Grand Rapids and the now thriving Lakeshore brewery scene of West Michigan. Trail Point’s solid starting tap lineup of outstanding beer is sure to draw them a loyal following in Allendale and surrounding communities.

founders-expanded-bottlearea

Founders Brewing Co. recently completed work on their latest expansion which began in late 2014. The new expansion gives Founders the footprint to brew up to 900,000 barrels of beer annually with over 55,000 square feet of addition including a new 300 bbl brew house. This 40 million dollar expansion was fueled largely just due to the increasing demand of Founders All Day IPA, their popular hoppy but sessionable beer first introduced by the brewery as a seasonal release back in 2012 but has quickly became their largest selling beer available on draft, 6-pack bottles, or 15-pack can releases.

wood-aged-beerfest-2015

Brewery Vivant held their 5th annual Wood-Aged Beer Fest (WABF) on Saturday, September 19th. The event continues to evolve each year having begun in the taproom and over the years having grown into Vivant’s parking lot up until last year’s full fledged Eastown Cherry Street party. For 2015, the fest has moved back into the parking lot but has continued to expand this year to include both an afternoon and an evening session. This move proved to work well; the fest still saw expected long lines for some of the amazing beers offered but the lines moved quick and no one went thirsty.

spelling-beer-at-the-bob15

Spelling Bee(r) is a unique event that was hosted by the B.O.B. on Wednesday July 15th in conjunction with DrinkGR as a benefit for the Grand Rapids Public Library. Modelled after a traditional spelling bee, the Spelling Bee(r) challenged contestants to drink a beer along with each spelling attempt. The event also featured a special brewmaster’s challenge for the newly coveted Golden Paddle award which included participants from 57 Brew Pub, Hopcat, Cedar Springs Brewing Co., Grand Rapids Brewing Co., B.O.B.’s Brewery, and Pike 51 Brewing Co.

flame-fest-2015

White Flame Brewing Co. recently celebrated the opening on their new bar area with an all day festival featured bands, food, and special beer releases. In addition to unveiling the new bar area which has room for 16 taps and will also feature wine, the brewery also expanded the celebration out into their parking lot with additional beers available outside and a live music stage setup as well. There was a $5 cover charge to attend the fest with mug club members getting into the event for free.

handsome henry 2015 article

As the summer nears the end, Handsome Henry’s took the opportunity to do a special pizza and beer pairing event on their outdoor patio with music, schwag, and great brews from Rockford Brewing Co. The evening featured 6 different varieties of pizzas available with 6 different Rockford beers. The pizza was available at $10 for a flight including one slice of each with a pairing menu showcasing each of the Rockford Beers available in both 8 ounce and 16 ounce pours.
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