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Grand Rapids, Milwaukee

Best breweries in Grand Rapids & how to get there from Milwaukee

Some buddies and I are going to Milwaukee for a mini-fraternity reunion. We heard that there are some great breweries in Grand Rapids so we're thinking about crossing the lake and checking them out. Can anyone tell me which are the best ones to visit? Also, what's the best way to get across the lake? We'll drive around it if we have to, but we're definitely making our way to Grand Rapids somehow!

4 Answers

top answer by
Phillip from Flint

Grand Rapids has some of the best breweries in Michigan and probably more than you would be able to visit in one trip. (I'm kind of a beer snob so I'll list the ones I think have better beer higher)

1.  Founders Brewing Co. is getting worldwide attention for their beer. My favorite is their Breakfast Stout. (They are getting pretty big though and I'm not sure if they do tours anymore)

2.  Brewery Vivant is a newer brewery but is already making amazing beer. They kind of specialize in Belgian beers.

3.  New Holland Brewing Company is in Holland, just outside Grand Rapids and makes some of my favorite beers. Try The Poet, Mad Hatter, or Dragon's Milk.

4.  Perrin Brewing Company also a newer brewery putting out some great beer. I like the Kona Brown.

These are all pretty large scale breweries. I'm not a Grand Rapids local so I don't know as much about the smaller breweries, but I am a bartender here in Flint and I get to try different Michigan beer every day. 

As far as getting across from Milwaukee, I've heard of taking the ferry but never done it myself. Good luck!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Founders Brewing Co. (attraction)
  2. Brewery Vivant (attraction)
  3. New Holland Brewing Company (attraction)
  4. Perrin Brewing Company (attraction)
6 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Cindy from Milwaukee

What? Milwaukee has some great breweries (and a distillery), too! 

1) Lakefront Brewery (

2) Sprecher's Restaurant & Pub (

3) Great Lakes Distillery (

3) party in Bay View ( Lulu Cafe Cafe Centraal, finishing at Sugar Maple with 60 taps)

After all that I'm not sure it's wise to drive, but that's what you'll have to do, as the ferry is no longer running for the season. 

Consider staying. Let me know if you want other suggestions. If nothing else, our homebrew isn't too bad. ;)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Milwaukee (city)
  2. Lakefront Brewery (attraction)
  3. Sprecher's Restaurant & Pub (restaurant)
  4. Great Lakes Distillery (attraction)
  5. Lulu Cafe (restaurant)
  6. Cafe Centraal (restaurant)
  7. Sugar Maple (attraction)
6 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Joe from Arlington Heights

I definitely recommend visiting  Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids.  This company is growing quickly and is expanding the availability of their limited releases due to high demand.  If you can get some KBS, you are in for a real treat...although it's usually only available around March or April.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Founders Brewing Co. (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Terry from New Berlin

There are two ferries across Lake Michigan. Lake Express and The Badger. The Lake Express ferry's season starts May 1st. Travels from Milwaukee to Muskegon, MI. Typically takes 2 1/2 hours.

The second ferry, The Badger travels from Manitowoc to Ludington and take approximately four hours.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lake Michigan (attraction)
  2. Lake Express (attraction)
  3. The Badger (attraction)
  4. Milwaukee (city)
  5. Muskegon (city)
  6. Manitowoc (city)
  7. Ludington (attraction)
3 thanks

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