Has Kalamazoo Replaced Grand Rapids As ‘Beer City’?
A few years ago, Grand Rapids was the darling of the craft beer world, now we can't seem to get any attention.
It doesn't take long to Google the awards Grand Rapids and its breweries have won, and the accolades they have received over the years.
Why just a search on the WFGR pages alone you can find a healthy list of honors we've received for our beers over the years: HERE, HERE and HERE.
But, as the great Rick Springfield once sung "lately something's changed that ain't hard to define".
As in, we're not picking up as many mentions any more.
And Kalamazoo is.
The latest Travel Magazine take on the 20 Best Beer Towns in America lists Kalamazoo, but NOT Grand Rapids? What?
It's not as if we've done something wrong, because our beer still is plentiful and flavorful, but I fear we've fallen out of flavor with the beer cognoscenti.
Travel Magazine took a deep dive into all American cities that have at least two breweries. After the data was crunched, here are the twenty cities that are best in beer in the USA. Kazoo made the list, but we didn't.
Travel Magazine said this about our neighbor to the south along US 131:
The Celery City has a new trend: brewing. Kalamazoo, the city positioned equidistant between Chicago and Detroit, is home to a dozen breweries and plenty of other places to grab a well-crafted beer. Visits should start with a trip to one of the Latitude 42° Brewing Company’s spots in either Portage or Oshtemo. There’s a different selection of beers to try at each location, from the Michigan Honey Amber red ale to the Beach Cruiser Hefeweizen. The most recognizable name in Kalamazoo brewing is Bell’s Brewery, whose Hopslam Ale, Oberon Ale, and Two Hearted Ale can be found throughout the US.
Here are your top 20 beer towns:
- Asheville, North Carolina – has the 2nd most breweries per capita in the U.S.
- Burlington, Vermont – they’ve got 11.5 breweries per 100K residents
- Duluth, Minnesota – 223 breweries responsible for over 1 million gallons
- Geneva, Illinois – Penrose Brewing scored gold at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival
- Golden, Colorado – There’s more there than just Coors
- Greenville, South Carolina – ten breweries per 50K residents
- Hood River, Oregon – three area breweries are consistent award winners
- Kalamazoo, Michigan – ten breweries per 50K residents, some of which are award winners
- Lake Havasu City, Arizona – Barley Brothers is legendary
- Lancaster, Pennsylvania – home to a bevy of festivals worth your attention
- Missoula, Montana – boasts more than a dozen breweries & beer establishments
- Newark, Ohio – sits in the middle of the state, and is perfect for day trips
- Pensacola, Florida – the ninth most breweries per capita in the U.S.
- Portland, Maine – “America’s Beer Capital”
- Rapid City, South Dakota – seven breweries per 50K residents
- Santa Fe, New Mexico – A town full of breweries “doing their own thing”
- Sonoma, California – boasting more than 30 breweries & brewpubs
- Staunton, Virginia – a beer haven nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains
- Sunnyside, Washington – not only breweries, but a hops growing facility that offers tour
Does this mean beer war is on the horizon?
I got no beef with Kazoo, it's charming little town, and it's brew pubs and breweries are nice, but come on.
Where's their equivalent of charming and unique beer halls like City Built? And Brewery Vivant?
Sure, they got the big guy, Bell's, but we clearly counter with Founder's, and besides, they don't have Beer Trolley and we do.
What local brewery has the most consistently interesting variety of brew?
If Grand Rapids Bars Were Grand Rapids Girls