Updated on July 22, 2023

Over a decade ago, Grand Rapids, Michigan, earned the nickname “Beer City USA.” And for good reason. Some major breweries call this town home, and Grand Rapids bats well above its weight in terms of breweries per capita. With a population of just under 200,000 (United States Census Bureau), Grand Rapids has more than seventy breweries. That’s a lot of beer per square mile!

The quantity of breweries and the quality of beer impresses us. We hypothesize that healthy competition pushes everyone to brew their best beer. And we mean everyone. From the small-scale homebrewer turned pro to the expert brewer who has worked in the industry for years, many people in Grand Rapids make incredible beer.

If you’re trying to visit the best breweries in Grand Rapids, follow the Beer City Ale Trail to tick off your stops. You’ll find a brewery leveraging nature’s creativity and diversity as inspiration for its experimental ales and a taproom in an old funeral home focused on finessed farmhouse ales. And in our opinion, Grand Rapids absolutely lives up to its name as Beer City USA.

Hop Culture’s 9 Best Breweries to Visit in Grand Rapids, MI

Speciation Artisan Ales

928 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 | (616) 666-6783

speciation artisan ales taproom
Photography courtesy of Speciation Artisan Ales

The glorious Speciation Artisan Ales consistently experiments with mixed and spontaneous fermentation. Meaning these wildly fermented beers offer a funky kick by taking advantage of local Michigan flora and fauna.

Take the brewery’s extremely popular The Laurentian Series, a round of spontaneously fermented beers left to cool by each of the Great Lakes. But currently, you’ll find on the tap list beers like Blackberry Incipient (2023), a foeder-aged sour ale with blackberries, where a portion of every year’s Incipient ends up in that same oak barrel foeder. And Prime Mover (2023), a foeder-aged saison with orange zest and ginger.

In the past, Speciation’s Genetic Drift farmhouse ale made our list of the best honey beers for its unique balance of funkiness, sweetness, and tartness.

A focus on Michigan-grown ingredients means Speciation lets the natural elements take the wheel. Named one of our Top 7 Craft Breweries in the Midwest, Speciation should one hundred percent top your list of breweries to visit in Grand Rapids.

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Brewery Vivant

925 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 | (616) 719-1604

brewery vivant taproom
Photography courtesy of Brewery Vivant

In 2014, when my wife and I still lived in Chicago, we decided to take a weekend trip to Grand Rapids. Our first stop? Brewery Vivant.

Housed in an old funeral home, Brewery Vivant’s taproom stuns those ushered inside with original stained glass and communal wooden tables. On the beer side, the European-inspired Brewery Vivant excels at Belgian and French country-style ales. These are mainstay beers like Farm Hand, a light-bodied, slightly cloudy, rustic farmhouse ale with a hint of tartness. Or Rapid IPA, what the brewery calls a Michigan IPA.

For something a bit more complex, their red wine barrel-aged saison called Paris made the list of our top favorite spring beers to try in 2019 for its strong oak notes, puckering sour flavors, and in-your-face tannins.

Plus, we love this brewery’s strong focus on sustainability that follows the triple bottom line of profits, planet, and people. In 2012, Brewery Vivant became the first production brewery in the United States to be LEED-certified, which means their building is resource-efficient, using less water and energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And in 2014, they became the fourth certified B Corporation in West Michigan. B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous social and environmental performance standards, accountability, and transparency.

Fantastic beer under stained glass in an energy-efficient building from a B Corp business? All this leads to one of the best breweries in Grand Rapids.

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Brass Ring Brewing

2404 Eastern Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507 | (616) 644-3451

brass ring brewing
Photography courtesy of Brass Ring Brewing

One of the most popular breweries in Grand Rapids, Brass Ring specializes in English-inspired pub ales and stouts. Pretty cool in our minds to see a brewery so focused on representing English pub culture succeed in a Midwestern city.

Hop across the pond at Brass Ring through both the beer and the food.

Beer-wise, you’ll find an English dark mild called The Manchester, a porter called Liquid Spirit, and an ESB called Danny Whizbang, among others. For the hop heads, you’ll find both English and American IPAs with a focus on the former.

For food, expect dishes like a scotch egg, Ploughman’s board, loaded curry fries, and deviled eggs.

With humble roots, Brass Ring easily stole its way into Grand Rapid residents’ hearts, and we’re confident it’ll warm yours too.

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Greyline Brewing Co.

1727 Alpine Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

greyline brewing co taproom
Photography courtesy of @greylinebrewing

This brewery is lowkey. You won’t find a lot of pomp and circumstance here. And that’s precisely why we love it. Opened by Nate Walser, whose brewing pedigree ranges from New Holland to Perrin, Greyline Brewing’s small taproom takes an unassuming approach.

Walser leverages his expertise to push out incredible beers across sixteen taps. No doubt about it, Greyline is a neighborhood gig. But one with a mighty brewing muscle flexing behind the scenes.

At Greyline, you can expect a variety of styles. For instance, an American wheat called SOL Shine. Or a double pale ale called Sirillo. If you visit, we recommend trying both!

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Arvon Brewing Co.

1006 Division Ave S., Grand Rapids, MI 49507 | (616) 340-9372

arvon brewing best travel guides
Photography courtesy of Arvon Brewing Co.

We had to include a brewery dedicated to the uber popular hazies and intensely fruited sours. Arvon Brewing nails both of those styles with beers like Little Wookiee, a West Coast IPA with Columbus, Simcoe, and Citra Hops. Or PM Double Cream, a kettle sour with pineapples, mangos, marshmallows, vanilla, and lactose.

Currently, Arvon keeps its distribution limited. So if you’re in town, this might be your only opportunity to try their beer!

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Harmony Brewing Company

1551 Lake Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 | (616) 233-0063

harmony brewing company
Photography courtesy of Harmony Brewing Company

Originally a Prohibition-era liquor store, Harmony Brewing Company morphed into a local award-winning brewery in Grand Rapids that has some tasty pizza to boot.

Try the Good Earth, a pie with spinach, mushrooms, caramelized onions, Jarlsberg cheese, balsamic, and fresh basil. Or the Porch Beers pizza with roasted local chicken thigh, Black Squirrel Porter BBQ sauce, red onion, bacon, and mozzarella.

To wash it all down, order that same Black Squirrel you found in your barbecue sauce. A legend at the brewery, this porter gets an addition of smoked peat for an enticing roasty, smoky flavor. Or the Luscious Lyon, a new-school hazy with Azzaca, Eukanot, and Hallertau Blanc hops that is, as the brewery describes the beer, “All of the juice, none of the pulp.”

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Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery

428 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 | (616) 419-4676

jolly pumpkin pizzerie & brewery best breweries grand rapids
Photography courtesy of Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery

Although Jolly Pumpkin officially calls Dexter, MI, home, the brewery has opened up a slew of satellite locations across Michigan and even in Chicago. Luckily, if you don’t have time to make it to the brewery’s official hometown, you can visit their taproom in Grand Rapids.

There, you’ll still find what the brewery is known for—pizza, bar food, and beer. Altogether, they are a classic combination. But Jolly Pumpkin takes the trifecta to the next level, offering impressive American saisons, farmhouse ales, Belgian-style beers, and barrel-aged sours alongside delicious food.

For example, their food menu includes a truffled mushroom pie with creamed shiitake and crimini mushrooms, goat cheese, and fresh mozzarella. And we love Jolly Pumpkin’s saisons. Bam Bière is an absolute classic, but Jolly Pumpkin is constantly innovating, so be on the lookout for anything new.

Such as Aquamarine Dream, a sour saison that reminds you of a boysenberry creamsicle, and Baudelaire Beer iO Saison, a farmhouse ale brewed with rose hips, rose petals, and hibiscus.

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City Built Brewing Company

820 Monroe Ave NW STE 155, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 | (616) 805-5755

city built brewing company taproom
Photography courtesy of City Built Brewing Company

City Built has a dedicated following amongst locals. And wherever the neighborhood’s residents go, we know we need to go, too. Following the tagline, “You built our city. We brew its beer,” City Built embodies everything you want in a great Grand Rapids brewery. It has a loyal local following. It has a creative tap list ranging from kettle sours with grapefruit juice to porters with coconut and coffee. And above all, it has a phenomenal culture. As their website says, “Industrial beer with strength through diversity.”

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The Mitten Brewing Company

527 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 | (616) 608-5612

the mitten brewing company
Photography courtesy of The Mitten Brewing Company

A baseball-themed brewpub, The Mitten Brewing Company has been slinging beers and pies in a historic firehouse for over a decade.

Co-Owners Max Trierweiler and Chris Andrus originally wanted to bring a space that combined great craft beer and a love of sports to the Grand Rapids craft beer scene.

The duo’s investment in the community earned the brewery recognition such as “Michigan’s Best New Brewery” by MLive Media Group in 2013, a finalist spot for Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 2014 Beverage Newsmaker of the Year, and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneurs of the Year in 2015.

Despite all those accolades, The Mitten stays very humble.

Walk inside the original location, and you’ll find classic stadium snacks such as a soft pretzel, garlic knots, and peanuts, alongside a wide variety of pizzas. On the tap list, you’ll find beers like Sodfather, an American lager ode to groundskeepers around the world, The Stretch golden ale, and Diamondblacks New Zealand pilsner

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