Grand Rapids Wins BeerCity USA 2013 Title, Chicago Barely Gets Any Votes

photo courtesy

photo courtesy


We can’t say we’re all too surprised that Grand Rapids, Michigan has been named BeerCity USA, outright this time, for 2013.

The folks in west Michigan sure do love their beer, and who can blame them when the likes of Founders, Brewery Vivant and HopCat – just to name a few – are in their back yard.

In all 50,000 votes were cast this year, Grand Rapids received over half of them (27,005). Two other Michigan beer-centric cities finished in the top five: Kalamazoo, home to Bell’s, was number two and Ann Arbor, with its bevy of craft beer bars, was number four.

So where did Chicago place? It didn’t, according to this Examiner article.

The following cities each had less than 300 votes: Bend, OR, Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, Durango, CO, Fort Collins, CO, Madison, WI, Milwaukee, WI, Missoula, MT, Philadelphia, PA, Raleigh, NC, San Diego, CA, St. Louis, MO.

Yeesh, for a city known for its ability to get out the vote we didn’t have a very good showing, did we?

As a consolation prize (sort of), Chicago did crack this Travel & Leisure list of America’s Best Beer Cities, coming in at number 15 – behind Providence, Rhode Island and Savannah, Georgia.

Our dismay for Chicago’s voter turnout aside, congrats to you – Grand Rapids. We’ll raise a pint of Founders All Day IPA in your honor this evening.

HopCat Expanding East

HopCat, a Grand Rapids, Michigan beer bar that consistently finds itself on RateBeer’s top 50 Best Beer Bars list, was rated the #3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth by Beer Advocate magazine and the #2 Beer Bar in America by is opening a second location in East Lansing AND building a brewpub in Lansing.

While the Lansing area is not hurting for good beer bars, what with the likes of Dusty’s Tap Room, Crunchy’s and the Harrison Roadhouse – among others, it is lacking in breweries compared with other Michigan cities. The abrupt closing of the Michigan Brewing Company this summer left the area with just two brewpubs; Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub and EagleMonk Pub and Brewery.

We’ve visited the promised land, HopCat’s flagship location in Grand Rapids, and it’s no joke. The beer list is remarkable with a balanced selection that includes hard to find Belgian beers, craft beer from all over Michigan, beer brewed in-house and the occasional odd one-off, like Arbor Brewing’s Chips and Salsa Lager.

According to MLive, construction on HopCat East Lansing will begin in March 2013 with work on the Lansing Brewing Company to begin a month earlier.

“The new HopCat East Lansing will anchor the ground floor of what will eventually become East Lansing’s tallest building, an 8-story mixed-use project called The Residences, located a block from campus at 211 Ann St. The bar will have 100 craft beers on tap, more than double the 48 taps at the Grand Rapids HopCat, making the new bar’s draft selection the largest in the state.

The full-menu Lansing Brewing Co. will be located on the ground floor of the new mixed-use Stadium District Apartments building at 500 E. Michigan Ave, across from Cooley Law School Stadium. The new 10-barrel system brewpub, which fills a 6,400 square-foot vacant space that has never been occupied on the development’s northwest corner, revives the name of a brewery that operated in Lansing between 1898 and 1914.”

Both locations are shooting for a summer 2013 opening.