Food Service & Agriculture, Retail, and Travel & Tourism

Beer and food event thaws winter blues

GR restaurants are incorporating local craft beers into menus.

February 14, 2014
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There’s nothing like good food and good beer to chase away those winter blues.

The second annual Cool Brews Hot Eats beer and food event, being held in Grand Rapids from now through March 1, celebrates the region’s growing craft beer scene.

Nearly 60 restaurants will participate this year by preparing dishes around West Michigan’s plethora of craft beer options.

Grand Rapids restaurants will offer special beer menus that include meals paired with beer or using beer as an ingredient.

The event returns after a successful launch in 2013 with participating businesses reporting a 20 percent to 60 percent sales increase last year.

“While the inaugural event in 2013 was a very successful venture for us and those who participated, we expect an even better outcome in 2014,” said Doug Small, president and CEO of Experience Grand Rapids.

“The Grand Rapids area beer scene has thrived over the past year, and with that our ever-popular dining scene continues to tempt foodies from throughout the region. Together, these two cultures collide to give even the most experienced beer aficionado and most discriminating culinary fans a wonderful experience.”

Experience Grand Rapids said this year chefs have been encouraged to also utilize local hard ciders in their menu creations. West Michigan boasts a growing hard cider scene.

Cool Brews Hot Eats is part of Beer Week and leads up to another popular West Michigan beer event: the Ninth Annual Winter Beer Fest scheduled for Feb. 22 — which once again sold out soon after tickets went on sale.

Thousands of visitors are expected to travel to Grand Rapids for both events.

To ensure beer lovers don’t miss out on any of the more than 30 craft breweries in West Michigan, Experience Grand Rapids has created its own Beer City Ale Trail Map to guide beer lovers around town.

Being named Beer City USA for the second year in a row is just one reason visitors are flocking to Grand Rapids to check out the breweries. In addition, Grand Rapids is home to Founders Brewing Co., named the third best brewery in the world, and HopCat, voted both the No. 1 brewpub in the U.S. and the third best beer bar on Earth.

For a full list of participating restaurants see experiencegr.com.

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