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Grand Rapids vies for 'Best Beer Scene' in US

February 2, 2016
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USA Today 10Best Best Beer Scene
Photo via 10best.com

Beer City, U.S.A. could add some more accolades to its résumé by the end of the month.

Grand Rapids is one of 20 cities that’s been selected for the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice poll to find the nation’s “Best Beer Scene.”

As of Tuesday morning, Grand Rapids is the top vote getter in the standings, ahead of Chicago, Cleveland, Tampa, Florida and Asheville, North Carolina.

Hosted by USA Today’s Travel section, a panel of experts hand picked their 20 favorite beer scenes in the nation.

People may vote once a day for their favorite city and voting remains open until 11:59 a.m. ET on Feb. 29.

Grand Rapids was previously honored by 10Best as the nation’s “Best Beer Scene” in 2014.

The city is also represented in several other beer-centric polls that went live at USA Today's 10Best yesterday, including “Best Beer Bar,” “Best Brewpub” and “Best Beer Label.”

“Best Beer Bar”

Grand Rapids’ HopCat location is leading the poll for “Best Beer Bar.”

Owned and operated by BarFly Ventures, the Grand Rapids restaurant is the flagship location for the rapidly expanding chain, which is planning to open 30 locations over the next five years.

HopCat, which opened in 2008, offers 49 beers on tap and more than 250 bottled options.

“Best Brewpub”

Housed in a holed-out funeral chapel in Grand Rapids’ East Hills neighborhood, Brewery Vivant is trending as the No. 2 “Best Brewpub” in the nation.

10Best cites Brewery Vivant’s historic venue and its status as the world’s first LEED-certified commercial microbrewery as reasons it was selected for the competition. Brewery Vivant’s Belgian- and French-inspired beers and house-made pub menu are also praised.

Also represented on the “Best Brewpub” poll is Grand Rapids’ Founders Brewing Co. taproom, which is holding steady at No. 8. 10Best highlights Founders’ on-site draft selection, patio and beer garden and deli menu of handcrafted sandwiches.

“Best Beer Label”

In the running for “Best Beer Label” is Grand Rapids’ most-controversial baby picture.

Founders’ Breakfast Stout label, which features a child shoveling down a bowl of oatmeal, ranks No. 6 in the poll.

Last August, Founders was forced to remove the baby from its label on beer sold in its home state, due to the revelation that the image had not been registered with the state. Founders’ Breakfast Stout was then sold featuring an image of an empty bowl with a note on the fridge, until the brewery received the proper approval and the label was restored last December.

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