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Discover the Brew in Kalamazoo: A Guide to Kalamazoo Breweries

Posted on July 28th, 2014


things to do in kalamazoo

Jessica Pawlik is an intern at Discover Kalamazoo and fell in love with the city ever since she became a student at Western Michigan Univeristy. She enjoys summer, exploring different attractions and finding out about all the exciting events going on in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo, Mich. — What is Kalamazoo known for besides its unique name?… It’s BEER!

With 10 breweries in Kalamazoo County (and more on the way), here are just some of the reasons that you should come experience Kalamazoo breweries:

Kalamazoo was ranked as the No. 4 top Beer City in the nation from liveability.com in 2012

Kalamazoo was ranked as the No. 3 Beer Town in America from Business Insider in 2013

Kalamazoo came in second in the Beery City USA contest from examiner.com in 2013

Kalamazoo opened six new breweries in 2013

Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids was named among the 20 best beer towns in America from matador network in 2013

Kalamazoo was named one of the eight Underrated Beer Cities in the World, according to U.S. World & News Report in 2014

With all the buzz about Kalamazoo’s craft beer, I wanted to tap into the brew scene. Here’s a list of what you can find at each local brewery! Also, check out Kalamazoo’s very own Brewery Map!

Arcadia Ales, Brewery, Kalamazoo, Beer

Hundreds of people packed the brewpub and patio of Arcadia Ales’ Kalamazoo Riverfront Brewery, Pub and Kitchen on its grand opening day.

Location: 701 E. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday: Noon to 1 a.m.
Sunday: Noon to 8 p.m.
Monday: Closed
History: Kalamazoo’s newest riverfront brewery had its grand opening in May 2014. Arcadia Brewing Company is a microbrewery specializing in handcrafted British-style ales. All of the beers are produced in small batches using a 25 Barrel Peter Austin Brewery. These methods originated in England, allowing this style of beer to reflect more than 25 years of world-class brewing heritage. Arcadia’s original brewery is located in Battle Creek, Mich.
Beers at Arcadia (what you may find on tap):
– Classic Beers:
Sky High Rye, Loch Down Scotch Ale, Thunder Trial ESB, IPA and Anglers Ale
Specialty Beers: B-Craft Black IPA, Hopmouth Double IPA, London Porters and Cocoa Loco
Seasonal Beers: Whitsun, Jaw-Jacker and Nut Brown Ale
Reserve Beers: Big Dick’s Olde Ale, Imperial Stout, Hop Rocket, Cereal Killer Barleywine and Shipwreck Porter
Bragging rights: At the 1998 World Beer Championships Arcadia’s India Pale Ale took the gold

Bell's, Beer, Kalamazoo, Eccentric Cafe

Bell’s Eccentric Café is located downtown Kalamazoo offering different craft beers, delicious food, live music & entertainment and more.

• Location: 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
Monday-Wednesday: 11 a.m. to midnight
– Thursday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
– Sunday: Noon to midnight
• History: This microbrewery is the oldest in Michigan and the first Michigan brewery to open an onsite pub and serve beer by the glass to the public. At The Eccentric Café, customers can taste different Bell’s well known beers and small batch brews that are not distributed outside of the pub. This café offers food, live entertainment, dancing, special events and a beer garden open during summer.
Beers at Bell’s (what you may find on tap): View Bell’s Eccentric Café Live Tap Cam to see the beer available!
• Bragging Rights: In 2014 alone…
– Bell’s Brewery, Inc. was named the Top Brewer in Michigan*
– Bell’s Two Hearted Ale was named the Top India Pale Ale in the world*
– Bell’s Hopslam was named the No. 4 Double India Pale Ale in the world*
– Bell’s Blacknote Stout was named the No. 4 Stout in the world*
– Bell’s Expedition Stout was named the No. 14 Stout in the world*
(*Awards from RateBeer.com)

Bilbo's photo

Try Bilbo’s six homemade brews (Lord of the Rings-theme) at the Stadium Drive location in Kalamazoo.

• Location: 3307 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
– Monday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
– Saturday: Noon to 2 a.m.
– Sunday: Noon to midnight
• History: Bilbo’s offers six homemade brews (Lord of the Rings theme) with additional 16-18 beers on tap. Bilbo’s serves pan pizza, sandwiches, pasta and salads. Bilbo’s beer is only served at the location on Stadium Drive.
Beers at Bilbo’s (what you may find on tap): Sledgehammer Wizard Wheat Dragon Red Ale, Raspberry Wheat Rocky Mountain Lagor, Charlie Brown Ale Honey blonde, Oatmeal Stout All American Pale Ale, Honey Porter 90 Schilling Ale, Copper Ale Doppelback.


Boatyard Brewing Co.  West Michigan Beer Tours

Boatyard Brewing Co. – photo courtesy of West Michigan Beer Tours

Location: 432 E. Paterson St., Kalamazoo MI
-Tuesday-Friday: 2 p.m. to 9 pm
– Saturday: Noon to 9 p.m.
– Sunday-Monday: Closed
• History: Boatyard Brewing Company had its grand opening in June 2014. The idea came up in the summer of 2011 to form a brewery with exceptional craft beers. You can taste some of Boatyard’s best traditional ale recipes and unique offerings. There are eight taps in the front room and six taps in the smaller tap room.
Beers at Boatyard (what you may find on tap): EZ Ale, Frosted Harbor Dark Raspberry, Kalamazoo Cream Ale, Kalamazoo Shandy, North Bay IPA, The bitter End.

kalamazoo breweries

Bravo! is recognized for its Tuscany-inspired cuisine, wine list, beers and more.

Location: 5402 Portage Road, Kalamazoo, MI
Monday-Thursday: Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Dinner: 5 to 10 p.m.
– Saturday : Lunch: closed; Dinner: 5 to 11 p.m.
– Sunday: Brunch: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dinner: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• History: Bravo! offers a delicious dinner, lunch and Sunday brunch menu along with handcrafted beer. The beer is brewed using all-natural ingredients, one keg at a time. The beers and ales are crisp, refreshing and paired easily with meals.
Beers at Bravo (what you may find on tap): Chefs Ale-Amber Ale, Quattro Hop-Imperial IPA, Sweet Bravo! Brown-Nut Brown

kalamazoo brewery

Gonzo’s features eight handcrafted beers and an upscale American menu.

• Location: 140 South Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI
– Monday-Wednesday: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
– Thursday-Friday: 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.
– Saturday: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
– Sunday: Noon to 11 p.m.
• History: Greg “Gonzo” Haner began brewing micro-brewed beer in 1992 and has produced many batches of beer, homemade wine, whiskey and single-malt scotch. His unique talent and passion for brewing led him to establish Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing, which opened up in November 2013. Gonzo’s menu includes appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and pizzas.
Beers at Gonzo’s (what you may find on tap): The Premier, Dogg Days Ale, Burning Sun Red, Magic Trick Hefeweizen, Nimble Limbo, Unloosend III Blonde Ale, Melons on a Blonde, Showroom IPA w/Cascada, Sub-Continental IPA, Cloak of Darkness Black IPA, Vanilla Porter Ale, Into The Night Stout.

michigan brewery

First brewery in Portage featuring a New-American-style menu paired with craft beer.

Location: 7842 Portage Road, Portage, MI
– Monday-Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
– Wednesday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to midnight
– Sunday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• History:
The first brewery to open in Portage, MI., offers a variety of beer on tap, craft food, private parties and events. The menu includes soup, salad, appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, box lunches, pizzas, kids’ menu, entrees, desserts, Michigan wines and beer to go.
Beer’s at Latitude 42 (what you may find on tap):
Check out the list here!
Bragging rights:
– Latitude 42 won a total of 20 medals in the Indiana Brewers Cup
– Powerline (porter), Tinderbock (wheat) and Poppin Pills (pilsner) won gold at the World Expo of Beer in 2014 (Power Porter won 4 gold medals!)
– Tinderlock Lager and Powerline Porter both won gold in the 2014 Indiana Brewers Cup
– Okctoberfest Marzen and Mikes Camaro – California Common Ale won silver in the 2014 Indiana Brewers Cup

Olde Peninsula, beer, kalamazoo

Kalamazoo’s first brewpub with an on-site brewery

Olde Peninsula Brewpub & Restaurant
Location: 200 E. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI
– Monday-Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
– Wednesday-Thursdays: 11 a.m. to midnight
– Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 1  a.m.
– Sunday: Noon to 11 p.m.
• History: Olde Peninsula Brewpub & Restaurant is Kalamazoo’s first brewpub! Olde Peninsula is located in downtown Kalamazoo and offers five permanent beers on tap as well as seasonal handcrafted ales. The menu includes a variety of items and entrees with a regular and seasonal menu. Olde Peninsula has a brewery tour and guide tasting of each beer on tap for $10. Enjoy happy hour specials, $2 Pint Night and Euchre tournaments on Wednesday and $1 off all Growlers on Thursday’s!
Beers at Olde Peninsula (what you may find on tap): Haymarket Cream Ale, Sunset Red, OP IPA, Rockin’ Razberry Wheat and Midnight Stout.

kalamazoo beer

Rupert’s features eight handcrafted brews and live entertainment six nights a week. Captain Stooby is sleeping in the background!

• Location: 773 W. Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI
Hours: Every day: 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.
History: Opened in October 2013 Rupert’s Brew House has eight handcrafted brews on tap and nightly local music. In 2014, Rupert’s received a license to make wine and hard liquor. Stop by the brewery, and you might run into Rupert’s Great Dane, Captain Stooby!
Beers at Rupert’s (what you may find on tap): Twice Licked Kitty- American Style Pale Ale, Double High IPA, Mastif Drool Nitro Stout and Britani’s Cream Ale

Tibbs Brewing Co

Tibbs produces handcrafted small-batch beers on a one-barrel system.

Location: 402 South Burdick St., Kalamazoo, MI
Wednesday-Thursday: 4 p.m. to midnight
– Friday: 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.
– Saturday: 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.
– Sunday-Tuesday: Closed for brewing
• History: Tibbs Brewing Company opened in 2013 and is a small nano-brewery in downtown Kalamazoo. This brewery uses a one-barrel system producing handcrafted small-batch beers which allows for experimental batches and staple beers.
Beers at Tibbs (what you may find on tap): Belgium Triple, Honey Citra, Imperial Red and Strawberry Blonde.

Click here for more information on Kalamazoo Breweries!

Click here to find more cool things to do in Kalamazoo!

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