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My Town: Local brewery among best in the U.S.

My Town: Local brewery among best in the U.S.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  Grand Rapids is home to the best craft brewery in the nation, according to The Daily Meal.

Founders Brewing Co. took the most votes during the food and drink publication’s online survey. Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo also made the cut, coming in at No. 5. More than 13,000 votes were cast nationwide. 

The contest started with 118 nominations by a panel of craft beer experts with The Daily Meal; online voters helped narrow down the list to 50 finalists, which included several of last year’s winners.

To see the entire list, visit The Daily Meal’s website here.

My Town: Local restaurants named winners of wine

My Town: Local restaurants named winners of wine

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—At least half a dozen restaurants in West Michigan have made the cut for the corks they pop.

They are among 3,748 restaurants worldwide to make Wine Spectator’s 2014 Restaurant Wine List Awards.  For the first time this year, top honors went to Clos Maggiore in London, La Toque in Napa, Nice Matin in New York, Saison in San Francisco, The Stonehouse in Santa Barbara and Studio in Laguna Beach.  They join 68 other winners of the Grand Award, which honors restaurants that generally offer guests 1,500 or more wine selections and for superior cellars, service, ambiance and cuisine.

The program’s entry-level Award of Excellence went to 2,791 restaurants; another 883 restaurants earned the Best of Award of Excellence for typically offering a list of 350 or more quality wine selections.  Locally, the following restaurants made the cut:

Caught Being Safe program launches statewide

Michigan State Police, local law enforcement and Michigan’s Field Neurosciences Institute have teamed up with McDonald’s of Michigan to once again launch “Caught Being Safe,” a statewide bicycle/scooter helmet safety program. Kids wearing helmets and “caught being safe” by participating law enforcement officials will treated to a free ice cream cone or Apple Dippers at McDonald’s. 

According to the Field Neurosciences Institute (of Michigan): “Caught Being Safe! has shown a significant increase in both helmet utilization and public awareness regarding the critical importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. This program has impacted not only children but adults as well.” 

My Town: Local breweries home to some of the best beer in the country

My Town: Local breweries home to some of the best beer in the country

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (Lansing State Journal)-- Congratulations are in order for Kalamazoo-based Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale has been named the No. 2 beer in the country by readers of Zymurgy Magazine, the publication of the American Homebrewers Association.

Two other Michigan beers also made the Top 10: Bell’s Hopslam (No. 4) and Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co.’s Breakfast Stout (No. 9). Founders’ also scored three more spots inside the top-ranks beers list with Kentucky Breakfast Stout (No. 11), All Day IPA (No. 34, tie) and Backwoods Bastard (No. 49, tie).

Zymurgy Magazine earlier this week released the results of the poll, in which readers named their 20 favorite beers that are commercially available in the U.S. California-based Russian River’s Pliny the Elder took the No. 1 spot.

5 flavorful Michigan breweries worth the drive

5 flavorful Michigan breweries worth the drive

(Anne Erickson, Lansing State Journal)-- For many Michiganders, summer and beer go hand-in-hand. Drive through Mitten towns on any given summer weekend, and you’ll likely spot folks sitting on their front porches, sipping on the cool, flavorful drink.

Michigan, of course, has endless top-notch choices when it comes to craft beers and Michigan-made brews. In fact, our state is currently fifth in the U.S. in the number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, according to Pure Michigan.

So, raise a pint and get to know a few great Michigan breweries and distilleries.

Founders Brewery Co.

• Where: Grand Rapids

My Town: Massive burger graces Kalamazoo Growler's inaugural menu

My Town: Massive burger graces Kalamazoo Growler's inaugural menu

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The West Michigan Whitecaps have the Fifth Third Burger; now the Kalamazoo Growlers are rolling out their own mammoth menu item.

The Bear Claw Burger is a half-pound Angus hamburger topped with Michigan-based Ebel’s barbeque pulled pork, macaroni and cheese and coleslaw.  The mix is served between two Sweetwater’s Donut Mill bear claw doughnuts.  The beastly burger serves two people, comes with two bags of chips and is $12.

The Growlers inaugural menu will also include chicken satay, bacon-wrapped shrimp kabobs, Angus beef sliders, specialty bratwursts, flatbreads, brownies, brownie sundaes, specialty cookies and Grand Traverse pie.  The ballpark will also offer beer, wine, pop and water.

The Growlers’ home opener against the Battle Creek Bombers is Friday, May 30 at Homer Stryker Stadium.  For ticket information, visit the team’s website here.

My Town Kalamazoo: Local bar among Top 21 Thrillist theme bars

My Town Kalamazoo: Local bar among Top 21 Thrillist theme bars

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (Kalamazoo Beer Exchange) — Fresh off their win as RateBeer’s “Best Bar in MI,” the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange – the only on the list in Michigan - has been named one of Thrillist’s 21 Best Theme Bars in America.

“Everyone who pays us a visit has a great time with The Exchange,” said Johanna Kelly, PR and Event Coordinator for The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange. “Whether you’re a Kalamazoo native or visiting from the other side of the globe, we’re the perfect place to discover incredible craft beer at ridiculously low prices in a relaxed atmosphere.”

Standing alongside established bars in large cities from Brooklyn to San Francisco, the inclusion of The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange reaffirms Kalamazoo’s status as a rising star in the Midwest’s cultural and craft beer movements, as well as highlighting the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange’s place as a cornerstone of Downtown Kalamazoo cool.