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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.

My Town: New restaurants to replace shuttered sports bar

My Town: New restaurants to replace shuttered sports bar

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich.—A new set of restaurants will soon replaced a shuttered sports bar, plagued by police calls.

Gipper’s Sports Bar and Grille was auctioned off last year.  The bar lost its liquor license in January 2012, shortly after two shootings within three months at the bar.

My Town Kalamazoo: Coffee with a Cop March 20

My Town Kalamazoo: Coffee with a Cop March 20

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Community members are invited to enjoy some coffee while airing their concerns during “Coffee with a Cop” this Thursday, March 20.

Members of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety will take questions and discuss the department’s work within neighborhoods during the event, which is meant to break down barriers, allowing for a relaxed, one-on-one interaction.

“We hope that community members will feel comfortable to ask questions, bring concerns, or simply get to know our officers,” said Public Safety Officer Brandon Noble. “These interactions are the foundation of community partnerships.”

Coffee with a Cop will run from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursday at Fourth Coast Café, located 816 S. Westnedge Ave.  

My Town Kalamazoo: 'Habi Hour' takes over Bell's Brewery Feb. 25

My Town Kalamazoo: 'Habi Hour' takes over Bell's Brewery Feb. 25

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity hopes to mark a fundraising milestone during “Habi Hour” Tuesday, Feb. 25.

The benefit will unfold at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo. Through ticket sales and auctions, organizers hope to raise enough money to build, renovate and repair 12-16 homes this year.

“Habi Hour helps us raise critical funding to support our mission,” said Don Jones, Habitat’s executive director. “This is Habitat’s 31st year of helping qualified local families build, buy, and maintain affordable homes in our community. Wouldn’t it be great if we could raise $31,000 this year?”

Peruvian restaurant opens its doors in Kalamazoo

Peruvian restaurant opens its doors in Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A new restaurant dishing up distinct ethnic cuisine is now open in Kalamazoo.

El Inka Peruvian Restaurant opened its doors to the public Wednesday, Feb. 5.  The restaurant is located at 563 N. Drake, across from Hardings. 

In a Facebook post on the eve of the restaurant’s opening, El Inka’s owners wrote, “We have been waiting for this day for over 12 years.”

El Inka is open 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12 p.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday.  The restaurant also offers event catering.  For more information, call (269) 978-2400.