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Motor City Brew Tours comes to Grand Rapids

Detroit based Motor City Brew Tours comes to Beer City USA to visit three breweries - Hideout Brewing Co., Perrin Brewing Co. and Rockford Brewing.

/Courtesy of Terry Johnston

Upcoming Events:

June 8 –Walking Brewery Tour (Royal Oak)

June 15 – Bike tour

June 16 – Beer Tasting Boat Cruise (Detroit)

June 21-22 – Detroit Summer Beer Festival (Detroit)

July 13 – Walking Brewery Tour (Ann Arbor)

July 27 – Bus Trasportation: Summer Beer Festival (Ypsilanti)

For more information

/Courtesy of Motor City Brew Tours

Steve Johnson has been doing Motor City brewery tours for years, based out of the east side of the state. Not only does he do brewery tours with a bus, but he also ventures with groups of people on foot and on bicycles.

A few times a year, Motor City will make their way over to Grand Rapids. I have been fortunate enough to join their group on two occasions, the most recent of which was on May 25. A lot of beer lovers on the east side of the state don't get the opportunity to visit Beer City, and a Motor City brew tour is the perfect chance.

The group was mixed, with a majority of people from the east side of the state, and even a couple from Chicago – a great group of thirsty patrons ready to experience what Grand Rapids has to offer.

The day began at Hideout Brewing Company on Plainfield NE, where the group began sampling from pitchers, ordering pints and getting some food in their stomach to prepare for the day.

Samplings included Smuggler's Hazelnut Stout, 5555513 Rye, Gangster IPA and a watermelon wheat. There was even a group who ordered the legendary "Around the World" flight, which is 25 samples – every pour the Hideout offers in one huge, beautiful flight.

Hideout has a great taproom that feels rather cabin-esque, with big wooden beams hanging over the bar. This brewery also has an expansive outdoor beer garden, featuring a grill, horseshoe pits and plenty of outdoor seating. They also offer growlers and howlers, or half growlers, which some people in the group filled up to take back home with them.

Next we headed to Perrin Brewing Company, where the group settled into the private lounge upstairs, overlooking the whole taproom. We were greeted by manager Kurt Schmeige, who gave us a talk on how Perrin came about, how the beers are made and gave us a window tour of the production brewery. The Motor City group got to sample the Perrin Black Ale, standard IPA, Black IPA and Porter.

The Perrin taproom is very large, full of seating, table shuffleboard and darts; the taproom also features a rather large patio. The bar is very long and curves along the front of the taproom, with four huge bright tanks standing guard over the bar. They also feature an indoor food truck – and some killer sweet potato fries. The group loved the pours and thanked Kurt as we headed for the door for our next destination.

For the last stop of the day, we headed north to Rockford Brewing in downtown Rockford. We went upstairs into the elongated taproom overlooking the dam, and found our seats. Pours at this stop included Carraige Ale, Hoplust IPA, Sheehan's Irish Stout, and Ain't Jemima Maple Syrup Ale.

The Rockford brewpub feels very homely and also feels very much like a cabin. The downstairs taproom and stairwell were made from local wood sourced from Earthwork Farm, and the brewery just feels right. The building is very long and not very wide, giving the brewery a very community-driven feel. The upstairs is full of tall windows that let you look out over downtown Rockford while you sip your brew, and features a second bar. Everyone had a great time at this stop, but before long it was time to say goodbye.

Steve manages the tours very well, answering questions and guiding patrons along on their journey. He keeps the time and makes sure everyone knows that the group is due to leave soon. There's nothing worse than getting caught with a full pint when the whistle blows. We parted ways and the group headed back.

Motor City Brew Tours are always a very fun time, with great people who are excited to be here and experience our beer culture and breweries. They headed home with full stomachs, pleased palates and growlers and howlers to share with their friends. I look forward to one day join them on an East Side brewery tour, be it on foot, on a bike or on the bus. Motor City is even planning on doing a Father's Day Boat Cruise full of beer and cider tasting.

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