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Ten breweries collaborate, create Beer City Pale Ale

Ten area breweries join forces to create Beer City Pale Ale, available during the entire month of July around Grand Rapids.
Underwriting support from:

Participating breweries include:

White Flame Brewing Co. (5234 36th Ave, Hudsonville)

The Hideout Brewing Co. (3113 Plaza Drive NE, Grand Rapids)

Harmony Brewing Co. (1551 Lake Drive SE, Grand Rapids)

HopCat (25 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids)

Jaden James Brewing Co. (4665 Broadmoor SE, Kentwood)

The Michigan Beer Cellar (500 East Division Street, Sparta)

The B.O.B.’s Brewery (20 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids)

Founders (235 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids)

Schmohz Brewing (2600 Patterson Ave SE, Grand Rapids)

Pike 51 Brewing Co. (3768 Chicago Drive, Hudsonville)

Harmony Brewing beers

Harmony Brewing beers /Bryan Esler

Beer City Pale Ale, a collaborative celebration between ten area breweries, will be on tap throughout the month of July at various locations. The new brew will be on tap around the city, just in time for Craft Brew Month.

This April, Grand Rapids tied with Asheville, NC in the national contest to win "Beer City U.S.A." and now local brewery owners are celebrating their success by introducing Grand Rapids to a new beer.

"It's a beautiful ruby red color; light. It has cascade and nuggets hops in it- interesting pungent hops," says Barry VanDyke of Harmony Brewing.

Deciding on the the right beer happened mostly through texting.

"My phone was blowing up for two days straight," says VanDyke.

"The recipe was bounced around a bit though the miracles of technology between four or five of us and completed in one afternoon," adds Bill White, owner and brewer at White Flame Brewing Company.

The participating breweries are members of the Grand Rapids Society of Brewers, which normally meets once a month to talk all things beer and brew related. 

"We were throwing ideas out and I think the idea hit all of us at once. Let's do a collaborative effort. We're not in competition with each other. Let's celebrate this," says Wob Wanhatalo, head brewer at The Hideout Brewing Co.

The brewers kept the plan under wraps for three weeks as they planned together. Wanhatalo says he's made two batches of the ale, keeping one for The Hideout and sending the second off for distribution.

"It was finally time to let the cat out of the bag," says Wanhatalo.

"Hopefully other bars will pick up on it," he says. "That's really what we wanted to see: the beer to be available at other bars."

Because the idea and planning happened so quickly, Wanhatalo says they did not have enough time to get the "bigger guys," Founders, Schmohz and Brewery Vivant, on board. He says the bigger breweries have more of a brewing schedule to follow, but each brewery will be participating in some way.

"Brewery Vivant will be participating in celebrating Beer City U.S.A.," says White. Founders and Schmohz will be renaming an ale to go along with the other breweries.

"It's kind of a first come, first serve basis," says Wanhatalo of this first-time collaboration. "When it's gone, it's gone."

The brewers also hope to celebrate the Beer City U.S.A. title year round, right up until the next contest starts. Plans are already brewing for a possible winter stout, says Wanhatalo.

"Michigan beer has always been awesome, but it's starting a new chapter now," says VanDyke. "It's a Michigan style that's fairly distinctive and people will start to imitate it."

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Neat idea. It would be great to see an updated list of locations serving this special brew.

Edit: I see it in the right-hand column now. Thanks!