They're blog posts that put you in the passenger seat of Lakeshore Beverage’s blogger and beer traveler, Kevin Schmalandt as he journeys from Chicago to nearby craft beer destinations to see what makes them worth the trip. Think of them as Chicago travel guides...only focused on your favorite beverage. After reading these guides, you should find yourself equipped to make the same journey, or at the very least with a whetted appetite for a fresh pint.
Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI
Since its inception in 1983 as the Kalamazoo Brewing Company, a then home-brew supply store, Bell’s Brewery has become synonymous with American craft beer. They’ve set the bar for innovation by making beers like Oberon in 1992 and Two Hearted Ale in 1997. Today, Bell’s is the 7th largest craft brewer by the Brewer’s Association standards, producing over 400,000 barrels of beer in 2016.
And lucky for us Chicagoans, the brewery is only a two-and-a-half-hour drive (or train ride) from the Loop. We went up to Kalamazoo for the day and sat down with newly appointed Bell’s CEO, Laura Bell, to hear why she loves calling West Michigan home. READ MORE >>
Founded in 2010 by Florian Kuplent and David Wolfe, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company operates under the philosophy of what they like to call, “Beer Divergency“—the idea of combining both old and new world influences to create consistent and delicious craft beer. Brewmaster Florian Kuplent uses his international brewing experience—first beginning in Germany, then to the U.S., Belgium, England, and most recently for Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis—to create traditional European-style beers along with innovative and unique craft beers. READ MORE
Founders Brewing Co. is a Grand Rapids staple with a story of guts, risk and a fierce commitment to staying true to itself. As the tale goes, a few years after co-founders Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers opened Founders, they were on the verge of bankruptcy. As Dave Engbers likes to put it, “when we started, we brewed well-balanced, unremarkable beers. We were brewing the same things as everyone else.” READ MORE
Founded in 1998 in Bloomington, Indiana, Upland Brewing Co. is nestled in the rolling hills of southern Indiana near the Norman and Crawford Uplands from which it gets its name. The brewery is quickly becoming one of the most sought after brewers of wild-fermented sour beers. So much so that they host a lottery to offer patrons the chance to purchase bottles. Ride along with us we learn more about their sour program, as well as what life in Bloomington is like. READ MORE
It’s 7:30 in the morning and I’m drinking gas station coffee while flying down the highway and cursing myself for the now-empty bag of Taco Bell’s breakfast tacos greasing its way into my passenger seat. Despite this, spirits are high because I’m heading to Virtue Farms for a unique blending session with Virtue’s Cidermaster Ryan Burk and Chef Chris Consentino. No amount of bad breakfast decisions can take that away from me. READ MORE