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/// SPECIAL FEATURE by Revue Staff and Minions


BeerIssue B


The


eer has been around since about 3500 B.C., but for some here in West Michigan, things didn’t really get going until a quarter-century ago.


That’s when Larry Bell started brewing up


the first batches of his Kalamazoo Brewing Company beer in a 15-gallon soup kettle, processing it in open fermenters covered in plastic wrap. At the time, domestic beers ruled the market with lagers and light beers flowing forth at bars, nightclubs and music venues. For the better part of a decade, Bell’s operation was kind of a lone wolf on Michigan’s left coast. Then came the late ‘90s when the boom began. Since then, the number of microbreweries


in Michigan has grown to nearly 100, with a large pocket of them calling the state’s West side home. The key to this popularity surge is variety, with each brewery having its own personality and specialty. While there may be multiple breweries in a few-mile radius, each one has something different to offer –


diversifying the scene instead of diluting it. You can even find diversity inside the


breweries. Take Bell’s, for example. Its taps, which number in the double-digit range, pour everything from IPAs to stouts, porters, and its well-known Oberon wheat ale. On the other end of the spectrum, Brewery Vivant only produces Belgian ales. Some bottle their beers. A few sell them in cans. Most offer growlers so you can take home some fresh beer. Whatever your style, West Michigan will provide. Our first-ever Beer Issue tries to capture


some of the flavor West Michigan breweries have to offer — from just over the Benton Harbor and Sawyer down south, all the way up to Traverse City. Of course, we pay most attention to the microbreweries in our readership area of Battle Creek, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, as well as along the lakeshore from Saugatuck to Muskegon. Cheers!


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