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Beer City Brewers Guild announces “Brews at the Calder” beer festival

After a year of enduring pandemic hardships, the Beer City Brewers Guild plans to bounce back with a festival that celebrates Grand Rapids’ craft beer industry in full. On Saturday October 2—the last weekend of Art Prize—the guild will host “Brews at the Calder” from 4 to 8pm at the namesake Calder Plaza.

This year’s lineup showcases the largest collection of breweries yet with more than thirty participants bringing a lot of awesome beer. Perhaps most notably, the entrance fee will be free to the public. Guests can purchase drink tickets on site for beer but they aren’t required to enjoy the festivities. Chad Atherton, event chair of the Beer City Brewers Guild, believes that removing the paywall will help weave Grand Rapids’ beer scene into the fabric of the city at large.

“This pivot to more of a community based event promotes a different kind of atmosphere,” Atherton said. “While our spotlight is on beer, we hope to broaden our appeal to a larger audience than just “Beer City” enthusiasts,” Atherton said.

The Pro-Am tent featuring beers brewed for the Pro-Am competition should provide another draw for the festival. Now in its fourth year, the guild’s Pro-Am competition has grown into an annual staple that pairs decorated homebrewers with commercial brewers to brew a unique batch of beer.

“It’s a great opportunity for homebrewers to expose their talents while promoting a culture of fellowship around beer,” Atherton said.

Nick Rodammer, head of the Pro-Am committee and participant in the Pro-Am competition, also sees the value in fostering this relationship between these two brewing sectors.

“Homebrewing culture was the starting point for a good portion of commercial brewers in Grand Rapids,” Rodammer said. “It’s amazing to see how the two worlds continue to inspire each other.”

This intersection between hobbyists and careerists has produced fruitful collaborations in years past, and while commercial success isn’t necessarily the goal, many of these original recipes end up becoming fan favorites and see returns to draft lists.

Local tap takeovers are planned for most of the Pro-Am competition beers. Look for events at Horrocks Market Tavern, 7 Monks, and both Grand Rapids’ Hopcat locations.

Ultimately, “Brews at the Calder” gives Grand Rapidians a reason to rally around an industry that’s helped put our city on the map. With all these moving parts set to the backdrop of the iconic La Grand Vitesse, “Brews at the Calder” represents a real display of Grand Rapids pride.

“Bringing it back downtown takes this to the next level,” Rodammer said. “It’s come full circle and gives a lot of visibility to this signature event for the guild.”

Tasting tickets will be $2 each and sold in bundles of 10. 10 oz pours will be available for 2-3 tickets each. Look for more information on the Beer City Brewers Guild’s facebook page.

Participating breweries: