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More than beer at Grand Rapids Brewing Co.

At breweries, the beer is the hero. And the food isn’t always a worthy sidekick.

But, at Grand Rapids Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, Mich., the menu appears to have been carefully and artfully selected. Each beer is listed with food pairing suggestions, and dishes are made from locally sourced ingredients, bringing the rural Midwest’s agriculture to the city.

The food

My mom and I were looking for a light lunch, and we found plenty of viable options. I was also pleased to find some vegetarian dishes on the menu, too. I decided on two dishes from the “sharables” section — a gnocchi dish and a small beet and grapefruit salad.

The hand-rolled gnocchi just melted in my mouth — some were so delectably soft they fell apart on the fork. Although this pasta dish is listed with appetizers and small plates, it is a large- and filling-enough portion to stand on its own as a meal. The dish features crisp, green asparagus and shaved radish in a ramp pesto sauce. Absolutely delicious.

Grand Rapids Brewing Co Gnocchi

Hand rolled gnocchi with asparagus, shaved radish and a ramp pesto sauce.

The beets and grapefruit salad seemed like the strangest mix of flavors — juicy and tart grapefruit, sweet beets, salty pistachio nuts, creamy goat cheese and avocado. But, it totally works. The best bites were the ones that had it all. I noticed the sweetness of the grapefruit and beets first, then a little crunch and salt from the nuts and almost as an aftertaste the creamy goat cheese cut through. The portion is small — perfect for two to share before a meal or as a small plate when pairing it with one or two other smaller dishes. And, it’s only $5. Totally worth trying. And, it’s gluten free, as are a few other options on the menu.

Beets and Grapefruit Salad at Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

The beer

The mango-flavored blonde at Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

The mango-flavored blonde at Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

Pale ale, a classic lager, German-style wheat — Grand Rapids Brewing Co. has them all. I tried the Rosalynn Bliss Blonde, named for a city commissioner who has a passion for local craft beer. Infused with mango flavor, this fruity beer was refreshing on a 90-degree mid-July day. The brew lightly danced on my palate and paired nicely with my vegetarian meal.

If the mango blonde sounds intriguing to you, you might also want to taste the Culimerican Peach Ale, an American-style pale ale made with organic green peach tea. Sounds perfect for summertime!

Next time I go, I’m getting the Brewer’s Heritage, a Bavarian-style Hefeweissen.

Before you go

Menu: American cuisine with salads, burgers, sandwiches, sausages, dessert and a brunch menu, vegetarian, gluten free

Drinks: 11 original beers on tap, cocktails and wine

Price: $3 for chips and dip to $12 for a smoked salmon burger

Location: 1 Ionia Ave. SW Suite 1, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Phone: (616) 458-7000

Note: Minors welcome with a parent/guardian until 8 p.m.

Reservations: Urban Spoon

Grand Rapids Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon

Wish you were here,

Erin

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. I am not much of a beer fan…but the food and service here were outstanding…everything fresh and well prepared…great presentation for a beer hall. I cannot wait for an excuse to cruise I-96 west again to Grand Rapids and stop in for another meal at the GR Brewing Co. Loved that they supported Michigan growers and businesses in their menu selection.

    August 10, 2013

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