GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Grand Rapids continues to grow in many directions, including to the north where parts of Monroe St. that used to be just industrial are now seeing apartments and hotels springing up as well as restaurants and breweries.
Our Taste of My Town brings us to City Built Brewing on the northwest corner of Mason and Monroe where plans for a small brewery quickly expanded to fit the growing neighborhood.
What began as a dream for a small brewery serving beverages only grew into this, "We're 68 hundred square feet instead of a 2 or 3 barrel system we have a ten barrel system we have capacity for about a thousand barrels of beer a year," explained manager and partner Edwin Collazo.
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City Built Brewing is a dream come true for two guys from out of town, with a deep appreciation for this town. "Dave (Petroelje) and I come from two completely different areas other than Michigan. Grand Rapids is a city made of lots of cultures, so we thought calling it City Built would be a great way to represent that we are appreciative of all those cultures and showcase them," said Edwin. Petroelje is the dreamer behind the beer and the head brewer.
They say it's a place where cultures collide. The menu is Puerto Rican inspired, but also includes Michigan favorites like pasties.
"We have traditional rice and beans, we have traditional rice and pigeon beans, we have tostones which are fried plantains, we have pastelitos which is like an empanada...a meat pocket, those things are very traditional," explained Edwin. He says Puerto Ricans don't typically eat tacos, but they go over really well here in West Michigan, so they were willing to make an exception.
"I'm a huge fan of City Built, they have a great menu, great beers, obviously I'm not enjoying that now because it's lunch time, but we are really fortunate to have two great owners of this, friends of ours, and just get to come here as often as we can," said diner John Helmholdt.
"I was really impressed with the food, it's nice and fresh and there are options for me, a vegetarian and my husband who eats meat loved it too. I like that it's a little different take on the craft beer and the food is really delicious. It's fresh and filling," said another diner.
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And they're bringing something new to the GR Beer scene as well. "One of the things that I really appreciate is that they are experimenting with the flavors of the beer," said another diner.
"We have a blueberry thyme beer, we have a number of saisons on which I think is different than the normal GR beer culture. I think the idea is to make the familiar new, and the new familiar," said Edwin.
"Saisons use a Belgian yeast and so it ferments warmer and because it ferments warmer you draw out some other flavor qualities. It's a little bit more of the banana-y taste," explained Edwin. "He (head brewer Dave) is able to infuse a lot of great flavors into those beers. We had a lemon basil saison, we had a floral saison which had lavendar. He is just going through all the herbs and using those as bittering and flavoring agents," said Edwin.
"If you are looking for something unique and dynamic, I think we represent that category very well," said Edwin.
To take a look at their menu and what's on tap, click here.
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