Cogdal Vineyards

img_5118Coasting along the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, we discovered Cogdal Vineyards in South Haven, MI. We visited the tasting room with some family and really enjoyed ourselves – enough that we decided to order a glass of our favorites to sip outside on the patio and take in the surrounding views. 

South Beach Red (pictured above) was my personal favorite, along with North Beach White coming in at a close second. I am excited to head back to Cogdal Vineyards this coming summer because I am sure it is even more beautiful. 

As we were heading out, we picked up the official Wine Trail Guide that currently lists 19 wineries (some tasting rooms) in Southwest Michigan. Be sure to check out our wine map to see which ones we have visited so far!

 

 

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Breweries of Bridgeman

Last weekend we pointed our car towards Lake Michigan due to some unusually warm and sunny weather for mid November in Michigan and drove. Eventually we came to Bridgeman where we found Tapistry Brewing, Transient Artisan Ales, and yet another beer stamp book. Once all stamps from the area’s local breweries have been obtained, the beer drinker becomes the proud new owner of a “logo pint glass”. A quick google search yields pictures of a glass with the logos of all participating breweries. Cool enough, I’ll probably go for it. This new “Brewery Trail Map” eliminates the immediate need for me to add Berrien county’s breweries to the Craft Path Map, but I’ll probably still do it in time. The beer at both Tapistry and Transient was great and both places offered a wide range of beer styles. Upon further investigation of my new stamp book, on its way to Bridgeman is what appears to be another new brewery; Haymarket Brewery and Taproom will be opening this December, putting this currently Chicago-based business into national expansion status. The picture captions tell all.

Arcadia Brewing Co. Kalamazoo

Arcadia is one of our favorite breweries in Kalamazoo. It was also one of our first stamps in our Give a Craft passport! Positioned on the Kalamazoo River, at the opening of Arcadia Creek, this brewery makes a perfect rest stop while kayaking on a hot day to stop for a beer and some excellent BBQ. Arcadia has one of the largest beer gardens in the city that includes a fire pit, yard games and plenty of seating both inside and out. You can even bring your dog! This past summer I participated in Yoga in the Beer Garden, presented by Down Dog Yoga studio, and then I met my family afterwards for Kalamadoodle! We also enjoy being able to roller-blade and bike the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail (KRVT) and swing by for a beer. Arcadia is definitely in a great location!

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I had a hard cider (right) that was amazing!

Grand Rapids Brewing Company

Fall is a beautiful time of year in Michigan. What better way to enjoy the outdoors than with a cold beer in your hand and great company? Grand Rapids Brewing Company (GRBC) has ample seating even during the busiest of times. Recently, we visited Grand Rapids to spend the day enjoying Art Prize (an international art competition that gives the public a chance to cast their votes for their favorite pieces) and decided to stop at GRBC for a beer and some dinner. With plenty of craft beers on tap to choose from, here was my favorite: Ursa Minor – Brewed specifically as an Art Prize entry, this beer is made with Michigan blueberries.

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Ursa Minor – Far Left

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Great food, too!

Gallivanting to Gravity

On our first official outing touring the wineries of the Lake Michigan Shore, we had a goal of making it to Gravity Winery. We split a tasting which consisted of four wines of our choosing and came with two pieces of cheese and two crackers ($11). The outdoor atmosphere was beautiful and overlooked a set of specially labeled grape vines as well as a pond with a fountain. Every 5 minutes or so, a dog trotted by to check on us and make sure that we weren’t trying to steal our stemless wine glasses. I imagine he belongs to the owners. Also on the menu is hard cider. The atmosphere was relaxed enough that I think I would have just as easily enjoyed drinking a pint on the outdoor patio before heading to our next stop.

The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail

Little did we realize that we lived so close to an official wine trail in Michigan. To be exact, the closest stop on The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail is exactly 15 minutes from our house according to Google Maps. The entirety of the LMSWT consists of 20 wineries and sprawls over an approximate 90mi radius, while the greatest concentration of these unique wineries rests within a much smaller 5 mi radius. The best part about exploring this wine trail? You’re only about 10 minutes from the lake shore most of the time. Also in this region is a much less “official” beer trail which we plan to begin documenting this coming winter.