Thursday, May 25, 2017

Some notes from my recent trip to Michigan and the popular scene now: micro-brewing.

It’s been about two weeks since returning from a visit to Michigan, the state in which I was born. It turns out that this year marks 28 years being in Florida and the previous 28 years being in Michigan. I visited family and friends, having time to walk around some central-lower Michigan cities. It’s interesting to view these communities through the eyes of an urban planner. Below are some pictures and descriptions of what I experienced in a few of the communities visited.

Micro-brewing is everywhere.

We’ve seen it emerge here in south Florida. It turns out the trend is thriving in Michigan. I happened by Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids. The entire city, it seems, is remaking its image around the beer brewing scene. A Hipster-looking group made up most of the crowd when we stopped by for a sandwich during the middle part of a Friday afternoon. Most looked like they were direct from “Central Casting”.

Focusing on Lake Worth for a moment, the Hipster scene is also thriving quite well here in our City, which I jokingly refer to as “The Home of Apatharchism”. Maybe some day soon our underutilized sections of Dixie Hwy. will be seen with a new set of eyes by our Hipster community and combine that with micro-brewing and a trendy new food venue.

The former “Patio Coffee Shop” location here in the City of Lake Worth, a vacant and littered lot after many years (located on Dixie Hwy. between Cornell and Dartmouth) would be an excellent future location for a “Hipster Hangout”. Why? It’s across the street from another popular Hipster hangout already, the City of Lake Worth’s iconic World Thrift.

Here are a few pics from my visit to Michigan and Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids.
Beer is generally categorized in “alcohol by volume”. There were a myriad of choices at this establishment.

The doors helped complete the industrial vibe of this tap room and eatery.
Founders Brewing was the first real presence of the trend in the Grand Rapids area. This was a warm Spring day. The garage doors were open to invite the public in.

Even the small town of Hastings couldn’t escape the trend. A few days before, a planner friend and I had lunch at this establishment, which featured it’s own micro-brewed beverages.


I also had a chance to visit East Lansing which is home to Michigan State University. I happened to work for the city as a planner early in my career. It’s transformed from a low-scale downtown area and now the higher, denser development is the norm. There are two new high-rise developments being considered that would further transform the area. You can read about some of these here.

A friend and I enjoyed an early evening meal at El Azteco, a favorite “go to” spot for those familiar with East Lansing. We took a spot on the second floor, actually the roof terrace, and I was able to get some shots of the downtown area.

Hope you enjoyed this recounting of my trip to Michigan. How long you think before you hear someone say, “Good day, barkeep, I’ll have a draft of Hipster LDub, please.”