I was invited to cover the inaugural Meijer LPGA Grand Taste on my social media channels. Though I was not obligated to pen this post, I enjoyed the event so much I want to share it with you.

I’ll never quite understand why anyone attends the Meijer LPGA Classic just to watch golf when there are so many delicious Michigan craft beers and tasty dishes in the Grand Taste pavilion.

A food festival within a professional golf tournament, the Mejier LPGA Grand Taste could be — and should be — a main attraction.

In the culinary event’s first year, more than 40 food-and-beverage merchants — including local restaurants, breweries, and Meijer vendors — served delicious samples to hungry foodies, craft-beer enthusiasts, and golf spectators.

Ready to drink craft beer and eat at the Meijer Grand Taste! (Left: Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler | Right: Photo by a helpful stranger for The Epicurean Traveler)

Ready to drink craft beer and eat at the Meijer Grand Taste! (Left: Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler | Right: Photo by a helpful stranger for The Epicurean Traveler)

Greater Grand Rapids Restaurants Share Delicious Dishes

Honey Creek Inn oyster and beef tip sandwich and Divani gazpacho and mushroom tart at Meijer LPGA Grand Taste

Left: Grilled oyster and beef tip sandwich from Honey Creek Inn/Cannonsburg Village | Right: Gazpacho and mushroom tart from Divani (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

From Yesterdog’s iconic hotdog to Spanish tapas restaurant San Chez’s watermelon gazpacho, the Grand Taste showcased a variety of the cuisines found around my foodie city.

My Top Tastes

  • A flavorful grilled oyster and tender beef tip sandwich from Honey Creek Inn in nearby Cannonsburg
  • A refreshing tomato gazpacho and tasty mushroom tart from Divani, a chic downtown restaurant that has recently shifted its focus from wine to food. From what I tasted, that refocusing shows!
  • A delightful dessert: the gluten-free and dairy-free almond torte from Silverberry Cafe, which specializes in gluten-free gourmet pastries
  • A taste of Spain: Manchego cheese cubes, marcona almonds, watermelon and cucumber gazpacho, peach hummus and olives from San Chez, a tapas bistro located downtown
Left: Almond torte from Silverberry Cafe | Right: Tapas from San Chez (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

Left: Almond torte from Silverberry Cafe | Right: Tapas from San Chez (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

Michigan Breweries Pour Cold Ones On Hot Days

The Mitten Triple Crown Brown and Brewery Vivant's Farm Hand (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

The Mitten Triple Crown Brown and Brewery Vivant’s Farm Hand (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

The Grand Taste took place on some of the hottest days we’ve had this year. What better way to cool down than with a Michigan craft beer?

Greater Grand Rapids Breweries At The Grand Taste

  • Founders Brewing Company — Our most well-known brewery offered tastes of Dirty Bastard, Centennial IPA, and Rubaeus (Raspberry Ale). I tried the seasonal single-hop ale Mosaic Promise.
  • Brewery Vivant — This East Hills brewery is known for its Belgian-style beer, and I tasted Farm Hand, a cloudy, tart and sweet brew.
  • The Mitten Brewing Company — This West Side brewery has earned many a local foodie’s stamp of approval for its artisanal pizza flights. After tasting the chocolatey Triple Crown Brown, a World Beer Cup silver medalist, I can say a visit for beer is in order.
  • Perrin Brewing Company — I tasted the citrusy and hoppy No Problems Session IPA. The Comstock Park brewery was also serving Perrin Black, Grapefruit IPA, and 98 Problems.
  • Vander Mill — I tasted both the tart Blue Gold and refreshing Ginger Peach ciders from this West Michigan cidery that now has a Grand Rapids tap room and restaurant.
Right Brain CEO Stout (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

Right Brain CEO Stout (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

The Grand Taste Also Featured Beers From These Michigan Breweries

  • Arcadia Ales — Battle Creek and Kalamazoo
  • Atwater Brewery — Detroit and Grosse Pointe with a Grand Rapids biergarten opening this summer
  • Bell’s Brewery — Kalamazoo
  • Dark Horse Brewery — Marshall
  • Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales — Ann Arbor, Detroit, Dexter and Traverse City
  • New Holland Brewing Company — Holland with a Grand Rapids location opening soon
  • North Peak Brewing Company — Traverse City
  • Petoskey Brewing — Petoskey
  • Right Brain Brewery — Traverse City
  • Short’s Brewing Company — Bellaire

Beer, Wine And More Food From Meijer

Odwalla and Bolthouse Farms green smoothies and a local Michigan craft beer -- both available at Meijer stores. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

Odwalla and Bolthouse Farms green smoothies and a local Michigan craft beer — all available at Meijer stores. (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

Many of the Michigan brews were served at booths showcasing the selection of local craft beers at Meijer stores. The family-owned retailer is based in Grand Rapids and has more than 220 one-stop-shopping supercenters in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Kentucky.

Meijer also provided sushi, meat, deli salads, bakery treats, wine and produce you’ll find in its grocery section.

New potatoes and deli salads you'll find at Meijer at the Grand Taste (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

New potatoes and deli salads you’ll find at Meijer at the Grand Taste (Erin Klema/The Epicurean Traveler)

Overall, the Grand Taste impressed me with its commitment to showcasing local restaurants and breweries.

The Grand Taste featured a mix of casual and upscale eateries that seemed to appeal to the event’s attendees of all ages. Though a few chain restaurants — West Michigan pizzeria and sports bar chain Uccello’s and the downtown steakhouse Ruth’s Chris — were present, the majority of participating restaurants are locally owned and operated.

Check out my Snapchat story in the video below to see more of what I found at the Grand Taste. Plus you’ll see highlights from the celebrity chef brunch with Marcus Samuelsson, of Top Chef Masters and Chopped fame.

What were your favorite beers or dishes at the Grand Taste? Which restaurants or breweries do you hope participate next year?

Disclaimer: Though this is not a sponsored post, I was invited to cover the Grand Taste at the LPGA Classic for Simply Give on my social media channels. As always, all opinions are my own.

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