Grand Rapids, Why It’s Truly Grand

Liz Crowe pictureGrand Rapids and why it’s truly grand, guest feature by Liz Crowe. The author of Tapped, Liz Crowe takes over Plain Talk today and shares why she thinks the Grand Rapids is truly grand. Enjoy!

My latest novel, Tapped, book one of the Brewing Passion series from Totally Bound Publishing, is set in two cities: Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Denver, Colorado.

These two cities have a common bond: Beer.

Or more precisely: craft beer.

Now, before you get all weirded out because you don’t “get” craft beer, or you only drink iced horchata so why should you care about this book, give me a moment to tell you a few things about it (and the cities it’s set in).

Tapped is not “about beer.” It’s “about” a relationship—first between a man and a woman, then between that woman, that man, and another man. It’s a sexy, funny, love story that happens to be set in a world that I know a LOT about and think you will find pretty fascinating. But don’t worry! I don’t overwhelm you with a lot of “beer biz details.” It’s merely the setting, the backdrop, the place where all the action (and there is a lot if it) takes place.

Grand Rapids, Michigan is the second largest city in the Great Lakes State where I live, where I helped found a craft brewery and where there are over 200 licensed breweries/brew pubs. Michigan is currently 4th in the nation in the number of licensed breweries. One of the pioneering breweries of the craft beer movement is here—Bell’s Brewing Company, in Galesburg and Kalamazoo (yes, there is a city named that for real. We also have a Hell, Michigan but that’s for another blog post!)

Grand Rapids is on the west side of the state, more or less opposite Detroit, the largest city. It’s a lovely, tidy, community, home to President Gerald Ford, and a lot of people who got rich making furniture, plus a ton of people whose ancestors are from the Netherlands. Dutch surnames abound in “GR” as we call it and, while it was once called “furniture city” for all the factories and stores making that stuff that were based there, now, it’s more like “Beer City. U.S.A.” (a designation it has earn twice for the sheer number of breweries, pubs and related businesses).

GR is about 30 miles from Lake Michigan, arguably the most beautiful of the four “greats” so water sports is a thing to be sure. But within the city there are truly beautiful (and, thanks to the Dutch heritage of the place) sometimes painfully organized and always clean parks to enjoy. Fun fact: if you have ever shopped at a Meijer store, you have paid a large and famous Grand Rapids-based company for your groceries.

I set Fitzgerald Brewing in this city because if its history in the craft beer business. In Tapped, Fitzgerald Brewing Company is one of the “firsts” into the market but by the time the novel opens, things are super crowded, like they are now, and Austin, the former head brewer and now CEO (and rumored playboy) owner of the company is struggling to find ways to carve a fresh niche for his brand.

Denver, of course, IS Beer City and is the setting for a few crucial scenes. The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is a real festival that should be on your bucket list, if you’re a craft beer fan. It’s three days of crazy beer tasting, celebrity spotting, dinner hosting, and very hard work for breweries. But it’s fun as hell. I’ve been twice. I made up a beer fest similar to it where Austin meets back up with his old friend Ross Hoffman. Austin and Ross were roommates while attending the Munich Brewing Institute and quickly learned that between them and their extreme good looks and charm, they had no problem scoring chicks and had a penchant for threesomes with the girl in the middle.

Once Austin meets Evelyn Benedict, a crack saleswoman for one of his wholesale distributor partners in GR, he falls hard. Things get sexy, then get complicated, then get even sexier when they meet up with the native German, Ross in Denver.

So, like I said—if you could give a rats you-know-what about “beer” but adore a hot and sexy love story, you’ll groove on Tapped. And if you are into craft beer, well, this book may become your favorite romance ever!




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Book cover for TappedTitle: Tapped (The Brewing Passion Series #1) by Liz Crowe
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Published by: Totally Bound: Entwined


When wealthy brewery owner Austin Fitzgerald meets sexy saleswoman Evelyn Benedict, angry sparks fly. They seem destined to clash, until a hot hookup in a cold beer cooler changes everything.

For Austin, it’s a life-altering moment that sets him on a path away from his birthright, while Evelyn must face her fears about committing to a man considered the playboy of the micro-brewing world.

The power of preconceived notions nearly tears them apart—until they meet up with brew master Ross, who opens their eyes to a deeper, even more erotic connection.

But three strong personalities don’t always make for the best emotional mix and when a simple misunderstanding causes chaos, it’s up to Ross to somehow repair the tattered shreds of their relationship.

Click to add Tapped to your Goodreads shelf.

Click to purchase on Amazon | Totally Bound

Click to read an excerpt from Tapped.

About Liz Crowe

Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.

Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance: Worth the Risk,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).

With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.

Connect with Liz: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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