Keep On Tasting

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West Michigan Woman is thrilled that Amy Sherman will be joining us for Ladies Pint Out—again!

Two years ago, she shared about her work with local food and some of her favorite places to grab food and drinks. But dang, this woman is busy! We just had to catch up with her.

What have you been up to so far this summer? Any new developments in your career?

I've been incredibly busy over the past year with my full-time job at MLive and hosting my radio show Behind the Mitten. Both have taken me across the state multiple times, whether on our "Michigan's Best" searches, or to take people behind the scenes of great places to experience.

Over the past year, we've searched for Michigan's Best New Brewery, Best UP Pasty, Best Pizza, Best Bowling Alley, Best Sub Sandwich and, currently, Best French Fries. We've also explored the exciting, expanding world of craft spirits—and I'm excited that we'll be offering some Michigan spirits for people to taste during Ladies Pint Out this year.

This year, I was thrilled to win a Michigan Broadcaster Association award for best special broadcast for Behind the Mitten, along with my co-host John Gonzalez. We also received an Associated Press award for business writing for our work on fried chicken.

Two years ago, you said that "local food is finally taking center stage in West Michigan." How have you seen it develop in the past few years?

Use of local food continues to grow in West Michigan, through the efforts of both our local farmers and chefs. Companies like Farmlink—full disclosure: I am one of four owners—help make purchasing local food easier, faster, fairer and cheaper. I'm starting to see restaurants not necessarily list each and every farm they work with on their menus, either because there are too many to list, or because the chef feels that it should just be assumed that they're using local products on their menu. That, to me, is an excellent move forward.

What are some of your recent favorite hot spots for food and drinks?

Places I've been eating at recently include all of our stops for "Michigan's Best." Our MLive readers never steer us wrong—they know good food. This year, I've loved eating at so many places. Here are just a few in West Michigan:

Licari's Sicilian Pizza Kitchen for traditional Italian, including an amazing Sicilian-style pizza.

Boardwalk Subs for ... yep, subs. Ask to "go rogue" with yours, and thank me later.

Clique Lanes for a great time and $4 burgers that can't be beat.

Iron—to try an incredible burger named after me, The Shermantor.

Seven Monks Taproom, where my girl Chef Dani Garlock is rocking the kitchen.

Salt of the Earth—Chef Matthew Pietsch always has great local food.

Long Road Distillers, who just put in a kitchen to go with their great craft cocktails.

Gray Skies Distillery, who might just make the best cocktails I've tried all year.

"If you don't like craft beer, it's just because you haven't found the right one yet." —Amy Sherman

How can someone find the right craft beer?

Finding the right craft beer just takes a bit of tasting and a willingness to go outside your comfort zone. When at a bar or brewery, trust your bartender. They can lead you in the right direction, if you let them know what type of flavors, or even wine or cocktails, you like. Starting off with a "gateway" beer—one that might be light on the palate and hops, or have a fruity profile—might make the transition from wine to beer smoother.

Remember: There is a beer out there for you; you just have to find it. So, keep on tasting.

What are you excited about for Ladies Pint Out this year?

I'm super excited about the new format for Ladies Pint Out this year. Getting to talk to smaller groups about craft beer will allow for more questions and a more personal beer experience. I'm also excited with the new partnerships we'll see this year—and fun new things to taste, like ciders and spirits. It's going to be a fantastic time!

Want to join Amy for an evening of good food, good beer and even better company? Register for Ladies Pint Out here.

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