Brewery Vivant – Belgian-Inspired Beer in Grand Rapids
I headed to Brewery Vivant with two friends (Aaron and Jay) last month, excited to finally visit a place I had heard so many good things about. We had tried a good handful of Vivant’s offerings in cans already, but wanted to see what the atmosphere was like at the brewpub and try out some food as well.
The building itself is a historically preserved former funeral chapel, with some of the original wood beams and stained glass still in place. We each ordered up a flight of six beers, and started in on trying out some of the best Belgian-inspired brews any brewery in Michigan offers. We tried Bon Papa – a farmhouse IPA, the Rye Porter, WIPA SNAPPA – a wheat IPA, Smokey Wheat, MELA – a Belgian-inspired malty ale, Viking Ice Hole – an oatmeal stout, Ski Patrol – a witbier, The Great Work – a strong Belgian golden, as well as the barrel-aged offering at the time (Raspberry Rye Porter) and the day’s firkin (oatmeal stout aged w/ vanilla bean). The flight price was incredibly reasonable for the amount of beer and quality of beer, and would definitely be a great option for newcomers to Vivant’s unique and distinct lineup.
The standouts from our flights were the Bon Papa, Viking Ice Hole and Ski Patrol. Each presented great flavor and was well done stylistically, we ended up with growlers and cans to bring home.
We also sampled some of the food offerings. I chose the pretzels with beer cheese sauce, and found the flavor of the cheese to be perfect for dipping these thick pretzels in to snack on while sampling beer.
Jay opted to go with the house favorite, Duck Confit Nachos, which didn’t last long. He had this to say about his food choice: “The duck nachos feature some of the best homemade tortilla chips this Mexican has ever tasted. The pretzel sticks really excel when dipped in the amazing house-made pub cheese, which I also dipped my chips in for maximum enjoyment.”
Aaron ventured out a bit more and ordered the Bone Marrow. Let’s just say it wasn’t the biggest hit and definitely isn’t something everyone is going to want to try. We’ll just go with saying that it’s interesting to see and try once, but the texture and taste likely have a limited audience to appeal to.
This was a great experience, and we’ve definitely found another brewery that we’ll be returning to many times in the future. Jay described the atmosphere as “laid back, if not a little hipster-y” and added that the staff was attentive helpful when it came to finding out what was worth trying. Aaron had this to say: “Brewery Vivant has quickly become my favorite brewery. I’ve had almost 20 different beers from them, and have yet to find one I don’t like.” He lists his personal favorites as Wizard Burial Ground, Ski Patrol and Tart Side of the Moon. The beer selection here isn’t going to appeal to everyone but will be enjoyed by those who appreciate a finely-crafted brew that is a bit different. The appetizers came across as a bit pricey (my two pretzels and beer cheese: $9, duck nachos $16, bone marrow $12) for the amount of food we got, so I’d also definitely lean toward eating beforehand next time and just focusing on beer.
Many of Brewery Vivant’s beers are available across Michigan in 4-pack cans. Above is an example of a few of these beers we’ve tried at home that weren’t mentioned in this post: Undertaker – a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Wizard Burial Ground – a barrel-aged Belgian quad, Tree Bucket – a double IPA, Pepper in the Rye – a rye beer, Triomphe – a Belgian IPA, and Big Red Coq – a hoppy Belgo-American amber ale. These and many more are also available in a small shop near the BV entrance, along with shirts and other merchandise.
Brewery Vivant contact information:
925 Cherry Street Southeast, Grand Rapids, MI
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