If you know me, you know I love Brewery Vivant. I take that back. I don't just love Vivant, I adore them. I cherish them. I'm passionate about who they are, what they do and especially what they brew. For anyone who thinks that Founders is the master brewery in Grand Rapids...I'm sorry, you are wrong.
To start, Vivant appears seemingly normal on the outside. A brown building, some steps, some outdoor seating...but poke your head inside and you'll discover the magic of long oak picnic tables, hidden pews for groups of two, and tall, wood mounted ceilings hovering over it all.
Now that you're inside you're probably wondering what the heck you smell? It's amazing, isn't it? That's the smell of Vivant's kitchen and you won't get it anywhere else. Be warned, it tends to linger in your clothes and hair. If you're like me, you'll love that part.
Vivant is straight-up Belgian. Their fries...unbeatable. That burger, come on? The rest of the food, impeccable. You get it. Let's move onto the important part...beer.
Brewery Vivant does beer better than anyone else. It's that simple. Their mainstays, Undertaker, Big Red Coq, Farm Hand and Triomphe are all great in their own regards. In fact, Undertaker still remains one of my favorite beers of all time. Especially when it's barrel-aged into a sour...ON MY FRICKEN BIRTHDAY. Or, you know, thrown into cake batter and served to me by surprise (thnx Caleb).
Some other tap rotation favorites - Wizard Burial Ground, Fussy Dutchman, Saison Vivant, Barrel Weiss, Plough Horse, Solitude (YAS), Pepper in the Rye and, like, 50 others. Pro tip: always ask what the barrell aged and firkin of the day are before you order.
And because I believe in conscious buisness with a purpose, Vivant is not only serving up great food and beer, they're also on a mission to do so in a sustainable and lean way. Vivant is small on purpose. They believe in small buisness that doesn't include excess footage or cramped corners. The servers there know the customers and treat them like they're special. This is the kind of place where the brewers, chefs, servers, bartenders and hosts love their job. You can read more about their awesome philosophy here.
Next time you're in GR, skip that traditional Founders visit and head to Brewery Vivant instead. It's totally worth it.
PS - Don't forget to like them on Facebook to stay up to date on cool events like the Brewers Breakfast and Wood Aged Barrel Fest!