GRAND RAPIDS — When a brewery owner and his brewmaster are on the same page, magical things happen. Just ask Jacob Derylo, brewmaster at Brewery Vivant.
Saturday, the brewpub hosted its first-ever Wood-Aged Beer Celebration. Drawing in an estimated 500 beer drinkers, more than 2,250 six-ounce cups of wood-aged and sour beers were served during the 8-hour outdoors event.
“It’s kind of fun to get back to the small-time, artisanal brewing,” Derylo said. “I credit (owner) Jason (Spaulding) for that. I appreciate his trust in me.”
Altogether 11 brews — each fitting Vivant’s Belgian/French-influenced flavor profile — were tapped during the event, including:
- Farm Gris
- Barrel Aged Triomphe
- Barrel Aged Sgt. Peppercorn
- Barrel Aged Solitude
- Barrel Aged Brune
- Barrel Aged Rye Porter
- Barrel Aged Raz-Rye Porter
- Barrel Aged Sour Zaison
- Cassandra Rose
- Barrel Aged Brune Firkin
The sours, a much-anticipated favorite, are purposely spiked with healthy bacteria to give the brew a slightly tart flavor. Some of the beers had been aging for just a few weeks, while others spent two or three months maturing.
“We’re just trying to get some wood-aged beer out there,” Derylo said. “To focus just on wood-aged and sour-aged beer is pretty time consuming.”
Because Vivant limits itself as a 5,000-barrel brewery, Derylo said he has the ability to concentrate on aged and sour beers, which is “where (his) heart is.”
“Fortunately enough, I have an owner who lets me do this stuff,” he said. “We’re going to have our mainstays, but I want to focus on sour beers. We do those well.”
For Vivant, Saturday was just one event surrounding the wood-aged and sour theme — something the brewery aims to be known for, according to Derylo.
“We’re at the right time in the beer culture where we can educate,” he said. “Wood-aged beer is a cool thing right now. I’m having a great time.”
“We want to be known as the wood-aged, sour beer brewery in Grand Rapids. The fact that all these people are here just for wood-aged beer is very encouraging.”
MittenBrew sampled eight of Saturday’s brews, a review of six of those brews is available here. Manager Rick Muschiana said a few barrels are leftover from Saturday, which Vivant will be tapping throughout the course of the next few weeks. Currently, Farm Gris — a drier version of its Farm Hand mixed with six percent Pinot Gris — is available at the brewpub, which is located on Grand Rapids’ Southeast Side at 925 Cherry Street SE.