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GRAND RAPIDS, MICH – Back by popular demand, Brewery Vivant to release “Fat Paczki” on Tuesday February 13, 2018 to coincide with Paczki Day and Mardi Gras celebrations. The 8% ABV beer is simply a classic paczki ale— an amber ale brewed with 15lbs of dried prunes and powdered sugar. Prepare for ripened plum and raisin notes, while the confectioner’s sugar adds a sweet backend mouthfeel.

paczki day

This is the third year in a row the brewery has released the celebration beer. When Vivant first brewed Fat Paczki in 2015, it was just a novelty. Head brewer, Jacob Derylo admits it came about as a fun experiment. “We’re here in West Michigan,” He says, “Over half our brewing team has some Polish heritage. We were inspired by the culture and the ingredients locally available. Paczki are everywhere this time of year!” The annual release is now a fan favorite, both on draft and in 16oz pint cans only available at the Pub. The first 100 folks to order a pint at the Pub on February 13 will receive a fresh baked paczki donut from Pastry Chef, Katy Waltz. Doors open at 3pm.

paczki dayAlso on February 13, Brewery Vivant to release it’s highly acclaimed “Love Shadow”, the 12% ABV bourbon barrel aged Imperial stout— just in time for Valentine’s Day. The beer is available on draft and in 16oz pint cans while supplies last. As an additional treat, the brewers and kitchen staff teamed up to brew two exclusive variants of the stout. Pastry chef Katy Waltz made 5 pounds of beignets, the New Orleans French inspired donut and offered them up, along with real raspberry puree, to one of the bourbon barrels holding 53 gallons of Love Shadow. Then sous chef Vanessa Aguilar toasted baking sheets full of shredded coconut to mingle with another barrel of beer. The two versions, Raspberry Beignet Love Shadow and Toasted Coconut Love Shadow will be tapped at 3pm along with the original Love Shadow.

Love Shadow will see limited distribution throughout Michigan on draft and in pint cans in conjunction with the Pub release.

About Brewery Vivant
Brewery Vivant promotes living the good life by brewing farmhouse inspired beer, serving a from-scratch menu and building a sustainable community one beer at a time. The brewery employees around 65 employees and is located in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids, in a renovated funeral chapel built in the early 1900s. Husband and wife partners Jason and Kris Spaulding opened the doors for business in December of 2010. Vivant beers are distributed throughout Michigan and Massachusetts. They are the first commercial brewery in the nation to receive Silver LEED Certification from the USGBC. Additionally they are 100% renewably powered, a gold ­level Bicycle Friendly Business, and are a certified B Corporation. Beer the Change®!

 

The League of American Bicyclists recognized Brewery Vivant with a Gold Bicycle Friendly Business (BFBSM) award, joining more than 1,300 visionary businesses from across the country.

With the announcement of 34 new and renewing BFBs today, Brewery Vivant joins a cutting-edge group of 1,343 local businesses, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies in every state in the US and Washington, D.C., that are transforming the American workplace.

brewery vivant

“As we celebrate National Bike Month and Bike to Work Week, the League of American Bicyclists is excited to recognize a new class of businesses that are making their communities safer, happier, healthier, and more sustainable through bicycling,” said Amelia Neptune, Director of the Bicycle Friendly America program. “We applaud this new round of Bicycle Friendly Businesses, including Brewery Vivant, for leading the charge in creating a more bicycle-friendly America for everyone.”

Brewery Vivant has been recognized on a national level for its sustainability efforts, including bicycle friendly practices by both industry trade groups and popular cultural magazines. Being a bicycle friendly business has helped to elevate its reputation. Brewery Vivant encourages bicycling as an easy option for transportation and provides amenities such as bicycle racks, employee shower & changing facilities, and maintenance supplies, and incentives such as subsidized off-site gym membership, helmet reimbursement, and active-pursuit related subsidies.

brewery vivant

“We know that our employees, guests, and community value bicycles as alternative transportation as well as recreation.” Says Kris Spaulding, owner & director of sustainability, “The BFB process is a great way to see where we are doing well and where there is opportunity for improvement. This certification also highlights our commitment to bicycles and alternative transportation in a public way.”

Moving forward, Brewery Vivant will have access to a variety of tools and technical assistance from the League to become even more bicycle-friendly. When our employees bike, great things happen: decreased carbon footprints, increased endorphins, and healthy, fun work culture.

To apply or learn more about the BFB program, visit the League online.

About the Bicycle Friendly America Program

To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, including the Bicycle Friendly CommunitySM, Bicycle Friendly StateSM, Bicycle Friendly BusinessSM and Bicycle Friendly UniversitySM programs.visit www.bikeleague.org/BFA.

The League of American Bicyclists is leading the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. As leaders, our commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change.

About Brewery Vivant

The brewery is located in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids, in a renovated funeral chapel built in the early 1900’s. Their staff of around 60 employees specialize in Belgian/French inspired beers and fare in a completely unique setting. Husband and wife partners Jason and Kris Spaulding opened the doors for business in December of 2010. Vivant beers are distributed throughout Michigan and the greater Chicago area. They are the first commercial brewery in the nation to receive Silver LEED Certification from the USGBC. Additionally they are 100% renewable powered, a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Business, and are a certified B Corporation.  Beer the Change®!

 

traverse city beer week

Typically, November in Northern Michigan means dark skies before 6:00 p.m., shorter business hours, and an exodus of summer and fall visitors. However, Traverse City Beer Week keeps the area energized with a wide array of special events meant to highlight the creativity and successes of the Traverse City beer scene. This year’s Traverse City Beer Week took place from November 11-17, and contained over 50 events.

tcbeerweek-2

And while Traverse City Beer Week might attract some outside visitors, it is also a great opportunity for locals to enjoy their hometown before winter settles in. With special tastings, exclusive tappings, and unique pairings, it is easy to find a quick stop after work or enjoy an evening out with friends.

This year, The Little Fleet held a different themed event each night of the week. Monday was Founders Bingo. It was free to play, and various Founders brews were on tap, including some exclusive free samples. The Founders rep was also on site to call numbers and give away prizes.  

On Tuesday, The Little Fleet hosted a rare release from Lagunitas, a world premiere of Slow Tako from Brewery Vivant on Wednesday, a sour beer night on Thursday, and a Seafood Dinner on Friday.

Most of these events were casual, making it easy to stop in after work for something special. For instance, Sour Beer Night featured sour beers on tap from various breweries, including Jolly Pumpkin, Short’s, and various cellar exclusives. The weather was warm enough to sit outside, which made an exclusive beer after work even more enjoyable.

Other breweries and taprooms throughout downtown held similar style events. Rare Bird Brewpub hosted a Founders and Dark Horse Tap Jam. Upon walking into Rare Bird, it appeared to be an average evening. However, with a closer look, brewery reps were giving away swag and taps featured an equal selection of Founders and Dark Horse brews. Founders KBS was on tap, as well as Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse. This was only the second time that the barrel aged version of Plead The 5th Imperial Stout had been on tap in Traverse City.

7 Monks Taproom has become known for its unique pairings and themed events during Traverse City Beer Week. This year, the taproom dedicated an evening to Traverse City’s brewing history. The Filling Station brewed a historically inspired Kratochvil Bohemian Pilsner to be a featured tap for the evening, and a large beer history timeline was on display. So, with a pilsner in hand, many visited with friends during happy hour while also examining the timeline. The timeline featured artifacts, maps, and interesting information regarding some of Traverse City’s first breweries.

Michigan Guild

LANSING, Mich—Ten (10) brewery members of the Michigan Brewers Guild were awarded medals at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) Competition, in Denver, Colorado—the largest commercial beer competition in the world and a symbol of brewing excellence, presented by the Brewers Association.

In all, 286 medals were presented in 96 unique beer categories covering 161 different beer styles (including all subcategories). Winners were chosen from 7,227 competition entries (nearly 9 percent more than the 6,647 entries in 2015 and surpassing all previous participation records) from 1,752 breweries hailing from 50 states, plus Washington, D.C.

The competition also saw its biggest-ever panel of judges, with 264 beer experts from 12 countries, including the U.S., and 170 competition volunteers.

Michigan Brewers Guild member received the following awards:

GOLD

  • Dirty Frank Stout — River’s Edge Brewing, Milford
    Category 89: Export Stout
  • Raucher – Wolverine State Brewing Co., Ann Arbor Category 34: Smoke Beer

SILVER

  • Expedition Stout – Bell’s Brewing Co., Galesburg
    Category 32: Aged Beer
  • reDANKulous – Backstage Series – Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids
    Category 63: American Imperial Red

BRONZE

  •  Angelina – Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids
    Category 30: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer
  • Kusterer Original Weissbier – Cedar Springs Brewing Co, Cedar Springs
    Category 75: German-Style Wheat Ale
  • Broadway Light – Detroit Brewing Company, Detroit
    Category 38: American Style Cream Ale
  • Bangin The Mash – Latitude 42 Brewing Co., Portage
    Category 88: Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout
  • Good Mooed Milk Stout – Railtown Brewing Co, Dutton
    Category 91: Sweet Stout or Cream Stout
  • Live Wire – Roak Brewing, Royal Oak
    Category 55: English IPA

 

The Great American Beer Festival invites industry professionals from around the world to sit together in small groups and, without knowing the brand name, taste beers in each specified style category. The ultimate goal of the judging panel is to identify the three beers that best represent each beer-style category as described and adopted by the GABF.

Five different three-hour judging sessions take place over the three-day period during the week of the festival, with judges assigned to evaluate beers in their specific area of expertise. Breweries are awarded points, which are tabulated to arrive at the top three place medals in each category. The judging panel awards gold, silver or bronze medals that are recognized around the world as symbols of brewing excellence. These awards are among the most coveted in the industry and heralded by the winning brewers in their national advertising. Medal distinctions are as follows:

  • GOLD: A world-class beer that accurately exemplifies the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance.
  • SILVER: An excellent beer that may vary slightly from style parameters while maintaining close adherence to the style and displaying excellent taste, aroma and appearance.
  • BRONZE: A fine example of the style that may vary slightly from style parameters and/or have minor deviations in taste, aroma or appearance.

Now in its 35th year, the Great American Beer Festival is the granddaddy of all U.S. beer festivals, offering the largest collection of U.S. beer ever assembled. Sponsored by The Brewers Association, the festival features more than 3,800 different beers from 780 breweries throughout the country. More than 60,000 attendees and 3,600 volunteers gathered at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver for the 3-day event.

Michigan’s brewing industry continues to grow in the total volume of beer produced and sold, as well as in the number of breweries. Michigan currently ranks #5 in the nation in terms of the total number of breweries and the Guild proudly represents its highest number of members at 210 (and continually growing)—thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.” Michigan’s breweries are located in every area of the state, operating as community-focused small businesses that collectively employ more than 7,000 individuals and pay more than $144 million in wages. The overall impact of the craft beer industry in Michigan totals more than $608 million.

brewery vivant

Brewery Vivant will celebrate another milestone in sustainability efforts with their recent installation of a 192 solar panel array atop their production brewery and adjoining pub. A ribbon cutting is planned for “Monk Club” Tuesday, July 19 at 4pm at the Pub. Mayor Bliss and other public officials will join owners, staff, monk club members and the public at large for ribbon cutting and official toast.

Renewable energy has been a goal since opening in December 2010, with the hope of achieving 10% from onsite sources. This installation projects Brewery Vivant will be able to produce 20% of its energy needs using the sun, in addition to purchasing renewable energy through Consumers Power and its Green Generations program. The 54kw system covers the chapel (pub) roof and adjacent brewery facility. Brewery Vivant partnered with nonprofit Green Brewery Project and with Michigan based Renovo Energy, LLC for this project, who have also helped breweries like Short’s, Dark Horse, and Arbor reach sustainable energy solutions.

Brewery Vivant’s solar power sustainability measure comes in addition to its LEED silver certification, B­Corp certification, and Bicycle Friendly Business status. “It has been a process.” Owner & Sustainability Director, Kris Spaulding says, “With this most recent expansion, we felt ready and more able to invest in solar.” The brewery recently installed three new 60 ­barrel fermentation tanks at 925 Cherry Street which will bring their annual capacity from 5,000 barrels (31 gal/barrel) to 9,000. “We make craft beer [and from ­scratch cooking], but we also want to make a positive impact on our community.” Spaulding says, “Investing in our collective future with sustainable energy is one way we can do this.”

The announcement comes as a part of several major projects Brewery Vivant has been working toward and has achieved:

  • 192 Solar Panels Array on the roof, to produce 20% of energy needs onsite
  • Squeeze in a few more brew tanks, to increase capacity of neighborhood brewery from 5000 bbl to 9000 bbl;
  • Release sour & wood aged beers at a distributable scale via new Plein de Vie series (June 5th);
  • Source burger beef from local Michigan farm, family ­owned Wernette Beef (enough to supply the 10,000lbs of beef to grill up over 20,000 burgers annually at the pub);
  • Re-­certify as a B-­Corporation via Philadelphia ­based nonprofit B­Lab (In 2014 Brewery Vivant became the 4th West Michigan B­Corp with 86 points of the 80 necessary. After an onsite audit for re­certification, BV achieved a score of 110);
  • Partnering for the second year in a row with Kids Food Basket and neighboring Congress Elementary School to underwrite the Sack Suppers program (for each Brewery Vivant kids meal purchased, BV will donate 5 sack suppers)

The solar power ribbon cutting ceremony will take place next Tuesday July 19 at 4pm at Brewery Vivant, located in the East Hills neighborhood at 925 Cherry Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506. All are welcome.

brewery vivant

Plein de Vie, when literally translated, means “full of life.” There couldn’t be a more appropriate name to describe this new wood & wild fermentation series of beer from Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids.

MittenBrew had the opportunity to chat with Kate Avery, Abbess of Beer, Brian Kuszynski, Master of Wood, and Jason Spaulding, President and Co-Owner at Brewery Vivant, about this much anticipated series release.

brewery vivant

“We’ve always offered something a little different to the Grand Rapids drinking audience. It’s been a road of education and talking, about flavors and different styles of beer. With Plein de Vie, wood aging and intentionally souring of these beers, it all comes back to that education experience for the consumer,” Avery shares as she shows off the three initial brews in their bottle release.

Indeed, Brewery Vivant is known for doing things a little differently—offering Belgian and French style old-world libation, and allowing their Brewers the opportunity to experiment and create complex, nuanced one-offs that eventually sparked the annual Wood Aged Beer Fest. With a recent expansion, more time and dedicated space to the souring process, they are able to take it to the next level—bottling and offering these taproom favorites on a larger scale and to a wider audience.

If you are familiar with Brewery Vivant, you’ll know that bottling their beer is also something new to their repertoire, but with good reason.

“Cans aren’t meant for letting a beer develop in the package,” Spaulding notes, “These beers especially can be more lively, and bottles simply offer the ability to hold more pressure.”

These are meant to be enjoyed when you are ready to enjoy them. Big, full bodied, unfiltered beers retain their characteristics better in a bottle instead of thin aluminum. Practically speaking, introducing live beer on their main canning line is a no-no. You don’t want to risk introducing wild yeast strains which could affect the taste of their staples. Beyond that, bottling is another way to differentiate this unique series of beer from Vivant mainstays.

Unique also is the packaging. Highly detailed, crisp clean lines with variants in color that reflect the beer each vessel holds. Each label also explains just how each beer was aged and soured. Tap handles in the pub for this series are old barrel staves, wood burned with Vivant’s iconic rooster. Just another way to distinguish Plein de Vie, no matter how you are drinking it.

On Sunday, June 5 at Noon, you will be able to try these three initial offerings:

Angelina – The mother of all Vivant’s sours, if you will, is finally offered in bottles—much to the delight of long time Brewery Vivant fans. The very first sour beer made at the pub, a barrel named Angelina produced something tasty, magical, and sparked the direction of Vivant’s future sour offerings. Inoculating other barrels from this mother to keep the culture going, this pleasant, wood-barrel aged sour retains its majesty for (hopefully) years to come.

Harvest Breed – A brand new brew, this stainless steel brettanomyces wild sour ale offers a big sour punch on the noise, with the bretta coming through as the beer warms to room temperature. Almost citrusy, this sour offers a bergamot, earl gray tea flavor with a hint of lemon pith or orange rind.

Habanango – Many of you may remember this from a previous Wood Aged Beer Fest, but don’t expect the exact same brew. Feeder fermented and barrel-aged, this sour is blended with habanero peppers and mango to give a little heat with the sweet. Strongly mango on the nose, the peppery sweet heat of the habanero creeps up on you, making you want to take that next sip.

With safety and containment always a top priority, we end our tour, complete with booties on our feet, in what’s known as “the Funk Room,” where all the wood aging and wild fermented magic happens. Brian Kuszynski meets us there to share the story of how Plein de Vie came to be.

Carving out this separate space allows the Brewers to finally produce these sours and wild ales without risk of cross contamination, and at a volume that allows for bottling. Thank goodness.

Brian takes us around the crowded Funk Room, lovingly tweaking small things here and there, continuing to work while talking with us as we bask in the woody glory of all things wild.

brewery vivant

A comment remembered from a gentlemen at a previous Wood Aged Beer Fest, asking where he could find this in his home state, put the bug in Brian’s mind to produce these sours at a larger scale.

“Obviously we are passionate about beer, and we’ve always loved wild and sour ales. We’ve had opportunities to make them and packaged them here and there, but always on a really small scale. This gives us the ability to make a larger quantity, get it out there and let the public try it, age it, cellar it. They can share it with their friends, introduce them to something new. Here and out-of-of state, even. We hope to be able to produce beers in this brand at the rate of 2-4 a year. But, of course,the beer tells us when it’s ready.”

 

Photography: Steph Harding

Brewery Vivant will launch three varieties of wood and wild-fermented beers to kick off their Plein de Vie (“full of life”) series on June 5 at the Brewery. The series includes wood barrel aged beers, wooden foeder (“food-er”) aged beers, and stainless wild fermented beers. Plein de Vie will be available on draft and in 500ml glass bottles, and will be distributed throughout the brewery’s footprint of Michigan and Chicagoland.

brewery vivant

Plein de Vie – Belgian Tradition & BV Tradition

Wood aging beers has long been a traditional brewing technique in Belgium. Belgian brewers are known for embracing not only local ingredients but also the local micro-flora when brewing. Brewery Vivant is rooted in this Belgian tradition. The Grand Rapids brewery has been known for its small batch wood-aging program since its founding in 2010. The first sour beer to come alive at the Pub was from a barrel named Angelina. It paved the way for more and deeper experimentation culminating in the brewery’s first-ever Wood-Aged Beer Festival, which took place on its small patio and touted eight different wood-aged beers. This year’s WABF (Sept 17, 2016) will boast some 20 varieties.

Keep it Separated

Housed in a former funeral chapel dating back to the 1900s Brewery Vivant’s vaulted wooden barrel ceiling has always given the brewing team cause for concern as wild yeast lives all around us and wooden beams are difficult to deep clean. “We carved out a portion of our brewery, a physically separated space, to devote to wild yeast strains and souring bugs.” Says Brian Kuszynski, the brewer that heads up the affectionately termed ‘Funk Room’. “We’re pumped to finally be able to produce these types of beers at a volume that we can share them with people outside our walls.” Kuszynski says the June 5 launch will consist of three brands with the intent to distribute 2-4 per year as the beer “tells us when it’s ready.”

Why Glass Bottles?

Known for its 16-ounce pint cans, Brewery Vivant will package Plein de Vie beers in a 500ml glass bottle. Bottles were chosen because of the wild yeast strains and potential for flavors to develop. While the beer is released ready to drink immediately, the glass is rated to hold the beer for extended periods of time. “Aluminum cans are really meant as a delivery vessel, not a storing vessel.” Says owner & president Jason Spaulding. “Plein de Vie literally translates to ‘full of life’ and a glass bottle should hold the integrity of the beer’s life. These beers can be cellared and will continue to develop and change over time.”

Be abrewery vivant Part of the Start

To launch the series, three beers will be released from the pub and then into distribution on draft and in bottles. Pub opens at Noon on Sunday June 5.

  • Habanango: a foeder fermented and barrel-aged blended sour ale with habanero peppers & mango

  • Harvest Breed: a stainless brettanomyces wild sour ale

  • Angelina: a wood barrel-aged sour

“When we first started, we named our barrels in the hurricane naming convention: Angelina, Bertha, Constance, etc.” Says Spaulding. “Angelina was our first barrel. It produced a distinct and pleasant sour character that we’ve since inoculated into other wooden barrels. That first batch developed a cult-like following and so far, the barrel keeps producing. It’s become our ‘house sour’.”

 

 

Brewery Vivant will launch three varieties of wood and wild-fermented beers to kick off their Plein de Vie (“full of life”) series on June 5 at the Brewery. The series includes wood barrel aged beers, wooden foeder (“food-er”) aged beers, and stainless wild fermented beers. Plein de Vie will be available on draft and in 500ml glass bottles, and will be distributed throughout the brewery’s footprint of Michigan and Chicagoland.

brewery vivant

Plein de Vie – Belgian Tradition & BV Tradition

Wood aging beers has long been a traditional brewing technique in Belgium. Belgian brewers are known for embracing not only local ingredients but also the local micro-flora when brewing. Brewery Vivant is rooted in this Belgian tradition. The Grand Rapids brewery has been known for its small batch wood-aging program since its founding in 2010. The first sour beer to come alive at the Pub was from a barrel named Angelina. It paved the way for more and deeper experimentation culminating in the brewery’s first-ever Wood-Aged Beer Festival, which took place on its small patio and touted eight different wood-aged beers. This year’s WABF (Sept 17, 2016) will boast some 20 varieties.

Keep it Separated

Housed in a former funeral chapel dating back to the 1900s Brewery Vivant’s vaulted wooden barrel ceiling has always given the brewing team cause for concern as wild yeast lives all around us and wooden beams are difficult to deep clean. “We carved out a portion of our brewery, a physically separated space, to devote to wild yeast strains and souring bugs.” Says Brian Kuszynski, the brewer that heads up the affectionately termed ‘Funk Room’. “We’re pumped to finally be able to produce these types of beers at a volume that we can share them with people outside our walls.” Kuszynski says the June 5 launch will consist of three brands with the intent to distribute 2-4 per year as the beer “tells us when it’s ready.”

Why Glass Bottles?

Known for its 16-ounce pint cans, Brewery Vivant will package Plein de Vie beers in a 500ml glass bottle. Bottles were chosen because of the wild yeast strains and potential for flavors to develop. While the beer is released ready to drink immediately, the glass is rated to hold the beer for extended periods of time. “Aluminum cans are really meant as a delivery vessel, not a storing vessel.” Says owner & president Jason Spaulding. “Plein de Vie literally translates to ‘full of life’ and a glass bottle should hold the integrity of the beer’s life. These beers can be cellared and will continue to develop and change over time.”

Be abrewery vivant Part of the Start

To launch the series, three beers will be released from the pub and then into distribution on draft and in bottles. Pub opens at Noon on Sunday June 5.

  • Habanango: a foeder fermented and barrel-aged blended sour ale with habanero peppers & mango

  • Harvest Breed: a stainless brettanomyces wild sour ale

  • Angelina: a wood barrel-aged sour

“When we first started, we named our barrels in the hurricane naming convention: Angelina, Bertha, Constance, etc.” Says Spaulding. “Angelina was our first barrel. It produced a distinct and pleasant sour character that we’ve since inoculated into other wooden barrels. That first batch developed a cult-like following and so far, the barrel keeps producing. It’s become our ‘house sour’.”
 
 


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